Monday, 31 December 2012

Dark Fiction - Resolution

Dark Fiction Image


By Casey Douglass

The bulging net bounced along angrily behind him as he stomped along the cobbles; low guttural snarls and murmurings punctuating the thuds. He blew the air from his lungs and heaved his burden up the stark stone steps, the hard grey surface twinkling with late evening frost.
‘Careful!’ a grating voice slinked through the holes in the net. ‘You might slip and break your neck!’ The thing laughed like a chain-smoker, rasping and struggling for air.
The net was dragged into an open courtyard area, the stars of the night sky gazing down on the tableau. The tall figure let go of the ropes and left the quivering net, his quiet footsteps walking around and around.
‘Let me out Gillespie! You don’t want to do this!’
‘Do I not?’ Gillespie walked up to the net and crouched down, his dark coat tales fanning out behind him.
‘No! I can make a deal, there’s no reason why we can’t be friends!’ A splotchy hand pushed its way through the rope fibers, its long black talons greasy with dark liquid.
‘What did you have in mind?’
Gillespie watched as the skin on the hand rippled and shifted, the talons retracting, the skin turning a more healthy colour. A dainty hand waved at him, red nail polish and a scent of perfume completing the change.
‘How about it?’ a husky female voice said, the sound caressing his ears, the tone promising unthought of pleasures.
‘Put it away before I cut it off. You lot are always the same.’
The hand shot back into the darkness of the net with a booming snarl. ‘Should it have been a man’s hand?’
Gillespie stood slowly and stretched his arms over his head, his back arching. The first fireworks of the evening were bursting into the sky already. He walked to the parapet, making sure to tread on the net as he passed over. An angry yelp brought a slight lift to the sides of his mouth. This was a good place, the lad had done well. He placed his hands on the frigid stone and looked down across the city, the castle wall below him illuminated in the shifting colours of numerous spotlights. Cheers and laughter floated up on the night breeze, the chill air losing its battle to keep people inside. New Years eve. It was always the same up here. He wasn’t one for celebrating, but it was certainly useful.
Gillespie turned and eyed the large rocket on its launch station. It was the height of a man and deep red with a cone shaped top. He smirked; it looked just like something Wylie coyote would strap himself to when chasing the road runner. He made a note to ask his assistant where he had procured it. He hoped to himself that for his sake, it wasn’t A.C.M.E.
He ran a hand over his grey stubble, the lines on his face nestling against his fingers as they traced their way up to his brow and, as usual, to run along the still angry looking scar. It was an occupational hazard.
He produced his pocket watch and flipped it open. Snapping it shut angrily he strode over to the now motionless net. He stooped and wrenched it up and over his shoulder.
‘Wait! Wait!’ his captive cried.
He moved to the large rocket and pinned his struggling charge to it with his hand, the other feeling for the dangling ropes and coiling them around and around. A warm stench blowing into his face caused his eyes to prickle; it was rank and smelled charnal. With a satisfied grunt he knotted the ropes securely and stood back, his breath coming in small gasps.
‘You are ill Gillespie! How about I heal you?’
‘I’m not ill. It’s just your foul breath.’
‘No, its not. I can hear your breathing. You have something brewing in there Gillespie, something nasty.’
‘We all have our time.’
‘Hogwash! You take what you can get, allotted or not!’
‘Like you?’
‘Yes like me! I got into the sanctum and lifted the hourglass, and see what I have achieved!’
‘Yes but your time is up.’
A firework fizzed up from the darkness below, sputtering out in the sky with a small flower of white sparks.
‘It doesn’t have to be.’
‘Oh it does.’
‘Why? Because you say so?’
‘Because you broke the rules.’
‘Rules! Rules are created by the people in charge so that they are the only ones allowed to break them.’
‘Maybe. Maybe not. It has taken many days to put right your dabbling. Thankfully most people will never know how close the world came to it.’
‘To what? Empowerment? Justice? You think this will get you into Heaven?’
‘Won’t “He” reward you?’
‘Yes “He” will. You just have the wrong “He.”’
‘No never!’
‘Yes. All I needed was your admission of guilt Larnax,’ Gillespie’s voice was deeper and stronger now, his breathing deepening and slowing to an unearthly degree.
‘Checks and balances.’
‘That’s all?’
A clock in the distance began to chime the first stroke of midnight. A cacophony of cheers and fireworks burst into the night air, the odd stray note of music accompanying it.
‘That’s all.’
Gillespie raised a finger and flicked it towards the short fuse. It sputtered into life, showering the ground with hot yellow sparks. The net began to struggle and writhe as the line of fuse fell away, the rocket rumbling and vibrating. Seconds passed and it looked like it would not lift, but finally with a shuddering whistle it rose, the high pitched noise masking the screaming of the thing tied to it. It shot up into the sky, the air left in its wake hot and shimmering and smelling of gunpowder. Other fireworks bloomed around it like electric fountains as it reached its apex and exploded with a rumbling boom. A sickly green miasma seeped into the sky like a pestilent cloud, the reflected light of the explosion reflecting from its particles like tiny crystalline pebbles.
Gillespie stood and watched as the night winds began to disperse it, pulling his high collar up around his ears. It was always too cold up here. He listened to the sound of running feet in the courtyard below and squeaky iron gates being opened and clattering closed again. The footfalls grew nearer, on the frosty steps now. A gaggle of revellers rushed onto the open courtyard, staring around them, their faces falling as they struggled to find anything worth looking at. The courtyard was empty. No rocket stand, no footprints and no Gillespie.

The End

Contact Me


Happy New year to everyone. Hope it brings you everything you are hoping for. 

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Dark Fiction - Naughty

Dark Fiction Image


By Casey Douglass

for #fridayflash

The kosh fizzed through the air, the speed making it look like it was made of rubber. The white haired skull met it with a small crack, like a child poking a finger into a Kinder egg. The sturdy body teetered for a moment before falling forward, the whiskered face welcoming the hard wooden floor with a crimson kiss.
‘No no no! You idiot Mike!’
‘What? You made the signal to brain ’im John!’
‘That wasn’t the signal. I did the signal to edge away!’
‘Bollocks! I know what I saw!’
The two balacalvered figures stared at each other; their eyes shining in the weak firelight. The one nearest the body nudged it with his toe.
‘I think he’s dead.’
‘Oh shit! That’s all we need.’
‘Fill up ya bag and lets go!’
‘We can’t leave him.’
‘’Course we can! What else we goin’ to do? Wait for the old bill? Screw that!’
The larger man turned away and brandished his bin bag. With surprising speed he stripped the mantel piece, the area under the tree and the biscuits on the plate nearby. He turned to the other who stood motionless looking down at the body.
‘Move!’ he shouted.
Flinching, John produced his own bag and made a show of scouring the room for any valuables.
‘Forget upstairs! No point chancin’ our luck here too long!’
The John nodded and continued his searching.
‘Right I’m full! You?’
‘I got some stuff.’
‘Good, lets go!’
‘Where’s he gone?’ the voice quivered.
‘The body.’
Mike turned and looked down at the floor; at the space that should have been occupied by the old man. There was nothing, not even the sticky pool of blood remained. He looked at his partner and shrugged. John’s eyes began to bulge and he pointed. Mike thumbed his kosh and began to turn.

