Scarborough Fair

The last swirls of colour hung steadfast in the sky, grasping at the bottoms of the clouds and fighting the encroaching dark of the night. Between us, we gave them a nod and whispered appreciation for their fading beauty, before we surrendered our attention to the coming assault on the senses, and stepped over the makeshift threshold of sheet metal and concrete.

Wood smoke, hot oil, sugar and starch. Floodlights and flashing bulbs. Chattering, screaming, whoop and holler above the thud-thud-thud and growling hum of music and machine.

We made careful steps through the crowds – the many rivers of people with their contrarian currents, criss-crossing paths and sudden stops to bark commands at however many of the several children bobbing and weaving their own ways through the throng – to find our targets.

To stopper the grumble of stomachs, we splashed out on food (the classics, the gentrified, and the straight-up outlandish) scraping at the Styrofoam whilst lurking in the second-hand warmth of the serving hatches and trailer doorways.

To defy the odds, we surrendered our newly acquired coppers to the will of rubber ducks, coconuts and the grip of the claws. The eventual plush trophy most likely paid for twice over.

And to tempt fate, we took on the machines, to be spun and shook and launched. Hands finding hands, heads resting on shoulders. Laughter, screams, whispers.

And in between the spiralling chaos of the waltzer, we marvelled at the raven-haired girls who stepped on and off the walkways and arms with an effortless grace. Sirens that harmonised as they walked against the tide, to spin the cars. An old folk song. Their calling card.

Spun-drunk and enchanted, we stepped off the wrong way, and found ourselves elsewhere. Lost in amongst tent-backs, bins, and generators. Backstage to the theatre of the fair, with all the noise and light curtained off from us.

Alone in a sea of people.

Eyes lost in eyes.

Devious smiles.

Arms wrapping around each other, squeezing at the padding of layers in winter.

A stolen kiss.

Cold-numbed lips warming against each other. The rub of stubble. A crystal of Caster.

The already quietened world fading to a whisper. Only the siren-song to fill our heads.

An eternity, with no end in sight.

A sudden yell, and we broke apart.

Two tents down, a young man dove forward, bent double, unleashing a belly full of cider and chips, emptied onto Mike Ashley’s finest.

We were gone before we could be seen. Out amongst the throng, back in formation and hyper-aware, with blood pounding in our ears.

And as the adrenaline died away, the warmth sparked up inside of us, again.

The taste on each others lips.

The brush of fingers as we walked.

And on the air, distant but clear.

The sirens of the waltzer, singing of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme…


The Morning After the Night Before.

I know I said I was going to draw all these but this picture was perfect and I couldn’t do it justice with my useless clown fingers.

This is a continuation of one of my stories from last year which you can find here: FEAR IS MOSTLY IN YOUR HEAD. MOSTLY. 

‘Time is on my side, yes it is’

Jamie started awake to a blackness so deep that it took him several seconds to realise he had his eyes open. It pressed in on every side. He felt it crawling down his throat with each shallow, panicked breath. It was forcing out the air, smothering him, he was drowning in darkness.

‘Time is on my side, yes it is’

The sweet, soulful voice of Irma Thomas came again, a lifeline in the all-consuming black. Jaime struggled to sit up his head swivelling from side to side trying to locate the source of the music. He felt weak as a day-old kitten, his arms and legs heavy and his thoughts muddied and slow. The music was muffled like it was playing in the next room.

‘Now you all were saying that you want to be free’

Carefully Jamie reached out with his hands he felt rough cloth underneath him, damp in places, soft and springy to the touch; some kind of bed? He turned slowly to his right and dangled a leg off the side and felt the cold stone floor under his bare foot. After a few moments when he felt his strength begin to return Jamie got up off the bed and shuffled forward waving his hands around in front of him. After a few steps, he met a wall of undressed stone.

‘But you’ll come runnin’ back (I said you would baby)’

Jamie wasn’t sure if his hearing was getting sharper to make up for his lack of sight, but the music sounded closer. His breath came in short gasps, and it took all of his will to not let the claustrophobia overwhelm him as he felt his way to the left along the wall. After a few feet, Jamie found another wall, and he followed it until it vanished leaving him standing in an open doorway.

