Tag Archives: stephen king

The School of Necromancy now available!

The gothic science/gothic horror short story inspired by Harry Potter as much as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and H.P. Lovecraft is now available on Amazon!

Better yet, assuming you read this post fast enough, it’s FREE for the rest of today (4/12/14) and tomorrow. Not to fear if you miss it, as it’s mere pennies/cents afterwards.

Deep below the city of York, below the sewers, below the catacombs, lies the School. It is here, if you are privileged to be selected, that you can study the art of raising the dead. Reanimation, demonology, experimental necroscience, theoretical homicide… It’s all there for the learning, in a vast underground complex of stone corridors and halls, tunnels and staircases, laboratories and cellars and libraries, crypts, morgues, test chambers, operating theatres and black chapels…
It’s all there, that is, if you can keep your head…

 

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The Violet Dark #4

Here is the fourth little part of the hallucinogenic road thriller/horror The Violet Dark. You can buy the full novella for mere pennies/cents/whatever on Amazon.

 

More violet, and on they went. Past houses, yards, fields and bushes, past monsters and effigies and voodoo tombs.

All that she had missed. All that had never come. Already she owed violet, owed her escape.

And you owe him.

The land blew past in dreams, just part of the wind.

 

The shades of the violet-cast day grew stronger and deeper as the sun grew tired. They drank water from a stream and the coldness ran through like a frozen orgasm.

The road was silent and solitary but for their bikes and the background roar of the world. They saw nobody, taking the small roads. Sometimes she thought she saw huge shadows chasing each other in the distance, on other roads. When the violet was strong all old detail was gone, replaced by a new kind of detail of what the mind believed.

She thought of the stories she used to write when she was younger, before she gave up. This wasn’t like that, but it felt now like she was writing new stories constantly, her mind scribbling away, telling her what this was and what that was. Rocks made of felt and drifting fields of haunted corn, and a sky painted blue by the same aliens behind the pyramids, behind Stonehenge, behind her birth. That shape a pygmy bear-child, the last of its kind. That shape a living statue down on all knees, grieving for its lost parent.

That shape before her the man who had taken her.

 

Nightmares come and

Nightmares go

Beauty sees

What nightmares show

A nursery rhyme of her own devising. She felt rather proud of herself. That is, until it repeated over and over through her head, not letting go. You came up with me? It seemed to be whining, snarling. And now you want rid of me? You are my creator. You are my stupid repetitive creator. There is nothing in you, it is all in the outside world. I owe my worthless existence to you. I am your Frankenstein and you will feel me. Ride on, bitch.

She rode on, and eventually the rhyme repeated itself less and less often. Each time it did it was angry and loud, overcompensating for its weakness. Breaking through the oceans of formless thought to attack, and then cast adrift, screaming as the mere flotsam it was got swept over the waterfall.

Nightmares come but

You are dumb

You are dumb

To take his cum

 

He looked behind him at the sound of laughter. She was trailing behind, giggling to herself as her bike weaved erratically. Never again would he see her so beautiful, so perfect. She was his missing lung, his missing bladder, his missing stomach. He wanted to breathe her, piss her and eat her.

My angel of darkness.

Her body was his tomb. He would choose to lie and let the worms gnaw him forever, as long as he rotted inside her.

My angel of death.

One day long past, he would have come off violet to see if he felt the same. But such a thing was useless. Even if he hated her sober, even if she was ugly and cruel – though he knew she was neither – as long as he was in love with the violet her, that was enough.

And how does she see me? Which me does she see? I am all forms. I can be ugly and cruel. A day comes I am a saint. A day comes I am a devil. A day comes I am a troglodyte, better served in caves than under another’s gaze. A day comes I would rape myself, such potent narcissism.

 

Life

 

Into the black

 

She looked at him, at this heavy-coated figure rocking slowly by the light of the fire. ‘Where are you from? I know nothing about you. Tell me about yourself.’

He looked at her. ‘The violet is wearing down.’

‘How do you know? It is.’

‘You would not be asking such a question otherwise. The violet distracts. Here, have some more.’ He made to fetch the hipflask but she held up a hand.

‘Later, maybe. I need this clarity.’

He shrugged. ‘I don’t see why.’

‘Where are you from?’ she asked again.

He looked into the fire. ‘Somewhere south, somewhere north. A way to the east, a little to the west. I don’t know. I’m from nowhere and everywhere. I’ve forgotten my home. If ever I had one.’

‘Do you always answer in riddles?’

He grinned. ‘Maybe.’

‘What happened to you?’

‘Life. Life happened.’

‘What about life?’

‘All of it. Everything.’ He shook his head. ‘I gave up explaining a long time ago.’

‘Try me.’

He sighed, and took a small sip from the hipflask. ‘Fine. I never enjoyed it. Life. At least, not that I have any memory of. I wandered, in ceaseless revolutions of depression, apathy and disillusion. Bitterly bewildered by the state of existence. Never knowing, never understanding, and never, ever content. Finding enjoyment in next to nothing, nothing that would last. That was on a good day. I told myself that I always bounced back, over and over and over. After every blackness came the dawn . . . The nights were the worst. Not like now. With violet the night is my friend. But back then . . . I told myself as long as I had oxygen in my lungs I would always surface from the depths.’

