Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The Dead Are Coming: Death Hits The City, Part 2

Part 2

The boys, these jokers, looked back bemused. Or was it baffled? With hindsight, that look grabbed Daniel by the throat. It was terror. The crowd, already at capacity swelled towards the back, trying to evade whatever was eating away at its front ranks. As the crush briefly receded like the tide; ebb and flow, he could see there was nowhere to go. The danger upfront, thrashing it's way into the crowd, high concrete walls on two sides, and outward opening doors on the school side meant the weight of the rush just crushed into cold, unsympathetic inanimate brickwork and concrete. The back was last to be hit. Bodies under bodies.

Grabbing Alan and Matthew, and screaming something he'd never repeat correctly again, they rushed just ahead of the back of the panic. People began falling and pushing, the fight had become larger it seemed, a squall of fists and anger. A sea of blue became a melee, as the three boys pushed their way towards what Daniel hoped, was the one climbable wall. Three feet of concrete with a six foot wooden fence and some chain link contraption above that.

Monday, 13 November 2017

The Dead Are Coming: Death Hits The City

All in blue blazers, the class were subdued. Hunched over desks, dulled as beings now, no light fell on the poor souls in this hardest of winters. A sea of disinterest. Skies outside were grey, but the radiators were blazing, fighting the oppressive cold; unusually accurate timing by the school. This peculiar warmth was making the boys sleepy. Sleepier. This class were less interested than normal. Not only was the country gripped in fear of African Flu, but they were stuck in history class, which was far worse.

Through the window a few trees moved, slowly, and a lot of concrete didn't move at all; as Daniel remembered. A disinterested sky. The heavens don't care, whatever they told you at school. Particularly this school. Daniel could see down the hill, he thought, over the school buildings which stuck together like concrete cancer. A sterile landscape, robbed of personality. Maybe a man staggered by, maybe he didn't. It was hard to be sure now, his view hadn't been great. This stupid little school with its stupid teachers and Catholic bullshit, That was all Daniel really remembered of that part of that day. That and boredom.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Dead Are Coming: John and Stephen

The Dead Are Coming
John and Stephen

Prologue / Simone (parts one)

Two men stalked the side of the semi detached house, like burglars on the prowl. Fat, wrapped against the cold, unlikely burglars. It is daylight in the city, hardly burglary hour. Their method is similar to that of a thief, stay quiet and do not get caught. Although they are looking to take, it is not from the living. Quite what “living” is, these days, is open to debate. Depending on your disposition. The only conventional living people they have met are boarded up and shoo them off hurriedly; they’ve been meeting less of these people of late.

The other “alive” housing occupants wander their halls, decaying and trying to get out, bouncing angrily off their old life. Life. These houses should be treated with caution. Empty houses are better. Or houses with corpses which aren’t animate. There are dead outside the houses, too, walking. This is why they work at day. Danger from an animate assailant is another real concern, but one they’ve calculated. The men crawl silently up to the door and crouch by the letterbox. John is older than Stephen by ten years or so, making him around fifty. Both are physically imposing and sport heavy stubble. Stephen peeked through into the house.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Las Vegas: The Good, The Bad, The Weird

Exam Question


Las Vegas: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Las Vegas: The Good, The Bad and The Weird

The Good

Friday, 18 August 2017

Las Vegas: Can A Chad Swing My Vote?

Las Vegas Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
I’m back to swears. Forewarned is forearmed.

Boxing has been my staple while staying in Las Vegas. It has sustained me, given me meaning and distracted me from what Vegas appears to be. Despite all the fun I've had with the boys and things I've experienced which I wouldn't in the UK, as you've probably guessed, Las Vegas ain't somewhere I was built for. Except the weather. Man I love that heat. The guys (Josh and Asinia) had been getting up super early to do some training which sounded super good for them, but super boring for me. Despite being a boxing nut I have disabilities, and one of those is not giving a flying fuck if no punches or egg shaped balls are involved*. As well as not liking 5am.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Las Vegas: Boxing Baby!

Just for Nicky, this one has no swears in!

