Flash Fiction February Submissions

As you may or may not have noticed, it is no longer February. But never fear! GUCW’s favourite monthly challenge is not all over and done with just yet.

As we get to compiling our anthology we are still in need of flash fiction stories for many of our daily prompts. So if any of you still have some work in the pipeline you have until mid-April to submit your stories for the anthology.

As well of stories we would love submissions of your artwork to accompany any pieces or simply artwork to decorate the anthology. You can use the prompts on the flash fiction page for inspiration but there will be a general “kitsch” feel to the anthology (-think cheesy 90’s pop).

Submit your work to: gucreativewritingsociety@gmail.com

Find the prompts here: Flash Fiction February 2k17

Can’t wait to see what you come up with!



**Days/ Prompts that haven’t been written on yet:**

22/02/17

Non-binary, pride,

101009617

 

24/02/17

Inconceivable, Iridescent,

“You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”- Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

 

27/02/17

Negligible,  Damask,  

“This world that we’re a-livin’ in, is mighty hard to beat; You git a thorn with every rose, but ain’t the roses sweet!”- Frank Lebby Stanton

The Life and Times of Fabio

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You might see this picture floating around GU Creative Writing Society today. Its the prompt today for Flash Fiction February and the banner for our Romance & Erotica Workshop. This is of course because today is Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love and romance and this picture oozes sensuality. However this picture is far more than an ode to wine, good hair and adorable kittens, the man in this photo has played an integral role in Creative Writing Society’s special celebration of February the 14th for the last 4 years.

This is Fabio. Often dubbed ‘the original male model’, Fabio came to fame at the age of just 14 when two photographers approached him in a gym and told him he should become a model. Oozing with natural charisma and rippling good looks (not to mention his galloping abs) Fabio set a new standard for the ideal man. It was not long before he was approached by author’s of erotica fiction to feature on the covers of their novels.

That is why Fabio is so important to us, he is the face that launched a thousand fictions. The statuesque prowess and heroic demeanour inspired writers to mould their characters to  fit Fabio’s ample dimensions. This man is an idol, the living embodiment of the narrative muse in action. Without Fabio great epics of romance, fantasy and love would never have come to be. And without Fabio Creative Writing Society would not have such a glittering icon upon which to centre its best-loved workshop.

So if you like good hair and wine (lots and lots of wine) then come along to our Romance & Erotica Workshop but if you like Fabio, then please let him inspire you as he has inspired so many others and write us a story for Fabio. (Send us your work here.)

 

 

Source: Fabio in his own words.

 

 

Images of Fabio on the cover of Erotica Novels:

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Superlunary

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Superlunary 

“When we die,” he said, curling his fingers in mine, “we are wrapped in a shroud of light.” I thought: here it comes, a chunk of religion he’s kept thus far firmly hidden. I’d have to take it, eat it, accept it. Suffer later the indigestion.

“What d’you mean?” Magpies were clawing at the windowpane, eyeing us greedily as we lay in our bed.

“Imagine how blissful it is to feel every nerve in your body pulse with lights. For the silkiest muslin to cover your skin. No more pain, suffering, worry. Just softness and pleasure; a life past the prospect of death.”

The religion seemed to sweeten then. I didn’t know what it was, where the incantations were coming from; but it sounded beautiful, the way he said it.

Yesterday, in the garden, he was smoking from the glass pipe while I did my daily contortions. I can twist my body through numerous systems of geometry. I am a star, a polygon; a rhombus, parallelogram. Over time, my muscles have memorised the precise patterns, the necessary relations of limb upon limb. He often forgets I can do this, though yoga magazines litter the flat. I contort until my body is sore. I breathe and whimper in the manner of Bjork, imagining my skin stretching over thick ice.

Sometimes in the bath he helps me with the excoriations. We rub pink crystals of Himalayan salt over my arms and thighs, marvelling at the waxy flakes that drop off in the water. He won’t let me return the favour.

I come home late at night and half the time he’s still high, asking me for another performance. I can make my feet touch the ceiling. He sprinkles stardust on my breasts and there’s a moment when gravity ceases to matter.

Recently, he’s found this new spirituality. I watch him portion white powder for his lashes, flickering in the mirror. He is so pale I could sink into him, inhale his whole being, its celestial vapours of nicotine.

