Welcome to A Literary Life

I did something today that I have been thinking about for a while now.

I changed my name!

By that, I mean that I changed my blog’s name. It’s goodbye to A Writer’s Beginning and hello to A Literary Life.

Why have I done this?

Basically, I felt as though my old title wasn’t really working for me. I do still see this blog as my beginning as a writer but, for a while now, I have been using it to post other things, too, such as book reviews and poetry analyses. All of this is a part of my journey as an aspiring writer, but I’ve been worrying that it all seems a little too confusing.

This blog is my literary blog, so why shouldn’t I just call it what it is?

I hope you like the new name! Let me know what you think (and don’t worry – I’ll still be posting all of the same stuff, from bits of flash fiction and sometimes longer stories, to book reviews and the occasional, literature-related rant).

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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.

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.

Clutter

“I don’t understand the problem.”

“Well, it’s just clutter, David. Can’t you see that?”

It was Friday; David wasn’t sure how, but, somehow, he’d made it to the end of another week. He was now standing with his wife in the spare bedroom, his eyes narrow.

That morning, he’d snapped. The crumpled resignation letter had finally been handed in and the final paycheck had been collected. Then he had marched around the corner and, finally, he had done it.

He’d created his own music room.

“This clutter,” he snapped at his wife, “happens to be my life.”


Word Count: 97.

This little piece of flash fiction was inspired by the Friday Fictioneers prompt from the lovely Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Check out the rules here.

I’m not sure why, but I found it really difficult to keep to the word count this week (more than usual, anyway). Perhaps this picture is just particularly thought-provoking!

Thanks for reading! You can click on the Inlinkz button to the right to view more interpretations of this week’s prompt.