‘And then one day you stopped?’

‘No. I had never bounced back. I had never surfaced. I rose in little bits, but I sank deeper with every night. I just didn’t see it for what it was.’

‘Depression.’

He laughed mirthlessly. ‘I thought that was all it was too, for a spell. No. Eventually I realised that in my times of blackness I had the truth of it. The fault was not with me, but with the world. Those around me wanted me to change. I did not understand that. It is too easy to tell a person to change. Hard to tell the world to change. But the blame must be laid at the right feet.’

She shifted uncomfortably. She did not want to question this, seeing that this man before her was a different beast entirely and she knew him not.

‘I eventually left the company of others. I felt sick and weary. I tried violet for the first time, and from that there was no turning back. The world was beautiful for the first time, either since childhood, or since forever.’

‘Populated by nightmares.’

‘Perhaps. But the kind of nightmares I can handle. Not the nightmare of a sober world and its expectations.’

She saw the sprites of the fire reflecting the sadness in his eyes, and she moved close to him. He looked at her and his grin was wide and bare.

‘Why don’t -’

‘No advice,’ he interrupted her. ‘I’ve heard it all.’

She said nothing for a minute, then quietly said ‘How do you get money?’

‘I find it.’

She looked into the demons dancing in the fire.

‘I don’t need much.’

‘Mmhmm.’

He picked up the flask and offered it to her. ‘Here, have some more.’

‘I’m okay for now.’

He shook it at her. ‘Go on.’

‘Why?’

He looked a little taken aback, as if such a question was indecipherable to him. Then he waggled it again. ‘You have lived your whole life up to this point seeing the world a certain way. You have done this once. The second time you will feel more in control.’

‘Is that so.’

‘You know you want to.’ He pushed it into her unresisting hand. His thumb touched hers. He looked at her with fierce, indigo eyes, and she felt the strength in the fire and the strength in his weakness. She drank a mouthful and he beamed at her.

‘What happens when this runs out?’

‘There’s a good deal more in my pack. If that goes, then we sober up a little and hook ourselves up with some more. It’s easy.’

‘And buy it with?’

‘I have money. And I told you, I can find more. It’s always lying around someplace.’

She nodded slowly, feeling the violet come on again. The fire reddened. Waving thumbprints and casting its thousand burning angels.

 

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The School of Necromancy opening extract

Hello!

I’ve been busy of late, writing various short stories, some of which you can find by visiting my Amazon author page.

I’ll put up excerpts from these (or the entire story, if short enough) on this site in due course, as some are being entered into writing competitions or being submitted for magazines.

Here is the first draft beginning to a story I am currently writing, that is turning out to be the longest short story yet. It’s called The School of Necromancy, and it is about just that . . . think Harry Potter meets Frankenstein . . . and a lot of morbidity, black humour, and a science/classic sci-fi-horror theme over a straightforward magical one. Lighthearted gothic, and with a perhaps Lovecraftian bent to the approach, what with it being a personal account. I hope you enjoy it.

 

The School of Necromancy

 

I’m here to explain some things to you. A lot of questions have been asked, and a lot of people seem to be pretty concerned, so I have taken it upon myself, when no-one else will, to describe to you the events that led to the six dead bodies found about York last week, which has got the constabulary so vexed. There were, in fact, eight bodies. One was homeless, and the homeless are often forgotten. The other was one of us, and we hold onto our own.

The rules have never said ‘Don’t talk about the School’. They in fact say, ‘We recommend, in your best interests, not to talk about the School, for nobody will take you seriously, and if they do, you are likely to meet an untimely demise.’ And so, given that I am confident in my abilities to resist the poorly-concocted assassination attempts of my fellows, and even more confident that nobody who reads this will take me seriously (or, if someone does, that nobody will take them seriously), I feel like I have nothing to lose by writing this, and I have my own dry amusement to gain, like a serial killer might feel smug upon announcing his morbid deeds to somebody who takes the whole thing as a joke. Doubtless some of my fellows will disagree with me, but they always were a bit fusty and overly serious.

I should point out now that I was not the killer. Just to get that out of your heads. In fact, I wasn’t even there, and the story I have to tell is not my own. But I make it my business to know things that happen here, deep under your feet, and I always enjoy interrogating the other students.

My name is Raiden Black, and this is not my story.

As an addendum, before I continue, I want to say that of course it’s not my real name. We are all given new names when we enter the School. Many years ago pretty much half of all the first years would choose ‘Black’ as their surname, and there was a great deal of names like ‘Night’ and ‘Death’ and it all got a bit tedious. Nowadays the masters choose your name for you, and you get three vetoes before you have to suck it up and accept it. I took receiving the now quite elite surname ‘Black’ as a vote of confidence in me, and have endeavoured to remain deserving of it ever since.

Anyway.

