Welcome to Prime Time

One of my favorite kills of Freddy Krueger was where he smashes a girls head into a TV that he has just grown out of, moments before he quips ‘Welcome to prime time, Bitch!’ don’t ask why but I had that in mind for the title of a story so…yea this was basically based around that line alone.

Billy Hanley lay lengthwise across a sofa, his head resting on one arm
rest, his legs dangling over the other. Idly he flicked through the
channels on his TV, bored. The room was dark, the curtains closed so
as to prevent any glare on the screen and the lights switched off. On
one channel a pair of cowboys dodged between rocks as they popped
shots off at each other, on another a heard of animals drank from a
river in Africa, in yet another the news was showing some old woman
receiving some award or another as if it mattered. Billy sighed and
dropped the remote to the floor where it bounced and the channel
flicked back to the wildlife documentary.

Just then the door to the room swung open and a stream of light poured
in, followed by Billy’s mother. Who looked around the darkened room
before finding Billy’s prone form and scowling.

“William Hanley you have spent the whole holiday on that sofa watching
the television, why can’t you go play outside like all the normal
twelve year olds?”

William took a few seconds to even respond, slowly turning his head to
gaze through bored eyes at his mother.

“All the other twelve year olds are at home playing on their games
consoles that their normal parents bought them” he said with a hint of
frustration in his voice.

“Well I pity them I really do, while they lock themselves away,
rotting their brains with their toys you have a chance to have some
real fun and maybe learn something, a chance you consistently
squander”

“If you wanted me to have fun you would buy me a console like I asked
for mum!” Billy half yelled at her.

“I am not having this argument with you again William; you can have
one of those toys when you can buy one for yourself.” She turned and
went to leave the room before stopping.

“And keep the lights on while you’re in here wasting away, watching TV
in the dark will ruin your eyes.” And with that she flicked the lights
on and stormed out.

Billy closed his eyes for a few seconds against the harsh new light
that filled the room. His mum had told him a hundred times about
watching the TV in the dark and it was as bullshit then as it was now,
it had done him no harm. He adjusted his position on the sofa and
returned to watching the documentary but was bored within the minute.
Picking up the remote again he started flicking through channels
again. Old movies, reality shows, news and documentaries were all that
was on. TV during the holidays sucked.

Billy was just considering, with a bitter taste afterthought, of
taking his mother’s advice and taking his football out to the back
garden and kicking it again the wall for a while when he noticed
something on the TV screen, A small crack like a brilliant lightning
bolt crashing across the top corner of the screen. Curious Billy
changed the channel a few times and on every channel the mark was
there. Billy’s stomach tightened, if the TV was broken or damaged then
there would be no point in buying a games console, he would have
nothing to play it on. Getting up from the sofa Billy approached the
TV and sank to his knees to examine the crack. It looked to him like a
tear in a piece of paper, a jagged line that almost separated the
corner from the rest of the screen. Billy raised his hand and ran his
finger across the mark, not sure what he expected to feel. To his
horror as he ran his finger down the length of the mark a small piece
of the screen, about the size of his finger nail, came away from the
rest and fell to the floor like a leaf in a breeze.

Billy scrabbled and grabbed the small piece of screen, it was thin as
tracing paper and weighed nothing and held it up to the screen, trying
to piece it back together like a jigsaw but in his panicked state he
only succeeded in knocking off another flake of screen which drifted
away. Billy turned away, planning to call for him mum, maybe she could
fix the TV but his voice caught in his throat. He couldn’t bring
himself to reveal that the TV was broken; he knew he would be blamed
and then his parents would never trust him again. He desperately
turned back to the screen and then noticed something.

Behind the screen, it wasn’t just bright white like he had first
thought, there seemed to be some depth to the screen despite the TV
being flat screen. In fact there seemed to be room behind the screen.
Slowly Billy reached up to the screen, his panic completely replaced
by curiosity. Very carefully he scratched at the corner of the rip in
the screen and pulled away a few inches more of the screen, the
picture that was on the TV continuing to play despite chunks of the
screen being removed, as if the rip wasn’t there at all. The picture
on the screen disappeared from the chunks that Billy scratched away,
turning pitch black and floating away like ash.

