About Me

I'm a writer dreaming of being published, with a preference for prose but a love for poetry. I've been writing some ten years, possibly longer, and I write a lot of gothic, fantasy, and science fiction.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Here is my soul

Here is my soul
dipped in misery and tied
together with a madman's white bow
whilst I scream for help
whilst you walk away.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016


I can choose from many scents,
From sea salt to grapefruit,
Lilac and lavender,
All the way to autumn leaves.
All these fragrances consuming the room,
But all I want
is a love-scented candle
to remind me of you.

Friday, 9 September 2016

New Louboutin Pumps (Based on the painting of the same name)

In the heat of the moment,
the lovers take flight
to passions well-known, well worn.
Kisses became a marriage of
lips with lips
flesh with flesh
heat with heat
until nothing but the passion,
and the shoes,

Monday, 5 September 2016


Infectious blood of mine lover contaminates my veins, spiders creeping under my skin and into my heart. Hairs go thin, then wiry, then thick, colour fading, colour restored, whilst pallor becomes rosy red, bloody perfection. You monster. You made me ugly, then you made me a goddess, goddess of sex and death and disease. I am your puppet. I am your slave. But, now and forever, I am your victim, monster, and my vengeance will pursue you when I am ashes in a coffin, my ghost a vicious hound thirsting for your rotten blood and your devil flesh.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

The Girl with the Bundle

She walked past the baker’s shop, shut many weeks now, with it’s pale blue overhang now full of holes and soaked by the April rain. The girl had only been inside twice, the days before the shop’s closing, when her mother was too sore from the pregnancy to walk the quarter mile. Next to it stood the Falcon Inn, a pub she knew he dad went to on Thursdays, after his dinner of stale bread and cheese that was starting to turn pale green in the far corners. It was Friday now, long after when he should be home, on a day he rarely went out in fear of being mugged for his fresh wages. The girl poked her head in, keeping the bundle in her arms shielded from prying eyes, and asked if her dad was in; he wasn’t. She huffed and walked off to find the next pub. If her dad wasn’t in there, he’d been in one of the less comforting pubs, like the Ironworks in the middle of the factory district. She avoided the area on her dad’s advice, hearing that only the rough people were there at night, but she needed to find her dad.

It was starting to rain again, accompanied by the faint howling of wind from the west. It was already the coldest April she’d known, but the wind felt colder, more like something from mid-Winter. The moon was hidden by the thick black rain clouds, turning the cobbled streets into a darkened maze. She marched on. The next pub, half a mile away, was the Ironworks. She knew little of it, other than the ‘wrong’ people went there, but she knew her dad had to be in there. Again, she went in, keeping the bundle safe, and made her way to the bar. There were rough-looking men all around her, leering at her like the poorest of the poor often did when they say a child in something resembling actual clothes instead of rags. One of them, a man of thirty or so, made a drunken grab for the bundle, believing it to be food or a bottle of scotch. The girl squeaked and darted to the bar faster, holding the bundle tighter. When she approached the bar, a woman in a low-cut dress of dark blue wool eyed her suspiciously. After the girl described her dad, her features softened and she shook her head. Not here either. The little girl pursed her lips and rushed out, determined to find him tonight. She wasn’t even out of the door when she heard a couple of the drunkards making disturbing comments about her. One of them sounded like he was wanting the package in her arms to be money or food. The other...well, his comments were not the sort for even an adult to talk about, let alone for a six-year-old child to hear. Even if she didn’t understand some of his words, she shuddered in mild fear all the same.

The rain was getting heavier, turning the road into a shallow stream flowing between the cobbles. The girl slipped slightly as she ran down the road to a pub or bar further on; she had never been this way, even when her dad made her walk to visit her cousins who lived somewhere close by to the Ironworks pub. At almost every street corner was a beggar, slumped and starved, with the fabric on their frail bodies close to falling off. Some slept, but most were moaning in hunger or thirst. These were the victims of the cotton mill closing, much like how the people sat drinking in the Ironworks were close to being forced out of their steelwork jobs by the factory owner’s bankruptcy. The beggars were like shadows in the night, pressing against the rough brick walls in futile hope of not being soaked by the harsh rain. One of them was a girl no older than fifteen, with her dark hair hacked short and matted; her dress, low cut and tight-fitting like the barmaid’s, was torn all over, with only the thinnest piece of rough wool covering her hollow breasts. Her hands were bloody from holding her recently broken nose, and every third hoarse breath was replaced with a ugly sob. At the sight of the girl, she let out a long, laboured moan and tried to stretch out her hand, causing the blood to drip onto the cobbles and into the stream of rainwater. The little girl shook her head slightly and moved on, clutching her package tighter with each corner turned. Eventually, she could see the flickering lights of an ale-house. She was nearly two miles from home now. Her dad had to be in here, surely?

He was. Inside the stuffy little room, stinking of cheap ale, her dad stood leaning against the bartop. His jacket was stuffed in a ball under his arm, and his face was red from drinking too much. Behind him, the ale-house’s owner stood pouring him another pint, oblivious to a young girl just walking into his establishment. The dad was on his fifth pint, which he drained as his daughter approached him. The girl beamed at the sight of him. She’d spent the past two hours wandering around trying to find him, and she had found him in the end. Her dad looked at her in drunken confusion, taking a few moments to realise his only child stood in front of him. He hadn’t expected even his wife to know he was here, in a barren ale-house far from home. He’d hoped to be able to sneak into her bed the next morning with little harm done, but now he was caught, and he didn’t know how she’d react. Granted, it wasn’t the worst thing he could be caught doing, much less worse than if he’d been unfaithful, but he still felt like he was going to be in trouble when his daughter went home and told her mum.