 

Find a sewer grate or manhole somewhere in York, somewhere in the centre preferably. You will, of course, have to do this at night, unless you are exceptionally quick and daring, or you have found a perfectly hidden spot. Different cliques of students have their own entrances, and if you find yourself sharing yours with a member of The Brotherhood, you have my sympathies.

Head down into the sewers, and head east. Follow the rats. They always seem to congregate around the School, and we never did quite know why they are drawn here so, but we don’t complain, not when there are so many post-mortem opportunities at hand.

Eventually you won’t need the rats at all, and you can follow your nose. Take the turns where the air is stalest, closest . . . You feel that certain something in the air? You don’t know what it is, but you feel it, just like the rats. Seek out the source, for that is us.

Assuming you have a good sense of direction, and have not become irretrievably lost, nor have you been bitten by a rat carrying one of the new experimental strains of plague we have developed, then you should, eventually, come to a door.

It is of heavy wood, and looks ancient, and no amount of battering force will break it open. Here you must knock a certain number of times, to a certain rhythm. And that is one thing I will not tell you.

You can however, assuming you finished reading this before you set out, go to the gloomiest pubs in York and, on suitable dark, grim nights, find a sallow youth all in black drinking by himself, looking terribly preoccupied with something, and perhaps a trifle jittery. He will have bags under his eyes from lack of sleep and excess of obsession.

He will at first want nothing to do with you, and will be sullen and uncooperative, but ply him with drinks. At the opportune moment, ask him about the secret knock, and he may tell you.

He will of course be lying. That’s one thing we are very good at.

Let’s assume, though, that you now know the secret knock, by fair means or foul, and have rapped sharply on the door in this very particular rhythm. The door opens, slowly, with the groan of a thousand years. There is nobody behind it. You may think it black magic, and I wouldn’t dare ruin it for you.

You’re not at the School yet. Down a spiral staircase of stone steps you go, and as it levels out you find yourself in a series of twisting, crossing corridors. These are the catacombs of York. Our catacombs.

Set into the walls, lit by burning torches, are all manner of artefacts. You may be surprised to see Egyptian sarcophagi and urns, so far away from their origins, along with Greek burial shrouds, and the beaks of plague doctors from the time of the Black Death.

You will see small cairns, caskets, tools of morticians and torturers, stones and pieces of hard wood with strange carvings, pagan statues, death masks, old coins to lay on eyes, cotton to wrap and minerals to sprinkle on the departed. What you will not see, however, no matter what you will most fearfully open, are bodies, not even skeletons. We have claimed them all, for we do not allow waste.

Navigate the catacombs (a clue: follow the eyes), and you will find another staircase, which will lead to one final door, requiring a key to unlock. You don’t have such a key, you say? That is a shame.

Beyond this door lies the School of Necromancy.

There is also a perfectly serviceable lift that cuts out all this, but let’s keep things traditional.

 

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The Violet Dark now available on Amazon!

It’s my pleasure to announce that the short novella and hallucinogenic road horror The Violet Dark is now available on Amazon!

The direct link to the US Amazon page (as now appearing on the sidebar of this  blog) is here.

The direct link to the UK Amazon page is here.

Keep an eye out, because starting from tomorrow (20/11/14) the book will be completely free to download for five days!

 

Blurb

When you leave the paths of light, you fall and you fall forever.

A man finds a woman crouched over the body of her murdered father. The man is hallucinating on a liquid drug called violet, and offers it as a promise of escape. The woman, numb with shock and grief, takes it and soon finds herself in a ‘beautiful nightmare’, the shadowy world of the violet dark. They ride the endless roads on motorbikes, lost in the drug and almost lost to reality…
Terrible, grotesque things are hunting them. If only she could convince herself that the danger was all in her head…

– The Violet Dark is a short novella by the author of the twisted dystopian thriller Moral Zero. You don’t want to miss this hallucinogenic road horror. A toxic love song to darkness itself, this book is guaranteed to make you see things that aren’t there – or perhaps they are…

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Dead Streets

Here is a short story, which will feature in the upcoming compilation Faces in the Dark: A Short Compilation of Paranoid Horror.

This story is more of the sad and haunted kind of darkness rather than the grotesque kind of horror. I hope you like it!

 

Dead Streets

 

It was between Hallowe’en and the advent of Christmas, that half-haunted and melancholic time of year when spirits and ghasts one by one went to their slumber in the hidden places. I had spent the night drinking and smoking with a friend, and now in the small hours I set off on the pale roads to home.

From the first steps, as the chill night closed its web around me, I knew this was no ordinary walk. I was there for a snapshot of rare world, a world in undress that was intended for no human eyes. The ground crunched under my feet as I turned out of the estate and onto a main road.

Cars lined the street in an endless procession of tombstones. Each appearing to me some frozen sentinel cold and implacable. The roads and the land betrayed no movement. Each grave of a car standing as testimony to the desertion or extinction of the human race. I would say that never before had I felt so alone, and yet this was not true, for I was shepherded by the world, and roused those spirits not yet asleep, or woken by my heavy footfall. Unseen eyes opened in slits to see my passing.