As Billy scratched he seemed to fin there was more and more room
behind the screen for his fingers to fit into and before long his
entire hand could pass into the void behind the screen, allowing him
to pull away almost all the screen in one go. Sitting back, the ragged
tatters of screen in his hand Billy looked into the space behind the
screen. It was like a huge empty space behind the TV, the floor was a
polished, shiny white and the walls were so far back and the ceiling
so high they could not be seen, they seemed to fade away into just
pure white.

Billy stared, moving closer and closer trying to see more of what was
behind there, he could see something, small moving squares that
floated freely in the air but they were all too far away to be seen.
Carefully, Billy reached his hand forward; it passed through the empty
screen and into the world behind it. Leaning forward he placed his
palm on the floor, it was solid, it was really there. Billy pulled his
hand back, looked to the door, contemplating again whether to call for
his mother but again something stopped him. He took a deep breath,
looked to the screen, and leaned forward.

He passed his head and shoulders through the screen. Looking about he
found that he was very close to the ground, about as high as a cat
flap. He leaned further in so he could fit his arms through the
screen, placing his hands on the ground he found himself in a weird
position where his upper body was close to the ground where his legs
were almost standing up. Billy wiggled and pulled with his hands,
feebly crawling until he could get him knees through the screen, then
he managed to leopard crawl like a soldier on TV till he managed to
get his legs and feet through.

Standing slowly Billy looked around him. The world seemed to be
exactly how he had seen it. Nothing more than a wide open space that
faded into white rather than blackness. His footfalls made no sound
upon the white floor and despite the emptiness, when he spoke there
was no echo, his voice completely lost in the air. Looking back where
he had come from Billy saw that his TV screen was nothing but a small
opening in the air, floating a few inches off the ground, peering
through it he could see the room he had just left, empty and unmoving
like an image on a CCTV camera, he was looking through the screen back
into the room he had left like one would look through a window.

Looking around again Billy saw that the moving shapes he had seen
before were more screens floating in the void, some the same height as
his own some at head height, some so high in the air he would never be
able to see them. Walking cautiously up to one of these screens he
stooped slightly to see through it. Beyond there was someone’s living
room. A family were lounged around on two sofas arranged around a
coffee table. The first sofa had a rather fat man on it, rapidly
emptying a packet of crisps into his mouth. On the next sofa there was
a woman a lot thinner than the man who threw a worried glance across
at who Billy assumed was her husband. Between them sat a small girl
with dark hair in pigtails who watched the screen intently, clearly
oblivious to her parents.

Billy waved, pulled funny faces and even shouted but they all seemed
unable to see or hear him. Cautiously he reached his hand forward,
expecting to pass through the screen as easily as he had his own but
to his surprise his hand hit something and there was the dull clunk as
his hand hit glass. Billy pushed against the glass with all his
strength but it didn’t seem to move. He knocked hard against the
screen and for a second the girl looked around as if she had heard
something, but then her mother turned and said something to her, Billy
could hear nothing on the other side of the glass, and the girl
returned to intently watching the television.

Billy walked away a bit and paused for thought; he guessed that the
reason he couldn’t be seen or heard was because the people on the
other side of the screen were watching the TV, not what was behind it.
He guessed that they hadn’t pulled their screen away like he had and
could not see through like he had. He wondered if the girl would have
so willingly clambered through the screen to this world like he had.
But then he saw another screen, this one at perfect head height for
him and he bound over to it.

As Billy ran along towards the new screen he was vaguely aware of a
sound, very quiet as if it was in the distance, it sounded a bit like
wind rushing along far away. But he dismissed it as nothing so interested was he in seeing through more screens.

 

When Billy reached the next screen he peered through and saw another rather large man, this one though was somewhat younger, sat very close to the TV and he had a games controller in his hand. He was rocking back and forward with the motions he was making on the controller and he had a microphone almost in his mouth. Suddenly the man threw his controller to the floor and screamed something into the microphone. Billy couldn’t hear what the man had shouted but by the look on his face he could tell it wasn’t something good. Probably something full of abuse and swear words. Billy moved on from this screen and wandered around, looking through as many screens as he could find.

Through the next one he checked he saw an old woman stood doing the ironing, occasionally looking up and staring out at Billy, not seeing him like everyone else. Another screen had a pair of children fighting to sit closer to the screen, while a mother walked around in the background, carrying a baby and talking on her phone. The children looked to be trying their hardest to fit through the screen like billy had but they also hadn’t removed their screen so they wouldn’t be able to. Billy smiled to himself when he thought this as if he had been so clever to be the only person to figure this out.