“Ey, what you doin’ here lass?” he slurred at her, bending down to meet her eyes. He tried to find any suspicion in her face, but saw none. His girl smiled in response.
“Momma’s not well. She’s had me baby brother though, and she was sleepin’ so I brought him to you!” With that, the girl thrust the bundle into her father’s arms. “He’s been sleepin’ too since before I came out to find you, but he’s just been born so I think he’s tired is all.”

Her dad, starting to understand her words, felt ashamed. His wife had given birth without him even knowing, and now his child had come to deliver his baby boy to him in the dead of night.
“Sleepin’, ye say?”

“Aye dad, she was so cold and fast asleep I couldn’t shake her awake.” Her innocent face hid nothing but also knew nothing. No tears or redness lingered around her eyes, her lips weren’t chewed, and she stood proudly and with pure happiness of finding her dad. She didn’t understand the truth of the situation. His wife was dead, that was clear. The birthing bed was a hard one to survive; he knew that from his own sister, ten years dead trying to birth her first baby. Now his own wife had died the same way. The grief came sudden, but was hidden fast enough from the unblinking eyes of his little girl. Remembering he had a baby son in his arms, he moved the fabric hiding the face to see him for the first time. The newborn’s eyes were softly shut and his cheeks almost purple, and his chest was still. His son, his newborn babe, was already dead.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Zombies outside a bar

