Speed-Meat

Bumbling sedate-like, a year on, rotters are no different to the local junkies. Except, the rotter isn’t coming at you with its drooping face, skin pulling down at the darkened cavernous eye-sockets, hanging loose off the jawbone, slurring; “Any spare change pal?”

They’re still using that old line, except by change they mean anything that can be offered to dealers in exchange.

I prefer the real dead-walking — even they won’t touch a junkie for their fix. Shame, maybe that’d help us all; thin the heard. Though, I’m not prepared for the sight of the dead on something like speed-meat.

This drabble was first published by Reanimated Writers Press in their anthology 100 Word Bigger Zombie Bites.

The Stranger By G G Flavell

As she slowly opened her eyes, a wailing from across the dark, candlelit hall instantly reminded her of the waking nightmare. Strands of hair were embedded into her forehead and swept across her face accentuating her pale, gaunt jawline. Her eyes rolled around in fits of agony and curiosity to see what had changed, if anything, in her death chamber. The dank smell of death hung heavy in the air. It was difficult to differentiate the floor and the ceiling, the walls and the windows. It was a wooden room, almost a box, containing her contagion, awaiting the final, tighter wooden box.

The light and colourful rooms from her family estate seemed like the memories of someone else now. The songs played by her sister, Elizabeth, on the family piano, which would fill every room in the house with joy and life, swirled around her head like a wasp. The last memory she had was of her father’s face as he closed the carriage door. He had paid the doctor to bring her to London to die. There was no hope for her now. Not since the blisters emerged. He couldn’t risk infecting the rest of the family. So, his youngest and dearest daughter Emmanuelle was sent to die, alone and in agony.

Upon arriving in London, she felt what it must be like for a corpse. She was tossed about, covered up and talked about as if she weren’t there. Occasionally, a kind nurse would try to comfort her, stroking her hand and dabbing her forehead. The doctors were never kind. Poking, prodding, retching and writhing. They were equal parts fascinated and repulsed by her.

“Money can’t save you from the plague,” they would often say.

She fell in and out of consciousness so often that the living and the dream worlds sometimes merged. The fever had played wicked tricks on her. She saw herself riding back home on her beloved horse, Daisy. Naked and radiant, she galloped through the fields of Hampshire where her family awaited her arrival, dancing in jubilation. More oft than not she was floating above her own corpse, wrapped in white linen, stained by the still seeping wounds from the blisters. Her family hadn’t come to say a final farewell, she was there, dead, cold, alone and insignificant for eternity.

But sometimes, her fever brought a strange gentleman to her bedside. He had long, thick black hair that was always neatly held back and under his top hat. His eyes were grey, like when the sun bursts through a rain cloud. He had a funny moustache and an exotic accent.

“And you say she is from aristocracy?” he would ask the nurses.

Always grinning from their affirmative answers.

Of late, he was visiting her at least once a week. On this particular night, Emma had been very lucid, lucid enough to realise he had no face mask, no covering at all to protect himself. She reached up to stroke his face, for reassurance that he was indeed there. But she passed out from exertion before she could feel anything.

The nurses started wrapping her feet and legs. A sign the blisters were getting out of control. Water was the last thing her body could ingest. It seemed hopeless. It had always been so, but Emma hadn’t quite accepted it until now.

The farmer across the room from her had succumbed just an hour before. He could only have been 17. Strong like an ox, with hands like shovels and voice deeper than a well. He looked like a man of 80 as they carted his body to the mass grave.

Emma felt as though she were crying, but the sweat rendered her senses of touch useless. She no longer knew if it was night or day. It seemed a shadow had filtered her eyes; making it so that only the candle from a nurse’s hands permitted her to see so far as in front of her face.

Tonight, that candleholder was, in fact, her stranger. A Count, from what she had heard the nurses say about him after he left.

“My dear sweet Emma, a beauty such as yourself cannot be left to die here, I beg of you, let me take you to my estate, where you shall have the best of care until you are brought back to life.”