The next screen that Billy came to had a woman in front of it doing exercises, Billy couldn’t help but find her pretty and the figure hugging outfit she had on was far from covering, billy sat and watched he going for a while, partly wishing he could push through the screen and get to her but more just enjoying the voyeurism of the situation. Finally Billy pulled himself away and looked about for another window. He noticed however as he glanced around that the world seemed to have gotten significantly darker, something he had not notices as he had been running around. Indeed, where it had once been a brilliant white in colour it was now rather a drab grey. Also the rushing sound he had heard before had grown louder rather than abated and seemed to be coming from all around him.

Billy decided it was time to leave this new world he had discovered and get back to his screen. Looking around he saw how many screens there were surrounding him each with people he didn’t recognise and none of them showing his own home. Running Billy looked this way and that, up and down, everywhere he could think of but the world was so vast and the screens so numerous he couldn’t imagine finding his own. Worse the noise had grown louder still and the ground was now not just grew but seemed to be moving around. It looked like a thousand ants ruching beneath his feet. It looked like static.

Billy was in full panic, his heart beating in his chest, he saw the pretty lady doing exercise again, the family, the old woman, he saw people he didn’t recognise, a woman sat on her own, a guy asleep on a sofa. Billy started yelling but nobody could hear him. There were no distinguishing features of the world at all, Billy was lost, he didn’t know how far he had walked, and he didn’t know if he was even going in the right direction. Every time he saw a smiling face through a screen they looked to be leering at him, every laugh he saw was directed at him.

Then finally Billy saw it, he saw his sofa through a distant screen, it was far off but he would recognise it anywhere. He started to run as fast as he could towards it. He feet beating off the ground and his breath coming in ragged gasps. As he drew close he saw something move on his screen, his mother had walked into the room. Billy called as loud as he could but she still could not hear him. His heart leapt to see her, he was almost home safely. But then his heart sank. His mother had tuned to face the screen and she was holding the remote in her hand. Billy could imagine what she would be saying to herself. Complaining he had left the TV on again. Billy screamed and cried and shouted for her to stop. He was so close now. He slid down on his knees, hoping to slide through the screen but just as he drew within feet of the screen his mother pressed the button and all of a sudden the screen was black.

Billy hit the screen with his knees and heard that dull thunk of something hitting glass. He screamed and beat his fists off the screen but to no avail. His cried did nothing and eventually his fists started to slip in the blood they were leaving he had been pounding away for so long but finally in the end Billy’s tears were lost to the sound of static.

White Wolf

The sun had hardly slipped below the horizon by the time the rain had started, not a heavy downpour by any stretch of the imagination but sufficient enough to provide most of the would-be nightlife pause for thought before ensconcing onto the streets of Southampton. The clouds in the sky made the streets even darker than would be usual for a cold winters night and there were plenty of alleys into which the light failed to stretch more than a few feet. It was in one of these alleys in which Sindrax lurked. Staying just beyond the line of light created by a nearby streetlamp to remain out of view of any passers-by, he intently watched the office building opposite, waiting for his contact to emerge.

Sindrax had arranged the meeting place for the nearby park where he and his contact could exchange information relatively unnoticed and even if someone did spot them they would hardly think anything of them. That was if Sindrax’s associate didn’t ruin everything. However even in life, when Sindrax had still answered to his old name, he had been somewhat paranoid and death had only reassured him that it was better to be overly cautious than too lax. And thus Sindrax had decided that he would follow his contact to the meeting point, allowing him to get there first so that Sindrax could observe his movements and ease his paranoia somewhat.

Though mostly covered by the high buildings that flanked the alley Sindrax was soaked through before anything happened though death had since stopped his feeling the rain or the cold. Even so it was still unpleasant to feel ones clothes clinging to their body and Sindrax’s dark jeans and shirt were doing just that as he stood semi protected in the alley. Finally the doors swung open and a figure stepped out. Sindrax tensed, the figure was a woman, short at about 5’2 and dressed in a black business suit and white shirt with the top button undone. Her hair was platinum blonde, almost white and hung down to her lower back in a ponytail.