Before he had twisted even partly around, a great darkness enveloped him, a rustling hot silence that pressed into his body in odd ways. He screamed but the blackness snatched his words away as if he was shouting into an abyss. Pricks and prods jabbed into him, piercing his skin. Blood tricked down from a deep gash in his forehead and made his eye sting. He yelled for help, for mercy, but everything seemed to close in around him, the space compressing him into an unnatural position. With a series of loud clicks, he succumbed to the pain, the last noise he heard was a high squeaky voice that said, “I love you!”

John watched the fur lined boot lift slowly from the red velvet sack, a sickening squelching noise slithering into his ears. He looked up the red trousered leg, past the black belt which struggled to contain the large girth of the belly, up past the golden buckles and into the red capilaried sneer that filtered through the white beard, the eyes sparkling like gimlets. John’s lip trembled.
‘Now then!’ boomed the man. ‘Who has been a naughty boy!’
John fell to his knees, tears running down his cheeks. ‘Me,’ he said meekly.
‘And what do you think I should do about it?’ Footsteps thudded nearer, the floor almost buckling.
‘I’m sorry! It wasn’t me! I told him not to. I know it’s wrong to do what we do but I never hit noone.’
‘Hmmm, Santa sees the truth in what you say. You have been very naughty though. One of the houses you robbed last year? There was a little girl who woke up and found that all of her presents were gone.’
‘I’m sorry, really I am!’
‘Her father killed himself two weeks later!’
‘Yes, oh! This year she wrote me a letter asking me to catch the bastards that did it. Her words too! You see what you have done?’
‘Yes! I see I see!’
‘Very well then, you will perform a community service rather than a disservice for once.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘You will come with me and I will put you to work in my workshop, to right the wrongs and make amends for your misdeeds. I think...a hundred years should suffice.’
John’s head lolled forward as he tried to suppress a sob. ‘Thank you.’
‘Oh it won’t be a walk in the park, far from it. The work is hard and fiddly, have you ever tried to make an iPad?’
‘You will learn. Although I should warn you, the elves are...shall we say, a bit randy. I have to regularly let them sate their desires or they begin to produce strangely shaped toys. Most unsuitable for children. Your task will be to ease the pressure, so to speak.’
John looked up and pulled his balaclava off. His face was ghostly white and tear streaked. ‘Female?’ he asked quickly.
The figure looked down at him and smiled. ‘Not on the production line.’
John leapt up and sprang for the window. With a swoosh his world fell into darkness. Moments later he felt like he was flying and felt terribly cold. He trembled amongst the toys and games, cursing the choices he had made and the life he had led. For a brief moment, a spark of defiance arose in him as he psyched himself up. He would show them that they must fear him. Yes! That would make things much easier! The thought soon slipped away into the dark mire of fear however. He cried quietly, when he realised that his finger had poked into something wet and sticky, and vaguely spherical. It definitely wasn’t a Kinder egg.

The End

Contact Me

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Dark Review - The Ninth Gate

Dark Review Image

The Ninth Gate Review

By Casey Douglass

The Ninth Gate stars Johnny Depp in the role of rare book dealer Dean Corso, who is commissioned by wealthy book collector Boris Balkan (Frank Langella) to track down two books, presumed identical to the one he has recently purchased, "The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows." There is some concern that only one of them is the genuine article, and Mr. Balkan is very anxious to make sure that his is the legitimate one. Balkan charges Corso with the task of investigating this state of affairs, and when Corso has second thoughts, Balkan plays hard-ball.

At this point, the story unfolds, with strange happenings and ruthless murders as people associated with the books are "silenced" by two seemingly warring agencies, and Corso is trapped right in the middle. It is the classic "back-stabbing" type film which encourages the audience to wonder who will turn on who next. This lends the film the aspect of a long riddle at times, but it isn't in the least bit tedious. It is more like a teasing wordsearch that you cannot help but keep coming back to.

The threads of duplicity and satanic influence meandering through the film grow in intensity as it progresses, all quite masterfully shot and directed by Roman Polanski. There is a scene about half way through, where a car almost runs over Corso on a quiet country lane. It misses and the driver gets out and slowly approaches the stricken man. A motorbike roars up and stops a short distance back. The driver turns on his heel and races off, the motorbike following shortly after the car has vanished from view. A simple scene but the combination of the music and the expression on Depp's face elevated it to a highly tense one, but over in less than thirty seconds. There are similarly powerful scenes scattered liberally throughout the film. Another is a walk along a deserted Spanish street. Shadow half covers the narrow alleyway surrounded by sandy sun-bleached buildings. Nothing is happening, but it has an oppresive quality that really makes you feel on edge, and that seems to be a rare thing in many dark movies these days.

I am impressed with Johnny Depp in this film. I am not one of his greatest fans, but I do recognise his acting ability. He plays the grey morality of Corso very convincingly, and even though he is roguish and unbelieving, the conflicts that arise in his nature as the film progress just seem "correct" as far as anything like that can be. He certainly isn't a loveable character, but by the end of the film you might feel a little more affectionate towards him.

Films with this kind of subject matter always appeal to me, having quite a liking for H.P Lovecraft's fascination with the placing of mythical old tomes of forbidden knowledge, like the fabled Necronomicon and Brian Lumley's Cthäat Aquadingen to name but two. The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows is another that seems to fill this role perfectly, and I think it would be very fitting if it was seen on the shelves of some infernal library, in the company of these other prodigious tomes.

Rating : 5/5

Friday, 30 November 2012


Dark Pondering Image
I don't know why but somehow, the fact that Stieg Larsson was dead managed to totally pass me by.

I came to know him how I'd imagine a lot of people did, with his Girl with a Dragon Tattoo series of books, especially when the films came out and his books were pride of place everywhere, from Waterstones to the Amazon Kindle store.

On looking into it further, it seems he died before the first of his books was even published. I find it incredibly sad that he didn't live to see the success that his books would bring, not to mention the big screen adaptations.

In a way, I find it incredible that I could sit through all of the media hype at the time and still not know that he wasn't around to enjoy it/hate it, depending on his nature. I wonder how many other people are still going around in ignorance? I could be the only one who didn't know. A damn shame.

Here's to you Stieg.

Thursday, 8 November 2012


If two magpies and a pigeon are on your bird table pecking at seed, what does it mean? Oh wait there are four magpies now and one skittish looking pigeon. The pigeon is still eating though, he’s got balls. If it is a he. Five magpies now, but still the pigeon eats. I think I am looking at a power struggle that was decided five minutes before I started watching. You might think I am bored, I really am not. I can just see what’s going on from where I am sitting and am intrigued. Now if only that bad-ass squirrel turns up, the one who keeps ramming his nuts into my neighbour's lawn, I think things might really kick off!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad follows the life of a relatively normal, meek man, who is a chemistry teacher. He finds out one day that he has cancer and that he may not live for very long. He decides to hook up with an ex student who dealt a little weed here and there, and they decide to start cooking crystal meth, so that he can build up a nestegg for his family for after he has gone. 