Sometimes, when I am a triangle, he says he wants to bite me like Toblerone. I break off for him, offering a choice piece of my life. We exist like this, my body and his mind. The magpies casting their beaks to the grass where we lay, pecking at the loam as if for treasure. We emanate treasure.

I give him a layer each year to convert into light. At night, we smooth out in circles, going over and over, trying to cheat time.

Eventually, all of this will be just one straight line.

/ Maria Sledmere

(FFF prompts: curtain, light)

Workshop 1″Icebreaker” Stories

Last week was our first workshop of this years Creative Writing sessions. Despite being an informal “icebreaker” we actually managed to do some work and produce some really good stories.

Our task was to create a story using two of the below sentences. But many of our groups (in true competitive spirit) managed to create stories using all 15 sentences! Here is a sampling of our work for you to enjoy.


  1. “And basically that’s why we can never go to Disneyland again”
  2. “I need to borrow a shovel… don’t ask why.”
  3. “Don’t go to the door.”
  4. “Holy shit a unicorn!”
  5. “I didn’t realise it was so cold.”
  6. “No I haven’t. Not for a while.”
  7. “I wish someone had told me that.”
  8. “There’s only one left.”
  9. “You’re not serious?!”
  10. “Only if she’s not going to be there.”
  11. “Take her to the castle.”
  12. “It was only a shadow.”
  13. “Find him. Find him, before it’s too late.”
  14. “The road was long and winding, and night was dark and full of mysteries.”
  15. “It would only take one bullet.”

 

The Misadventures of the Bytheways

-By Elizabeth Graham, Ebba Magnusson, Maciej Garbacz, and Daniel Reidy

 

The road was long and winding, and night was dark and full of mysteries.

“I didn’t realize it was so cold,” Bytheway Junior said and shivered in the back seat.

“You’re not serious! It’s the middle of August, and we’re in Florida, you twat!” replied Josh.

“Be nice to your brother,” Mama Bytheway chided from the front. She looked out the window and murmured, “There’s only one left.” From the window, Mama watched the dark trees fly by. Papa squinted and flicked on the high beams.

“Honey,” he said, “Have you seen any road signs for Disneyland?”

“No, I haven’t, not for a while,” Mama replied. Papa reached over the glove compartment to find a map.

Suddenly, a white flash passed in front of the car. Papa looked up and tried to swerve out of the way, but it was too late. The small car collided with the mysterious object in the road. They spun out off the road and into the woods. The car jerked and collided head on with a tree. All Mama could do was scream as they were jostled about.

After the initial panic had died away, Mama spun around to look at her sons and ask, “Is everyone ok?”

Everyone confirmed: yes, they were ok, no broken bones. They stepped out of the car. While the Bytheways had suffered no damage, a bright white carcass lay in the middle of the road.

“HOLY SHIT! A UNICORN!” screamed Junior.

“Is it . . . is it dead?” Josh walked closer to the unicorn. Without warning, the beast sprang up and trampled Josh. He hit the road with a thump and the unicorn galloped off into the forest.

“I guess it’s NOT dead!” exclaimed Junior.

“I wish someone had told me that,” Josh groaned from the ground. He sat up, adjusted his fitted cap, and took out his vape (to calm his nerves). Papa ran to his eldest son and fell down beside him.

“Are you okay, my sweet boy?” Papa cradled Josh’s head.

Josh replied, “You need to find him. Find him before it’s too late.”

“What, y-y-ou want me to kill him or something?”

Josh looked up, tears in his eyes, and said, “It would only take one bullet.”

It was then Papa knew what he had to do. He went to the trunk of the car and took out an AR-15 (like a real American). He went to Mama and touched her shoulder.

“I need to borrow your shovel . . . don’t ask why.”

Mama nodded and took her prized shovel out of her purse. Papa took the shovel and kissed Mama on the cheek. He then walked back to Junior.

“Son, if I don’t come back,” He looked wistfully at Mama, “Take her to the castle. Find Disneyland and take her to Cinderella’s castle.”

Junior, overcome with emotion, could only nod as Papa ran into the woods after the aggressive unicorn.

Hours passed. Mama, Josh, and Junior sat on the side of the road, waiting. After some time, Mama said, “That’s it. We’re going in after him.” Josh and Junior nodded and they walked into the deep, dark woods.

While they trudged through the forest, Junior began to remember and tell his family about the famed Floridian Forest Witch (which he had learned about in school).