Paranoia started to fill Sindrax’s head, he had been expecting a male as his contact, was this just someone who happened to leave the building first? Was she his contact? She was pale enough and had that look that all kindred wore of disconnect and contempt for the world around them, why had he not been told who to expect? And where the hell was his associate? He had said that he was going to survey the area but for all Sindrax knew he had gone off chasing rats.

The woman looked around as if inspecting the environment before starting off down the street. She was heading towards the park for certain. Sindrax closed his eyes, focusing his energy before opening them. The world’s colours seemed to light up, brighter than they could ever really have been. The dark shadows faded away and even the blackened sky seemed to brighten, the moon becoming as the sun was during days that Sindrax would never again see. The few people that were on the street also seemed to light up but unlike the surroundings they seemed to radiate a single light, each one giving off different shades though most of them in hues of blue or purple. Sindrax turned his attention to the retreating form of the woman. Where everyone else’s aura had been mellow shades hers was a deep blood red. She was kindred without a doubt. Sindrax shook his head and the colour faded from the world, making it seem cold and empty, almost monochrome in comparison. He took one last look around for his associate and upon seeing no sign of him cursed under his breath and strolled out into the street and after the woman.

Attired as he was in a black sweater, coat and jeans Sindrax drew little attention from passers-by as he strolled confidently down the street, making sure not to get too close to his target but keeping her within sight. Studying this woman Sindrax decided that dressed like that she was likely a Ventrue, trying to make the world think they were more important than they actually were, Sindrax knew that if his associate hadn’t disappeared he would have spit in disgust. However walking down the street, his eyes fixed on her he couldn’t help but notice the way her thighs swayed and the way her trousers were pulled so tight over her…no he mustn’t get distracted, he had a job to do, a favour he owed to the camarilla.

When they arrived at the park Sindrax broke away from his target and went wide of her while still staying behind, he tailed her all the way to the clearing in which the bandstand where they were supposed to meet stood. Expected her to go and stand by it, Sindrax was annoyed to see she instead stopped just short of the treeline and lurked there looking out over the clearing and keeping the bandstand in sight. Sindrax cursed, she was smarter than he had given her credit for. Pausing for a moment he pondered on what action to follow next, not sure whether to just watch or approach, eventually deciding that she must be his contact and she clearly wasn’t going to make the first move he circled back to behind her and made to announce himself.

Phantom Limbs VIII

Monday August 20th 2116

My boss came to me today and told me that he is hiring for a new position that is opening up in the warehouse. It’s not really much of a position, not quite a foreman but still better than an average grunt. It’s essentially someone who will do half the foreman’s work for half his salary. He came to me with this because he thinks I should apply, not sure why I jumped to mind but if he thinks I should I’m not going to turn him down. Anyway why shouldn’t I be in charge of a few of the guys? I work just as hard as they do plus I have a daughter to provide for. Now I don’t want to speak too soon but I think I may have a good chance for this job, what with how sharp I’ve been after my surgery I reckon my boss would be a fool not to pick me. Better start planning my interview topics, it may be sleazy but I think I’ll ply up my injury a bit. Play the brave solider who returned to duty after taking a bullet in service kinda thing.

As for the dreams, they’re getting worse if anything, the doctor says I have a few week on an increased does of hypnocil, if they don’t go away then I can try this new drug, it’s experimental but it should allow for a more seamless blending of my own brain waves and the neural link that keeps my arm going. God I hope so. Last night I found myself in the room again. Mily is screaming and I am running towards her but now my leg doesn’t move at all, I pull and pull and suddenly it shatters, like glass, why whole leg!” I start falling forward, holding my arm out to catch myself and then I realise my arms are gone, I just have bandaged up stumps like before surgery but now on both arms. I fall towards the floor and just before my face impacts on the ground I wake up. Last night I was thrashing so hard I even woke Joanna, and what sympathy did I get? None, she blamed the arm for affecting my head. She just doesn’t understand. If she could see what I have been seeing every night.god…

James Dylan logged out.