Bryan Cranston plays the teacher, Walter, and he is a truly brilliant actor (he was also Hal in Malcolm in the Middle, and cropped up in an xfiles episode too.) 

What I like about the show is that no matter how far they get, shit keeps happening that keeps eating into any funds they have built up. They also find that they are both capable of things that, before it all, they would never have dreamt possible. I like how it highlights the effect an awareness of their own mortality might have on someone. The fact that it’s well acted, humourous and well shot certainly add to its impact also.

Friday, 2 November 2012


I have recently finally torn open the infuriating packaging from my Californication boxset and feasted my eyes on the delights therein contained. When I got bored of that, I actually watched one of the shiny discs, and found it much more interesting. 

If follows Hank (David Duchovny), a writer who is trying to fuck his way out of writers block, while trying to reconcile with his muse and the mother of his child. It is so funny that I regret not seeing it sooner. I am now on the 2nd season and it continues to be riveting. 

What particularly impressed me was that his daughter read the Satanic Bible in school and it is referenced a bit. Whether she grows out of it or not I do not know yet but I loved to see the friction it caused with a hypocrite at the dinner table. 

I’ve read the Satanic Bible myself, it is a good read with some interesting ideas and philosophies and it makes the hysterical reaction of people who have never read it, but condemn it look so funny. I might add that I have also read books on Buddhism, Zen, Hinduism, Christianity, Quakerism etc, and find them all interesting in their own way.

A conclusion I have come to however, is that religion isn’t for me. That doesn't mean I don't believe in something but I sure as hell am not going to be giving away any power I have over my own life, to someone else and their idea of what is really behind it all, if anything. The least you can do is follow your own delusion, not someone elses.

Well, I didn't see that going the way it did, it was just going to be a quick few sentences about Californication. And they say TV dumbs things down! Speaking of which, I must do a post on Breaking Bad at some point, one of the best shows I have ever seen...

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Afternoon Dip

Just recently, the last few days in fact, it gets to about 1pm and my mind seems to want to bed down for the rest of the day. I have to rest allot, its part of my illness, but this mental shutting down has been like clockwork lately. Even if I am relatively well rested, and fancy trying to do something pretty untaxing, like a bit of reading or writing, my mind just doesn’t seem to lock on. 

A short moment ago I was looking out of my window, my mind blank, but not in that pleasant Zen type way. It was more like the silence that fills a room after someone has let rip a really loud fart and the whole restaurant has fallen silent in shock and awe, a kind of tense silence. The thought then arose that it seemed similar to what Terry Pratchett spoke about in one of his books (it eludes me which one). In it, he says that ideas are like particles, shooting through space and falling to earth, with no regard for where they land or whose mind they may enter. A truly ground breaking idea, instead of saving humanity, could just as well end up in a horses head, or even a rock. 

When I was staring through the window, I felt that I might have been close to the state of the rock, but even worse, I could act on any idea, but would I? Well I did, as here I am typing this. 

If I had a journal, today would definitely get a nice little entry, double underlined in nice big capitals. “Today I proved that I am better than a rock.” Although not at doing rock type things, I’m not that hardcore.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Dark Fiction - Not so Hollow-een

Dark Fiction Image

Not so Hollow-een

By Casey Douglass

‘So what can I do for you? It isn’t often you show your face up here.’
‘And we both know why that is don’t we?’
‘Too true.’
A large hand about twenty feet across emerged from the nebulous cloud of white light, the cuff of a sky blue sleeve swaying back and forth as the hand moved. Slowly, the light dimmed and the contours of the room began to make a faint impression.
‘Oh come on! I don’t even warrant a full manifestation? That’s very rude.’
A deep sigh rumbled from the ether as the partner hand to the first emerged. They both rose up and clapped together, a thundering explosion of noise sending the room spiralling into shards of light.
‘Take your hands away from your ears!’
‘Your hands!’
Lucifer shakily lowered his hands, his ears hissed like a thousand serpents.
‘First you almost blind me and then you deafen me!’
‘So what is it you wanted?’
‘I mean come on! Play the game!’
‘My time is precious.’
‘Oh yes, there must be others you have to torment before lunch!’
‘Are you finished?’
‘Good. Now...’
God leaned forward on a large crystal desk, the borders lined with gold and silver filigree. Lucifer smiled and wondered why God always wore his old beggar robe and visage, who was he fooling?
‘Hang on a second, my hearing is still a bit wacky.’
He moved his head from side to side, a pleasing crack popping from his neck vertebrae. He squinted, the room was still insufferably bright, the walls, ceiling and floor glaring, white and swirling with the visual manifestation of harps, laughter and love.
‘You really are a card! I bet you don’t pull all of this sickly shit for the others.’
‘Noo just you. I know how you like it. You are one to talk anyway!’
‘Maybe I just knew what you were like. You mean you don’t like how I look?’
‘You know I cannot stand Justin Bieber!’
The smirk that appeared on the face of a teenager stayed still. The face around it changed in a heartbeat. A middle aged man sat there now, his dark hair, small goatee and immaculate black suit all cementing him into the scene. He seemed more real now, more dangerous.
‘How is this? And are you going to change too?’
‘No. You are vexing me, get to it.’
‘Not even the beard? I can’t even see your mouth!’
‘I know you heard me.’
The air in the room fuzzed with potential, the particles crackling like a flame surging into rotten wood. Lucifer cleared his throat.
‘Yes you know, it is Halloween today.’
‘Yes...’ It was said in that long and drawn out way, that if it had a visual equivalent, would be like an old squeaky door being opened very slowly, the darkness beyond it inviting and repelling at the same time.
‘Well...I was about a proper one this year?’
‘You know...real?’
‘Isn’t it every year?’
‘Are you joking?’ Lucifer turns to you and winks, ‘He’s joking right?’
‘No I am not! Get to it and don’t involve “them” okay?’
Lucifer grimaces and turns away from you, his eyes locked on the big cheese once more.
‘Apologies. I was just being friendly.’
‘This is getting truly tiresome. You have sixty seconds.’
‘Okay okay...well I was thinking, how about you allow me to “open the gates” for awhile, just for the night. It will do them the world of good, a night out, and allow us to get on with some of those maintenance things that we just can’t do when it is so crowded...the infernal sewers for a start...oh the smell, it’s a bit like when something crawls-’
‘-into a small hole to die and then something else-’
A hand thumped the desk, a small vase of flowers manifesting just long enough to be launched into the air, twirl gracefully and then plummet to the floor, shattering into a thousand pieces before it vanished once more.
‘That’s a bit melodramatic isn’t it?’ Lucifer sniffed.
‘Why on earth would I agree to that stupid idea?’
‘Why on earth indeed. People are complacent. They roam the planet taking pleasure in their technology, their cars, gadgets and healthcare. Where is the fear that drove them to your doors every day? The plagues, the monsters?’
‘I am doing okay...’
‘Oh yes, and you’re very welcome for that! I am doing my job to bring out the evil in the hearts of some of them, and very nasty some of them are too! Which reminds me we should renegotiate my wage sometime but that’s neither here nor there. Where was I?
‘Opening the gates of hell?’
‘A wonderful idea! Thank you I will see to it at once...’
‘You can’t blame a chap for trying! Erm, oh yes. Imagine what a single night of terror would do for them. Your churches would be packed, especially if some malcontent let slip that it was the only place to be safe? In one night you would see such an up-swelling of belief, you could expand heaven and still have good will to spare!’
‘That all sounds very nice...but I couldn’t do it to them. I still wonder why I keep you around at all!’
The room flashed black with a subsonic rumble before slowly fading back to white once more. Lucifer leaned forward, the tips of fangs jutting over his lips slightly.
‘Forgive me, but don’t be no naïve! You know what happens when you give them what they want! They turn into morons! Need I remind you of your last attempt?’
‘No...’ The grey head shook sadly.
‘You made them that planet, gave them all the things they could ever want and what did they do? They ran around like simpletons, taking epochs to even form basic tools and language. Whereas these ones, my word! Look what they have accomplished with a little hardship and strife. You admitted to me a long time ago that you had never imagined that they would grow in strength and fortitude in such a way. You were even pleased!’
‘Yes I But I do not want them harmed, no matter how much it might be in their best interests.’
‘Well why didn’t you say so? I will enforce a strict “no harming” policy, problem solved. We will just scare the bejesus out of them...sorry.’
‘Forgiven. If anything, we need to scare the bejesus into them. What if people realize that noone is being hurt? They are very bright sometimes!’
‘No problem at all! I will get some of the denizens to adopt human form, they can be the ones that the others tear apart. Some of them quite enjoy that kind of thing. Now we are on the same page! So what do you think?’
The room fell silent, even the sickly ambience fizzling to nothing. Somewhere a sensitive soul tossed and turned, struggling with a nightmare of demons and monsters walking the streets, brow beaded with sweat, body trembling. Creation waited with baited breath, time trying to tiptoe past in an apologetic way that wouldn’t attact attention. A throat was cleared.
‘Do it.’