Las Vegas: First Impressions
Las Vegas: Jet Lag and Downtown

After what was honestly something of a disappointment that Vegas is not really for me, I felt had to move on. I'm here for two weeks. I’m aware I may have put the disappointment in slightly stronger terms in previous posts. I’d thought I might really like it, if I don’t know me by now, I never will. Which is a whole other problem I’ll deal with shortly after my last breath. So it was on, on, on to the next one.

The next one happened to be boxing, fortunately. The sole reason I’d come here, which was a consolation to me. I do not box, but then neither does Conor McGregor and that’s not stopping him coming to Las Vegas on a high. I also have a scheduled spar with Hollywood Josh. Which will be fun. Hellraiser, through Mickey’s connections, are encamped at Floyd Mayweather’s gym, which is pretty obviously a centre for excellence. Sam Fleetwood had a youngster called Tyler, lovely boxer, who took on an eleven year old with more belts than I own pants. That’s not a good comparison. But you get the idea, even the eleven year olds there are bastard good.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Las Vegas: Jet Lag and Downtown

I am now unbound by writing for work. So expect more expletives, and honesty. All my own opinion, with added grumpiness.

Our long walk on the day of arrival around the epicentre of the madness that is Las Vegas taught me that while the Strip is a marvel, it is not marvellous. I don’t like clubbing or shopping and it is essentially one huge hybrid of those things.

However, there’s plenty more to Las Vegas than the strip. I hoped. I had to hope. I was raised Catholic, it’s all we had, and it has stuck. Before I could explore beyond gaudy ground zero, though, I had to contend with a sore throat and a general overwhelming feeling of lethargy. I've never travelled 8 hours (and arguably 40 years) into the past before. We went to the gym we’d wandered into on the Thursday evening on Friday, and beforehand got some breakfast at a diner/ burger type place. I had already worked out that eating was going to be a problem for two reasons. Firstly, I have lost a stone and a half lately and would like to not undo that hard work; they put cheese on salads here. Secondly, and more importantly, due to the pound being weaker than a hospice tug ‘o’ war team everywhere is costly to eat. Everywhere.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Las Vegas: First Impressions

This was initially written for work, but for reasons which will become obvious, is now going out on my blog instead.

I’ve been to America before, twice. Once was a 6000 mile road trip round the south eastern states; it was amazing for many reasons. That I don’t drive was just one of them. New York in my early teens was fun, but New York is a lot like London, where I grew up. It was safe to say I had never been somewhere in America I have despised. Las Vegas is totally new to me though and the Hellraiser annual Las Vegas “sparring party” has been going out with Mickey Helliet since 2010. Mickey has been going since long before then, and has attended big fights out here. Sadly that’s not an option this time, but it offers a unique opportunity to both the boxers who benefit from sparring at Floyd Mayweather’s gym, and me, as a writer and boxing fan. I was extremely excited to be coming out here.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

The Space Between Trees

When my son went missing, I was horrified. How do people get lost in this day and age? He’d never been a tough kid, he played sports, sure. But he wasn’t a leader or a game winner. I wasn’t ashamed of this part of him, I should say. I wasn’t ashamed of that, because that part was what he got from me. He had his day, few tries here and there, occasional game where the other players, children really, would pat him on the back. That was pride, for us both. I suppose.

Not without his difficulty is kind. Is it kind? He has a bad mood. That’s not the right words. He has an inability to have consistent mood. In that sense he wasn’t normal. Isn't normal. I don’t think. He was like a ship in a storm, always struggling to rectify the ballast, to equalise. Always rocking, overcompensating. It was horrible to watch, hard to be around. It was awful to be around. He’d puff his chest out and go about his day but I could always see he wasn’t ok. What could I do though? He said he was fine.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Simone Part 5: The Dead Are Coming

Rancid, swollen, images of the dead she’d seen flashed at Simone through unconsciousness. Worse was those eyes. Piercing her every blink. Eyes suggesting life but full of death. Broadcasting the afterlife. The desperate, pleading eyes of her son. Asking her not to kill him. If there was a choice she wouldn’t have done. Simone cried herself awake. Linus was making food. It was dizzying bouncing from extreme to extreme. Although this routine she could get used to. How was it that this weird little man seemed so at home in the apocalypse. It’s so hard to look to the future when the past is ripping your heart out. This man had a plan. She didn’t have time to answer her own thought before he spoke.
“Hi. Did you sleep well?”