Inspiration & Aspirations

I have been thinking for a while about what makes people the people they are, not for any reason, just when I am bored at work I tend to have pointlessly deep philosophical thoughts, and then I started thinking about what inspires me to write like I do and I have to say that my inspirations are rather a mixed bag, my tastes in everything from music to entertainment to sexual preference having changed quite a bit in twenty years. I would have to say that the first thing I remember that inspired me to write was probably the film Jaws, or at least sharks in general. That dates back to primary school when we were asked to write poems that spread over the course of three days, (they were ‘yesterday, today and tomorrow’ poems apparently) and I wrote one about a fisherman who is attacked and killed by a shark, ending in the verse ‘tomorrow I will be lying at the bottom of the deep blue sea, lifeless.’ My mother still has that poem and ignores my instance for her to destroy it.

After Jaws I moved on to Godzilla, this was probably the fandom that I devoted most of my pre-teens to, I loved the huge monsters destroying cities and each other and I eventually decided I could write a script of one myself, it would be my own perfect monster film. Needless to say at the age of ten it didn’t get passed a paragraph and it was absolute bollocks but I still knew I really wanted to write it and that may have been my first real story that I started and a the beginning of a long history of not finishing anything. After that I didn’t try and write a story to myself till I started to get invested in Warhammer 40,000 and this was where my writing of stories really started.

I had been a big fan, through movies and video games, of squads of army soldiers who were small tight nit groups of people who were all very close and, despite clashing personalities, got along very strongly and would always be there to back each other up. Maybe because I was not overly close to my mother and father and my sister was two years older than me, my brother severely autistic but I placed a lot of value on my friends, something I still do and have really come to backfire on me more times than not recently, so I guess that I really imagined a lot of myself and my friends in these characters that I invented.

Usually when I look back on past writing experiences I really hate to read my old stuff because I tend to absolutely despise anything I have done that doesn’t live up to my own lofty standards, but I can still find some positive points about those stories of imperial guardsmen fighting Orks and Chaos Space Marines, for example none of my characters were two dimensional and although a lot of their dialogue was short and almost all puns or witty remarks they all seemed to stay within their present characteristics. I knew when there was the need to increase drama even though I wasn’t overly good at doing it, I usually killed someone off when I needed things to escalate, though again I never wasted a death on just having one for the sake of it and nobody was introduced just to die. I am also proud that, despite being an adolescent young boy, when I wrote sex into the stories I never linger on it or describe the scenes, it was just something that the characters did occasionally. A lot of my inspiration of these stories also came from Blackadder, specifically Blackadder Goes Forth where the characters were always funny despite how dire their circumstances. In fact I wrote a short series based around Stormtroopers in Star Wars which was very Blackadder, the best of which was where the officer left an AT-ST walker to freeze overnight so that he and his two piolets missed the battle of Hoth.

after stopping writing in secondary school I made a few plans about young adults who get demon powers from a magic gauntlet they are tricked into touching and the various ways they misused their powers and the way it affected them though I never really went anywhere with it. During university I became very wrapped in the industrial music scene, which is heavy techno, EBM and usually German music with a mix of Goths, metal heads and ravers all getting involved and having a good old moan about how each of their tastes is better than everyone else’s. (By this point I had developed a very condescending and anti-social character as well as getting a good fucking start on alcoholism.) This scene and the music, coupled with a love of the first Blade film and the Vampire the Masquerade table top games, lead me to developing a much darker theme to most of my writing with no character ever having more than more than a rather chaotic neutral personality (that means that they are neither good or bad as such, just focused on their own goals.) though I still try and have a redeeming feature of all of them. From here I wrote some vampire stories, a Cyberpunk novel which I am still working on and consider very much my magnificent octopus (that means magnum opus, that’s a Blackadder joke right there) and I have even dabbled in erotica for the kicks and because my ex asked me to.

My real fascination though, as previously stated, has been horror probably since I was about thirteen and I watched the American remake of The Grudge. Despite now knowing that those films are pretty bad by most standards they scared the shit out of me at the time and I really did have sleepless nights until I eventually passed out due to being too tired. I think that I really want to elicit those types of feeling from other people. That is what drives me to write horror. one day I want people to read my works and be too scared of the boogey men I let forth from my imagination to sleep at night. I want my creations to be what haunt others nightmares, in fifty years I want kids having sleepovers dare each other to go into dark bathrooms and whisper the names of my monsters in the mirror three times.