Happy Halloween to everyone. Even you, Justin Bieber. 

Mental GPS

I wonder what the world would be like if such a thing existed. It would certainly give the creators/controllers massive power, and would probably be subsidised with adverts, but in some situations it could be life saving. How about a jealous lover about to confront their partner, and the mental GPS chimes in with “Go home, cool down, take a bath” and then shows a projection of what might happen if they don’t? How much crime would that reduce?

One step further would be one that takes control like the computer gadgetry in certain cars that brake for you if it detects an obstacle. How many punches would it stop being thrown? How many drugs taken?

I know I know a libertarian nightmare, riddled with all kinds of situations and unique “what ifs” but interesting to ponder. If it followed the same scheme as normal GPS it would probably be sold with a year of free updates to cover “new preventative scenarios” and the deluxe model would probably include the equivalent of a traffic jam sensor, highlighting to you which sales person in a shop is in the most generous mood, or which member of the opposite sex in a bar is interested in you.

Screw the GPS, just give me the deluxe perk and I’ll be on my way.


How many times would you see the same person in a day before you started to think they were following you? Don’t worry, I am not wearing my tinfoil hat, I haven’t even made one (yet). It just happens to me sometimes, and when it does, it just has a strange feeling to it.

I suppose if you had a guilty conscience, you would think its a private detective hired by your partner, or an undercover police person. If you were religious you might think it was an angel sent to watch over you. If you were paranoid, you might think you’d come up on some list and the government are surveilling you. Ooh I’ve just thought of a great way to toy with someone. Find some identical twins and do that all day to them. If the twins look like someone creepy from a film, even better. I don’t know how hard it is to find sinister identical twins, although I did see a couple the other day, I’ll ask them tomorrow.

I think it might be good fodder for a dark tale, it could get really twisted, or all just be paranoia and self induced delusion. I think if such a thing as a mental GPS existed, it would be warning that following that road leads to madness.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Halloween is almost upon us.

Halloween. Strange word. I suppose as a horror writer I should be looking forward to Halloween but I am just a bit ‘meh’ about it all. Maybe I would be more interested if it hadn’t been bogarted into a kid friendly evening of sweets, costumes and walking around with your parents way past your bedtime. It holds no mystery for me, no allure. I am glad it exists, don’t get me wrong. It’s nice to see a festival from pre-Christian times still being celebrated, what with the shop til you drop mentality of Christmas, the drunken debauchery of New years and the chocolatey indulgence of Easter. Money money money. I know that has seeped into Halloween too but thankfully the shops don’t devote too much shelf space to ghost costumes and fake wounds. They can’t. They are too full of Christmas stuff all-fuckin’ ready!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Dark Fiction - Heavy Metal