“Do you see that?! That figure in the trees! It’s the witch!” Junior cried.

“It was only a shadow!” Mama said, and they forged onwards.

Soon, they stumbled into a clearing with a cabin. Horrific noises  erupted from the inside.

“It’s her! The witch!” screamed Junior.

“We have to go in,” Josh said, his voice trembling.

“Only if she’s not going to be there!” Junior weeped.

While her sons made fools of themselves, Mama ran to the cabin.

“Don’t go to the door!” Junior screamed, but Mama didn’t listen. She went to the cabin, grabbed the door handle, and wrenched it open.

Mama’s heart sank as she looked upon the cabin’s interior: Papa and the unicorn were making sweet, sweet love on the hardwood floor.

“Papa!” screamed Mama, “Not AGAIN!”

Papa pulled away from the unicorn and looked at Mama with pleading eyes.

Mama shook her head and ran back out to her children, tugging them back into the woods towards the road. She explained what Papa had done.

With tears in her eyes, Mama choked and said, “And basically, that’s why we can never go to Disneyland again.”

 


Unicorn Hunting

 –By Robin Thomson & others

 

The road was long and winding, and the night was dark and full of mysteries. That’s why we took a torch. It was getting close to half past one and we still hadn’t reached our destination. Suddenly, John stopped in his tracks and pointed the torch at something in the bushes – something which quickly scampered away.

‘Holy shit! A unicorn!’

‘Find him. Find him, before it’s too late.’

‘Too late?’ I was afraid – not of the dark night, not of the great beast, but of John: his steely eyes and his grim tone. It wasn’t like him.

‘It’s very dangerous. Too dangerous to let it live.’

‘…I wish someone had told me that.’

I had always thought that unicorns were friendly. But John seemed certain – really certain – that this one was not. He had pulled his gun from its holster hidden under his jacket. He hand me the torch.

‘Keep an eye on the bushes,’ he told me. ‘If you see it, we’ll shoot it.’

‘You’re not serious?’ I followed him towards the trees, by now thoroughly fed up. ‘This is the worst date ever! You’re so into your virtual reality, I don’t see why we can’t do something normal-’

‘We just need to finish this level! There’s only one left-’

‘You told me we were having dinner!’

‘You want dinner? Help me shoot this unicorn. There! …No. It was only a shadow.’ He sighted down the gun, oblivious to my scowl. I was sufficiently put out that I made up my mind to sabotage his “hunt”.

‘Over there!’

‘What? Where?’ John swivelled to aim at an unremarkable patch of bush.

‘There’s nothing there. It was just a trick of the light.’

‘Damn it, Kate, next time don’t shout unless you actually see something.’

This was getting ridiculous. I just wanted to go out to dinner for once, instead of this virtual reality gaming crap. He knew i didn’t like this kind of thing. Fed up and tired, I reached up and pushed the “Exit” button that hovered in the top corner of my field of view.

A glowing blue door appeared in front of me. John turned just in time to see it pop into existence.

‘Aw, Kate,’ he whined, ‘Come on, don’t go to the door. We’ve been having such a good time, we’ve got dinner with my parents next week-’

‘I don’t want to go if your sister’s coming,’ I said, but with less conviction. The door flickered and disappeared. ‘Last time we were all together, she got off with six different guys – and basically that’s why we can never go to Disneyland again.’

‘We could still go ourselves! If I stop playing now, will you come next week?’

‘Only if she’s not going to be there.’ I spotted the unicorn picking its way towards us again, but I didn’t say anything. ‘I don’t mind your mum and dad.’

‘Good. I don’t think Emma’s coming, anyway.’ John raised his gun again, taking aim in the wrong direction. ‘Think her boyfriend wanted to visit Edinburgh with her anyway. Take her to the castle have you ever been?’

‘Not for a while. I don’t really like Scotland. I didn’t realise it was so cold.’

It was a hint, but he didn’t pick up on it. He was watching the trees.

‘Look, let me just kill this unicorn. It would only take one bullet.’

Three hours later, I went home by myself.

[Well – I had John with me, in a manner of speaking. I left him at the bottom of the garden and went to wake up my mum.

‘Mum? I need a shovel, don’t ask me why.’]