Nobody cared when the zombie apocalypse started, to be honest. The doctors and scientists were equal parts excited and terrified by what was happening, but the people working at the bar and their regulars were less interested in the fact that people in Australia had started eating each other’s brains. The only mention of it at first was a simple email from the manager telling his employees to be honest about any illnesses, which the staff knew to be code for “don’t skip work”. For a month or so, things continued on as normal, with little new information about the zombies Down Under, but news started coming in thick and fast after the New Year.
“D’you hear about that man who got his face ripped off in New York?” Khloe, one of the younger regulars at the Canalside Arcade Bar said to her barmaid best friend, Lucy.
“Yeah! I heard the man who did it was acting crazy, grabbing the coppers and all”.
“I heard that too. Wonder what made him do it? Sounds like he was on something”. Lucy nodded gravely as she idly wiped down a sticky part of the bar. She could’ve sworn she’d heard about something similar on the news some weeks back, but she mind was always hazy about things like that. Conversation shifted to talking about a night out in town the girls had shared, in particular a guy Khloe had taken home, and the subject of the face-ripper was lost.
Later that same day, during Lucy's final hour of her shift, her twin brother rushed in with the most confusing expression that spoke a thousand words.
“Gran's been put in quarantine, something about some rare condition” he gasped out as he steadied himself against a bar chair.
“In Manhattan?”
“Yeah, they think it's some virus that's going around Australia or something. Was it Australia or Austria?”
“Like I'd know that. What sort of virus are you on about?” Again, something about this made her think back to something she'd heard about weeks ago, but she couldn't remember the details.
“Grandad said she was all angry and tried to claw at him, like she had rabies or something.” Shaun paused to think back to the phone call. “I think they put her in quarantine before even doing a blood test, so I think it's serious”.
Lucy was tearing up; family emergencies did this to her every time. Her manager luckily took one look at her and told her she could go home with Shaun, obviously knowing it was serious enough to let her go early. He quickly grabbed the phone and called in Josh early, as he was the closest to the bar. Josh, the ever loyal employee he was, took an hour to get there, despite only living a ten minute walk away. His excuse? He’d been watching the news, and got interested in some story about a virus in New York that was getting bad. After the obvious lecturing his manager gave him, Josh finally decided to give his twopence’s worth of gossip.
“You’ve heard of what’s going on in America?” he muttered, low enough to not catch the attention of the ladies approaching the bar.
“Not really, but I think Lucy did. Her grandparents are over there and something’s got her all upset and such.”
“Oh god, don’t tell me they’re infected!” Josh groaned and covered his face briefly. “They’re putting anyone with this virus in quarantine straight away, no diagnosis or anything. This scientist who was on said they might block off a chunk of the city for just quarantine or something like that.”
“You’re kidding me, Josh,” the manager, Paul, looked unconvinced and exasperated, “they’d never do that. That’s some medieval stuff you’re suggesting.”
“It’s true though,” Josh responded, “they said it was like something that’s going on Down Under, but I’ve heard nothing about that. Think the media got shut down over there.”
“Wouldn’t be surprised. Their government is nothing but a mess-up” That brought out a chuckle from both men, and they went their separate ways.
The next day, more gossip came regarding the virus. The Pope was going to Washington to talk to the President, the government back in England was starting an aid programme and was wanting to send blood donations over to the USA, and everyone seemed to be getting more worked up over it all. The usual tabloids were talking about zombies, the news shows were calling it an infection, and the Christian channels were suddenly a lot more popular, to the amazement of everyone. The Canalside Arcade Bar became the centre of all this gossip, with almost every regular having something to say about it.
“Bloody americans,” one regular announced after his sixth pint of ale, “too inbred to care about decency! First they ban beer, now they’re eating each other!” Nobody wanted to remind him that prohibition ended back in the thirties.
Another regular, an old woman who lost both sons in Iraq, had other thoughts. “I feel sorry for the poor things,” she confided to Paul as he made her a latte, “they’ve gone through enough, and yet here we are, living through another disaster in the heart of America”. All Paul could do was nod solemnly at that, knowing that the woman was likely to tear up if the conversation continued. Luckily, she accepted her coffee and sat in her usual seat at the back of the bar, far away from the chatting of the conspiracy theorists sat all over the place. Said conspiracy theorists were usually called normal people, but the ‘outbreak’ in New York and the media silence in Australia was getting them all giddy. As the words “virus”, “zombies”, “infected”, and “New York” bounced around the bar, Jess could feel herself getting worn out. Her favourite thing to do during her floor shifts was to listen in on the chatter of the customers, but today everyone seemed to be saying the same things, and it annoyed her too much. After two hours of hearing the same key phrases from almost everyone, she stomped over to Paul and begged for a cig break.
“I can’t let you run off, Jess, you’ve seen how many people are in today”.
“I know that, but it’s killing me hearing about all the same crap from everyone! You have to let me have a quick smoke or I’ll go mental!” She was twitching the same way she did when she got upset, but her cheeks had flushed bright red, as if she’d eaten a spicy curry. Paul knew better than to let her go without her smoking break, so he shepherded her to the side and told her she had five minutes or he’d dock her wage. Jess, ever the pessimist, scowled and shuffled off. Thankfully, she was back not even four minutes later, stinking of cigs but generally looking better than she had before it. As a precaution, Paul had her swapped for Josh, who was snoozing at the bar as he usually did when he wasn’t having to serve anyone, and so he was forced into the embarrassing red apron and onto the floor. Less than ten minutes later, he was stood in the glass wash, having a drink of staff cola and checking his phone (which he shouldn’t have even had on him). Paul just rolled his eyes and told Josh to get back to work, not even caring about how he could technically fire the guy for using his phone during his shift. At this point, it was just a case of getting through the day and night, and getting to bed as soon as possible.
That night, it just got worse. Turns out the story Josh had heard yesterday, about having a section of New York quarantined, actually happened. Worse, Lucy rang in to announce that she needed that week off, after her gran had been declared dead at the hospital in the middle of the quarantine zone. Paul nearly cried just to hear it; his heart had truly left this job, and he found himself lugging his way through the final few hours with a distracted set of staff and a near-hysterical customer base. Zombies or not, Paul was done with this job and this world. He resolved to start looking into moving to the countryside as soon as he got home, where news was slow, gossip limited to the local, and the bar jobs a lot easier on the soul. However, there was one more surprise for the bar, in the shape of a simple announcement from the government.
“Did you hear about how they’ve stopped all flights to America?” one woman said to her boyfriend as they stood by the crowded bar.
“No way,” was the boyfriend’s reply, “as if they’d do that!”
“They did! No one goes in or out, apparently. Anyway, I want a tequila shot”. Paul rolled his eyes so far back he was mildly surprised they rolled forward again, and walked off to serve a more intoxicated group. As luck would have it (sort of), a fight broke out between the very group he began to serve, and he had the joy of kicking out the lot of them.
Soon after, screams were heard outside, then smashed glass, then police sirens. The group of lads Paul had booted from the bar had ended up causing a brawl on the street, with one of them getting stabbed with some broken glass. As the police came in to tell Paul to close up the bar and kick everyone out, a collective sigh of relief could be heard from the bar staff, let alone Paul himself, who had ended up with a film of sweat covering his face. As soon as the last customer was out and the doors locked behind them, he slumped into a booth seat sticky with lager, and closed his eyes. Just one more hour, he kept thinking to himself, and I’ll be home. The people on the bar that night worked hard to clean up the place just so that they could go home too, knowing that, after tonight, a long hard sleep was much needed.
Things could only get worse, though. Everyone woke up to the news of a curfew (which was bad enough for the bars) and a restriction on all travel. The daytime drinkers at the Canalside were buzzing with gossip, and there was shock and outrage everywhere.
“How am I going to get to Newcastle now? I got a business meeting on Tuesday!”
“I was going to see my mum in Dover, but now I can’t!”
“My hen do’s on Saturday and we were off London, dammit! Now we can’t even do it here!”
The policeman who had been posted in the bar after the previous night’s stabbing just sighed whenever someone came up to him and demanded to know why they couldn’t go out at night or even go to the next city over. Every now and again he would just mumble something about “government’s orders”, but he said little else. Joy, the day-shift barmaid, occasionally went over to him to give him a mug of watery tea with too much milk and no sugar, and he would silently sip it with a stony expression, but aside from that there was very little interaction between officer and bar staff that day. Paul had wisely taken the day off, joining a growing list of people who either couldn’t or wouldn’t work at the Canalside that day, including those now stuck in other parts of the country. Lucy was one of those people; her family had decided to fly to New York to arrange her gran’s funeral, but had first been stuck at Manchester Airport by the flight ban, and now stuck in the city of Manchester itself by the curfew and inter-city travel ban. Her parents had taken the news of both hard, but Lucy was now just plain defeated by it all. When she’d rang in to tell Sophie, another manager, about being stuck cities away, the latter had taken it wearily.
Business at the Canalside was also slow, with many customers seemingly too scared to even leave their homes. Apparently the zombie apocalypse was too much for some of the regulars, who decided they should start stocking up and/or fretting rather than drowning their sorrows like normal. Many of the regulars who did come where more passive and avoidant over it all, preferring to just talk about recent football matches or the lottery numbers from last night. That sort of talk was welcomed by the bar staff, who at this point felt it was becoming pointless even having the place open during a national emergency like this. It was no surprise then that they shut at three that afternoon, after all but three customers had left to go check the headlines at home. Joy and Sophie had barely just finished cleaning the bar when the policeman from earlier, who had left with most of the other people, returned to tell them to go home immediately.
“Why?” Sophie asked, “I mean, we were going to anyway, but what’s happened?”
“I can’t say for sure,” replied the officer, “but it’s relating to the curfews and travel restrictions. Call it a development”. The two barmaids nodded mutely to that, and set off. Once Joy got home, she immediately turned on the news. The breaking news said much more then the police ever would’ve told her; Images of a riot in London, hospitals preparing entire quarantine units, and scientists calling the virus spreading through America some fancy name that basically boiled down to “zombies, but we’re not calling them zombies”. The more that was said on the subject by the people on the news, the bleaker the outcome looked, and Joy knew that after only a few minutes of being sat glued to the screen. A quick search on the internet revealed even more, with social media showing videos of the infected attacking people trapped in the quarantine zone in New York, and messages from those in other cities saying that it had spread to there. Then, a single fact that Joy hadn’t seen anywhere else: there was a confirmed case here in Britain. All it said was that the case was in Liverpool, and that it was under control, but it explained a lot.
Not long after came a call from Sophie. She was home, and had returned to an email telling her to keep the bar shut until further notice.
“You’re kidding me,” was Joy’s simple response.
“I’m afraid not. All the bars and restaurants in the area got the same email. Whatever this virus is that’s got everyone spooked, it’s killing business”. After a few reassuring messages sent back and forth over the phone, Joy hung up feeling even more hopeless. No shifts meant no wages. No wages meant rent would have to be delayed and she’d been in trouble for that. Suddenly all the hysteria over the situation made a whole lot more sense, and that said something. What it said to Joy, she wasn’t sure; she supposed it was that she took her job for granted, but that seemed too easy a moral to come up with. She ignored it.
By nightfall, the streets were dead silent and every window had the glow of their TV visible through the blinds or curtains. In Manchester, Lucy sat by the hotel window and watched the city grow deader and deader. Paul was in bed at his home, dreaming of a countryside retreat where nothing really mattered, and Sophie sat in her flat idly pulling at the loose threads of the sofa. The rest of the country felt just as pessimistic over the future, with each day being greeted with less enthusiasm than the last. By the end of the week, many had stopped leaving the house, the supermarkets were empty, and even the smallest of pubs were considered no-go zones. It was no surprise, then, that little changed when the virus began spreading more across the country, eventually overcoming even military intervention. Josh disappeared, assumed either shut up in the local quarantine or living his life as a wannabe zombie-film hero, but the rest of the staff of the Canalside Arcade Bar just tried to survive long enough, not bothering to dwell on things like rent or gossip anymore.