One of my greatest writing idols is probably Stephen King but not because his stories are overly exceptional, I find his style of writing long and drawn out, focusing too much on background details that add nothing and he is a victim of writing what he knows far too much but idolise that what he creates sticks with people who read his work, People who have read It remember the Clown from the book, they remember the characters (except Stan who was fun as cardboard) They remember the Overlook Hotel, Jack Torrance’s slow descent into madness they remember what he writes, one day I want the list of horror authors to read H. P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, Conor Harpham.

Those are some of my inspirations and that is what I aspires to be one day. Now I better get back to actual writing, I think I have just inspired myself…

Train Trapped

Yes that is literally the working title of one of my short stories that I wrote, not even the worst working title i have had though as I once handed in a short story as coursework for university under the title ‘Monsters and Shit’…still did quite good on that one though. This story didn’t actually come to me when I was on a train which in my opinion is another nailo in the coffin of the ‘write what you know’ line of thought.

 

The clock hanging above the station had just rolled over to eleven o’clock. The glowing orange LED lights shining in the darkness caused by the fading lights of the station, seeming to you to be a fitting metaphor for the city itself, the flickering bulbs failing to keep the attention of the fluttering moths for very long before they flew off to find brighter pastures. For once it seemed the trains were on time for not thirty seconds later there was the tell-tale screech of wheels on the tracks as the train rattled round the corner.

Despite the time of night the train is unusually full and it isn’t until you make your way down to the very end carriage that you find a set of two seats to spread yourself across. This carriage itself was rather emptier than the others and you smile internally at the people who have crammed themselves into the middle carriages when this one has but a few occupants other than yourself. Exhausted from the long day you slide into the empty seats and rest your head on the cool glass of the window, gazing idly out onto the platform and willing the train to just get moving.

Despite your fatigue you notice something on the plastic frame of the window that draws your attention. The single word ‘trapped’ was scratched into the plastic, though with little finesse to it so that it takes you a few moments to realise what the word actually is. When you realise what the word is you give a small, sardonic chuckle at yourself partly for not realising it the first time and also as the word seems a perfect way to describe your own situation in this damned city. But as the train starts to move you feel the gentle swaying motion of the carriage start to rock you to sleep and before long you are a find yourself as a moth, gently fluttering away from this city and away to a better place.

You are awoken with a harsh start that seemed to have nothing to do with the calming dream you had been having and as you stare around it takes you a few seconds to realise where you are and why you are there. The confusion does not last long though as you remember your surroundings and bitterly acknowledge that you haven’t made it away from the city at all. Not yet in any case. Looking out the window you can see nothing but the blackness of a tunnel wall flying past you. Getting up from your seat you check the overhead notification scroll to see where you are in relation to the train line but the screen is completely blank for once, not even the time showing. Cursing quietly to yourself you turn around to see if anyone in the carriage can tell you where you are, something which usually you are loath to do but you discover that you are the last one left in the train car.

A quick tingle of panic runs down your spine but you quickly stamp it out. So a few stations have gone past, worst case scenario you have to get another train back a few stops. You head through the door at the end of the carriage and into the carriage beyond. This car, which when you had first gotten on the train was packed to bursting with people, now, also stood empty. The tingle of panic is back and greater than before and this time you can’t quite bring yourself to shrug it off. Hurrying through this carriage you check the next one which also stands empty, as does the one after that. With only one carriage left the tingle of panic has now taken over your entire body. Slowly you open the door to the last car of the train and step through. This carriage is empty as well. No bags in the overhead, no newspapers left on seats, no plastic bottles rolling around on the floor. Empty.

You half sit half collapse onto the closest seat and put your head in your hands. Your mind is whirring, desperately trying to think of a solution to your problem. After a few deep breaths you manage to get a grip on yourself and slowly push away the panicked sensation again. You realise how stupid you are being. So you missed the last stop. The train will reach the depot and you will get a taxi or a bus home. Whatever is more convenient. You could probably get the damned train company to pay for it, after all if the stupid guards had woken you at the end of the line you wouldn’t be stuck here. And then it strikes you and you almost slap yourself for being so stupid. The guard, he must still be on the train. Or the driver, some member of staff must still here; it was still moving after all so there must be someone. You stand again and look around. You didn’t see a guard as you walked through the train but all that meant was that the lazy bastard was probably sat up front with the driver, probably chatting away, blissfully unaware of their mistake.