Dark Fiction Image

Heavy Metal

By Casey Douglass

The fog deepened as he walked, the echoes of his footsteps swallowed by the milky darkness around him. He smiled to himself, it was a very fortunate occurrence, as fabricating a thick fog like this would be very draining for him. Sometimes nature just gave you a hand.
The street was empty, which was odd for this time of night in the city. High rise offices in the distance loomed like silent sentinels, blocking out the first stars of the evening with their black bulk. Small particles of moisture in the air swirled and eddied around dirty street lights, which strained to give off more light than a candle which was about to burn itself out.
He sighed heavily. He missed candles. Oh he knew they were around, but not like in the old days when entire houses were lit with them, the flickering flames dancing against the carefully sculpted décor...a much richer time for everyone, especially him.
Glancing down, he straightened his black t-shirt with its satanic pictograph, hesitated, and then messed it up a little once more. He caught sight of his ripped jeans, the heavy pewter chains clinking gently with each stride. Such vulgarity.
The sound of laughter pulled him from his quiet introspection as a group of teenagers rounded a corner ahead of him, their backs to him as they headed the same way he walked. He heard the muffled chirping of a mobile phone, the laugher coming every time it made the humorous noise.
The vein in his right arm started to throb. He wondered if it was hunger or annoyance, but he wasn’t sure. The gaggle of teens turned the next corner and began down the hill to the venue, other lone stragglers joining them from other directions as they got nearer to the main door, all converging on their place of worship, most wearing Lacuna Coil clothing. The vague thump of music reached his ears, the sound proofing doing a remarkably good job of not unsettling the locals who lived nearby. The river behind the building glistened in the reflected light that travelled from street lights to fog to water, a silvery serpent just moving through.
‘Ticket please?’
He flinched, surprised that he had reached the door with its surly guardian so quickly.
‘Of course.’ He reached into his back pocket and handed the scowling man the small slip of paper. The man tore the end and returned the main piece to him.
‘Have a good night.’
‘Thank you...and you.’ He almost smiled but dare not chance it.
Strolling inside, he found the outer foyer to be deserted, but the show had already started so he registered no surprise. Upon opening the second door, the rawkish music washed over him, the darkness married with the flashing lights above the stage dazzling and disorientating him. Everything swam around him as dark silhouettes jumped up and down, waving their arms to the music and bouncing off each other. A jolt of annoyance rose through his body, his teeth biting into his lip. He arched his back and pulled himself to his full stature, the room around him stationary and crystal clear once more.
Slowly he moved through the crowd, tracing a line around the back to where the bar was. The potential! The crowd erupted into applause as one tune ended and another seemed about to start. He ignored what was said by the noisy man on stage, tried to block out the screeching of guitars being adjusted and tested. He scanned the massed bodies, his stomach beginning to rumble.
The next song began. The music was excruciating, a mass of noise and shouting that seemed to reverberate inside his chest. His eyes fell upon a woman a few paces away, jumping up and down to the rhythm. She smelt clean and fresh, and had a hint of that earthy smell that he could never quite place, but that usually meant high quality blood.
‘You’ll do very nicely,’ he said into the ambient noise around him.
He began to move closer, teasing himself with the anticipation, his incisors pressing uncomfortably into his cheeks. He couldn’t do it here but he didn’t want to lose track of her if the crowd shifted.
A large fat man sidled into his path barring the way. He gently pressed the man's shoulder, transmitting the irresistible urge to urinate to the man’s subconscious. The man hunched over and quickly waddled away crying out as he went.
He stood right behind her now, the smell was intoxicating. He reached out about to enthral her when the voice began. He stared at the stage in awe as the dark haired female began to sing along with the music. What had seemed a cacophony of sound lacking all profundity, now sounded like honey dripping from a crystal spoon, like the sigh of a spring breeze on the fresh leaves of the season, he had ever heard before. With a jolt he realised that the woman was watching him, singing to him, her smiling eyes bewitching him. He shook his head from side to side, a feeling of sluggishness worming its way into his thoughts. The woman winked and turned away, the uncomfortable feeling vanishing as quickly as it had come.
He stood in a daze as song after song washed over him, not realizing that his original target was long gone, or that his mouth had fallen open, revealing more than he would usually have dared allow. Before he knew it, the crowd around him erupted and whooped, the members of the travelling band standing hand in hand, bowing down before them. He applauded without thinking, his claps louder than any others. Then the stage was empty, the crowd around him thinning to the point of isolation. His wits returning he made for the egress, and hastily slipped into the shadows.

He waited for a long time, his sensitive ears picking up scores of voices through a slightly open window at the back of the building. He strained to hear hers. He felt ill and weak, he hadn’t fed for months, not since that unpleasant business with the actress and her director. He could really do without that kind of exposure. His trembling hands toyed with the chain on his jeans, his grip flexing and bending the links until they snapped and tinkled to the floor. He didn’t notice.
‘I’m just going out for some air, it’s stuffy.’
He jolted to full awareness, it was her! Her voice sounded different, an exotic accent added a flavour to her words that didn’t come through to any great degree when she sang. It transfixed him. She was coming outside! A small side door banged open and she stepped out, still wearing her stage uniform which he had failed to notice before. She was petit, with a slender body, and her dark hair coiled around her collar. Her black jacket and trousers clung to her figure tightly as the heat had plastered them to her. She carried a small bottle of water in her hand which she sipped as she walked to a railing and stared out across the river.
He edged out from the shadows and soundlessly stalked forward, walking in that special way that, if compared, would make a slinking cat sound like a clumsy dog running on gravel. Nearing the door, he gently pushed it closed with one finger. No interruptions.
The woman ahead sighed and fanned herself with her free hand, the dank river air currents carrying back her scent to him. He stopped short and trembled. He might woo her instead! The trembling, the dazed mind, it might not be hunger after all, it could be love, truly and utterly. How could he feed from her against her will, a creature of such beauty and voice, it would be the most evil thing he had ever done. A tear stung the side of his eye as a leaden feeling pressed his stomach down. He was a monster. Maybe she could help? Maybe she could help him break his habits, his dark deeds. Maybe she would save him from his loneliness, help him find the light again, help him-
‘Don’t stand there all night, are you coming to talk to me or not?’ she said, her back still to him.
‘Oh...I’m sorry, I was being bashful.’
‘Come on, no need to be like that!’ she giggled.
He slowly moved towards her, he felt like he was floating.
‘I wondered what you’d think, a stranger accosting a pretty woman when she is alone in the dark, I didn’t want to scare you.’
He had almost reached her, he could feel the heat coming from her body, he could sense her pulse.
‘I thought you might be scared of me,’ she said. ‘Don’t worry, I don’t bite.’
He stopped. She spun around and buried something sharp and cold into the side of his neck. He opened his mouth to scream but she clamped a hand firmly over it. The world spun around him and he fell to his knees, she dropping to hers at the same moment, tightening her grip. Her eyes flashed close to his, mischief sparkling near their edges.
‘Didn’t you wonder?’ she asked smiling.
Gasping, he felt sticky fluid running down his neck and through his clothes, his eyes still locked onto hers.
‘Was that a “What?” I think it was! Didn’t you wonder why we always tour out of the way places that no body would ever dream we would play at?’ She wrenched the object out of his neck, the fluid having stopped moments before. He saw her glance at the ornate knife before pushing it into his chest. His eyes screwed shut as he felt it piercing his heart, a white hot feeling rushing through his breast. Even at this stage his mind wondered if the pain was from the knife or from the desire unrequited. A tear dripped down the side of his nose when he managed to open his eyes again.
‘We know where you are, what you are, and what you do. We arrange our little tours when news of one of you bastards gets to us.’ She spat at him.
The night seemed darker now, the shifting fog revealing more figures around them. Standing. Watching.
‘Finish him Cristina,’ one of them said. ‘I don’t think he is the one!’
‘Marco, did I interfere when you got that piece of shit in Milan? What do you mean not the one?’
‘Our vamp is older, greyer, you know...shrivelled prune type face.’
She turned and looked at them, ‘So who’s this?’
‘Must be a random.’
Turning back she smiled and in a mocking voice said, ‘Poor baby, chose the wrong gig to just wander into did we? What’s your name?’ She eased her hand away slightly.
‘Thomas,’ he spluttered.
‘A nice name. Well Thomas...’ she said it like she was trying to swallow some unpalatable meat, ‘goodbye!’
‘Thank you.’ Thomas said weakly, his vision dark, his hearing fading.
‘Thank you?’
‘Yes...I thought you would set me free....not in this way...I was...half right.’
She pulled the knife out and let the body fall backwards, the corpse disintegrating as it hit the hard concrete.
‘Why do they all fucking fall in love with me?’ she sighed and stood up brushing herself down.
Andrea walked up behind her and put his arm around her shoulders, ‘Why do you think we do so well compared to the others? Every trap needs a honey.’
‘Don’t you mean needs honey?’
‘No. I got it right the first time.’
A tittering came from behind them. Cristina turned and shouted, ‘Marco stop being a dick and do something useful, like finding a broom for that mess! And Cristiano! Find out where the hell our real guy got to!’
Marco muttered under his breath, ‘You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.’
Her hand cuffed him around the head, making his ears ring.
‘Hey!’ he shouted.
‘You wouldn’t want me to catch you Marco, do you know what happened to the last guy?’
She put her arm around him as they all moved back to the door, quiet laughter filling the murky air.