Thursday, 25 August 2016


To play god is to play the devil
or so the stories say
but I say no to religious folly
and do not bend the knee to the moralist’s way.

The children of the future
by my hand
shall be born of the bodies of the past
recycled for reforming humanity.

I am god
watch me birth the new world

Monday, 22 August 2016

You are a party to me

You are a party to me.
The taste of cheap wine, strong and dry in my mouth
the sound of music, loud and catchy
a couple in the corner, tongues waggling and
their hands grasping at each other, furiously
in heat.
You are the drugs the raver hands around
the ecstasy on my tongue, exploding
colours melding together, lights and neons,
Never darks.
You are the splash of sick in the toilet water
the sobs of the drunkest girl, retching alone.
Blood on the bedsheets from the wrong first time
come on the bedsheets where the guy got lucky
in another room.
You are the crash of the door and the sound of sirens
the footsteps of us running away
across the wet lawn and over the fence.
You are a party gone bad
like always, I suppose.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Black Widow

You were never the first, nor ever the last,
You thought I was easy, but really?
It was you who was the easy one.

A simple trip was all it took,
It was only a fall.
It was my shoe collection laid out
by the stairs, thrown around in a passion,
But you saw them,
I swear!
it wasn’t my hands

Monday, 15 August 2016


Sunbeams hit the screen, though grey skies
the hope of a pleasant day.

Candle-flame flickers dangerously, the orange glow
as it touches the empty walls.

Daylight struggles, gasping for air as sunset
the remains of the day, and it is welcome to

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Follow me

Follow me towards the heath
where we will witness others’ defeat,
And pity beggars who weep anew
for war has torn our world into two.

Monday, 8 August 2016


New sensations, felt far and deep within,
Outlined by rythmic pulses.

Heartbeat, drumbeat, bassline                      and heartbreak,
Common experiences framed by the same style of tempo.

Singular notes piercing the backdrop of harmonic unity,
Watch the mass of activity burn bright with activity.

The tempo is breaking  up, beats lost       in the wild,
Help me save the melody,
lest the pulse stops

Thursday, 4 August 2016


She’s my sweet corruption and the lingering sin on my lips, dripping sugary poison. Her nails are bear claws that tear away facades but her’s remains like freshly-dried paint. She’s got the whole wide world in her hands. Clap for her, kiss her hand, her feet, her jealous heart, pleasure her, steal for her...kill for her.
Always for her.
Her, her, her.
Corrupt me more, my lover my goddess,
more more more.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

My tears

My tears have
left tire tracks
on my reddened
       and again

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Witch hunt(ed)

Should I stand here now, defiant, and cast myself upon the fires of suspicion, I may blush.