 


The Great Mouse

 –By Reilly Dufresne, Marta Ron Folz, Hannah Donnelly

 

It was only a shadow- a shadow of a nightmare. But it haunted me for the rest of my life. There, in front of me loomed the castle. Behind me a woman screamed “Take her to the castle!” in a shrill Glasweigan accent.

My brother, next to me, trembling hysterically, whispers “It would only take one bullet.”

I nodded, feeling cotton candy swirl around my stomach like the sick web of lies we had been caught in. I knew the day was coming but I had not anticipated the fear. I wish someone had told me that.

I didn’t realise it was so cold. And it was not just the tropical air that had taken the downward plunge. The road was long and winding and the night was dark and full of mysteries as we made our way past the masked silky sweet figures bemused with false smiles and baskets of treats.

My brother boldly reached for the door. I hissed “Don’t go to the door…”

He shot back, indignantly “It will only take one bullet. We must kill the Great Mouse- enslaver of the young and optimistic.”

My brother was too anxious. “We need to find him, find him before it’s too late.”

We both held the hands of our parents as we waited in line to meet the Great Mouse.

35 mimutes we were standing in disgrace at the front gates, our parents glowing crimson. And basically that’s why we can never go to Disneyland again.

 

 

 

 

 

Penny Dreadful: The Visitor

Gazing into the mirror, Meg powdered her face. ‘Not too pale, my love,’ she remembered the Madam had told her. ‘You have beautiful skin.’

Her foot tapped-tapped with nerves: awaiting her first client, her first victim. Setting the powder brush down, she glanced at the reflection of the vial nestled between two goblets. The routine was simple: poison. Seduce. And if the poison takes too long, slit his throat.

A nightmare had kept her up most of the night. She felt the spray of warm blood on her body. A knock at the door distracted her from remembering the taste.

‘Come in’. She calls out lightly. She walks to the foot of the bed and shifts the gown off of her shoulders.

‘Hello Miss. I’m Master Thomas. It’s very lovely meeting you.’

Oh no he’s so innocent, but he’s caught in her web all the same. She beckons him to her, gently removing his outer wear.

‘Good evening Master Thomas. You may call me whatever you like’. She positions them by the side of the bed. ‘Here, take a deep drink to calm your nerves. It’ll be better’. She smiles prettily as she lounges on the bed. Thomas smiled at her, politely declining the drink.

‘No thank you,’ he spoke softly. ‘I want to be fresh for this.’ Meg smirked; she would have to do this the hard way.

‘Whatever you please,’ she breathed sweetly. Lying upon the bed and rolling down her stockings. Thomas looked decidedly nervous. ‘Just relax,’ she smiled, letting the sheer lace stockings flutter through the air towards him. Thomas lay his coat upon the bed. Finally, thought Meg. Pausing, he took a breath and thrust his hand in to the pocket of his coat. When he drew back up, he glared at Meg with venom in his eyes. In his outstretched hand, he held a gun.

She laughed a blood-curdling cackle of a laugh that from such young angelic lips was made even more hellish and uncanny. ‘Foolish, foolish boy’. She grinned, her serpentine teeth glinting in the candlelight.

‘I cannot die. You cannot harm me. I shall have you, devour you, consume you, and you shall wish that you had never drank my poison. Now, I shall not spare you even a moment’s pain’. Nonetheless, the young man did not falter, and held the barrel to her tainted flesh.

‘I know about you,’ he stuttered, flushed with nerves and anticipation. His grip on his gun clenched and unclenched- obviously an amateur who has done nothing of this sort before. ‘You can’t scare me, I just want to talk-‘

‘Oh, is that why you decided to point a gun to my face?’ She said, reaching underneath the bed for the knife. She hadn’t had to use this in a while, and a pity too. She had looked forward to an easy night.

‘Don’t- stop moving!’

He fired the gun and she flew backwards, crashing into the mirror and crumbling to the floor. He moved slowly towards her, the gun still pointed at her.

‘I’m sorry’, he said, his voice shaking. ‘I didn’t want to do that’. In a flash, she flung herself up and thrust her knife into his chest. He fell to the ground, his blood seeping into the carpet. His veins ran cold as he saw the bullet wound in her eye completely healed of its own accord.

‘What are you?’ he said. She closed her eyelids and opened them to reveal yellow snake-like eyes. Opening her mouth, she revealed row upon row of sharp inhuman fangs. Her skin by her mouth parted into a Glasgow smile, and a metallic screech pierced his eardrums.

