Out Now: Death Rattle – a Flash Fiction

My flash fiction story Death Rattle is featured in the just-released The Brighton Prize 2017!

Last year I wrote and entered a flash-fiction story to Rattle Tales, a Brighton-based writing collective, for an evening of readings they were hosting.  My story, Death Rattle, was selected! And I got to read it live in Brighton to an audience of rattle-waving writing enthusiasts.

It was a great night. It was wonderful to see how other writers performed the stories they had written, and the audience questions that followed each story were often illuminating.  It’s notoriously difficult for writers to take their craft to the stage, and I was excited by the opportunity.  Sadly, the 2018 Rattle Tales night falls a little close to my wedding day, so I’ve refrained from submitting to it!

I wrote Death Rattle to be read out loud and tried to emphasise sound throughout the story.  I also tried to avoid certain tongue-twisting combinations of words that I might struggle with on the night!  I’m really proud of the finished tale. I think for such a short piece of writing it tells a much larger story than it first appears.

I’d love for you to check out the The Brighton Prize anthology; not only to read my submission but also check out the stories from the writers I shared a stage with last June as well as the acclaimed tales that were selected The Brighton Prize – the short story competition run by Rattle Tales. And if you liked Death Rattle, why not try some of my other writings?

Happy reading!

Remembrance Day: A Poem

I wrote this Remembrance Day poem in the days following Remembrance Sunday, which this year fell on 12th November. I had spent the weekend in Edinburgh for a friend’s wedding, and before the ceremony my own fiance and I took the opportunity to explore the city.

It struck me that remembrance is taken more seriously by some than others.

A little different to my usual style, but different subjects require different approaches.

(Reading this back in 2020, I can see parts of this I might tweak or change. I write a lot more poetry now, both metered and free verse, but I like reading this as it shows how I went about exploring my opinions with the techniques I knew at the time.)

I hope you enjoy this Remembrance Day poem.

Remembrance Day

November morning, near one hundred years since it all fell quiet

The city centre occupied by tourists, shoppers, poppy-wearers

Cold air invades hats, scarves, coats.

Shops offer warmth from overhead heaters. The threat of Christmas is tangible now.

The department store speakers make their announcement close to the hour

Shoppers, entrenched in aisles, finger handbags, gift sets. Buyers shuffle in the queue.

The radio switches to the BBC. A presenter speaks the Queen’s English

As the bells begin to chime.

Silence falls.

Hats are removed and held like prayers. Eyes cast to the floor.

Somewhere, a phone dings, apologetic. Then quiet. Somewhere else, the rustle of clothes hangers. Voices outside raise and fall as their owners pass the door.

After a minute (and with a minute still to go), the checkout bleeps again, bleeps again, like radar.

Then the radio resumes its crackling Queen’s. Shoppers reprise their plans for the season.

The silence is observed. The remembrance is forgotten.

Depths: A Short Story

I wrote this short story a few years back and, after reading a fair bit of H. P. Lovecraft’s work this week, realised there was a fair bit in common between the two. After digging the tale out, I polished it up and tweaked it in keeping with my current style. There’s a definite metaphor at work in it; I’d love to know if anyone else interprets the story in the way I do.

Depths
It had been three days since Joshua had left the port.
He was alone but for the vessel he was steering through the ocean. As he had left the land behind he had seen the blurred outline of cliffs wane slowly in his vision, and heard the cries of gulls and sea birds grow less frequent and excited. On the first day of his journey he had seen new smudges of land to the north and some to the south. He was heading west. Explore further…

One Night In England (A Short Ghost Story)

This October, my girlfriend and I challenged one another to write a short ghost story for Halloween. I began to write mine based on an idea I’d had a few months prior, but my imagination took the story and crammed it full of even more ideas, and I decided it was too long for our Halloween competition. The full tale is still a work in progress but it has a convenient prologue, which I post here under the title One Night in England (A Fragment).

The story begins in…

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