‘You’ll come runnin’ back (like I told you so many times before)’

The sound was coming from somewhere to his right. Jamie cautiously stepped out of the doorway and turned in that direction. As soon as he turned the corner, the smell hit him like a tidal wave of filth. It was the choking stench of death and shit overlaid with the burning chemical smell of bleach. Jamie wavered for a second. He really didn’t want to go into the room but what choice did he have? He needed to get out.

‘You’ll come runnin’ back to me, yeah’

After a long minute building his courage Jamie started forward one hand out in front waving from side to side, one arm bent masking his face in the crook of his arm. The oily darkness pressed in on all sides leaving a film of filth on every inch of him, but he pressed on regardless. Jamie was a dozen shuffling paces into the room when his shin crashed painfully into something hard. He tipped forwards reaching for his bruised shin, spots dancing before his eyes, but his hands stopped short pressing down on something soft, spongy and wet.

‘Time is on my side, yes it is’

It was a bed like the one he’d woken up on, all rough, cloth and protruding springs, only something was different there was something soft and wet. He ran his fingers over the bed trying to puzzle out what it was he was feeling. Soft but with an undercurrent of firmness, then something hard and metallic, a loop then… With a yell, he snatched his hand back like he’d thrust it into a fire the bile rising in his throat. Beneath the loop of steel was the cold, wet foot of a decomposing corpse.

‘Time is on my side, yes it is’

Jamie’ heart pounded, and he heard his blood rushing in his ears. He lowered himself to a crouch and feeling his way around the bed, careful not to touch its gory contents, he crept further into the room. He encountered three more beds but kept low and moved around them quickly. For the first time, he was glad of the darkness because judging by the smell those beds too were occupied. When his hands eventually hit upon the rough stone of the far wall he collapsed in a heap, curling up in a ball and sobbing like a child.

‘You’re searching for good times but just wait and see
You’ll come runnin’ back (I said you would darling)
You’ll come runnin back (spend the rest of life with ya baby)
You’ll come runnin’ back to me’

As the chorus wound down Jaime’s sobs became less frequent and wiping his face on his sleeve, he forced himself back to his feet. “You can do this Jamie,” he whispered into the darkness. “You got in here so there must be a way out. Just take it one step at a time, one step at a time.”

‘Go ahead baby, go ahead, go ahead and light up the town’

Jamie reached out and found the wall, he moved to his right his soft hands bloodied by a myriad of cuts from the rough stone. He came across no way out before he hit the corner of the room. With increasing urgency he retraced his steps moving back left using both hands now sliding up and down. “There has to be something there has to…” He stopped dead as his hand his something long and hard. Hope flared in his chest and he explored the anomaly with both hands it was tall and made of wood covered in flaking paint. It was his salvation, a way out of this hell-hole, a door. He tugged on the handle, but the door remained closed. It was locked.

‘And baby, do anything your heart desires’

Jamie tugged uselessly a the handle but it stubbornly refused to budge. He ran his hands over the door again hoping for a window or any way through but he found nothing. Frustrated Jamie took a step back then slammed his shoulder hard into the wood only to bounce back, clattering into the bed behind him which let out a deafening screech as the steel legs scratched across the stone floor.

‘Remember, I’ll always be around’

Jamie reached out to lever himself up using the frame of the bed but as he did the welding gave way and the pole hit the ground with a sharp crack. Jamie spun groping for the pole and when his hands closed on it he braced his feet against the side of the bed and pulled. The bed screeched like a stepped on cat and the pole came loose. Rod in hand Jamie leapt to his feet and jammed it into the frame of the door where it stuck with a crack of splintering wood. Leaning into the makeshift lever Jamie pushed with all his strength and with a groan of protest the door popped open, the lock snapping through the frame.

‘And I know, I know like I told you so many times before’

Jamie felt a rush of air from in front of him and tears of relief sprang into his eyes. He could hear the distant whoosh of traffic and the steady patter of rain on rooftops. He was free. On unsteady legs, he ran towards the sounds only to pull up short only a couple of steps out of the door. His vision flashed white and he was falling as he heard an almighty snap as the jagged teeth of the bear trap sank into his leg so deep they buried themselves in the bone.

‘You’re gonna come back’

Jamie flung his head back to scream but before any sound came out he felt a gloved hand clamp over his mouth and the sharp sting of the needle sliding into his neck.  “Where are you going Jamie?” came the familiar voice, a ghost brushing his cheek. “You’re time isn’t up.”