There was an almost unbearable, and yet beautiful, sadness throughout. Here was the world stripped bare, skeletal in form, and I privy to these emotions that were at all other times impossibly guarded. I could feel them leaking, the last few leaves on the branches dripping like tears, the railings shivering in quiet failure, desperate to cease their never-ending point to the heavens, waiting to leave my sight so they could collapse.in solitude.

My own tears sprang to my eyes as I beheld all that had been hidden, and at such longstanding pains. I ran a gloved hand over the window of one of the dead cars, preparing myself for something terrible within; a rotting ghoul perhaps, or a bristling werewolf. As the ice swept away I only saw a hollow, an emptiness like deep space that echoed that within my chest, and I sank away and continued on.

I did not really want to see such horrible phantasms, to fright myself to death on this eerie walk. But, somehow, the nothingness was always worse.

I crossed a bridge and looked out on the black glass of the canal. Willow trees hung over the banks, their ends wilfully drowning. I pictured huge crocodiles under that still surface, and then Lovecraftian monstrosities. At any moment their heads and tentacles could break the waters and rear up to me, gnashing and flailing . . . but the moment passed, and all other moments, and the water remained as it was, all such secrets kept too deep for mortal knowledge.

The bridge and canal was lost to the turns of my route. Houses passed on the side, every one lightless, each street a cemetery. Humanity’s gaze had ceased to rest on this town, perhaps everywhere, and there were not even other animals to make sound or sight. If there was life anywhere it was only in the drift of ghosts and their haunts, coming to rest now that humanity and its noisy wildlife had been finally scared to death. I knew then, as my footsteps echoed in the silence and my breath fogged out like bonedust, what it would be like to be the last person alive.

It was while I was thinking thus that a figure came upon me, and we both kept our faces to the ground, saying not a word in greeting or parting. For nights as this belong to each of us alone, and it must be alone, for on such nights nobody is entirely human. The thoughts and moods in the air are not to be shared, except from the earth’s whisperings to our individual soul.

The figure left, and it was as though it had never appeared; and perhaps it never had, and I had imagined it as I imagine so much else.

I looked up as I walked. In the ghost-black, almost translucent sky was a pinhole moon, something stabbed through from beyond. I peered at it and through it I sensed a bright hospital room, crowded with doctors unnaturally long of limb and face, who called out to me for my birth.

Push through, they said. Come on through.

I will, I replied.

Come on.

Soon.

I came upon the road leading up to my flat, passing the glow of traffic lights that changed for no-one. On the path was a telephone box, and I wondered how many years had come and gone without its use. It emanated a wispy, amber light, that gathered as if in currents, and I wanted to believe that it was a hostel for travelling spirits, readying for the next fly-through in the cold, and yet as I passed it seemed occult with melancholy, and I almost heard the plaintive calls that were sirens to my heart.

On the last stretch to my home I felt the rising and familiar urge to stop dead. I knew if I did so I would not move again. But no matter the strength of the feeling, my body would keep on even while my mind rebelled, for my body was as much on autopilot as it has been since my beginning. I would take the same route, the same steps, think the same thoughts in the same order and say the same words to every person I met no matter if I’d turned back time a hundred times.

If I stopped then the sun would rise on my statue. People would try to talk to me, and there would be no answer. The police would try to move me, and they would fail. Days, weeks, and eventually years would crawl by, and people would become long used to this immovable form, as though I were a lamppost or a park bench. Kids would throw things, and drunk men would piss on my feet.

A little girl, on a day trip, would tug at her mother’s sleeve and whisper, curious and biting her lip. ‘Why is he standing there?’

The mother would look up and say, as the residents bustling around them smiled and shook their heads, ‘Why don’t you ask him?’

The little girl would hesitantly come up to me, and ask me the same question.

‘I don’t know,’ I’d reply, out of the corner of my mouth, so nobody else could see, and so quietly only the girl could hear. ‘Why don’t you join me?’

The girl looked confused. ‘There must be some reason.’

‘I think, perhaps, if I stay completely still, then maybe things won’t carry on without me. Or at least as far as I’m concerned. I can put a stop to it by putting a stop to myself. Don’t you want to join me? If you stop too, then maybe other people will stop, and one day everyone can be completely still, and nothing bad or difficult or tiresome will ever happen again.’

The child would bite her lip again and then shake her head, and her mother would call her back and they’d both walk away. And neither of them would stop for me, just like all the other times. And in the end I would always be the only one.

 

I let myself in the front door and climbed the stairs to the flat. I entered the warmth and turned the lights on. I took off my gloves and scarf and coat and unlaced my boots. I poured myself a drink and sipped it, and in the lounge I closed the curtains, dissolving the night into a mere fancy of the imagination. Something that could never be truly explained to anyone, never accurately described, for it was a night that may have happened and may not have happened, but whether it did or it didn’t it happened to me, and I cherished it’s rarity, now gone.

