When John Harris saw the swastika, his hand clenched until the knuckles turned white. He imagined some jumped-up little gobshite coming here in the dead of night, giggling while he drew this monstrosity. The sheer disrespect made his teeth grate. Salford Lads Club used to be a place of hope. Windows were now cracked or faded and the brick work was rotting. The painted roses that once hung proudly above the door were chipped away. The Dangerous Building sign completed a tarnished picture of childhood memories. A place of gymnasiums in the evening and choirs in the morning. Knitted scarves and free meals at Christmas. Eighty years of breaking his back and he’d returned to a miscreant paradise. John gripped the railings, took a breath and turned away. Continue reading “Bluebirds”
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a published author, and I’m pleased to announce my latest short story Shadows At Dawn has been published by Hyperion and Theia. The story is part of an anthology called Volume One: Saturnalia, which is also the inaugural edition for the publisher. The anthology features several stories around otherworldly themes.
After reading through Guadalajara, a short story collection by Catalonian author Quim Monzó, I’ve come to the conclusion that people can be bastards. Uncaring, fickle, hypocritical bastards. The short story collection features historical figures like Robin Hood, William Tell and Odysseus, and it’s often the people they try to save who turn on them. They take the form of the poor folk who exploit Robin Hood’s obsessive need to bring justice until they become the very monsters he fights against. Or, a family who religiously cling to their traditions of cutting off their fingers.
The ceiling rumbles, weary with the weight of desperate men. Their hatred is powerful, focused with such ferocity I wonder if it alone will be enough to tear through the roof of the bunker. They serve a Meshugener’s dream. This war has taught me it’s become harder to separate the mad from the wise. I should be terrified, but how much death can be faced before even the scent of burnt carcasses leaves behind nothing but jadedness? All the terror I’ve left to spare is for my people, huddling in the bunker, relying on me to see them through until the morning. But we will find freedom, we’ll never surrender to the likes of men who would turn us into animals.
Gaudy spires tore at the sky, tore at creation until the air splintered. They drained the colour from the sky till it was little more than an ashen pall. The buildings, monuments to man’s ingenuity offend the sky. They offended Saul as he ran. He gazed upon the cosmos as the rain hammered down. The rain flayed him as punishment for his crimes. Saul knew he wasn’t the only victim. The rain punished all who were caught.
Waves lapped at the shore while rain fell from a slate grey sky. Half of Brighton was still asleep. Niamh found she preferred the quiet. She wandered down the beach, hands in the pockets of her grey satin overcoat, her shoulders hunched against the cold. The salt spray in her face was a bitter reminder of days long past. She owed it to herself to make the walk, to hold on to the good it would do. Wind swept through her chestnut hair as she strolled along the shore, pebbles crunching beneath her feet.
The crowd was large, but it didn’t stop me getting to the front. (The thing I’ve noticed about this generation is your obligation to step aside for anyone who looks over the age of 60. We’re not all three steps away from a heart-attack I’m pleased to inform you) I shuffled in between a young lady with spiky blonde hair and a man holding a little girl high on his shoulders.
Over the weekend, I appeared on Hannah’s Bookshelf, which plays on North Manchester FM every Saturday. Hosted by Hannah Kate, the show is about the world of writing and publishing. Hannah runs an independent press called Hic Dragones, and it was a pleasure to go on live radio for the first time.
The artist begins his life like the rest of society; that is to say he begins it with an aspiration he does not yet understand. The desire to create is there, but the seeds of consciousness are waiting to be sown. He starts off in an uncommon home to a middle class couple who want their child to excel.
Establishing yourself as a writer can be hard, whether you’re trying to publish a novel or gain a following. Endless drafts pile up and the editing process can lead to sleepless nights. So, when there’s a platform to promote your work then you have to make the most of it. This was the case when I appeared on Whisky And Words, a new podcast dedicated to helping writers who are trying to establish themselves.