She half lied out of politeness, in the way English people do.
“Yes thank you. I needed that.”

Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Dead Are Coming: Simone, Part 4

Simone Parts 1 & 2 & 3 found on the numbers!

The two settled down in the main room. Linus prepared a simple meal for them of rice with mushrooms and herbs from the wood, salt and pepper. It was by far the best food Simone had eaten in days. Chocolate bars and crisps may last but they’ll only keep you going so long. Though he had those in abundance, too. He’d an air rifle which he hunted with, he said, so occasionally he’d eat rabbit or pigeon, maybe squirrel. Although he wasn’t too fond of squirrel, and he refused to shoot the red ones on an ethical basis which seemed out of place to Simone in the new world. The air gun was quiet, he explained, and the leftovers and innards the dogs would eat. Food was an issue for him, he had been hiding for a month or so, which was almost as long as the world had been in this shit. Another safety precaution. Simone wanted to know what drove him to such extreme safety.
“Oh come on. We all knew.”

Sunday, 14 May 2017

The Dead Are Coming: The Large Man

(The Dead Are Coming: Simone, will be back soon, as the story needs more work done in the next section. Believe it or not I have some standards. My Top Ten Horror Films will also be within the next week).

The Large Man is a short story from The Dead Are Coming, a sprawling novel (in Utero) about the living and the dead.

Over the radio, two male voices competed at being annoying.

“Yes, yes! And we’re back! That was the latest from Jizzy Jeff, big tune!”

“Love it bruv! Love it! My man and I are spinning until the sun comes up. Don’t go nowhere.”

“We ain’t going nowhere and I am GLUED I mean GLUED to this mic all night. We’ve plenty more coming, too. Hold tight.”

Music with a limited target audience continued to blare from the radio signal unendingly. If only. Everything ends.

Static. Mostly static.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Laudus Loves Horror! Top Ten Horror Films

If you’ve taken the time to read my writing, you’ve probably worked out I love horror. You may also (I hope) love it too. I’m not great at top ten lists, in that I’m a person for whom scoring a subjective thing such as film tends to know my opinion will change, and just isn’t regiment enough to stick at it. This is not a list of what I think the best made, most wonderful, genre altering horror films of all time are. It is not a history lesson in the genre either, it is personal. This is my list, picked entirely emotively, I can’t guarantee that this list would be the same in a few years, but then isn’t that the brilliance of film? I’ve tried to explain my reasons for each film. Effectiveness, influence and longevity are, I suppose, my criteria. As well as what each film means to me. In the twenty five years since I would scan the back of horror VHS boxes in the video store for grisly images, my love of gore remains intact, but an appreciation of the more subtle stuff has evolved. I’d love to know how people react to this as a top ten.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Dead Are Coming: Simone, Part 3

Simone followed the boy towards the woods, dogs at his heel, seemingly oblivious to the world. Although she knew better than that, now, thankfully. As they got into the woods, trees closing in, fear swept up Simone’s neck. The boy suddenly clicked into gear and pricked up. He knew the dangers of a crowded wood. Why had she thought them so safe, she wondered. The car’s protection, perhaps. A steel and glass illusion of safety behind which she made poor decisions. Like all cars, really, but in a world where poor decisions meant something else. You can’t smell the death in a car. In the woods death carried on the breeze.

Friday, 21 April 2017

The Dead Are Coming: Simone, Part 2

Simone: Part Two

Simone: Part One is available HERE

The petrol ran out quicker than Simone would have liked. Minutes, perhaps an hour? Who knew, moreover, it wasn't important anymore. The car coughed and slowed to coasting pace by the side of a field with long grass, leading to another wooded area in the distance. Simone was in an open space all of a sudden. It was pretty, actually. A good place to die. She had no idea where she was, it suddenly occurred to her, she had left without a map. In too much of a hurry to run away from everything. Improperly prepared was an understatement.

A guess would have been Surrey somewhere, maybe south of London, she hoped. Or had she headed away from London now? Simone had wandered, trying to keep off the “roads” and sneak in to wherever she was going. Fear and impulse. No maps, no preparation for this, it was the only time she’d not prepared in her life, and it was a mistake.