Would I smile when stern faces attempt to discover me in plain sight, remains to be seen.

Could I remain innocent when the pointing fingers turn to gropes and grabs, when I am guilty? Yes, but I may cry.

Bless be, Christian, bless be and bless me.

Monday, 25 July 2016

On the journey home

The sky is cast in the most beautiful shades of pink and blue,
cerise and navy,
night’s embrace enveloping the shrinking city most prettily.

I will rarely miss the rotten streets of the city,
but already I miss him.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

I love

I love
her hair of
Too bad
she puts me
to sleep.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

To your ghost

You came to me a gentle soul, pure heart and all that, until you saw my wickedness and my cruelty, piercing you like an ice pick, stabbing the hard exterior of your hopes and turning your mass of dreams into feverish nightmares. You became a monster to my monstrous eyes, Frankenstein beholding his creation in sublime terror, escaping your haunting persecution and your frozen eyes of incomplete understanding.

I am Cathy. Watch me run.

Cold winds, colder expectations looming over my very soul, icicles clinging to my nose and my hopes. Tables turned, I dare speak to your ghost that remains a false companion through these apocalyptic nights, the horror lurking behind me and my cracking sheet of resolve.
Forgive me, forgive me.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

art imitates life

the drying of paint
reminds me of me,
with acrylic emotions
and watercolour dreams.

Sunday, 26 June 2016


Aphrodite’s open legs,
and the diver, hunting pearls.
River and ocean, kissing on the mouth,
rivers of blood, at war’s end.
Good harvest, good fight,
healthy baby born.
Cuts and scratches across your face,
bloody feet after a long night out.
Everything, and yet nothing,
forever infinite potential.


Perhaps you'll be with me
as I sing myself to sleep
and defend me from the monsters
be them real or deep within.

A lullabye to pass the time
perhaps you could do that?
or fluff my pillow and fix the bed
as I swim amongst the dreams.

What about a cup of cocoa
for when I wake up scared
of mythical things and reality’s threats
perhaps you'll help me then.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Nights at the Drowned Maid // Graveyard Guy [2]

The first thing that struck Yasmin was the sense of dread that came from being around something bad in a graveyard in the early morning; the other thing was a lot more literal. The physical blow was strong enough to blur her vision, but not enough to knock her out; it was the sort of punch she’d expect from her mum, not a thug. Her reaction was to swivel around and back off, bringing her face-to face with a middle-aged man in an oversized flannel shirt and sunglasses. Part of her wanted to scream at being attacked by a strange man. Part of her wanted to laugh at the sheer ridiculousness. What she did instead was run in the straightest line she could manage back to her home. She knew he was probably going to follow her, but something about how he grimaced when she looked at him made her doubt it.

Her doubts proved right, and the man hadn’t chased her, letting her relax enough to think as she entered the small terrace house she called home. The man looked like he’d just been spat out of the 90s, complete with that frankly starved look, and he’d seemed sluggish in his movement. Was he a druggie? Maybe, but there was something....predatory about how he looked and acted; hitting a random girl by a graveyard wasn’t something druggies were known for. He was strange, stranger than most of the oddities she’d grown to seeing in the town, and it creeped her out.

But now was not the time for fretting over random men attacking her in graveyards, she had to catch some sleep and get ready for her night shift tomorrow. She did the normal going to bed ritual, and drifted off to sleep with hopes for a peaceful rest. Instead her dreams were surreal, full of nasty-looking people leering at her and grabbing her, pulling her this way and that. It wasn’t until she woke up some six hours later sweating that something about the dream-people hit her; they were the Midnight Lot, or at least the dream-faces were their’s. Tonight was going to be hard, four hour shift be damned.

Said shift was boring. Yasmin spent the first hour tending to the bar whilst her manager, a short fat man in his late thirties called Geoff, sorted out the delivery. Tonight it was only the alcoholics present, and it was past the time most of the Midnight Lot arrived. After serving ale to everyone in the pub, she started to think back to the night before, specifically to that man. Now she was stood in the awkward comfort of the Drowned Maid, Yasmin realised exactly what made him so creepy; he was so pale he was also translucent, even in the early morning’s light, when everything had that pinkish glow. Worse, it was the same sort of pallor the pub lights gave the Midnight Lot, but it felt more real, if that made sense. She automatically looked at the faces dotted around the pub, only to come to a more unsettling revelation; nobody looked like that under those same lights. Their faces looked flushed or pale in the normal sense, not that mystical kind of pale she’d seen the night before in both the Midnight Lot or the graveyard guy. So what caused that look for them? Were some of them ill or tired, or something? It just made no sense to her.

Things that night were only to get stranger, though, because who walked into the Drowned Maid that very moment but the graveyard guy. He looked better now, with his cheeks looking a little fuller and his clothes almost seemed to fit him better. He also looked less angry or strange, but that strange pallor was still there, but had grown fainter and more like a glow. Graveyard guy made a double take at seeing Yasmin stood expectantly at the bar, as if he didn’t know she was here; he hadn’t followed her from the pub last night, at least. What followed next was the strangest thing of all. He walked up to the bar, took of his sunglasses, and just said “I’m so sorry”.
“I, uh, sorry?” Yasmin spluttered. This was a shock, to have a man who’d hit her on her way home at half six in the morning suddenly apologising for just that.
“I’m sorry,” he repeated, “for what happened yesterday, uh, today. I wasn’t myself.”
“Um, okay, I guess,” this was unbelievable, “it’s okay?”