 

By  James Reynolds (& friends)

24 Hours

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It was the summer of being totally numb. I woke up every morning with the sensation of being dragged down some strong gulf stream, warm and foggy and going nowhere.

I smoked cigarettes leaning over the harbour wall, watching the waves curl over the lisp of the sand, gathering in little billows. I worked a job at one of the out of town supermarkets, driving my car around in the day, stacking shelves at night. I worked from midnight till dawn, driving home as the birds sang and the junkies collapsed into their hellhole flats. I sort of enjoyed the boredom, the routine sense of drifting; the way the hours and days just dissolved away. I had a vague sense that something had to happen by the end of the summer, but never paid much attention to prospects of the future.

The doctor put me on these antidepressants, you see. I don’t know what they were supposed to be doing, but they made me very numb. I felt weightless, as if my skin wasn’t my own. There was an agitation, a twitchiness to my existence. I couldn’t help scratching, shivering. I worried the sores that rose in welts on my arms. Every time I tried to eat, I felt nauseous. Only the cigarettes helped.

I was getting through thirty a day, a pack and a half, that summer.

Then I met Oliver. I used to know him, years ago, at primary school. I was standing outside a club, watching the thin blue moon disappear into dark clouds, watching some sixteen-year-old kid throw up on the pavement across the road. Oliver came out of nowhere, wearing this flamboyant shirt, a shark-tooth necklace, his hair wiry and long. I don’t know how he recognised me; I barely recognised him. I wanted to melt into the wall.

But then we started talking about childhood. I guess it seemed like forever ago, this whole other world of messy innocence. The games we used to play, running over the fields, throwing clumps of hay at each other. Days out with the school, teasing one another over the contents of our packed lunches. We walked around town all night, waiting for the sun to come up, sitting shivering underneath a slide at the park, sharing a half bottle of vodka.

He gave me his number, refused the cigarettes I offered. Said we should talk again, but he had to go to work.

I never did text him. I went straight home, teeth chattering on the bus, then lay in bed all day, staring at the ceiling. I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking about the person who used to run around those fields, laughing and shrieking, throwing wads of hay and falling back into the soft long grass. I smoked so much my room was a grey, tarry haze. At some point I must’ve slept.

I woke up and the world was brighter, clearer. The smoke was gone. I drove to work and the strip lights of the supermarket glowed in my brain, the colours of all the signs and products seeming ultra saturated, a pleasure to stare at. Everything felt so intense, so real. I guess I was feeling again. It was a joy to just touch things, finger the labels of tins and packets, brush my feet over the vinyl floor.

I’m not even sure I took down the right number. I never did text him.

It was a joy to stand over the bridge on my break, watching the cars pass on the dual carriageway, biting into something sweet, maybe a donut, maybe a piece of carrot cake. I didn’t think about falling over that bridge, about smoking a cigarette. I thought of Oliver, of the little girl asleep in the backseat, going nowhere through the night. Falling asleep on someone’s shoulder. That sense of safety. I don’t remember much else about how I felt, but I know that something had changed, even though in the end I didn’t text him.

I guess it was just that in those 24 hours, I’d forgotten to take my antidepressants. For once, it felt good to go nowhere.

— by Maria Sledmere

(Flash Fiction February prompts: ‘nowhere’)

The Median Days

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On days like today, I watch the rain drops. I remember when I was a kid and I could watch the rain drops all day. They would fall onto the cold white slabs of marble, some splashing back, trickling away.

Bad things are happening to the country, the continent, the globe. My brother says the sun won’t set anymore; the universe does not sleep. Things are turning differently. The universe drifts in-between two chunks of time, big and fat as planets. A new arrangement of seasons: winter tans aglow as shining chestnuts; summer snow as ominous as the bats that once filled our chimney, until father bought the shotgun. There were the blackest howls. The world drifts, never settling. Two fat planets. I don’t understand it.

Even still the rain drops fall. There was a song I used to play on the piano, slow with the intricate left hand melody. It built gradually, lilting and trilling on the higher notes. My right pinkie would pick the sharp like the best sour cherry from a paper bag. I imagine those notes floating on out into an empty room, the vast acoustics of some cathedral. Maybe my parents married here; maybe I will find myself buried, one day, here…

The summer snow is soft and yellow in the lamplight. I watch the shadows grow from the ash trees, still flowering, though barren of their red berries. I miss the rain drops.

