The King #writephoto | Short Story

The grey clouds above us had begun to churn, rumbling and rocking over one another as we shivered. They were an omen, I thought, my knees knocking together in the air. They were an omen for our future.

The King.jpgUp ahead of us, our captors were murmuring to each other, gesturing first at us, and then over the hill to a point that we could not see. I shifted slightly, my chains grating painfully against my ankles, and glanced at the boy behind me. He must have been only nine or ten, his skinny arms limp at his sides and his face tinged with blue.

I wanted to offer some words of comfort to him, but I couldn’t find any to give. Then I heard the sound of approaching footsteps and I turned back to the front to see one of the guards marching down our ranks.

He was a tall man with a thick, black moustache that did not entirely hide his twisted smile. In his hand, he held the dreaded whip and was stroking it gently – almost lovingly.

“Walk,” he croaked, and I felt a tug on my chains as the prisoners at the front of the party began to march forwards. Again, I felt an excruciating pain against my raw ankles, and then it was my turn and I, too, was climbing the steep hill towards – or so it seemed – the clouds themselves.

At the top of the path, our party began to turn. Then I heard sighs and stifled sobs from the front, and the guard with the whip darted forwards to silence them. When I reached the top, I didn’t cry or gasp. My eyelids drooped slightly over the eyes that had become hard and stony. It wasn’t anything worse than I had been expecting, but it was eerie. There was no denying that.

the deadThe process was a long one. They led us into the gallows three at a time and, for every prisoner, they read out our shared sentence: this party has been found guilty of treason in the highest degree. Having plotted against our Lord the King, they are to hang by the neck until dead.

I thought of the King then. I hadn’t considered him since the day of my capture, but it all came back to me as I watched the guards toss away the bodies of my fellow prisoners. I thought of his malice and his demands, remembering how, on the day of his coronation, he had asked for a gift from each household. I remembered watching my daughter being dragged away from me, screaming as she was hoisted into the back of a van.

Back then, they had told us that she was to be made a slave, but I had never really believed that. My daughter was dead. They were all dead.

More bodies were being removed from the grass now and I took a couple of steps forward as the next three prisoners approached the gallows. What about the boy that now stood behind me? What could he have possibly done to insult the King? Perhaps he had thrown a stone at one of the guards as they had slaughtered his parents, or perhaps he hadn’t done anything at all. Perhaps he had been taken as a punishment to his family. It didn’t matter, though. Guilty or not, he didn’t stand a chance. There were to be no trials and no inquisitions. The King’s word was the law, and he had decided that we were to die.

I was at the front of the line now. I closed my eyes as the guard at my side thrust me forwards, leading me up some rough, wooden steps towards the gallows.

I did not resist. I only looked at the boy behind me, watching as the guards lowered the rope to his level. I didn’t take my eyes off of that boy the entire time. My eyes were fixed – resolute. After all, if this was to be my final moment on this earth, then I wanted to remember. I wanted to remember what our Lord had done.


Word Count: 696.

I hope you liked this #writephoto story. It was inspired by the weekly prompt challenge that is hosted by Sue Vincent. You can read all about it here.

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Dracula: A Thief’s Tale | Flash Fiction

“We shouldn’t be here,” Callie murmured, her eyes fixed on the window.

sunset2.jpg“The sun isn’t setting yet,” I soothed, but I knew that she could hear the falsity of my tone.

“Calm down, you two,” Bryn snapped from behind us. He was still shovelling treasure into his backpack, his eyes wide. “I don’t know what we’re gonna do with these old coins, but they’ll be worth hell of a lot.”

“He’s going to wake up!” Callie squealed.

I turned to her, but then stopped. From somewhere below us, we could hear the sound of a coffin being pushed open.


Word Count: 99.

As some of you may already be aware, I have been recently been rereading Bram Stoker’s Dracula (check out my review here). So, when I looked at this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt, which could arguably be a sunset, how could I not think of the terrifying Count Dracula? I have absolutely loved reading this book and honestly cannot get it out of my head, so you’ll have to excuse this little bit of vampire fiction!

If you’re interested in the Friday Fictioneers prompt, it is a weekly challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields that asks its participants to tell a story in only 100 words or less. You can read all about it here. Thanks for reading, and remember to click on the blue Inlinkz button below to view more stories based on this prompt.

Picture Credit: Dale Rogerson.

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The Caged Warlock | Flash Fiction

The soft clinking sounds of the windchimes should have been soothing, but they weren’t. They were chilling.

“He won’t take his eyes off me,” I muttered, looking everywhere but at our prisoner.

“He’s tied up,” my companion hissed, though he, too, looked uncomfortable.

“I just wish the others would hurry up with that truck,” I sighed, my eyes scanning the area. “We need to get him away from here before-”

I had been desperately trying not to look at our captive, but as my eyes darted through the trees, I caught a glimpse of his cage.

It was empty.


Word Count: 99.

This little piece of fiction was inspired by the Friday Fictioneers prompt challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-FieldsThanks for reading! You can click on the InLinkz button below to view more pieces of flash fiction based on this prompt.

Picture Credit: Liz Young.

My Monday Message – 09/07/18

Welcome to another of my Monday Message posts! Our quote for this week comes from a book that I am currently reading (not for the first time): Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

“I am all in a sea of wonders. I doubt; I fear; I think strange things, which I dare not confess to my own soul”  –  Bram Stoker, “Dracula”.

My Monday Message 3When looking for a motivational quote, most people wouldn’t turn to Dracula. It’s a gothic text and, as a result of this, it’s pretty gruesome. Nevertheless, there are some really beautiful quotes in this book, some of which I really admire. This particular quote appears very early on, when Jonathan Harker first begins to suspect that the mysterious Count Dracula may not be quite… normal.