Graveyard guy relaxed at that, letting his shoulders sag so that he looked like a mopey teenager rather than a grown man. Now he was stood in front of him, Yasmin realised he probably wasn’t much older than her; there was a shadow of facial hair, and he had a spot between his eyebrows that his sunglasses just managed to cover. He looked normal under that luminescent glow, and it made hating him hard.
“What’s your name?” She asked, hoping to break the ice now.
“Liam. You?”
“Nice name. Suits you.
“Thanks.” Seemingly satisfied with this much conversation, he asked for a pint of cloudy cider and sat down at a nearby table, immediately whipping out a phone from his flannel shirt’s pocket, no doubt to text someone or go on his social media. After the strangeness of last night, Yasmin was glad to see such normalcy at this pub. She could probably get used to these moments, she thought idly.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Night at the Drowned Maid // The first night shift [1]

This will be an ongoing series with infrequent updates.
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Yasmin knew she was going to be working at an odd pub, but she didn’t understand just how odd it could really be. The Drowned Maid stood awkwardly near the cliff’s edge, overlooking the sea confidently whilst straddling the thankfully-solid ground that had recently been declared safe from coastal erosion. Still, it was a weird place to choose to drink at, with it’s creaky bar stools and thick, musty curtains draped all over the place. I felt like it could have once been a fancy house, at least it could’ve 500 years ago. It served the oddballs of Pennie-upon-Sea, from the town drunks to the strangely-active goth scene. And then there were to nighttime drinkers. The Midnight Lot, Yasmin’s new manager had offhandedly called them, who trickled in after dark and stayed until just before sunrise. Yasmin had joked that they sounded like vampires after she heard about them. Oh boy.

Her first shift had been a midday one, simple enough with no trouble, and her second shift was to be the late night shift. Why the Drowned Maid bothered to stay open until 5 in the morning was beyond her; it just seemed so unnecessary. She learnt soon enough that the late shift was the busy one, however, with a couple of dozen people happy to sit in and drink until just before closing time. These were the Midnight Lot, a bunch of seemingly-random people who would meet most nights for a few drinks and joke about old times and recent happenings. They ranged from an old man with a monk’s bowl cut to a girl no older than eighteen dressed like a French fashionista. The only thing they all seemed to have in common was a sort of glow. Not like a light bulb glow or a tanned glow, but a sort of luminescence that clung to their skins. Yasmin suspected the lights did that at night, but it still felt somewhat off. Throughout her shift, the occasional head would turn to look her way, someone’s eyes would stare at her back, and she got a sense of being preyed on by the drinkers in the large group. By closing time, however, the only thing they had said to her was drink orders.

She began to reflect on the nature of the Midnight Lot whilst she wiped down the bar top with the standard-issue wet cloth. Some of them looked normal enough, if a little broody or secretive-looking, but others appeared to have plucked from different points of history, especially that one with the monk’s haircut. It made no sense to her; why would such a random group of people come here most nights? Were they a cult or something? A wiccan coven? She knew there was a coven in the area because of the fliers seen posted on the town’s community board, but they never met here - they were based in the leisure centre on early evenings, not a pub at nighttime. The cult idea seemed nonsensical too; cults were supposed to spend their time praying to unknown gods and doing other weird things, not drinking and chatting like old friends. The more Yasmin tried to explain the Midnight Lot, the more her head hurt. It just made no damn sense to her.

Resigned, she finished cleaning the bar and closed up the pub. Sleep would help, it always did when these moments of confusion took her. The walk home wasn’t the longest one, but it was one that took her past the graveyard and old church, which frankly disturbed her. The graveyard was rarely used anymore, it was that full up with centuries-old pots and crypts, and the only people who ever went there were goths, tourists, and history buffs. For a barmaid on the late shift, it was nothing short of scary, even with the first rays of the sun casting the entire place in a soft orange glow. Some of the graves were said to be from the witch hunts, something long-forgotten by the town and its coven, but the rumour was there, spread by the Pennie-upon-Sea Historical Society (who were no doubt desperate to make their home more interesting). Another rumour, more mysterious in its source, was that the ghosts of the witches would stalk the place on a full moon, forming magick circles and casting spells on anyone who disturbed them at their sorcery. It was a dumb story to Yasmin, probably made to hide a secret drug ring or something, or perhaps just the tales children made up to make their time in the town more fun. In the end, though, nobody dared to expose the truth of the graveyard, often scared off by stray dogs or loud wind. But here, after her strange shift, Yasmin began to feel like there was something wrong with the place, and it didn’t take the fresh handprints on the dusty crypt door by the edge of the graveyard to tell her that. Something was here with her now, and it was probably angry.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016


I see you, clouds,
candy floss fever dream, I see
you float above me, no cares,
no anxiety, unlike me. Cruel clouds
your softness subsides my worries,
your endearing embraces a miracle cure
such as your friend the moon, distant,
unfazed by life or the echoes of us
humans who live meaningless lives,
much as you float languidly, clouds
ceaselessly beautiful indeed.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016


Trapped, or not,
Behind glass, behind reality,
Still as stone, frozen like fine art
against a darkened backdrop,
Skeletal, corpse-like,

Surrounded, or not,
Darkness consuming, coldness embalming,
I become a jigsaw of skin
and bone, my thorax, my throat,
constrained, clogged by darkness, by glass,

Like stone I crumble,
Like glass I am smashed,
My body is seized up but
broken, in pieces,
Stuck in time, I stand

Thursday, 26 May 2016


The glory days
of arcade, girls and boys just children playing together,
are gone,
replaced by the curse of masculine toxicity
ravaging the cybernetic innocence
of pixels, of cyberspaces,

of having a good time online.