Will they return?

I miss the slow rush of sugar in my blood, the afternoons lost to chip van candy. The man would hold his hand out just so, uncurl his fingers to take the coins. Strawberry chews that caught in your teeth, your gums. I slipped them between my lips all through maths and science, indifferent to the numbers being drawn on the blackboard. I suppose I should have learnt more.

But you can’t do much when the world changes. You watch the sky shift in colour, ebb between baby blue and flossy pink, phosphorylate. The cells of my body swell with the sugar. My throat closes up, stuffed. The thin lines around my eyes tighten.

Times like this, all you can do is watch the rain drops. They were letting bombs off on the news, watching them streak in flames through the air. The woman in the suit was laughing, laughing like she’d never before seen anything funny. In her laughter I try to pick out piano notes. Funny how they mix with the trills, though you can never really hear them properly. I could never tell my Bs from my Es, As from my Gs, minors from majors. I was as tone deaf as the last dead flower they folded into the ground.

I watch the rain drops, the summer snow. The world will end in seven days; there will be another time, another universe. I could spew a lifetime of sugar. Still, the white slabs of marble glow. Someone will come for me, alone on the plaza.

by Maria Sledmere

(Flash Fiction February prompts: liminal, journey, Aphex Twin’s ‘Avril 14th’)

Penny Dreadful: The Fortune Teller

She didn’t have to wait long for a new customer today.

She felt it at the palm of her hands when she shuffled her deck of tarot cards. So just as she had predicted, the customer from last week entered her booth, her hand clutching another young woman’s arm. Our fortune teller smiled at the sight of this; the young woman was positively beautiful, skin glowing with life and blood.

“Welcome back,” she said, channelling all her magic to the sound of her voice. The young woman relaxed immediately, her eyes widening in fascination. Our fortune teller lit the candles next to her deck of cards.

She might have some fun with the girl before she drained some of her life force.

The young woman took the seat opposite, her auburn hair flowing down in curls. She was nervous, she was biting her nails and picking the skin off her fingers.

“Leave us,” the fortune teller ordered the old customer, who diligently obliged. Once she was alone with the woman, she flashed a kind smile.

“So what’s your name, my dear?” she said.

“Cassandra,” the young woman nervously whispered.

“Now what seems to be the problem?” she mustered all her energy to make Cassandra relax.

“I’ve been having these strange nightmares, I see fire, and disease, and death. I’m all alone. Oh God, help me! I’m afraid!” Cassandra’s voice rose in pitch exponentially.

“Relax, relax.” The fortune teller’s soothing voice filled the booth. “Don’t worry, I’m here to help. Now…” she coughed as she offered her hands. “Take my hands.”

The young woman reached out tentatively, and the fortune teller stifled a moan. Oh, she hadn’t felt such a vibrant soul in decades—so bright, so strong, so powerful…

“Close your eyes, my dear,” the fortune teller said soothingly, “and relax”, and Cassandra did, eyes closing and head drooping forward.

The fortune teller sighed, and smiled, and began to draw the power, pulling the brightness and the power into herself. And then Cassandra grip turned hard and strong and unyielding, and her eyes flew open, and with a voice like a steel trap, uttered one word.

“Stop.”

The girl’s skin was rapidly losing its beautiful, youthful texture, becoming ashen and cracked. The fortune teller still gripped Cassandra’s fragile fingers, draining every last spark. Cassandra’s now corpse-like form clattered to the floor.

Nonchalantly, our fortune teller flipped over the top card. Death. There was something pleasing about the skeletal figure.

“It was never going to end well, my dear,” she mocked the girl’s body.

“It’s unwise to mock the dead, sister. Even you should know that.”

Our fortune teller turned to face her older sister, half entering from the curtains.

Her face still held a certain glow, more from a good moisturiser than from a healthy diet of souls.

“What’s got your knickers in a twist? Feed on another coma patient this morning?”

It was irritating to watch her sister attempt morals.

“Let her go, sister,” her sister states calmly, “I don’t want to hurt you.” She laughed manically, like her sister would dare.

“I drew from the cards to decide her fate. I’m just a tool in the hands of a higher power.” She keeps an eye on the girl who had gained some color back. “There’s enough to share.”

“I made a vow that I will keep, sister, don’t make me hurt you.” Her sister takes a step into the room and the girl goes limp. “Stop now sister.”