Monday, 17 April 2017

The Dead Are Coming: Simone Part 1

The Dead Are Coming

The car was not quiet as it tore recklessly down the country roads. She had seen no other cars, cars with people in them capable of driving for some hours now, anyway. How long had she been doing this? Ploughing forward unthinkingly. Days perhaps. The sun was her only gauge now and she’d not paid any attention to it. Every petrol station had been dark and fuel- less. Probably more cause to worry but no, no worrying now. The night was soon to begin turning into day and Simone’s eyes were bloodshot and tired. Physically bottomed out, emotionally torn. Fear and insanity had kept her going but her body was now telling her to stop. Just sleep until it gets light she told herself, but Simone knew what that would involve.

Friday, 14 April 2017

The Sad Story of Daralis Drewet

Many years ago, a King ruled from the land on which you stand to where the land meets the water in all directions. The man was a tyrant, a glutton and a man of moral turpitude. Not unlike other kings, and some queens, it could truthfully be said. This King, however, had a religious zeal which flew like a gale, and the consistency of conviction of a wind cockerel in that gale. Unfortunately the two do not mix well, and his favour fell where it fell depending on his mood and desires. This, combined with his absolute rule and power, led to the execution of thousands of his own people because of their differing beliefs in God, during his near forty year rule. Here follows the story of one of them, a young lady by the name of Daralis Drewet. A most interesting lady, who suffered a cruel and unusual end.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The Dead Are Coming: Simone (preview)

A teaser from the Dead Are Coming: Simone

This will be up in the coming weeks, across a few posts. There will be other stories and writing in the meantime.

Monday, 10 April 2017

The Dead Are Coming: Jim and the Old Man, Part 2

Part one of the prologue to The Dead Are Coming: Jim and the Old Man can be found:

Part Two

“How’s Jim?”

“Seems better.”

“We really should go and see him.”

“He don’t want to upset you. Give him time. What have you cooked?”

“Tinned spam, tinned peas and tinned custard.” Said Ethel proudly. The old man’s face writhed up in revulsion. Agnes noticed.

“The custard is for dessert.”

He still looked less than impressed.

“How much food have we got left?”

“Not much.”

Agnes leant over to whisper in the man’s ear.

“Between you and me it’ll be blessed relief when we have fewer mouths to feed.”

Agnes was definitely more in touch than she was letting on. This angered him. Maybe it was her way of coping, pretending to be dotty. Crafty old cow. What else was she hiding from him? Food maybe? He hadn’t been checking. Stupid old man, too nice. The three of them stood in the kitchen, staring blankly and silently at each other for a moment.

“Set the table for four, I think Jim will be joining us for dinner.”

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The Dead Are Coming: Jim and the Old Man Part 1

Nothing moves. Only the condensation on the glass. The frost trickles slowly downward. Drip. Drip. Run. All frosted. The cardboard covering the window is damp and sits poorly fixed, obscuring all but the tiniest light from outside, the world. An eye peers inquisitively through this portal. Outside it is dawn, cold and peaceful in appearance. The light is good and almost gives the impression of summer, except that the cold rivals it. Trees and branches, no leaves; no birds, no noise. Definitely no cars or people. Living people. The old man is peeping out still, squinting. Outside there is a young man. A young dead man, recently deceased and slowly shambling around seemingly aimlessly.

 If the cold could jump into his eyeball, it would. The window is barely a defence anymore from the onset of winter, it almost appears ice itself now. The old man’s face is tough, though, skin which couldn’t freeze in the tundra. An appearance which has said “come get me world” for decades. He is old for a reason. The old man is a survivor. His eye does not move from the young dead man outside. Although the world is well lit, the old man is comfortably hidden in his den. Dew glazes the grass, there is wind but not much. The world has been paused, seemingly. 

Friday, 31 March 2017

The Man Who Killed His Conscience

There once was a man, who, tired and downtrodden by his Conscience waiting for him when he got home, hatched a plan to kill it. He was not a bad man, but after years of coming in to round after round of questioning over his actions and decisions, decided his Conscience was not something he wanted. One day, just when his Conscience was in full swing and distracted, berating him over an insignificance earlier in the day, the man put both hands around its’ neck and choked the words and air from its’ throat.