Monday, 9 May 2016


Maybe it’s just like that.
Maybe it’s just a pot of paint knocked over by a giddy dog in a squeaky clean new house, watch the paint seep through the upstairs floorboards and down the downstairs walls, watch it stain that new magnolia carpet in the lounge a brilliant yellow, bright and jolly like a sunflower on a hot summer’s day, prideful canary shade.
Maybe it’s just the dropping of a freshly-made freshly-bought ice cream, with cream slinking away from its source, leaving the cone all alone and confused. Watch the cream run away into the waiting arms of a grate, the remnants staining your new blue shoes a sickly sticky vanilla hue. Watch it stain. Watch it run.
Maybe that’s creativity.

Sunday, 13 March 2016


I saw you smile
That would have
Meant everything
To me
(I think)

Friday, 19 February 2016

Stalked by the Serpent

My day continued on as normal. I clocked out of work, went to the gym, returned home to Rich’s embrace and cooked him dinner, ate my own in front of the plasma screen TV, drank half a bottle of primitivo red and had a bath. But it was during said bath, full of bubbles and lavender scents, that it struck me. It came more like a lurking horror than a pang of realisation, the feeling that my discovery, if I could call it that, was truly horrifying. I sat comatose as shock and guilt flowed through me. I shouldn’t know. I couldn’t know. This makes me a dead man walking, it must. Anger briefly bubbled over me, then shame, then, finally, emptiness. Nothingness. In those twenty precious minutes spent in the privacy and warmth of the bath, in the relative comfort of home, I discovered what it truly meant to be broken by something.

   I left the bathroom with goosebumps and chattery teeth, as if the revelation had turned me into ice itself. Rich noticed immediately, but I couldn’t tell him. I couldn’t tell anyone. Would anyone even believe me? It had taken me some six hours to realise the gravity of what I had discovered myself, and even then I was trying madly to disbelieve it, to make it nothing but a misheard conversation or the idle daydream of a bored worker. I desperately wanted to confess this knowledge to Rich as he wrapped a blanket around me and led me to the bed, but the words were lumped together in my throat. He would talk to me and all I could do was choke out the occasional word. No. Fine. Tired. In the end, he swore to himself and announced he would ring the doctor the next day. I had to be ill, caught a chill perhaps. I gave him a weak nod, the sort of nod someone who is sick or sleepy or shocked would give. We went to sleep.

   My dreams were far from pleasant. I dreamt of faceless surgeons peeling away parts of my skin, mumbling away and pointing to something with their scalpels. At one point, feeling came to my limbs, and the agony of being dissected came to me. I screamed and tried to thrash about, but my body was held by some invisible straps. I kept screaming, letting my voice pierce the general silence of the operating theatre, until a hand came to cover my mouth. Eventually, I stopped, letting Rich’s voice wake me up from the experience. He cradled me tenderly, telling me everything would be okay, that I just had a bad dream. His caress brought me to tears, and we spent the rest of the night like that, right until the rising sun turned our room a faint orange.

   That morning Rich took me to a doctor, who claimed I had nothing more than a simple chill, told me to rest and shooed me out of his barren excuse of an office. Rich was annoyed. "Doctors nowadays," he grumbled, "nothing more than a bunch of unfeeling bastards." I made a pathetic laugh in response, but I understood the doctor's lack of sympathy. I knew I was well, at least physically; my mind felt broken, torn and bruised by that secret I should never have known. At least I got the day off. I'd called in first thing to say I was ill, and they believed me as if it were so obviously normal. They knew, they had to. Someone had told them that I knew about their dirty little secret and they were getting ready to take me away like anyone else like me, who had been at the wrong place at the wrong time. Rich spied me as I sat by the phone shaking, but brushed it off as the start of a fever or something, if his half-assed shrug was any indication.

   Later on, after Rich had gone to work at the bank, I took it upon myself to walk to the shop for some basic foodstuffs. It was comforting to feel the rain on my face. It felt like the only real thing I knew. The faces I walked past all appeared a blur to me, the only detail being the same layer of water dripping off their noses and chins as they rushed around. It was something of a blessing, being around anonymous people. I had just exited the shop when I saw the red haired man walk past. It was him, the same one who had been talking to my head manager yesterday, the one who worked on that forbidden project. He inclined his head my way and his dark brown eyes bore on me. He knew. He knew. Oh my God, he knew. I spun on my heel and began to walk down the street at an increasingly frantic pace, my breath shallow. As I approached the corner, I twisted my head to find him gone, vanished into the rain as if he was never there.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Through the Fog

   Kia knew her life would end today. The drive to the border was long and laborious, the anonymous man driving the jeep silent except for the odd grunt when he made a sharp turn or got caught in traffic. Of course, the windows were darkened both inside and out, so she could not know where her chaffeur was taking her. Kia checked her nails, dirty and broken, as the vehicle moved on; inside, her heart beat like a drum, fast and hard. Thoughts ran around her mind. Will it be firing squad? A quick bullet from behind? Or something worse? Such thoughts distracted her from the abrupt end to the journey, and it wasn’t until the door was opened that she realised her end was near. The man was different now, tall and muscular with a dark goatee as his only form of decoration. Goatee seemed hesitant about dragging her out of the jeep, and ended up pulling her by the hand instead of the usual grab at the elbow. He walked slowly, almost as if he was matching Kia’s stumble. A last act of kindness, perhaps. When the disorientation faded, she gandered the bridge looming ahead of her. A thin layer of fog made the end invisible, possibly for the better, and the guards posted at the sides of the bridge watched Kia with suspicion. She wondered which one was to be her executioner, or if they lay in wait beyond the fog. Goatee in particular eyes her up with steely eyes and a matching grimace, before looking towards the fog and leading her towards it. No, no. Leave me here. Just put me out of my misery where I stand.