With a new perceived outlet for your frustration you storm through the last carriage and up to the door of the driver’s compartment. You knock loudly on the surprisingly solid door, ignoring the signs to not disturb the driver. You wait but there is no sound from the other side of the door. Impatient you knock again to just as little response. You start hammering on the door pounding on until your hand starts to hurt and when it does you start screaming at the door for someone to come out and speak to you. when that doesn’t work you half run back through the train carriages to the other end of the train and start shouting at the driver’s compartment on that side to equally as little response. After this you storm back to the middle carriage of the train and slump into a seat again your body wracked with tears of frustration and panic and exhaustion.

Your mind is racing again, you are trapped on this train with nobody else around and you have no idea of how to get off. You have no idea of what is happening and you try to think of anything that might explain your situation. You put your head in your hands and for a few moments let the tears run freely. When you finally pull yourself together you have another go at thinking this through. A few more ideas come to mind about what could be happening but each seems rather unlikely until you finally come to one that seems to stick. You are on some kind of hidden camera show. Somewhere there is a film crew laughing their arses off at you and your panicked state as you run around like a headless chicken, crying and shouting. There are people laughing as they watch you through cameras that they have hidden throughout this train. There are no people because that is the point of the joke and the drivers aren’t reacting because they aren’t supposed to. It seems about as unlikely as some of your other ideas but in your panic stricken mind it is the one that sticks with you so you get slowly back to your feet and start to half-heartedly look around the car for cameras.

You check the empty luggage compartment and in the tops of empty bins, you check the empty overhead storage and even give a close inspection to one of the light fittings to no avail. You are in the process of checking under all the seats when you hear something that makes you stop dead in your tracks. Above the rattle of the train on the tracks and the whoosh of the wind in the tunnel going past you hear a small voice quietly saying something. You can’t quite catch what it is but as you strain your ears against the ambience you hear it again and this time you can make out what the voice says. ‘Fourteen’.

You try and jump to your feet but your head collides with the back of the seat you were searching under and you slump backwards a sharp pain in the top of your head. ‘Fifteen’ comes the little voice again. You crawl forward a few steps before getting to your feet and looking around for the source of the voice. It doesn’t take you long to find it. Balled up on a seat, facing out the window and completely covered in a blanket is a person. You can’t tell if they are young or old or even a boy or girl because they are so wrapped up in their blanket and the voice is so strained and horse it could belong to anyone.

‘Excuse me?’ you say quietly to the bundle of blanket but there is no response. You repeat what you said; louder this time but again there is no response. You reach forward, about to shake the shoulder of whoever is there but then their voice comes again, strained and whispery as if they had been talking for a long time through a very dry throat. ‘Thirteen’

‘Why are you counting?’ you ask but again you get no response. ‘Talk to me!’ you half cry at the person but the only answer you get is ‘Fourteen’

You rise to your feet and storm to the back of the carriage where the talk to driver button is located. Once again ignoring the warnings you hammer the button and wait for a response of which none ever comes. You start hammering on the button again and screaming at the received but there is no response to your pleas, to your threats or to your crying. Finally you grab a hold of the emergence stop cord and pull hard on it.

The expected screech of the brakes being applied and the lurch as the train rapidly slows down do not come. Nothing happens in fact. The train just continues to rumble on as it has been doing. You pull again and again on the cord until with a snap the handle comes off and you are left holding the small green grip with a small line of cord still attached. You drop it to the floor and hurry to the next carriage. Rushing to the far end of it you go to grab the emergency stop handle here only to find it missing. Choked cry catches in your mouth and you run to the next carriage almost tripping as you head to the back of the train and grab for the emergency stop cord only again to find it missing. You can’t help but utter a cry now as you stagger away from the wall and hit the luggage rack.

Your foot hits something on the floor and you reach down and pick up the small green handle from the emergency stop, the little piece of cord swaying back and forth. Your breath catches in your lungs and you find yourself hyperventilating. Then from behind you there comes the small voice, quietly saying ‘Fifteen.’ You tell yourself that it isn’t possible. That you left the other person two carriages behind but sure enough as you move around the seats, there they are, quietly saying ‘Thirteen to themself.’