This fever truly was the devil — encouraging hope hours before her last breath. But suddenly, it slipped and lost its grasp of her. She felt a cool facecloth on her forehead as she opened her eyes. Something the fever forbid her to feel since she was first bedridden in her family home.

A fire was roaring on the other side of this grand bed-chamber. A doctor gently lifted off the cloth, rinsed it in ice-cold water and dabbed her face again. He turned to talk to someone in the corner of the room. She couldn’t make out who, but it was an unusually tall shadowy figure with piercing white eyes.

“It has broken, sir” the doctor exclaimed, “the infection is rapidly regressing, and I believe in a matter of moments she will be clear. As we both know with the last patient, this may not last long.”

The shadowy figure spoke solemnly, “you can go.”

Emma was exuberant — pinching herself to ensure this wasn’t the last, most deceitful trick of the fever yet. Rubbing her arm as she sat up in the huge bed. She remembered suddenly that the shadow was still in the room as the doctor closed the door.

The white, unblinking eyes started coming towards her. The shadow began to take form as the fire cast its light upon it. A naked male body moved toward the bed as if floating. His skin pale as snow and crooked in ways she had never seen. But he looked so powerful.

Emma froze when she saw his face. It was her stranger. His thick black hair now let loose around his shoulders. His eyes would not stop staring into hers. As he got closer, his skin was almost transparent, it was truly revolting, yet it continued to come closer.

She had wanted to say thank you. Thank you for saving her life, but she no longer felt saved. She felt…hunted. The stranger lifted his arms out as he neared the bed. Emma tried to move, but before she could blink, his teeth sunk into her throat. Drinking her in. Her virginal, thick youthful blood soaked her hair, and his, as he made noises that would haunt her soul into the abyss.

© G G Flavell 2020

About the Author:

G G Flavell is a new author based in Scotland. Inspired by the worlds created by JRR Tolkien (with the tattoo to prove it,) George RR Martin and Charlaine Harris to name just a few. He also enjoys reading philosophical works, with Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus among some of his favourites.
Unsurprisingly, his writing leans towards fantasy and dark fantasy genres. He lets his imagination take him places the real world can’t.
When he’s not writing, reading or daydreaming, he is most liking to be found cuddling the life out of his French Bulldog Romy. Yes, like Romy and Michelle.

He writes with fun in mind, with passion and with wine.

https://www.instagram.com/wandering_avthor/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/G-G-Flavell/

NaNoWriMo November 2020

November is National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. I’ve decided to participate this year for the first time. I reckon that this would be a rewarding challenge to jump into.
Being somewhat of a panster when it comes to writing, I am going to try blend that with a little structure and daily (nightly) target over the 30 nights. The push is very much needed! I am only at the very early (late by the schedule) planning stages. It’s decision time as to whether to use this exercise to really bite into one of my two parked WIPs, or whether to start something entirely from scratch. Either way, the aim is to plan to reach a goal of 50k words as a completed first draft in those 30 nights. No editing – this in itself will be a personal challenge, as I am a constant (probably obsessive) editor when writing.

So, with that 50k target, that gives a daily goal of 1,667 words. This is undoubtedly a mammoth task considering other life commitments to work around and for a loose gardener like myself.
But, it’ll be an epic achievement to end this crazy year on for those who participate. Decisions will be made, planning is underway, and come November 1st I’m on it!

Are you? Sign up over at https://nanowrimo.org/ to access support material for your novel writing month!

Insignia Stories — Horror Matsuri

October is a bustling month on the calendar with an abundance of projects for artists and writers to get involved in (though we do tend to have those wheels well in motion long in advance.) I have learned this very quickly this year actively subbing.
I wanted to highlight some cool, free short fiction that Insignia Stories will be featuring, as well as hosting a Blog Tour of other writers throughout October! All features are Asian inspired work from drabbles, poetry, flash and short fiction.
One for writers and readers to check out! Information on how to get involved in the tour, as well as the publishing schedule, can be found over on Insignia Stories; https://insigniastories.com/horror-matsuri-2020/
I am delighted to be sharing some work as part of this tour on 17th October, with my dark fantasy piece, ‘Goddess in Motion,’ inspired by Javanese mythology.