‘Yeah you’re going to come back baby’

Jamie slumped to the floor the darkness rushing into the hole left by the syringe, filling him, smothering his consciousness. “Why?” He managed to force out the question but the darkness swallowed him before he got an answer.

‘Knockin’, yeah knockin’ right on my door, yeah’

Jamie started awake to complete darkness. He felt familiar rough cloth underneath him, damp in places, soft and springy to the touch. He was back in his bed. He reached out to rub his eyes, but his hand stopped short. He felt the bite of the steel handcuff cutting into his wrist. He screamed, but his voice was smothered by the soulful voice of Irma Thomas.

‘Time, time, time is on my side, yes it is, I said’
Time, time, time is on my side, yes it is, I said
Time, time, time is on my side’

A Construct of Human Perception…

Well that’s month one down and by Jove, have they knocked it out the park this time! Given a few hours to play with the voting page, you’ll be able to vote for your favourites and talk about your enemies and whatever arty people do…

Onto this month’s writing challenge! I was discussing with a dear confident that there’s not enough time to do things and how time waits for no man, before eagerly waiting for time to pass so I could go for a weekend away with the lovely one, at some point I started looking into the idea of a class for DnD that plays with time.


The writers have one simple yet large stimulus for this month’s writing challenge. Time. Discuss it, slag it off, let it wile away whilst you think of an idea. Whatever you do, just don’t run out of it!

As always, your example piece.


Time After Time

She closed her eyes, took him by the hand, and they walked away forever.

The final words felt like an eternity as she typed the ending sentence of the novel and closed the document. Glancing at the violently red digital clock slicing through the darkness on the edge of her desk, she could see it was 04:32am and that she had broken another promise. She closed the laptop and padded gently to the kitchen to grab a glass of milk before ascending the creaky staircase to the bedroom where she could already hear him in deep sleep; the broken promise didn’t feel so bad knowing that she would have to kick him to stop the snoring…

The Writer gently pushed the door open, though forgot about the small dog and it’s ability to find the most inconvenient of sleeping spaces and the silence was broken by a sharp yelp as the poor Westie was awoken from his dream of finding the biggest bone a dog had ever seen; but that’s a story for another time.

“Barchimedes, sic ‘em.” The bass heavy half asleep voice gently called from the other side of the room. The pint sized patrolman jumped up from behind the door and excitedly slalomed between The Writer’s legs as she tried not to stand on him. The Musician, no longer testing the patience of the sleeping world, sat up rubbing his eyes.

They were an unexpected pairing. She was slim and beautiful, with an air of grace to her that covered her immaturity only briefly. He was rounded and clumsy but had a heart that meant well, though covered with a half pretence of menace. Barchimedes was just adorable.

“Did you finish it?” He asked in the darkness. She didn’t need the light to see the half sloping grin on his face as he looked her way, it was there every time; without fail.

“You’re meant to be asleep,” she chided, though with a smile backlit by the hallway lamp so he didn’t panic.

“I was, until some nefarious ne’er-do-well tried to break in and steal the family heirlooms.” He lay back down and waited for her to join him, waiting for the sarky comment.

3 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 1…

“They’re not family heirlooms until they’re past down, y’eedjit.” She seemingly glided across the room and slid under the duvet and remembered on of the reasons she kept him around; the furnace heat was luxurious in comparison to the autumn chill in the study. And so she slept…

Their fingers intertwined, like the teeth of two cogs running side by side in the old pocket watch.

The Musician sat on the end of the bed, Barchimedes sat vigilantly by his side with as pride as a short Westie Terrier could. The only noise in the room, other than the gentle thrum of the heating was the tick of pocket watch he held in his hand.

“She’ll be in a minute, boy. Stop fretting, it’s going to be okay. We’ve prepared for this. Will you straighten your tie! Oh I know you’re a dog, quit reminding me.”

The door latch echoed up the stairwell and the two took their positions.

“You in?” She called from downstairs.

“We’re upstairs! Got a surprise for you.” He called back, brushing his shirt and hair into some sort of tamed affair.

A few seconds pasted and the bedroom door opened. She stood in her usual work clothes, the ones she liked herself in but wouldn’t say she looked anything special by, yet the smile on his face and the bouncy dog at his side contradicted the thought entirely. He held out the pocket watch and dropped to one knee.