This story was written after I was lucky enough to go and see Lacuna Coil live. They were totally amazing, and it was the best gig I have ever seen. They were as good in person as one their albums and I really hope I get to see them again. I kept thinking about the gig and thought that this was a fitting way of paying tribute. I thought they might like the idea if ever they read it themselves at least.

Lacuna Coil are : Cristina Scabbia, Andrea Ferro, Cristiano Migliore, Marco Biazzi, Marco Coti Zelati and Cristiano Mozzati.

The Official Lacuna Coil Website :

Saturday, 27 October 2012


Today feels like Winter has finally arrived. I think it must have made some backroom deal with Summer though, something along the lines of “Hey bud, fancy clockin’ in for me while I kick it at home a bit longer? I promise I`ll be late clocking out for you next year, I’m totally good for it!” 

The last few weeks have been so mild, evidence of which is the swarming of the insects around the hedgerows, and, get this, I heard a cricket on the lawn a few days ago! I know! I have a feeling that said cricket will be dead soon. We have had hail and sleet so far, heavy downpours, a chill wind, and the temperature has dropped by around five degrees celcius. 

My fingers are cold, my neck is beginning to feel the breath of the dead (or drafts if you want less drama), and I am drinking more hot drinks. Yes winter is here and I say about time.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Dark Review - Enders Game by Orson Scott Card

Dark Review Image

Review of the book Enders Game

By Casey Douglass

I recently finished reading Enders Game by Orson Scott Card, and I have to say I was very impressed by it. It follows the story of Ender Wiggin, a child born into red tape from day one, a future where population control is rife and only with special dispensation can you have more than two children. Ender is a ‘third’ and if it wasn’t for the military’s interest in him and his hoped for genius, he probably wouldn’t even exist. The earth is under threat from the ‘buggers’, an alien race that has already attacked previously, and it is felt that Ender should have the talent and skills to lead humanity to victory and safety.
He is taken away to Battle School when he is six years old and is introduced to ‘The Game’ which is a zero gravity battleground around which he and the other children (ranging in age from six to early double figures) do battle, using special lasers that freeze the targets battle-suit, either partially or fully, taking them out of the game. It is a way to teach the kids command, tactics and other skills that are useful in preparing them for war, and separating the chaff. Of course, things are not that simple for Ender, he has to be given every opportunity to shine, and so they attempt to grind him into dust by always stacking things against him. More, you will have to read for yourself.

Orson has a way of writing that is very easy to read, and yet still conveys layers of meaning. Ender is a very likeable character, brilliant but unsure, capable of violence but enshrouded in guilt whenever it occurs, even if it was in his own self defense. It is interesting to see how they attempt to break Ender down, and even more exciting to see how he proves time and again that he is truly exceptional. They even use promotion of rank against him, to unsettle him just when he is getting his feet more firmly on the ground.

The story has a nice pace to it and while you couldn’t accuse it of being quick paced, it’s no slouch. There are some nice twists to it and the ending hits you with a few surprises in a short space of time, but it is done in such a way that it just seems right and in keeping with the whole story. It is also one of those rare stories that doesn’t expect you to believe life and morals are black and white, and there is moral ambiguity and shades of grey to many pivotal scenes in the story, which I liked very much.

It isn’t often that I read flat out sci-fi, I am more a fantasy/horror chap, but this was good. I immediately picked up the next two books in trilogy and am just hoping that they will be up to the same standard.

The only thing I struggled with in the book was the mental image of the bugs from the starship troopers film, whenever the buggers were mentioned. While not eithers fault, it was hard to shake, even though the buggers in Enders Game had their own advanced technology and spacecraft.

A solid 10 out of 10 book for me, if I absolutely had to rate it.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Life Getting in the Way

I haven’t forgotten the blog, far from it. I feel I should be writing on it daily but my health has been a struggle for me lately, and my writing has ground to a halt.

There were a number of promising competitions coming up for Halloween that I had hoped to enter but whenever I tried to conceive or develop an idea, my mind seemed to clam up and mock me with silence. I’m not sure if it was writers block, procrastination or just my mind being worn out and telling me to get stuffed. Even worse, when I have been able to watch a little TV or play a little Xbox, my mental "kick-him-when-he's-down" coach chimes in with “Oh, you can do that but you can’t write 100 words?”

On the plus side, I am reading a lot more and getting through books in record time for me, so at the least, I am expanding my horizons in some measure. Actually, when I am in the mood to write, I don’t read so much, so maybe that’s my natural pattern. Who knows.

I have a few blog posts already fleshed out so will be upping my output now hopefully. Don't worry though, I won't be posting about my every meal or bowel movement, no matter how spectacular lol.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Contact Me

Just thought I would do a little Contact Me page in a way that seems to make the most sense. I considered showing my email address but I'm in no hurry to get viagra/casino/accident compensation spam, so thought I would opt for this way instead.

If you'd like to contact me about any of my writing, please leave a comment on this post. I have to approve all comments before they appear on my blog and I won't approve any on this post, they will purely be for my own reading. If you include an email address I can get back to you that way.

Or if you are on Twitter, you can tweet me or send me a private tweet at @Casey_Douglass