This was not a story about zombies and vampires, about things going bump in the night, about unbridled terror and nightmares realised. This was a story about the things that don’t happen, the nothingness out there, and that hollow emptiness in the car’s window. My nightmare is not monstrous or disfigured, it does not have tentacles or fangs or the form of a beast, it does not drip goo or blood and it does not shuffle and it does not snarl.

I drank my drink and I looked at my television and my computer, at my large collection of DVDs and books and videogames, and at the pictures on my walls, and I sat down, my thoughts once again returning to suicide.

But for one more night like this.

 

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The Violet Dark #3

Firstly, apologies for the website being down for so long. Blame my behind the scenes fiddling.

Anyhow, here is the third part to the hallucinogenic road thriller/horror The Violet Dark. Again, first draft, work in progress! The second part has also been updated. My aim is for you to follow me along my own road; that of crafting a new novel from scratch. If you find any mistakes I have missed please don’t hesitate to point them out.

 

The rain stopped first. The clouds hung around, waiting for something that didn’t come. One by one they slunk off, freeing the sky, the lightning and thunder gone to their beds in other lands. The orchestra over. Time, gentlemen.

She got up, so sodden and heavy and filthy with the mud that the rain had not washed away. Not a mermaid or a fish, just a fat, slow woman, creaking the ground with her ponderous weight.

She followed him back to the bikes. She didn’t know how he remembered their location so well, but then again every tree was different, as was every bush and every blade of grass. After a time she noticed that the trees were pointing the way, and ushering them along. Their impatience was evident when a branch whipped her backside, and they hurried their pace, leaving a leaking trail as they went.

Perhaps it was the time dilation, but it seemed to take a lot longer to find the bikes than she’d have thought. How far had I run? The walk got easier as it went on, as the water fell from their clothes and hair, and after another sip of violet her body lightened even more. The air blew fresh and clear around the amaranthine trees, curling and singing sweetly as it sought them out and kissed them dry.

They sensed the silence of the road before they came upon it, and their bikes lay there like sleeping metal tyrants.

He walked past them to the road, and laid himself down.

‘Are we not riding?’

‘Not yet,’ he said.

She lay next to him and blew invisible smoke rings into the firmament.

 

The Moon

 

Watching as you sleep

 

She looked up into the sky, that lonely chasm. Each star a little slice of heaven, some sharp, needle holes poking through the blanket to something better, to the paradise of whiteness beyond.

And the moon. Fat and bulging, it dominated the sky, a bulbous eye watching, ever watching. It grew whenever she looked away, whenever she blinked, whenever her gaze unfocused.

Not grew – came closer. Everything did it – the trees, the rocks – creeping closer behind your vision.

It reminded her of a TV programme she had seen as a child. There was a bunch of standing stones near a house, and they kept coming closer, and closer, but you never saw them move, not an inch. Eventually they were right outside the windows, right outside the front door. You turned your back and they were right there.

The show had terrified her. The terror of the inanimate, the unknown mysteries – worse than undead, never meant to be alive, never seen to be alive, and yet –

It was like spiders, one of her fears. The horror, the real horror wasn’t in the movement, but in the non-movement, the waiting for movement, the dreadful anticipation, wound up like high tensile wire. The lock of the legs. They crouched, and did nothing. When they moved, as quick and horrible as it was, it was never as bad as how it had been in your mind. Horror always truly lay with what you didn’t see, with what you made up, with the imagination giving graveyard life to the shadowed objects around you.

The moon seemed to fill the sky now. It was no mere eye of the night but a pale Sauron, a single staring eye for the cyclopean Anti-God. The eye of Death’s negative.

The black pits on its face seemed to wink at her, and it grinned.

‘The moon scares me,’ she said, and it did not sound ridiculous at that moment but rather the words consolidated her fear.

‘I know,’ he replied. ‘It’s always watching. It watches everything. It wants you to be scared of it.’

 

He gave her his blanket and she wrapped herself in it, while he lay out on the grass in nothing. Sleep came on her like a coma. She moved through the bellies of demons and angels with diamond eyes fucked her softly.

 

He watched her for a long time before closing his eyes.

 

The Wayside

 

Stepping through mouldy sunshine

 

She tried to blink away the sun, but it would not go. Her head swam and when she tried to sit up everything was too sharp, too bright and painful. Everything newly angled, even the grass was carved with a knife.

He was at her side stroking her hair and she wondered how long he had been there.

‘I’m thirsty,’ she said.

He had the flask already in his hand, ready to touch her lips.

‘Do you have water?’

‘This will keep you hydrated.’

‘Hair of the dog, huh.’ She took a tiny sip of the drink. Anything to make the land soften.

‘You’ll need a bit more than that.’

She rolled her eyes, but that made her skull ache. ‘Get me a proper drink first.’

‘This is a proper drink.’

‘I want a fucking coke.’

He stood up and looked down at her, then walked off to find their bikes. A few minutes later they had steered them back onto the road and were on their way.