You run now, up the carriage and into the next one. Slamming into the door and flying through it. But there they are again. Sat in the same seat doing nothing but repeating the same three numbers to themselves. You run up the carriage and through the door at the end but again find yourself back in the same carriage. ‘Thirteen.’ Again you run up carriage and through the door at the end. All you hear as you enter is ‘Fourteen.’ You run again through the far door, ‘fifteen.’ And again, ‘Thirteen.’ This time you turn and head back into the previous carriage. ‘Fourteen.’

You go up to the figure of the person, curled up on the seat and you scream at them, you demand to know what is happening. You cry and shout all to no answer except those same three numbers. Finally you reach forward and grab a hold of the figure. Intending to shake them to get their attention but as you grab them and pull as hard as you can. You are engulfed as a huge cloud of moths, dark brown and of all sizes burst from under the blanket. They swarm around the carriage and hammer loudly against the windows and the walls, bouncing off the lights and coming to rest over anywhere there is a space. They swarm over you and you flail to keep them off you. Disgusted you try and back away from them but you trip and fall, hitting the ground you hear a loud crunch as you flatten hundreds of moths. Instantly there is a shriek of pain and the moths fly faster and even more violently battering even louder off the windows. Suddenly you hear a rushing of air, one of the windows has burst open and the moths seem to be almost sucked away as they rush to escape the carriage. As suddenly as it started the noise is gone and you find yourself alone in the empty carriage once again. Painfully you pull yourself to your feet, looking behind you, expecting to see crushed moth bodies but there is nothing there to mark where you fell. You turn, slowly and blankly to the seat where you had thought there was a person sitting, where someone had been sitting but there is nothing there. You stare at the empty space, no words come to you. There is nothing to say. Your voice is hoarse from screaming, your throat aching. You stand there holding the blanket in one hand and the broken emergency stop cord in the other.

Aimlessly you wander to the back of the carriage and push open the door to the next carriage. Walking through you barely register that you are in the next car along. Walking hopelessly through to the door to the next car you pass through that to find yourself in the carriage you started your endless journey in. On auto pilot you walk a few seats down before you finally crumple into a seat pulling yourself as close as you can to the window. Wrapping your arms and legs up around yourself like a ball you let the emergency stop handle drop to the floor. Moving your head to look at it you notice something scratched into the plastic of the window frame. The single word ‘Trapped’. Looking up from this you gaze out the window to the tunnel wall. Something catches your attention briefly as it rushes passed, a tunnel marking in white paint, surprisingly bright against the black of the rest of the wall. The number thirteen. You wordlessly mouth the number, and then the number fourteen rushes passed, quietly you repeat it to yourself. Then the number fifteen goes passed, and then the number thirteen again.

Write what you know?

One thing that I have always hated is being told that I should write what I know. I have never got what people who say this are trying to imply exactly. I get the idea behind it, you can better write something that you know a lot about rather than something you know nothing about but there is little that I know a lot about that I can write a compelling story about. Ok that might not be true but I like to write horror and there is little in my life that is overly horrifying, I mean I could write about my murdered family member but I don’t really like to talk about it so why would I write about it? I like writing science fiction but I can hardly make a compelling story about the fact that my ps4 keeps turning itself back on when I turn it off. Now people might say that a better writer could well take either of those scenarios and make a great story out of it and to them I say go ahead, I am not that writer and I shall not write that story. I would say that some of the best writers in human history have written some of the best loved tales by writing about things they didn’t know about. J. R. R. Tolkien probably didn’t know much about elves and dwarves and orks so he made that shit up and gave us the Lord of the Rings. Isaac Asimov probably didn’t know a whole lot about how robots think but he still wrote Do Robots dream of Electric Sheep? J. K. Rowling was probably not a world leading authority on wizards but she churned out a pretty good series in Harry Potter.

My point is that, in my opinion, the best works are written by people who are not writing what they know, and why can’t I? I don’t know very much about intergalactic spaceships that catch comets and melt them down for water for massive space colonies, that’s because they don’t exist, but that didn’t stop me writing 50,000 words on the damned thing for nanowrimo. Now you might say, surely that’s why its fiction writing, because it isn’t real, and I would reply EXACTLY! I am a fiction write, why on earth would I write anything I know? Real life is boring.

I would say another short post but seeing as my posts are all rather short I shall say another average length post from That Guy in the Goggles (that was my university moniker) but I shall leave you with this little tag line I have devised for my collection of horror short stories.

“A series of tales of misery and woe, but not of Juliet or her Romeo.”