You don’t have to wait until October though! There is plenty of free fiction published already, not to mention this month’s imminent release of South-East Asian Fantasy Drabbles publishing on 24th September! Link for that on my ‘Books’ tab.

Reading, Writing and Subbing 2020

A little update since the sands are sure as hell quickening, if not entirely running away.

Reading this year has been pretty diverse, with an unintentional heavy focus on horror — of all flavours. I’ve also developed a taste for bizzaro horror, I’ve come across a few authors who have tickled me – a new (non) guilty pleasure for sure. If it’s gonna simultaneously grose me out and make me laugh my ass off, it’s a thumbs up!
Outwith proofreading, editing support and competition reading my ‘just for fun’ list, in no particular order, have included:


Richard Laymon – The Beast House Chronicles
Edward Lee – City Infernal (Series)
Kevin J. Kennedy – The Horror Collection (Anthology Series)
Jethro Punter – The Daydreamer Chronicles
Eleanor Merry – Dead Aware (Series)
RJ Roles – Girl’s Best Friend (Tangled Web Series)
Steve Stred – Ritual (Father of Lies Trilogy)
Matt Shaw – Deep Rooted Fetish (Short)
Duncan Ralston – In Every Dark Corner (Shorts Collection)
Darren Tarditi – Neigfrid (Novella)
Natasha Mostert – The Midnight Side (Novel)
Laurel K Hamilton – Anita Blake (Series)
K Trap Jones – Welcome to the Splatter Club (Anthology)
Ernest Cline – Ready Player One
Ernest Cline – Armada
Christine Morgan – Lakehouse Infernal
Insignia Stories – Japanese Fantasy Drabbles
Liian Varus – Is Stranged
John Black – Growlers
Iron Faerie Publishing – Hawthorn & Ash (Anthology Series)
Iron Faerie Publishing – The Best of Iron Faerie Publishing 2019
Andrew Lennon – Life to Waste
Tim Lebbon – Eden
Saemund Sigfussion, Snorri Sturluson – The Poetic Edda & The Prose Edda

Writing wise, as per my previous posts, I’ve been subbing work out this year. When it comes to responding to open-calls and invites it can be a bit like having free time (which I never do) and swanning into a well stocked library – it’s easy to get lost and devoured by the stacks! Or, maybe a more precise analogy is the old ‘kid in a sweet shop!’

The submission opportunities out there are plentiful and you can’t write or, indeed, get accepted into them all.

I’ve naturally had a preference for small press/indie publishers. Responding to these opportunities is rather nice as it takes the work out of the book building/formatting side – which is an immense amount of work on the publishing side. I massively appreciate the work that goes on behind the scenes of a quality publication and am truly grateful to a part of each one who’ve warmly accepted my (often) warped little terrors into their fold.

Designing stories with specific open calls as a target has helped reign in the ideas by having a set genre or word count to meet. It’s been beneficial as I oftentimes overwhelm myself with too many ideas that get scattered around as notes and poetry that may evolve, or not. Needless to say, responding to some of the opportunities has put my other WIPs on pause, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it gives those stories and characters more time to prove and maybe keeps the demon, Writers’ Block, at bay.

Some of my published (and to be published work) can be found within the catalogue of the below Publishers:

KJK Publishing: http://www.kevinjkennedy.co.uk/
The Macabre Ladies: https://macabreladies.wixsite.com/website
Books of Horror: https://www.facebook.com/groups/526308964218819
Insignia Stories: https://insigniastories.com/
Iron Faerie Publishing: https://ironfaeriepublishing.com/
Sirens Call Publications: http://www.sirenscallpublications.com/
The Reanimated Writers: https://www.reanimatedwriters.com/

Those currently available are updated on my ‘Books’ page and links for those to come will make an appearance in due course. The below two titles are releasing in September 15th (Dark Celebration) and September 28th (Southeast Asian Fantasy Drabbles.) I am grateful to have two pieces in each alongside a TOC of talented international writers. Both anthologies are available to preorder now from Amazon, worldwide.