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Dark Fiction - Holiday

Dark Fiction Image


By Casey Douglass

As part of #fridayflash

Just outside the village, there is a place that straddles the divide between the known and the unknown. To the unwary traveller, it is a place of spacious awe, but to the locals, it is a place to fear and avoid.
When you walk there, you wind your way through a pleasant smelling forest, a general atmosphere of rest and tranquillity hugging your shoulders. You push on, the first sign of something amiss is the smell. To begin with, it smells strangely like a sweet scented mould, not unpleasant but just bordering on the uncomfortable. The odour increases and grows the further you go along the road, becoming more and more intense. The trees lining the road appear withered now, and blackened, as if something leached away at their spirit until they just tired of life.
The last few hundred yards of the road are barren, a dry silty sand all that sprinkles the ground, but you don’t notice this. The ground slopes ever so slightly away from you, drawing your eye to the yawning chasm ahead of you. A vast hole in the ground punches down through the land, its tableau looking like someone had discarded a black dinner plate that was just too heavy for the table top, sinking down and down, the walls of the precipice strangely smooth and slightly shiny. Once you have drank deeply of the nothingness that resides there, you look at something that only vaguely impinged on your consciousness before.
One hundred paces to your right, a rickety rope bridge stretches across the unfathomed depths, twisting and shaking in some foul updraught that belches the sickly smelling vapour from deep below. As your eyes trace the route of the bridge, they alight on the very centre of the eerie view. A wooden house, perched precariously on a slim sliver of rock that stabs out from the centre of the void. You gaze at the house, wondering at it’s existence and how on earth it was even built. It looks a nice house, well kept and in a style that wouldn’t look out of place in any more modern scene. There are even a number of hanging baskets and flower pots on its quaint veranda, rainbow coloured blooms adding the dash of colour that the scene so desperately needs.
A face appears at a window, a waving hand conveying that you should leave in no uncertain terms. You don’t. The place has beguiled you and tweaked your curiosity. After all, you can handle yourself, what is there to be afraid of? You head to the bridge, your eyes upon the figure still gesturing madly towards the forest. The first wooden slat groans slightly as you test it with half of your weight, but seeing the number of them ahead of you, decide to throw caution to the wind and stride forward.
The figure rushes out from the house now, a middle aged man with a balding head and a midsummer tan. He doesn’t look like a local. He shouts at you in some foreign language that you have no comprehension of, but you know enough of the local language to confirm that he’s not from around here. He stands at the far end of the bridge, becoming more and more agitated with every step you take, his face turning red with consternation.
You have reached the half way point now, the blackness on both sides giving you the distinct feeling that this might be how a horse feels wearing it’s blinkers. The bridge sways more violently as your weight adds to it’s wavelength of oscillation, your hand tightly gripping the guide rope. You notice one missing slat just in time and almost stumble avoiding it. The air blowing up from below you is almost unbearable in it’s stench now, but very warm. You aren’t sure if the sweat on your brow is from the heat or the concentration.
The man drops to his knees, his hands clasped tightly together under his chin, the sounds of sobbing reaching your ears. You try to stop, alarm triggering some innate sense of caution that had until now been subverted. You find you cannot. Your feet carry on pacing, slowly and with a purpose, chewing up the distance between you and the man with every passing moment. The man is coughing now, his hands scratching at his throat, a rattling wheezing sound that doesn’t bode well. You grasp the rope rail hard, trying to stop your feet by virtue of your arm strength, but only achieve a stinging rope burn as the fibres rub off a layer of skin.
You are there. The man lays gurgling on the floor, his last breath expiring as your foot touches the rocky foundation of the house. Whatever spell bewitched you clears in an instant, the full control of your body returned to you. You turn and stride onto the bridge again but your foot hits an invisible barrier that’s as hard as a brick wall. Pain shoots through your toes. You stumble backwards in shock and fall over the man's body, your backside landing painfully on the floor. You pant awhile, your pounding heart slowing enough for you to stop shaking, and you slowly raise yourself and dust yourself off.
A flickering figure appears in front of you, seemingly made of dark sand particles and dust from the heated air. It speaks, its voice resembling the sound of pebbles being rubbed together.
‘Welcome to the Locii. I am your servant, and I can grant any wish that you desire.’
You stand open mouthed but soon venture a small wish and stare amazed as it materializes in front of you. Then another. Then another. Your mind is beguiled with possibility and lust for the things you have always wanted, the sexual encounters, the trinkets, the powers. You have been given a vast tankard of possibility and you drink of it deeply. Time passes, and you couldn’t be happier. Fantasies achieved steer the brain away from the old life and cloud its small nagging voice that keeps trying to bring you back, but it fails.

One day, you are sitting in your plush lounge, enjoying another day in paradise. Your servant fades into view in front of you.
‘Another is here.’
You smile, not understanding. The servant points to the window. You gaze out and see a traveller standing awkwardly at the forest mouth, gazing at the view before them.
‘If they come here, you will die.’
You turn to the servant but it has already vanished. The traveller is looking at the house now. You gesture for them to go away. They wave. You shout at the traveller, your voice standing no chance of reaching them. They wave again and move towards the bridge. Panic grips you as you run outside to the bridge.


Friday, 29 June 2012

Dark Fiction - Ritual

Dark Fiction Image


By Casey Douglass

As part of #fridayflash

Kenneth felt the plate crack in his hands, the noise itself muffled by the sudsy water.
‘Bloody hell!’ he shouted.
He held on to both pieces and lifted them from the water. They chinked as he pressed one on top of the other and headed across to the kitchen bin. He stomped on the peddle, the tiny mechanism launching the lid into the wall with a metallic clang. He dropped the two halves inside, swearing as one malicious corner scraped along his thumb. The lid closed with a thump as he assessed the damage.
‘Good afternoon Sir.’
Kenneth spun around to face the voice behind him. He let his hand fall to his side, his dripping blood forgotten. A stout fat red thing sat on the draining board, for all the world looking like a demon.
‘Correct! Bravo!’ Two taloned hands clapped rapidly, like the sound of someone popping lots of bubble wrap.
‘Who would be more polite my dear boy but I’ll excuse your ignorance of etiquette, you look a bit frazzled.’
Kenneth moved nearer, a slight whiff of sulphur and scorched flesh hung in the air, the demon giving off the faintest shimmer of heat haze. He watched it lift a wrist and gaze at a small heavy looking watch.
‘What do you want?’
The demon prodded the watch with a long finger and clucked.
‘Too much heat! Oh cut a long story short, from the moment of your birth, your every action, thought, desire and chance happening was preordained to form part of a ritual, known as the Great Completion. When it is finished, in...oh around five minutes, my master will achieve his desired result and the world will change to his will. Do you follow?’
Kenneth shook his head slowly but the colour draining from his face showed that he did, at least partly.
‘Everything I’ve done?’
‘Everything I’ve said...will say?’
‘Yes, including that!’
‘What will happen?’
‘And that! Oh I do apologise...the truth is I don’t know, I’m just here to play my part, to watch out for “the other side” if you know what I mean.’
‘Could be. Could be Angels, could be any “being of a higher frequency.” That’s how we have to refer to them now, political correctness and all that. I still call them robe lifters though, if I’m honest.’ He gave a wry smile and winked.
‘What now then? What will-’ Kenneth dropped to his knees, a trembling convulsion shaking his body as his mind cottoned on to some stimulus that his conscious mind refused to recognise.
‘Don’t worry, its almost time.’
A white feather fluttered down from the ceiling and landed on Kenneth’s head. The demon jumped down to the floor furiously waving his claws.
‘No no no! Bugger off!’ He snatched the feather and shoved it inside his mouth, chewing thoughtfully as he gazed upwards. ‘They don’t learn!’
Kenneth’s vision began to blur, his head pounded like an anvil being smashed with a lump hammer. He cried out as the pain shot down his spine, causing him to fall flat out at the demons feet, consciousness and life drifting away with every passing moment.
‘That’s a good lad.’ The demon patted the back of his head tenderly.
Another white feather floated past the demon’s head, and another, then another. Within seconds the room was stuffed full of the slow drifting pillow stuffers. The demon opened his mouth to yell but inadvertently sucked in a great swathe of them, choking and tickling his fangs. He coughed and spluttered, his red cheeks now tinged with blue. The ground began to rumble, the cutlery in the drawers rat-a-tatting along with the bass beat.
‘Master!’ he shouted, ‘It’s not my fault!’
A wrenching force rippled the carpet tiled floor, a gaping tear slowly widening to the size of a small car. A flame lanced up from the hole, incinerating the snow of feathers in seconds, their blackened skeletal remains turning to dust as they hit the ground. The demon coughed out the last few that were lodged in his throat and sat down heavily, the rumbling beginning to subside.
A black figure slowly rose from the hole, levitating on a cloud of dark boiling ether. It spoke, it’s voice was whispered and slick like the lichen on a damp grave.
‘Drumax return! There was a problem with the ritual.’
Drumax nodded nervously.
‘My fault?’
‘Then what happened?’
‘A miscalculation by the overseer. All enforcers are being recalled to the circles for a full debrief.’
‘I thought the other side-,’
‘No! Part of the working was off by a fraction. There is now a chicken factory in Kiev with a few thousand bald chickens.’
Drumax let his mouth fall open, it was either that or smile, and he didn’t dare do that with the Reclaimer in front of him. He looked down at Kenneth, the body was beginning to stiffen. He shrugged, no point feeling sorry for him, occupational hazard, being a sacrifice and all.
He slowly got to his feet and joined the Reclaimer on his black cloud. As they sank slowly from view, the rumbling returned, slowly pinching the hole in the floor back together again. Just as it almost met in the middle, their conversation began again.
‘Fancy making a mistake like that!’ Drumax said. There was a slight pause before the other replied.
‘The devil is always in the detail.’
The sound of Drumax’s laugh was cut short by a loud slapping noise and a small whimper. The floor met with a thump, the ash covered kitchen and body looking like a picture in some ghoulish catalogue for zombie home improvements. The window was slightly open to the outside world, but all the neighbours would detect was the slight aroma of some strange barbecue lingering in the frazzled air. It was Summer, after all.