“So erm, want to run away with me and never look back?”

She could see in his face he was trying his upmost hardest to pull off the John Belushi puppy dog eyes. She saw the flowers surrounding the walls, all whites and yellows; her favourite colour. She could see the ring missing in his hand…

“Aren’t you meant to offer a girl a ring?” She said, placing her hand on her hip and looking mock offended.

“Okay, hear me out before you turn and leave,” the puppy dog eyes had widened to fox in the headlights. “A ring is great and all, and you can hand that down to your kids when they’re older…”

“Oh we’re having kids now?” The foot gently starting to tap in mock frustration.

“Just shut up and listen will you? You can give a ring to your kids when they’re older but then you’ve got to stop wearing it or be dead so they get it afterwards. It’s all a little complicated so I spent some time thinking about it and this is what I got.”

He clicked open the pocket watch to reveal the inscription ‘With every second, the heart grows fonder’ had been engraved on the inside of the door and the ornate golden numbers around the face had actually been painstakingly forged to look like her handwriting. Sat on the middle of the timepiece, thin and beautiful, sat a silver ring with blue gem.

“So I’ll ask again, will you run away with me and never look back?”

Time stood still, allowing the two to pass as welcome friends.

The final words felt like an eternity as she listened to the doctor before he closed the document. Glancing at the violently red digital clock slicing through the darkness on the edge of his bed, she could see it was 04:32am and that he had broken another promise. She closed her eyes and listened to the doctor padding gently to the kitchen to grab a glass of milk for her before ascending the clinical staircase to the waiting room where she could already hear him explaining to the now grown up kids that their father had passed. The broken promise didn’t feel so bad knowing that he had spent his last moments with her and her alone.

She closed her eyes, took him by the hand, and they walked away forever.

From the Rooftops

The autumn wind bit with winter’s teeth as it blew across the rooftops of Clockwork City, underneath a bright, full moon. The wind curled about the chimney stacks and blew across the strange landscape until it reached a solitary figure crouching on the edge of a rooftop, a hood pulled up over its head. The wind tugged viciously at the hood, causing a lock of short, snow white hair to drift free.

Spire tucked the stray hair back up under her hood as she focused on the top floor window of the building opposite her. The window was dark, as were the others on the same floor and the one below, whilst those at street level cast their bright lamplight out into the street. It was one of the Merchant’s Guild buildings, the Merchant’s luxurious offices on the top floor, with the Merchant’s staff below. The lowest floors housed the most junior officers, who worked all hours of the day and night doing the actual work. So the Merchants and their senior partners were all gone, which was just what she had expected.

Spire counted along the windows for the third time, making sure she was facing the middle one, and nodded. She closed her left eye, the one she had been born with, and with the ease of practice blinked the right one, her Eye, twice rapidly. The strange, faint and now almost familiar whirring, ratcheting sensation started, and the Night Sight lens shifted across her retina. Spire looked once again at the window, and nodded. She could make out the latch mechanism clearly now, and it would pose no problem. Spire blinked her Eye twice more, and once the Night Sight lens had retracted, she looked down at the street. The gaslamps flickering was the only movement. The Officers of the Fourth Watch had passed by a few minutes before. It was time.

Spire rolled her shoulders and flexed her hands. Then she rolled her right shoulder a second time, bending the arm, flexing the fingers, checking each mechanism was working. She should know better, the arm had never failed her yet, but still… Suddenly she heard the old man’s voice again.
“A clockwork thief in a clockwork city…”
She could hear the smile in his voice, even through the mist of memory…

Spire shook her head. Now was not the time; there was work to be done. She shifted her weight, balancing on the balls of her feet, ready to spring. She gauged the distance to the window, took a deep breath, and leapt.

She landed in a crouch on the roof of the Merchant building and with barely a pause she moved to the roof edge. The window was directly below her, and Spire lowered herself over the edge. With practised skill her hands and feet found spaces in the wall to grip, and in moments she was balancing on the narrow windowsill of the centre window. Spire retrieved her tools from the belt about her waist, and set to work on the window latch. Even crouched on the side of a building dozens of feet above the street, the latch took only moments to unlock, and then Spire was lowering herself silently to the floor of a large office.

