Monday, 27 March 2017

"Eight month long panic attack"

"Eight month long panic attack"

Breath quickens in the morning and I reach for the news
Inject hypodermic dismay
Scramble thoughts. Palms sweat. The human body can only maintain a panic attack for twenty minutes, but how long can a country last?
Sharkbite future, razor blade clouds. The last great modern poet hadn't been born yet. Where is the punk soul? Where is the jazz? Who will be the last angry voice?
Inject. Read the news. Fill your brain. Breathe. Remember to breathe. Do we have a date yet? Breathe. Breathe.
You can't remember the time before. The faces are mist and strangers surround you. Your voice breaks and your throat is a balloon full of cotton wool. You try to demand "who is in charge here?" But nobody answers. Nobody. Silence. Empty. Breathe. Breathe.
Strangers surround you. You still can't inhale. Inject. Hypodermic. You close your eyes and they blur into a haze. It hasn't made sense since David Bowie died.
You push the box cutter to the skin on your wrist and hope you can get through another ten minute.
You don't know where you're going. You don't know who is at the wheel. Don't cry, just breathe.
You look around at old skyscrapers the height of broken dreams and your fingers twitch, because you want to grab a tin of paint and set the country alight with a burning new shade. Breathe. Don't fall. Don't fall off the edge. Don't fall. Breathe.
And you can't catch your breath, because you know it isn't over.
Because It's only October, you're only four months into this eight month long panic attack.

Friday, 17 February 2017

"Everyone agrees that you are the world authority on Ugarite cuneiform script, Dr. Soureid."

Dr Lilah el Soureid studied the tablet with knotted brows, her right hand moving aimlessly about inn search of a pen or cigarette. "Good grief" she muttered, "will you look at that thing."

"We believe it represents Dagon, who was patron god of the city."

"It's certainly Dagon. Text looks like a pretty standard devotional. I'll go through it, of course. But you have to wonder, don't you? Half human, holding ears of corn, half fish."

"My own theory is that it represents the food supply, over which Dagon had total control."

"And the severed heads?"

"He also granted victory in war, Dr. Soureid."

"He's sure a cheery-looking fellow."

"Of course, no interpretation we make today can really tell us what the ancient people believed."

"Of course." Dr. Soureid's eyes lingered over the script. "Never fear, Mr. Feldham," she said at last, "I'll have the world's most authoritative translation for you in the morning."

Once Feldham was gone, she got up off the uncomfortable stool and wandered round until she found some coffee. Guy gave her the creeps. Then again, anyone with that mind of money who'd use it to sponsor a dig into the backwoods of Syria and fly in experts like her would have to be just a little creepy.

Like all really ancient things, the tablet seemed somehow incredibly real to her. It had lain deep in the earth for three millennia. We can't even make buildings that hold together for more than a decade, she thought. The tablet lay against the white laminated surface, surrounded by all of the accouterments of modern archeology. Truth be told, it was the face that disturbed her. Eyes, mouth and nose distorted into a grimace that seemed so... miserable, yet glad at the same time. Glad that he could share his suffering. It was a superb piece of craftsmanship.

But the little chisel marks below the sculpture held the real story.

"Dagon, creator of life and bringer of death," she read, "Spare us that we may serve thee." Yeah, pretty standard for the whole region pre-Christianity. They believed human beings had been created as slaves for the gods. "We bow to you and cut our hands to you and bring unto you our parents and children, the old and the young, and - who's there?"

She spun around, nearly tipping herself over, but the room was empty. She had been absolutely certain that Feldham was behind her, repeating her words in the faintest whisper. But the door was closed, the room empty. After an uneasy couple of moments, she turned back to the idol.

"You who salt the water, making it... undrinkable, you who salt the fields, making them barren-"

She was hearing something. Maybe a whisper of air through the ducting, or the rasp of her clothes because it seemed close. If it had been Feldham, he'd have to be pressed against her, whispering as he leaned over her shoulder staring at the hideous idol, whispering.

Dagon, who -

A chill raced down her spine. She could hear the voice in her head. For the first time in three thousand years, a mortal was hearing one of the lost tongues of Mesopotamia and she somehow understood each and every word.

Lord of thy life and thy death. Bow to me and cut thy hands to me and bleed to me -

Without thinking, she reached a trembling hand for her coffee mug, but her fingers, directed by a will not her own, closed on the diamond saw instead.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

A turbo-boosted start to 2017!

Things have been quiet on this front for a while, so let's share some exciting news.

2017 is shaping up to be off to a strong start! Let's have a run-down of what's going on!

In January, I lead a workshop on "Symbolism in writing - recognising the social constructionism in contemporary fiction and its origins in mythology", which was a truly massive success. We had a huge turnout, and after a presentation our attendees put together some fantastic examples of short fiction!

February (specifically next week) brings our Valentine's Day event. Last year's was a complete treat, and this year looks to be raising the bar even higher. I'll be presenting "Broken Glass", my short LGBT love story presented on my last post, so feel free to grab that as a sneak peek!

March is going to be fantastic. I've been invited to take part in a satire event, In this politically active time, satire becomes especially sharp. I'll be presenting my own piece which I'm working hard on at the moment, called "Internet Radicals - pwnage, fragile masculinity and small penises", which explores the manner in which young white men are indoctrinated into extremism by online culture. Sure to be a great event!

May is going to be a fun one. I'll be renewing the contract for publication of my LGBT coming of age comedy "Diary of a Gay Teenage Zombie", and what better way to do so than releasing a special edition? With more content, additional subplots, new characters, this is going to be the definitive volume. Pre-orders coming soon, so stick around! (Remember, you heard it here first)

This isn't the only book to get a new format. The comedy erotica series "Tales of Monsterotica" are hitting a new publisher this year as well. With enough sexy fun to make the Carry On cast blush, books one and two are due out in July and October respectively!

And no date on this one, so it's strictly Coming Soon at this point - "Scrolls of Etheria", the fantasy epic set inside the digital world of an MMORPG, is due to finish its lengthy editing process. This one's been a right chore to manage, being a huge brute of a book with a page count that rivals any doorstop fantasy novel. Once completed, each copy sold will raise money for charity.

That's a hell of a lot for this year, and it's fantastic to see all the hard work that I've been pushing now really paying off. Stick around for even more in the future!