She’s forgotten what the day had looked like. There was something pale and harsh and sad about it. She kept her eyes half-closed. The violet had taken a small effect, had taken the edges out of the world. She could feel them pushing to come back though. An artist’s hand waiting to re-sketch, to draw every line harder with thicker, meaner pencils.

She watched him from behind, watched his hair run with the wind. When she drew up closer she sometimes saw his eyes closed as he drove, and then as if he could feel her eyes he opened them slowly and smiled at her.

Who was this man? Why had she shacked up with him? Was he dangerous?

She thought of the farm and the big house, now empty and loveless. She thought of the thing in the mirror and she suddenly realised she had not taken her father’s body out of the road.

The thought was so awful that she drew a sword against it and cut it out of her mind.

Some tombs are best left undisturbed. Sometimes suns die and yet they never leave the sky. Just don’t look at it. Don’t let it hurt you.

 

They stopped off at a big store by the wayside. Both somewhat sobered; he was taking another as she pushed open the screen door.

‘It doesn’t belong here,’ he was saying. ‘It doesn’t fit. Where’s it gonna go? No place at all.’

There was only a couple of people in the store but they peered at her strangely and she felt uncomfortable. Well fuck you too. She wandered the aisles, feeling as out of place in this man-made artifice as the store itself was in the country around it. The man at the till coughed loudly and it echoed down the aisles. She concentrated on what she needed. All these names, brands, bullshit. She remembered when she would come to a place like this and how she had always wanted more than she could afford. Now little took her interest.

She bought a sleeping bag. She bought biscuits and bread. She bought vodka and coke.

They drank the coke, squinting in the muddy glaze of sunshine. They crouched under the jutting roof of the store. Less aggressive. A cool hand in service of the night. Helping the strangers who go all hours by the wayside.

‘I feel like I’m growing horns,’ he said.

‘What?’

He laughed at her with hard eyes. ‘We need to move on.’

            Leave life behind and follow him, came the unshakeable thought. It’s easy. Just follow. Follow until you are ready to lead.

‘Where are we going?’

‘There is no where. There is nowhere to go. We just go.’

‘Until?’

‘The dark will come soon. Then we go again.’

‘Forever?’

‘For as long as time takes us.’

 

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The Violet Dark opening extract #2

Here for your enjoyment is the second part of the opening to the hallucinogenic road thriller/horror The Violet Dark. The previous part is in the previous post. Again, first draft, work in progress! My aim is for you to follow me along my own road; that of crafting a new novel from scratch.

 

Bigger than us

 

She didn’t know how long the night span on but on it did. The world wheeled past. The bikes crunched through on the infinite scrawl of the road. The whites, the blacks. The thin grey desert carved through the hollow thickets of the land.

See the brambles and thorns as scissors with the sky. See the howl and thump of the air. Feel it, feel it pour through you. Her hair swung out behind her, each strand a pagan goddess, swaying seductively, amorally. The motes in the air the audience, rapturous, hushed. Waterfalls in the night when the lights go low.

The bikes seemed to run slow, but who really knew. Time couldn’t keep up with the moving world. The bushes and dark ones did not whip along, but watched in a gradual impermanence. Each skull grin, each wide eye, caught in the crazed obsession of the blackness, all caught and replayed. Things took their time here, the route the orbit of the spirit. She remembered each beautiful nightmare. Each slide in the film. The projectionist looking down on her. Turn it down, dad. Wind it on, turn it down.

Ahead of her he came closer and closer, and she realised he was slowing, or she was still and he was riding backwards. He turned into the side and came off the motorbike like a falling tree.

‘What?’ she said, the word moving through her like the ocean’s sigh.

‘I thought it might be getting tough to ride for you now. The road wants us to take care of ourselves. Come in. Brake, brake, come in.’

She took the hand of the great pardoner and stepped off into his kingdom. Her princess dress nothing but the cobwebs blown through the early hours.

‘Lie down,’ he commanded. She followed after he did.

‘Enjoy,’ he commanded. She came first.

At first the grass tickled her, a thousand hands invading her, laying siege to the wall of her back. And then she closed her eyes, and the hands pulled back in deeply held respect.

She breathed in waves, feeling the rise, the crest – then exhaling the spume off the bare shore. Blowing the rolling hills back to the blue depths.

She felt the motions of the world, felt its pulse. As she breathed the ground beneath her feet breathed. A thousand giants below the surface, pounding anvils and raising steam, jumping, stretching, fighting and fucking. Each cough a storm, each sneeze volcanic.

No, just one, one behemoth, bearded and brawny, his hair the grass and trees, his beating heart the Earth’s core.

She saw through the soil, saw his rolling mad eyes, his tectonic fingers prying, probing, turning valleys to mountains. Then his eyes were the moon, two moons, except cast below deck by an intemperate God. Then whites go red, and the eyes were the twin cores of the Earth, still watching, still pulsating, melted blind and pupilless.

If only others knew the truth: that the rhythm of the world was the monster Gaia, the great, terrible wild man of all impossibilities. Wild man of the woods, the rocks, the deserts, the oceans; the mists in the sky his fogging breath.