The window shut again with a faint click, and Spire surveyed the room. It was much the same as any well-to-do merchant’s office; a large wooden desk dominated the room, with bookcases and drawers against the wall and a few display cabinets dotted about; merchants always liked to show off their wealth.

Spire thought back to her conversation with her employer the previous night. Cagey was a thin, wiry man who had a tendency show just a few too many teeth when he smiled. Spire often thought he looked like a stoat that was wearing a tattered cravat and a bowler hat. For all that, he was one of the most reliable black market traders in the city. Cagey was Spire’s regular fence, and every now and then, like tonight, he even gave her work.

“I have a client who is after a particular trinket, see?”
They were in the cluttered, dirty room Cagey called his office; in reality a back room of The Splintered Whale tavern. The Whale was one of the more reputable drinking holes in Lowgrime Quarter, though admittedly that wasn’t saying much. Cagey leaned back in his chair, resting his booted feet on the desk.
“It’s an amulet set with three emeralds. Old. Doesn’t look like much, but apparently it’s pretty pricey. This high and mighty merchant has acquired this trinket from my client, and they wants it back with minimal fuss.”
“Guild involved?” Cagey raised an eyebrow.
“Ain’t a merchant left outside the Guild now, Spire, you know that. But it’s a personal issue, just an item to be retrieved from a safe in the merchant’s office. That’s all my client cares about.”
“This merchant have a name?” Spire asked, and Cagey gave her a too-toothy grin.
“It’s one of the big ones,” he said. “Arn Sanding.”
“The Food Baron himself,” Spire muttered.
“Enough of that,” Cagey snapped. “You sound like your friend, that dissident…” Spire rolled her eyes.
“I’m no dissident, and neither’s Tera. She just believes we all have the right to eat.” Spire grinned as she thought of Tera in full swing, cursing the Merchant’s Guild, the Mayor and the Guard for keeping food from the poor.
“Look, it’s tough all over. Keep your head down, that’s my advice. Back to the job, eh?”

They’d settled on a price quickly enough, and Cagey had given her the building details and office layout. Then as she was leaving, Cagey had said one last thing.
“Remember what I said, Spire. All I care about is the trinket, anything else in that room is not my concern.”
She’d raised an eyebrow at that, but the fence had said nothing more, so she’d left. The office matched Cagey’s description pretty well, and she wondered what connection his client had to Sanding, one of the wealthiest men in the City.

Spire moved around to the front of the large desk. Two heavy wooden chairs faced the desk, sitting on an expensive-looking woven rug. Spire lifted the chairs off the rug and pulled it back. Just as Cagey had said, there was a trapdoor in the wooden floor, with three keyholes arranged in the centre. She retrieved her picks from her belt and bent to the first keyhole.

Spire slid the picks into the first lock, gently feeling the mechanism. She could feel the slightest shift or movement in the tumblers through her Arm, almost as though the pick was an extension of it. In only a few minutes, the first lock was done, then the second, and finally the third. As the final tumbler clicked into its unlocked position, there was a faint hissing sound. With a faint racheting noise, the safe mechanism lifted the trapdoor, actually the safe door, revealing the secrets held within.

Cagey’s ‘trinket’ was lying on top of a letter; otherwise, the safe was empty. Spire carefully lifted out the amulet, surprised at its weight. It looked old, a tarnished golden metal disc set with three green stones. Emeralds, Cagey had said. Spire stowed her prize in one of her belt pouches. Her eyes strayed to the letter. Cagey had only spoken of the amulet, but…

Spire picked up the letter, scanning her eyes quickly over the handwritten page, and her breath caught. …we must continue to stockpile… …shortages must continue… …starving men and women have no strength for revolution… Spire sank to the floor, her mind whirling. If the letter was genuine… The Merchants Guild were causing the food shortages that were choking the city. She thought again of Tera, her anger and determination, her certainty that something must tip the scales…

“All I care about is the trinket, anything else in that room is not my concern.”
Cagey’s words echoed in her head, and she knew what to do. Spire folded the letter into her belt pouch, and flicked the switch on the door of the safe. It closed slowly, and with a whir the tumblers in the three locks spun, sealing it. Spire replaced the rug and the chairs, and moved to the window.