Contact Me 

Friday, 22 June 2012

Dark Fiction - Jump

Dark Fiction Image


By Casey Douglass

As part of #fridayflash

‘Okay mate you’re ready to go!’
Lewis felt the slap on his shoulder run through his body, passing through his stomach and severely aggravating the butterflies already rustling inside him.
For the last couple of minutes, he had been staring at the tips of his shoes, trying not to look down past them, and concentrating on balancing while the straps and harness were swivelled and clicked into place. He felt trussed up and safe, until he glanced down beyond his feet and the small metal platform.
Bringing to mind something he had read in some self help book, he tried to look at the big picture one piece at a time, so as not to overwhelm his mind. He started with the river. His breath caught in his throat, pressing down on his gullet uncomfortably. The river looked like a muddy trickle of brown, running through the deep gorge with a meandering path, the section under him wide and strewn with large boulders from the steep walls around it.
His eye travelled to one bank, up the scree and over the dead trees laying lazily on their sides, and onto the sheer face carved from some kind of grey stained stone. His head slowly lifted as his view came to eye level, the same height as the suspension bridge he stood on. His mind began to rebel, the urge to step back and walk away making the skin of his forearms itch. He allowed his gaze to carry on up to the sky and the metal structure above him. Sunny blue azure and painted olive green metal, not the best combination. The slight breeze managed to whistle as it passed through the bolted structure, howling quietly through some hole without its rivet. The sun vanished behind the one cloud on the horizon and Lewis felt a chill.
‘When you’re ready!’ the organiser gave him another pat on the shoulder, then gestured with his head to the queue of about a dozen people all waiting for their turn. A solitary car droned past on the deserted road.
‘I’m all connected?’ his voice cracked as he spoke.
‘Yeah, and that bungee chord is strong enough to support a thousand pound in weight. You’ll be fine, everyone feels scared just before they do it. Then they do it and can’t stop smiling after!’
Lewis managed a wry smile, noticing the sensation across his lips. A voice in the back of his head shouted Murder but it was too late. Lewis spread his arms out wide, closed his eyes and fell slowly forwards, pushing away with his toes to make his feet clear the edge.
The wind smashed him in the face and filled his ears like static, a feeling like pins and needles, but ramped up, more like nails and knives. His eyes were ripped open, the lids fluttering and flapping like an old flag in a hurricane. Time slowed, seeming to hang and float just as he did. He opened his mouth, his every muscle straining.
Get out!’ he shouted, the sound barely leaving the line of his overbite.
You need me. Where would you be without me! You’ll regret this! the internal voice whispered.
No! You made me...cheat on the girl I loved! You...made me spend hours and...hours over petty 
things, thinking...they were all that mattered. You mind!
You think you can get rid of me that easily. You think this plan will work? All I did for you was meant to make you strong, wake you up and stop you being such a damned pussy!
Lewis concocted a strangulated laugh.
And look at me now! A pussy wouldn’t be doing this!’ have improved in some ways I’ll admit, but you are still done for.
The ground loomed nearer now, the white tips and ripples of the white water clearly visible further up stream. Lewis closed his mouth in concentration, he had to think.
Ah here we go...the plan! Last chance to go back Lewis...last chance.
Lewis brought to mind his passenger, the sickening stranger he had met in a dream one night, the festering old man who had somehow managed to seep into his mind and stay with him upon waking. There he was, Lewis could almost smell his body odour of old newspapers and faeces.
Very good! Quite accurate. Don’t forget the smell of blood too!
Lewis ignored the interruption and carried on with his task, imagining and visualizing to the best of his ability, which was very difficult with the ground rushing up to greet him.
You’ll be sorry!
Lewis’ vision flashed white and he suddenly found himself back in the dream, the crusty man leering at him with anticipation.
Out!’ Lewis screamed and hurled himself towards him. Their hands locked and they spun around and around, the old man laughing with giddy glee.
Get out now!’
Damn you!’
Lewis felt a pressure tugging hard at his ankles, his internal organs feeling as if they were trying to crawl out from his mouth, his eyes bulging from their sockets. He blacked out.

Are you alright?’
Lewis opened his eyes with a flicker and saw the concerned face of the organiser hovering a few inches from his. He squinted as he slowly sat up, his head spinning.
What happened?’
You fainted I think. You shouted all the way down but when the rope kicked you back you went quiet. We pulled you up and you were sparko.’
How long was I out?’
Not long, a minute or two maybe. Look at my finger.’
Lewis watched as the digit moved left and right.
I’m cold.’
You might be in a bit of shock. Go and get a burger or something, that will help, trust me.’ 
Lewis felt a hand under his arm pull him upright. He swayed groggily for a moment.

Thank you. Don’t think I’ll do that again though.’
Some people only do it once and it’s enough, nothing to be ashamed of.’
Lewis nodded and slowly walked down past the queue, a scream coming from behind him as another punter launched themselves into the void. He tried not to meet the eyes of the people patiently waiting their turn, but soon saw that they were engrossed in their own fear and butterflies. Near the end, he passed a pretty woman in a tight pair of jeans. His hand shot out and slapped her backside. She turned and stared at him angrily, a largish man turning and eyeing Lewis with a threatening expression. Lewis smiled at the man.
What? You got something you want to say to me you pussy?’