 

All the time or none of the time. That’s how you live, that’s how you love. They lay side by side in the motherly guardianship of the stalking trees. Fingers so close. They could feel its each other’s existence, more aware than any two beings ever had been before. A devil’s angel and an angel’s devil.

 

She opened her eyes when the trees moved. She saw the eyes in the trunks, saw the nests of the damned, saw everything watching. A silent crowd watching, moving slowly in gnarled twitches.

She made a noise and her body sat her up. Somebody was still running the thing, while all those upstairs either lay in a stupor or were petrified like stone.

He sat up next to her, and she cried out again at this sudden zombie. She thought she was trembling all over, but when she looked at herself she was still. Her body looked alien to her. She swore there were eyes on her skin, looking at her through wrinkles, just out of sight. Mouths in the crooks of her arms laughing. And the corpse of him.

‘It’s okay,’ he said.

‘No it isn’t.’

‘You’re right, it isn’t. But it will be. You need to brave it out.’

‘Brave . . . what . . . out.’

‘The violet dark.’

 

She’d been running. She knew that from the sweat, from the punch of her heart, from the army drawing its breath inside her. But she couldn’t remember, not really; just a rush of shapes, crawling patches of darkness, bogs of the pitch-dark sky sucking at her feet.

Why had she ran? The eyes… the laughter, the chorus of the owls perched all around like the bloodhungry at the Coliseum. The birds on the branches examining her with surgical eyes, just rotten old plague doctors; they’d not seen any in some time. Watched by all parties as she made her way through this house of trees with stoned terror.

Now she was in a drunken, wheeling panic. She felt like a girl who had woken up in a room alone at a strange house, drugged and ripped, a foreign chatter above past sprawled corridors that never ended. A date gone foul.

She struggled to make sense of the panic, to take action on it, to exchange information body to brain and back. He was not there.

The first drops of the storm landed on her fingers, then her nose.

 

She slipped through the trees as the rain ate at their leaves. It was a chatter that continued to increase in volume, a party of souls with as much wine as they could drink.

She imagined she was on a ship, an old galleon with high masts. Reading the stars by the lamps of the owls. Guiding the vessel through a maze of rocks, hands dancing at the helm – the trees crowding in, coming at her left and right.

When she bumped into him and he put his hands on her she thought that maybe life had ended. Everything stopped for a heartbeat, a freeze frame. She thought of it as a photograph in a book of her life. A baby in her father’s arms. A child playing on the farm. A woman in the arms of the dead.

Her fist clawed at his head, and he tripped her up, sending her flat to the ground. Surely this was dying, she thought, but then he was there, his breath against hers, urging her that it was okay and stroking her hair as the rain came on.

 

The sky rent and gnashed, great holes appearing and reeling drunk like gaping portals to the black clutches of alien space. The air bellowed and screamed, swooping banshees in their ears and the ears of all creatures big and small.

I am drowning, she thought, and yet she breathed through the water, writhing in transformation to mermaid. The world was a waterfall, and it all came down.

They were offering themselves as a sacrifice to the storm, laid in a small clearing as trees melted around them and sank into the earth. She swallowed the rain and it filled her belly, and she wriggled in the mud like a fish.

Watch the world drip away

Drip drip drip

It all falls down

Every last bit

The heavens ripped open with atavistic savagery, some calling of primeval gods ending in their destruction and the birthing of their blood fouled sons and daughters.

A homicidal night, and watch as the spindral hands of God come down from on high, from the tears in the cloud – or the hands of that Gnostic demonking, spectral and skeletal, crooked and shining in the blue white of the newly dead. It reached out, darting and jagged, and fingered the holes in the earth.

She rolled on the ground, hands clutched over her head, and he lay prone yet soaked and trembling, half concussed and with asylum eyes. Mouths were opened and mouths were shut and –

All words were lost in the screech and holler.

 

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The Violet Dark opening extract #1

Greetings. For my first proper post… here is the first draft of the opening to my work-in-progress novel, The Violet Dark. The Violet Dark is  a ‘beautiful nightmare’, a hallucinogenic road thriller/horror. I hope you enjoy.

 

The violet dark

The horror’s heart

 

He found her crouched like a dog over the corpse of her father. He was cruising on violet and she appeared to him then an angel, hair so white it hurt his eyes and her own eyes bursting with life.

He knelt down beside her as she quivered. ‘What happened?’ he said, raising a hand to put on her shoulder and then thinking better of it, hovering it in the air.

She told him between coughs and cries that he had been murdered. He looked and saw the hole through the chest, the drying blood sticking to the tarmac.

‘Let’s get you off the road,’ he said, and she stiffened as his hand fell on her, but she allowed herself to be moved to the verge. She didn’t ask who he was.

He looked up and saw the moon blinking cold and yellow; greasy and indolent and huge. It seemed to dwarf the land, a zoomed in face with its pots and scars oiling the sway of the wind and leering down at him. An owl sat in a grand spike of a tree, eyes like headlights. He heard the hoot like a foghorn and the grass at his feet moved in moans and soft howls.