“I can’t, I haven’t felt power like this in so long.”

“Don’t kill her then. Enslave her, let her replenish her power and come back.”

“Death has its place in life. She gets her power from somewhere, I will that find that.”

 

By Eugenia Lo (& MK, CM, H, JL, Z)

Penny Dreadful: The Surgeon’s Child

The scalpel dug in jaggedly to the lady’s cold flesh. It didn’t glide as it usually did with the live ones. She was a model subject, so demure in her nakedness. Her glazed eyes did not flash with wanton thoughts; she was pale, voluptuous and perfect. The surgeon drew another implement from the steel tray at his side. This one was encrusted with blood from his previous guest. His last guest was more vocal, she had been warm and fidgeting. Oh but she was complicit… they all were. A bulbous buzzing fly floated past his face landing on the work table next to his Madonna. He smashed it mercilessly with his cold steel saw before wiping the blade on his smeared apron.

“This won’t hurt a bit,” he whispered, gently caressing the angelic woman’s swollen belly. He dug the saw in with an uncomfortable crunching sound. The greying skin peeled back and a few black droplets of congealed blood flecked upon his forearms. Still he persisted. Such a pity to spoil such a perfect woman. Still the treasure lay within and he edged ever closer.

 

He prized apart the layers of skin, he could not help but remark upon the exquisite delicacy of it all, the mesh of tissues that had once teemed with life. Now the time had come for the more tender implements. He put down the saw and took up a glinting little silver blade, so small and keen… It was the sharpest in his copious collection. He had found the seat of the jewel, the filmy sac, purple and stiff with the vigour of death. He pulled the blade across its length and out poured the stagnant liquid. The womb had been the only home this little creature had ever known, but soon…soon it would become so much more.

 

He could almost hear what could have been, the sound of a new life wailing. This was not the first time he had to operate on a pregnant patient but it was certainly the first time he could still feel the faintest, the slowest pulse of a heartbeat as he dug his gloved hands in to the belly of the woman.

As his plastic mitts emerged from her stomach, soaked in a foul crimson liquid, he could see the remnants of a deformed creature. Oh what life this poor thing could have grown up to be. He could have been a teacher, a priest, a soldier. Then again he could have been another homeless tramp that litters the streets. As he put the fleshy mess onto the tray, he could hear a horde of crashing and banging from along the hall.

He flinched but didn’t panic. This couldn’t be rushed. He carefully lifted a syringe, filled with an ominous dark reddish brown liquid, and pulled the tiny deformed child towards him. His eyes gleamed, “This however,” he said wickedly “…this will hurt.” As he pushed the needle in to the child, pressing the plunger all the way down, the infant let out a terrible blood-curling scream. He dropped the syringe and stepped back, smiling serenely as the baby writhed and cried. The footsteps were louder now, faster, running towards him, but he didn’t care. And as several burly men burst in to the room, he simply laughed. And as his own knife sliced his throat there was a perverse happiness in his eyes. “It’s too late.” He gurgled, and the life left him.

The child was taken away, after being soothed and silenced. It was placed in the loving arms of a doctor and his wife, who for many years had been in want of a child. There were none who knew of the vile chemicals that had been forced inside the infant’s veins. None who knew the change they had brought to the fragile little body. The surgeon was dead and the records buried. The baby was safe and loved.

*******

Months passed. Red and golden leaves fell, then ghostly snow before the crocuses broke free and spring came at last. The child had reached his first year, unbeknownst of course to his adoptive parents who hadn’t taken up his care until the tendrils of summer had curled itself around the rosy blossom. So there were no gifts and no special tea prepared, as far as the child’s parents were concerned those arrangements were not needed for weeks. Yet the child felt it within himself, somehow within his tiny body he felt the advent of the cyclical date of his nativity. With only the first few teeth protruding and annals of communication not yet available to him, he was unable to make his feeling known.

That night the old grandfather clock in the hallway struck midnight and the child howled. The most bloodcurdling screech that rattled the windows of the old manor. The doctor’s wife sprung from her bed and ran to the child’s crib. As she reached her arms in to cradle her beloved son she felt a sharp sting on her forearm and fell to the ground lifeless. The child’s jaw trickled with blood. The surgeon’s final masterpiece was complete…

 

By Hayley Rutherford (& the homies)