Painting

In a bid to quieten the noise of my ever clattering mind of dammed mayhem – which has peeked somewhat during the catastrophic year of 2020 – I’ve been painting. It feels like so much is just teetering on the edge of absolute disaster this year. I’ve started sketching and painting a little again to try help with the old back to basics breathing and slow down the hammering of heart. Playing with colour that’s slightly less messy than words. Find a smoother rhythm. Artistically this is not something I’ve done much of in years – with the littles I’m more the manager of arts.

I like the economic and environmental benefits of print on demand products compared with mass production so, beyond books, I’m giving this a whirl by sharing some Art Prints and a few other products over at Society6.

My profile is in its infancy so will grow. There are prints, notebooks and a few other items there featuring some of my artwork – continuing the Indie creative life venture! Please check it out, and if you like buy something that has unique Indie artwork printed especially to fulfil your order and give it a share – Thank you.

Natasha

https://society6.com/clanwitch

Upgaze Moon Rabbit
Moon Rabbit
Comet Stone, View towards Ring of Brodgar, Orkney
Comet Stone, View towards Loch Stenness, Orkney

Frozen Slack Still

A daughter held him, frozen.
Imitation of new dead still; only air flowing through functioning lungs.
Numb dumb in thought, inaction.
Painfilled love for this new grieving orphan.
The fallen favourite of a Mothers beloved brood.
There would be none of us had she not been; none of his Fatherhood.
A tangled barbed root from which we each came.
Some blessing amongst much insane.
Now there she lay, dead in a bed; frozen slack still.
An empty shell; once wishing well.
Dead in a bed, not even her own.
Eyes pouring in great damming floods; others uncomfortably dry as desert bone.
Through strangers’ hands she passes, between arctic fridges of steel.
Upon the final spin of the great Mothers wheel; scions on the side-lines awaiting the final reveal.
Embalmed, freshly robed in white; encased as a doll in her satin lined box.
A gift to the soil never to spoil.

© Natasha Sinclair

The Macabre Ladies – Drabbles of Dread

Upcoming release from the Devilishly Devine ‘Macabre Ladies’ is their Anthology ‘Drabbles of Dread.’

As listed in my Books page, it is live for Pre-order from Amazon now, for release on the 15th July 2020!

This will be the 4th Anthology from the talented duo – Eleanor Merry and Cassandra Angler, and I’m excited to be a contributing author in 3 of these; Dark Valentine, Dark Solstice and this upcoming Drabbles of Dread. From all accounts this one promises to be the Darkest yet! So, if you enjoy dark micro horror check out this collection (and their back catalogue!)

If you’re a writer and have a dark drabble you’re itching to share with the world, then submissions are still open for a few more days – check out their website or Facebook for details on how to submit!

https://macabreladies.wixsite.com/website

New Release!!

Concoction V2 is set for release, worldwide, on 17th January 2020!

I am really excited to get this collection of 12 short stories out there. The collection is diverse as each of the three writers take such a different approach to writing a piece. This is a cross-genre collection, which does make it a difficult one to market but I didn’t want to restrict the writers to come at a story to fit a confined space in this case – hence the Concoction Anthologies.

Available for pre-order now! Please check it out.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/997993

eBook link for Amazon UK. Also available to pre-order from Amazon.com etc

New Free Short Story

Sharing with you a new short, free, here on my site!

Check out ‘Unicorn’ via the new ‘Short Stories’ menu. Enjoy!

https://clanwitch.home.blog/short-stories/unicorn/