The street below was still empty, and so there was no one to see her climb fluidly up onto the roof. Spire moved swiftly and silently across the rooftops, and only when she was ten streets away did she stop. She stood and stretched, throwing back her hood. Her gaze drifted to Lowgrime Quarter, and she touched her beltpouch, feeling the amulet within. She’d deliver it tonight, and collect her fee. But first… Spire turned her gaze eastward towards the Artists Quarter, where Tera lived. She knew what she must do.

Tugging her hood up once more, Spire began to run, gliding like a shadow across the rooftops of Clockwork City.

© Matt Beames

This Country is Going to the Dogs

When the midland Blues take the golden crown,

When the people of St George let the continent down,

When the 50 states are ruled by the orange clown,

There’ll be nowhere to run.

When the greatest of us grow old and die,

When the special one’s team makes you sigh,

When the government on you will spy,

Their freedom will be won.

When the value of your money falls,

 When an soulless ghoul rules Westminster’s halls,

When Mexicans start building walls,

The time of man is done.


Extract from the fall of man by the Pythia the oracle of Delphi.


Day One – The Beginning of the End.

Barry took in a deep lungful of beautiful British air, felt the beautiful British sun on his back and smiled a beautiful, well his Mum always said it was anyway, British smile.  “Makes you feel happy to be alive eh George?” he said patting the head of his beautiful British bulldog. George looked up at him and barked the affirmative wagging his stumpy little tail. Barry waved to Mr and Mrs Peterson who were walking their twin poodles Fluffy and Mr Pickles.

“Do you know why today is such a great day George?”

George tilted his head quizzically.

“Today is a great day because today is polling day. Today we can tell those unelected bureaucrats in Brussels to piss right off. We will be able to have bananas as bendy as we like, sell eggs by the dozen again and most importantly we can keep the beautiful British pint; half a litre my arse.”

At the end of the road they didn’t go left towards the Vat and Fiddle like they usually did on a Friday morning, instead they went right joining the crowd of people waving little union jack flags and talking excitedly; the town hadn’t had a buzz like this since the Queens Diamond Jubilee.

“See George everyone is out to vote to take our country back,” said Barry indicating the crowd with a sweep of his arm. “Once we leave the EU all our worries will be a thing of the past. More money for our NHS, more money for our schools and more money in my pocket; it must be true all those nice politicians told me so, and what reason would they have to lie? Not like those damn lying experts, with all their education and relevant experience, pah!” Barry cocked his head to the side and spat in the gutter. “Bloody experts going around studying things then thinking they can tell us what’s what. The empire was built on people going out and following their gut not thinking about things and doing research.”

“Here, here!” called a voice across the street; Barry gave the man a friendly salute before continuing.

“Mark my words George today is going to be a day to remember.” Barry and George followed the crowd of people as they wound down the street and pooled in the car park of the local church.

“You just stay here Georgie,” said Barry tying George to a bike rack with the other dogs. “I’m going to go inside cast my vote then we can go to the pub and get a nice cold pint of great British Carling.”

Barry ducked out of the church a couple of minutes later with a beaming grin on his face. “I did it boy! My leave vote is in we’re going to make Britain great again, you mark my words after today all of our worries are…” he cut off as the line of dogs tied up outside the church looked at him and growled as one; led by little his buddy George.

Day Two – The End of the Beginning.

After the disconcerting incident at the church Barry was careful to be extra nice to George and to keep him away from that Courtney Parson from down the street and her troublemaking German shepherd; bloody foreign dogs coming over here eating our dog’s food. It didn’t seem to help any though, no matter what Barry did George didn’t seem to be his usual happy self.

He’d tried, doggie beer, double treats and even extra-long games of fetch all to no avail. So in a final effort to cheer him up he reluctantly left the TV where the results of the US election were starting to creep in, grabbed George’s lead and headed for the door. “Come on boy lets go for a walk eh?”

They just made it to the park when Barry stopped dead.

“Is that? It is!” he cried. “It’s Nigel Farage the man of the hour I’ve got to go and shake his hand.” He went to cross the street to where Nigel stood laughing outside the Dog and Duck with a pint of mild in his hand, when his arm was almost yanked from its socket. Barry looked back to see George sat in a huff glowering at him.