This isn’t exactly a positive moment in Dracula, but I really love this quote, so I’ve decided to turn it into a source of motivation. So, here’s my message for the week: stop thinking that everything has to be black and white! Harker can’t understand what is happening around him, and although that terrifies him, it also seems to excite him. The unknown can be terrifying, but it can also be wonderful. When we “think strange things”, we’re allowing our imagination to take over, and our imagination is everything – especially if you’re a writer! So, that’s my message for the week: remember that it’s okay to not know everything. Embrace the unknown, and relax.

The Sign of the Artificial Leg | Flash Fiction

“Faster, Watson! We must be right on his tail now!”

The two detectives tore through the town centre, their heavy coats flying out behind them as they ran. In front of them, the small, droopy-eared spaniel was beginning to slow, his nose pressed against the ground.

“Ah,” said Holmes.

The spaniel had come to an abrupt stop. Beside him, stood an artificial leg.

The spaniel was wagging its tail, looking between Holmes and Watson as if waiting for praise.

“He took it off?” Watson asked, but Holmes didn’t answer. Watson understood, though.

They had followed the wrong scent. Again.


Word Count: 99.

Inspired by the weekly Friday Fictioneers challenge, this little piece of flash fiction was based (very roughly) on Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four. This Sherlock Holmes story is one that I am currently reading, and it really is gripping. It was the first thing that I thought of when I looked at today’s prompt, as a large portion of the story centres around a man with a wooden leg!

Thanks for reading, and remember to click on the InLinkz button below to view more stories based on this Friday Fictioneers challenge!

Picture Credit: J Hardy Carroll.

Blind Trust | Flash Fiction

“Don’t look!” my companion hissed from beside me. She spoke with such a ferocity that I momentarily lost my balance.

“What are you talking about?” I demanded, steadying myself. “I’m blindfolded! All I can see is darkness.”

She snarled softly, nudging me a little to the left as a way of directing me.

“This isn’t what I had planned,” she said after a while. “Anyone could be out here. It’s not that late yet and, Cassie, I’m glowing.”

I didn’t know what to say to this, so I stayed silent, concentrating on my footsteps.

“It’s hard to explain,” she added, prodding me in the stomach so that I turned further to the left. “I wish I could tell you what’s happening, but it’s hard. There are rules.”

“It’s fine,” I murmured, reaching for her hand. “I don’t need to know. You’re finally going home. That’s all that matters.”


Word Count: 148.

This little piece of fiction was inspired by the weekly prompt challenge hosted by Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. Thanks for reading!

Picture Credit: Michelle De Angelis.

Reading Challenge: July 2018

July 2018.jpg

Well, June is now over and, after yesterday’s wrap-up, it is now time for me to set some new reading goals for July. Last month, I chose five books for my reading challenge, which I think was a good number. I didn’t quite manage to finish Dracula, though (it is quite long, after all), so I’ve decided to make finishing that a part of this month’s challenge. I’ve also chosen four new books (as before, I want to alternate between books that I want to read for pleasure, and those that I will be studying next year).

Image result for dracula one world classics#1 – Dracula by Bram Stoker.

Regarded as one of the most influential horror stories of all time and the inspiration for countless literary spin-offs, the tale of the young Englishman Jonathan Harker’s journey into the very heart of Count Dracula’s evil realm remains a compelling read to this day. A thriller of hypnotic power, a dark exploration of sexuality, mythology and the paranormal, and a plain old-fashioned masterpiece of storytelling, the nightmarish saga of Dracula is one of the enduring classics of supernatural fiction.

Image result for my mother's secret sanjida key#2 – My Mother’s Secret by Sanjida Kay.

Lizzie Bradshaw. A student from the Lake District, forced to work away from home, who witnesses a terrible crime. But who will ultimately pay the price? Emma Taylor. A mother, a wife, and a woman with a dangerous secret. Can she keep her beloved family safely together? Stella Taylor. A disaffected teenager, determined to discover what her mother is hiding. But how far will she go to uncover the truth? And one man, powerful, manipulative and cunning, who controls all their destinies.

Image result for the coral island#3 – The Coral Island by R. M. Ballantyne.

Ralph Rover is a traveller at heart, and has always dreamed of shipping out to the South Seas islands. He finally convinces his ageing parents to let him go and find his way in the world. But the islands that Ralph finds are not as idyllic as in his dreams. Shipwrecked on a large, uninhabited island, Ralph and his fellow survivors, Jim and Peterkin, discover a world of hostile natives and villainous pirates. Danger, high adventure, and wonders of the sea greet them at every turn. When all seems lost, they find help from an unexpected source.

Image result for the pharmacist's wife#4 – The Pharmacist’s Wife by Vanessa Tait.

When Rebecca Palmer’s new husband opens a pharmacy in Victorian Edinburgh, she expects to live the life of a well-heeled gentlewoman. But her ideal is turned to ashes when she discovers her husband is not what he seems. As Rebecca struggles to maintain her dignity in the face of his infidelity and strange sexual desires, Alexander tries to pacify her so-called hysteria with a magical new chemical creation. A wonder-drug he calls heroin.

Related image#5 – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

Mary Shelley’s deceptively simple story of Victor Frankenstein and the creature he brings to life, first published in 1818, is now more widely read – and more widely discussed by scholars – than any other work of the Romantic period. From the creature’s creation to his wild lament over the dead body of his creator in the Arctic wastes, the story retains its narrative hold on the reader even as it spins off ideas in rich profusion.