   The walk across the bridge seemed to last a lifetime, giving Kia time to pray for her soul. As the fog cleared, two men could be seen walking towards them. One looked to have his arms thrust in front of him whilst the other one, the fatter one, held him by the shoulder. The closer they got, the clear it became. The thinner man was in handcuffs, the fat one in a suit, a british flag neatly pinned to his breast. What? Goatee brought her to stand face-to-face with the shackled man, who looked upon her with some sort of empathy. They spoke, half of it in Queen’s english, the rest in broken english. Next she knew, Goatee flung her towards the suited gent, and the shackled man was uncuffed and gently pushed towards Goatee, who said something to him and lead him to his side of the bridge. What just happened? She asked the suited man, and he just grumbled “exchange”. Kia was confused, still convinced she was to die. Suit turned and walked back to the side of the bridge he came from, Kia’s hand in his gloved one. Was this a trick? The closer to the other end of the bridge she got, the closer to the big Union Jack flag she got, the more paranoid she became.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016


  The house was cursed. Charlotte knew this, but nobody would listen to her. Everyone knew the story about the baby-snatcher of Putney, who would steal a child who cried in the night. Her house was one of those, where a young couple’s only child vanished on a winter’s night. The story was decades old, but she knew it was true, and worse; the baby-snatcher still lurked the streets, drawn to a window by a baby’s squeal. She’d taken all the precautions, of course. The window of Beau’s room was always locked at night, the thick blackout curtains drawn tight and the baby talker sat mere inches from his tiny form within the tall shielded crib. He was safe, she knew it. Better yet, he rarely cried at night. He was eight months now, old enough to sleep most of the night, and when he woke he would move around instead, always turning his body and trying to put his foot in his mouth. She loved him so dearly he knew how to get her attention, and had outgrown crying in the dark by the sixth month.

  It was midwinter now, and the night stretched on for what felt like forever. The oversized plastic clock said nine, but Charlotte was too busy watching her dramas and sipping her overly-sweet tea to care about the time. The baby talker stood proudly by her mug, it’s silence making her feel completely at ease. From behind the striped cream and beige curtains, the wind howled like a rabid wolf, and snow was no doubt forcing itself on the cracked pavement outside her home. Frankly, she didn’t care. She was warm and snug at home, with her child sleeping peacefully upstairs and the TV playing exactly what she wanted to watch.

  The peace was disturbed by the baby talker. Behind the layer of static, Beau’s little cry could be heard, a single, high-pitched sound that forced her out of her reverie. Immediately, Charlotte was up and making her way to his room. She didn’t bother turning on the light in the hallway, so everything appeared dark and tinted blue. From beyond the large wall mirror, a ghost stared back at her, and followed her up the stairs. Each step creaked quietly, the fourth step being louder than the others however, and she was forced to grope her way up for fear of falling. Towards the top of the stairs was a tall window, covered only by a vintage lace blind, which cast strange designs into the simple walls, both intricate and disturbingly vague. It was colder up here, despite the heating being on as high as she could afford. She shivered. The TV became quieter with each step, until it was nothing more than a faint buzz, like a wasp flying behind her. Above her was only the quiet and the dark. She gave the space behind her a glance and saw only a void, quickly becoming deeper, darker and more silent the closer she came to Beau’s room.

  Charlotte paused at the threshold of her baby’s room. The silence seemed to extend to there as well. She wondered if he had fallen back asleep, having had a bad dream or a bit of a cough. She was taking no chances. She pushed the door open, letting it creak open slowly, and entered the room, where an eerie sense of stillness hung. Watching over the crib was a doll, quite lifelike in appearance but ultimately frozen in place; a stray shadow was cast over it, giving the little boy doll a sinister look with its face painted to look like anger instead of its usual blank expression. The mobile, normally of cute dinosaurs, looked more similar to the hounds of hell and black cats stood proudly above the ghostly crib. The room smelled no different, with talcum powder and violet still dominating the air, but the surrealness of the nursery turned those scents into something stranger. At this point, the only light came from the hallway window’s blue glow, making almost everything invisible to Charlotte. But she persisted.

  She approached the crib slowly, the stillness of it all making the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end and her causing her breath to become hitched. It was too quiet. She quickly felt for the music box on the chest of drawers, desperate for sound, and soon the therapeutic melody of a lullabye began. She had just put it down and turned away from it when it slowed down and stopped, as if it had been forced to a stop, but she did not return to rewind it. Everything felt wrong, and she knew it. Fear came to her, like an unwelcome demon, it’s talons reaching for her and its fangs bared. Charlotte inhaled deeply. She came up to the crib and peeled back the layer of powder blue lace canopy that covered it, her hand trembling.

  Somewhere in the snow-covered town, a scream rang through the streets.