“Come on boy that’s Nigel Farage,” said Barry tugging at the lead. “Saviour of Great Britain I want you to meet him.” George growled but got reluctantly to his feet and waddled after Barry.

“As they approached Nigel Farage’s phone beeped, he stopped fished it from his pocket and tapped at the screen. He read for a second then jumped up and punched the air triumphantly.

“We’ve done it and now America has done it,” Nigel cried. “We’ve beaten the experts and the bureaucrats and now the US has too.”

Barry laughed and shook Nigel Farage by the hand. It’s all down to you Nigel you saved us and now you’ve saved America. That Trump guys is just like you, a man of the people, a straight shooter, a…”

“Look Barry, we’ve had enough of this alright?” interrupted George standing up on his hind legs little Rory Calhoun. “I mean we’ve all talked about it and decided that enough is enough.”

“Wha?” said a flabbergasted Barry his mouth flopping open like a fish gasping for air.

“I mean we were all OK with you humans running around thinking you owned the place while you fed us, took us for long walks and rubbed our bellies but your levels of stupidity are reaching new heights and we just have to put an end to it.”

“Whoa? Wha? Who?” gasped Nigel Farage, his bulging eyes wide and gormless face frozen in a look of pure shock.

“Rub his nose in it it’s the only way he’ll learn,” called Chevy the golden retriever from across the street.

George pondered for a second then with a shrug grabbed Barry’s face and rubbed it on Nigel Farage’s soup stained suit saying “Bad Barry, Bad.”

Day Three – The End.

George took in a deep lungful of beautiful British air, felt the beautiful British sun on his back and smiled a beautiful British smile.  “Makes you feel happy to be alive eh Barry?” he said patting the head of his beautiful British human. Barry looked up at him and barked the affirmative wagging his imaginary little tail. George waved to Fluffy and Mr Pickles who were walking their twin humans Mr and Mrs Peterson.

“Do you know why today is such a great day Barry?”

George tilted his head quizzically.

“Today is a great day because today is another day where Nigel Farage is not in charge of anything…”


Novelember (I’m not sorry)

Wowzers! It’s November already and time for our third writing challenge. Remember to head on over to the Voting Page to vote on your favourite pieces for October’s Fear Challenge! (Or September‘s if you missed it) (All these hyperlinks and not a man in site….)


Welcome to the November challenge! We’re revolting! I mean that we’re writing about revolution, obviously. Though remember, Dagna fans, that there’s more than one definition to revolution and revolting and I expect with the smarts in possession of our writers, we’ll be seeing some pretty awesome writing at the end of this month. Which leads to the Example piece, written once more by our very own Shaking Steven Archer. So please, enjoy his thing, then go and read more things, because reading is good!

This month has also been given a bit of a twist, the guys were given the chance to influence the example piece by throwing suggestions at Steve. All writers ignored this task, earning them a point for standing up to authority! Now what else could happen this month for bonus points?



October 29th, 2042

She sat and waited for the results to come through. Every fibre in her being had screamed with impatience as the computer slowly jittered along its loading bar.





The lights of a car stole a glimpse through the blinds coveting her solitary sanctum. Alienware hardware buzzed all along the desk as she stroked key after key to create her swan song.



She moved the chair back and reached over to her right. Lifting the arm of her classic vinyl player and placed it, needle aligned, at the edge of the record that sat upon the device; the driving piano piece lead way into the song Darkness on the Edge of Town by Bruce Springsteen. She stepped onto her chair and took a deep breath, steadying her nerves for her big moment.

And then she kicked it from beneath her.


The taught rope creaked under the sudden weight.

Upload complete.


October 30th, 2042

The phone cut through the daze that had stolen Detective John Radley from his case file sprawled out on the desk in front of him. The Super’s gravelly harsh voice exploded through the receiver so loud that Radley held it away from his ear a whole 5 inches before accepting that it wouldn’t blow his eardrum.

“Radley! This is the 6th cadaver this month and still you have nothing for me. Board are calling a watchdog in 10 minutes, and your ass better be standing at the head of the table when I get there!” The phone clicked as the super ended his comms link. I’m glad I didn’t take that implant after all, thought Radley as he placed his ancient phone device down.