He closed his eyes and opened them again before the bursting brilliance began, before the violet could pull him deeper in. He found himself hugging the girl, rocking back and forth as far off he watched lights click on and off in the town, bathing the streets in their white-yellow pools. He could hear the clicks as well as if they were doors  closing right by him, though the town was miles away.

‘What was he doing out here?’ he asked, and silently smelt her hair. It smelled of incense and earth.

‘We – we heard a noise. He went to go see. He didn’t come back -’ She started sobbing again.

‘Easy,’ he said. He glanced at the farmhouse, a mountain in the moonlight, a fortress of shadow that whispered in creaks. He shivered and once more he heard the foghorn of the owl. He was always on the watch for shadows. They could come from anywhere.

The girl suddenly affixed him with eyes of a blue so radiant that he could have plucked them out and called them jewels. He moved his gaze down, fascinated, to the ruby red of her lips that lit up the jostling shades of her face. He stroked her back and swore his fingers passed through wings.

He gestured to his chopper, to the beast waiting to growl. ‘I was riding fast,’ he said. ‘I heard your cry in the dark. It was lucky I didn’t hit you.’

‘I wish you had.’

He shook his head empathically, and the trees blurred left and right. ‘Don’t say that.’ He shook his head again, admiring how the land became a melting pot yet her figure stayed constant, as perfect and still as an oil painting.

‘He was such a good man,’ she said, tears leaving her face in pearls and icicles. ‘He didn’t deserve this.’

He breathed in deeply, sucked sickly clamour and spice. He took out his hipflask and offered it to her. ‘Here, drink this.’

She trembled in her grief. ‘What is it?’

‘It’s a dream for a better world.’

She took it and sniffed at it. He knew the smell, just like the colour. The smell of violets. She drank.

‘We need to get you a bike,’ he said.

‘Get me one,’ she said.

 

She lay on the road looking up at the night. The man had gone to get a bike. She didn’t care, for the world was changing.

Time was slowing. The patches of darkness around her grew like children. Solidifying and looming, growing tall, growing fat, growing protective and malicious. From either side of the road black trees reached out their arms to pull her in.

Bursts of dark colour around her eyes, dull flashes with every blink. The mind winds down, pads softly, carefully, a cat through the bracken. She closed her eyes and felt herself sway and spin at the top of a spiral staircase. A jumble sale of shapes and ideas thrown and bouncing around her. Melting fragments, elliptical omens and geometrics cavorting like gypsies at a funeral.

She opened her eyes before she fell through the road and down into the depths. The stars glimmered soft and warm, coins of burnt gold scattering the heavens. The treasures called to her with such siren intensity, her body floating so light in its struggle to be free of gravity that she had to turn her head away from the sky before it pulled her up like a UFO abduction and swallowed her whole.

The violet kept on.

 

She was in a deep hollow of white – decorated in snowflakes, each pattern as sharp as knives, as skittery as spiders.

Feel the frogspawn as it swims the long silent lake of the soul. Twitching paddles breaking the divine lines. Flick. Twitch. Alien species find new holes to enter.

We feel fate… our hearts beat softly, so deadly softly, like a quivering fly… tears slide down the thrumming wall of blood. Oh, oh we feel fate alright. Father. Mother’s egg. We feel fate.

The mush of the brain eaten by the higher forces… gobbled spoons… lipsmacking by those that dwell beyond fate: monsters, monsters out to get you, just nothing and nobody.

Crocodile werewolves and nothing and nobody.

 

The road helps those who help themselves –

‘Can you feel it?’

She opened her eyes into a shrouded world. He stood over her, his grin leaked out, pulling its milky whites past the edges of his teeth, becoming lunar and painterly and yet with only a pinprick of a snarl it was ghastly in its Cheshire madness.

‘I can feel the dying calls of the dead,’ she said. ‘I can feel the beasts feeding on their new kill.’

‘The dead have instruments,’ somebody said.

A slow pluck at the world’s strings. A black note. Somewhere in the darkness something hatches.

My father is – who was he – fifty-two years –

‘You’re lying on the road. That’s not good.’

‘The world…’

‘Yes.’

Yes.

‘Get whatever you need,’ he said. ‘I got you a bike. Get your things and ride with me back to where I left mine.’

 

She swayed through the cruel corners of the house. Moving as if in a dream. Once familiar shapes foreign and lurking, waiting for their chance.  She tried to focus on the rest of her essentials. A toothbrush. Toothpaste. She grabbed them from the bathroom and tried not to look at the grotesque manikin that watched her from the mirror.

As she moved back through the ground floor she saw a figure standing quietly by the living room door. She shook her head and it sat down. Crossed its legs, saying I’ll be here if you need me. Not speaking, not even there, but time isn’t for the conscious, it isn’t for the rational. It isn’t for thinkers. It’s for the doers. It’s their king and it’s their world.

She left the front door wide to the night like an open mouth. She had her things and she had no idea how she had got them. Not like this. The house shuffled forward full of monsters and she ran to the bike and got on behind him and they drove off down the road, away from her life.

 

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