In recent years, the tech world had exploded with Replican Industries leading the worlds advanced tech programs into a new age. Every citizen now had an implant at the age of 18 that turned the brain into its own smartphone device. You could call, google, film, email, play music and much more at a literal blink of an eye or click of the fingers. Radley had opted out of this implant as he held true to the thought that we were now one step closer to dehumanisation completely. The only implant that he had accepted was the compulsory AI manipulation glove implants in his hands that allowed him to integrate with all tech within the depo.

He stepped into the meeting room to find 5 floating bubbles with faces on them, each belonging to councilwomen and the supers. The door closed behind him to allow the firing squad to commence…


November 1st, 2042

He sat with his back against the metallic wall of the city. Since the fall of Washington after the election of Trump many years ago, Washington had slowly slipped into decay. What was once a vibrant and energetic state had become a small hovel in the middle of nowhere. All tech companies had moved back to New York, leaving the once all powerful capital of power as a smelting pot of angry Virginians condemning the names Hamilton and Jefferson as if they had planned this all along.

Incoming Call, Toto…

Ah, here she goes, he chuckled as he dropped the butt of his cigarette and accepted in call.

“Plissken? What the hell is going on?! I heard the news in Nebraska this morning. Springsteen swinging from her light fitting, that’s the 6th this month!” Her breath rattled as she panicked and stammered; obviously the syndicate falling apart was causing the remaining members to do the same…

“Plissken? You gotta be there!”

“How is the weather in Kansas this time of year?” He asked jovially, “Is the breeze up?”

“Damn it, Snake! This is not the time for jokes! We’ve lost Oregon, Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, Michigan and Georgia. This wasn’t part of the plan! You wanted to make the States great again but you’re killing off the major players like they’re mere pawns…”

A muffled gunshot rang out in the comms chat and then the line went dead, shortly after Toto.

“So much for holding the line, Rosanna…”

He cut the call and pulled his cigarette case from his pocket, accidentally pulling out the boat tickets as well. As they landed on the floor, the date glimmered in the moonlight. The 5th


November 3rd, 2042

Radley looked like a panda, the bags under his eyes dragging him down closer to the desk; his head bobbed once more. Below him was a map of the States, the 7 States involved were floating above the rest like some ethereal vigils. One the next panel of his desk was a pattern decoder, working on the points that might be involved and how they were linked other than in the actual murders.

“It sounds like a part of the end of the world, doesn’t it?” A voice said behind him. Startled, he scurried around his desk to hide the less desirable content from view of Sandra Cohen. Cohen was a full bodied Irish immigrant from some long lost country across the pond. “REM? They were popular about 50 years ago.”

“I don’t think they knew how close they were to the truth. Each victim is a leading figure in the remaining cities of the US. Ever since they gave presidency to Justin Bieber.” He had little to do with politics, but even Radley knew that was a bad call, especially when his opposing candidate was Bill Nye.

“This may help you, new intel of a body found in California. Jack Napier, a union rep for the dock workers over there.”


November 5th, 2042

Plissken grinned as he walked into the docks of Florida. His old identity had been dropped as he stepped through those gates, heading out to the gothic remains of Europe and leaving this empty shell of a continent dead in the wind. He pulled a device from his breast pocket and clicked the button. The ticket attendant cleared his throat to get Plissken’s attention.

“Erm, sir? I need your boarding tickets and passport please?”

“Of course, young man. Awfully close for this time of year isn’t it?”

The ticket attendant looked at him somewhat confused though dropped his gaze to the ticket and passport in his hand.

“That’s an awfully odd name, if you don’t mind me saying sir.” The boy was starting to sweat in his uniform, looking Snake in the eye.

“My parents could never decide what first name to give me so it’s hyphened to John-Paul Starr. I prefer to go by my middle name but my dad and his dad share that name.” Said Plissken as he took back the paperwork. The ticket attendant chuckled.

“I guess that would make you George the Third then, sir?” Snake winked as he turned to walk away and onto his new life.

“I guess that’s right, my boy. Now please, I must catch my boat.”

He strode away whistling some long forgotten song about Ukraine girls and Georgia being on his mind as the ticket boy looked down to his new tablet. The headline flashing across the device was that a series of timed explosions had brought the country to a standstill, overhead imaging suggesting the resemblance of the once Great Britain’s flag. Snake took one last look back at the nation he loathed so much.

“Just doing what one Guy couldn’t. For this is the world we live in!”