Sunday, 12 December 2010

Micro fiction Monday!

Microfiction Monday is a challenge where Susan, at Stony River provides a picture and we have only 140 characters to come up with a story. 

This Monday's image:

‘There’s a hole in my bucket’, dear Liza did call,
When Henry replied with a foolish ‘then fix it’,
Henry didn't see the bucket coming at all!

A play on the old nursery rhyme, hope you enjoyed it!

Em x

Saturday, 11 December 2010

HP Blogfest!

Hi all!
Today I am posting my entry for Michael's (over at In Time...) Harry Potter themed blogfest! Here is the brief:

In honor of HP, I would like to have an HP blogfest. In 500 words, I would like you to create a scene with any of the HP characters from any of the seven books. It could be anything you want. Funny, magical, serious, etc. And for an added twist, let's have it set during the holidays. Christmas or Thanksgiving. 

In addition to this we also had to involve ourselves in the scene! This I'll admit I found tough, trying to write how I would genuinely think and react was quite challenging! Still I couldn't resist placing myself as a student in Hogwarts when the opportunity arrived, having been a long held fantasy of mine. I hope you enjoy my story!

I walked slowly down the corridor, trailing a finger on the rough, familiar stone and humming a festive tune. My stomach was contentedly full with rich, moist chocolate cake and warm eggnog, and I smiled somewhat wistfully. As I had sat at the friendly Hufflepuff table, my last Christmas at Hogwarts had a sense of both celebration and sadness. Lost in the sentimental musings of my mind, I did not notice a hovering light down the corridor. Upon finally seeing it, I froze, unable to prevent the irregular hammering of my heart in my chest. I swallowed dryly, an irrational fear suggesting possibilities to my mind and I shook my head as if to dispel them.
“Hello?” I called out, my voice cracking in the darkness of the corridor. I cursed myself for offering to help clear up after the feast, forgetting the dark walk back to the dorms. “I’m a prefect you know…” I stuttered trying to place some kind of authority in my voice. The only reply I received was a snigger and an unintelligible whisper. I sighed, raising an eyebrow; I had fallen into a Christmas prank it seemed. I ventured forward in a somewhat tentative manner, looking around for the usual traps. There were no dungbombs or stink pellets as it seemed to my trained eye, only the hovering candle.
A rustle of paper from that direction, caused me to frown and search for movement in the dark alcoves of the passage; still I could see no-one.  There were sudden curses in chorus of male voices and a hissed “It’s Lily”. I glanced around in wonder, as feet seemed to hurry across the corridor, seemingly with no bodies. The candle fell to the cold stone floor with an echoed crash, and the light was extinguished. I panicked a little, searching my pockets for my wand. “Lumos” I murmured seeing the glow of the light sprout forth from the dark elm.
Suddenly, I heard footsteps down the corridor interrupting the strange goings on. I turned to see Lily Evans making her way towards me, a strange, knowing smile playing on her lips when she saw my slightly paled face and guarded expression. “Evening Emma,” she greeted me nodding before walking straight past, to the rolling candle on the floor. She sighed loudly, marking her exasperation, before moving over to an alcove.  With a tug she pulled a large cloak, which seemed to materialise from the air, to reveal James Potter and Sirius Black grinning sheepishly.  I gaped in astonishment, and Lily passed me a look, rolling her eyes, before turning back to the whispering boys. “Severus walked a different way, you idiots” she remarked raising an eyebrow as Sirius frowned over a piece of parchment, apparently searching for something. I remained mystified at the odd events and shrugged, moving towards the dorm. I smiled as I passed, hearing James whisper “Merry Christmas Lily” and plant a gentle kiss on her blushing cheek, under a flourish of mistletoe.

500 words exactly, may I add! Let me know what you think, Thanks for reading,

Em x

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Through the Keyhole!

The lovely Madeleine at Scribble and Edit is running a Blogfest called Through the Keyhole!
The instructions were to write a descriptive passage detailing the room of a person, so you can guess who that person is! I hope you have fun trying to figure this one out, I didn't even know until I was halfway through!

The luxurious, creamy, soft pillows are freshly plumped, complimented with a small mint on a silver platter. The walls of the small room are perfectly white and smooth, with a smart inlayed metal, reflecting the powerful bright lights on the ceiling. The room has a large screen built into the wall, tracking the progress of the ship and the detailing the surroundings outside. There is, of course, no window to see out of in the cabin, and the internalised computer regularly states in a calm and friendly voice, ‘we are now only 42 days from our destination, all systems are working in order, I hope you are having a good journey with the star-cross express.’ This is subsequently repeated in multiple languages. There is a touch screen built into the glass and steel desk, detailing the menu and activities for the day, currently up on the screen is an advertisement for a sky-deck show with a famous impersonator.
Lying on the bed is an untouched thick dressing gown, embroidered with a golden emblem, and a large suitcase. The case contains a large and tattered book on the legend of the mafia, a brief guide to dialects of the modern world, an android device for accessing the world news database and hologram message hub. The hub is playing a touching message from a middle aged woman, wishing the recipient a good journey and a safe return, but flashes with other ‘locked’ messages categorised as business. Surprisingly, there is a rather large pile of worn clothes lying in the corner of the room, unfitting to the smart grandeur of the setting. Under closer inspection, it seems perhaps the inhabitant is not the first class passenger they seem. Peeking suspiciously from the pile of clothes is an old fashioned cheque book, which has thick black lines covering details of previous transactions. There is crinkled paper money stashed in a steel box, seeming to have been held in fond hands too many a time. The android device lingers over unstable markets which dip and rise in a repetitive wave, watching and reporting large transactions. In well oiled draws under the dresser, and hidden under reams of rich attire are wigs and contact lenses, along with a box of prosthetics.
Returning to the suitcase, in a zipped up pocket appears to be a modern holographic passport, only it is flickering from one image to another, finding no substantial person. John Smith, Hector Worthington, Jacques de Bonne show their faces, all seeming to share a slightly intimidating, stern expression.
Suddenly, the sound of applause on the deck above causes me to throw the passport back on the bed and scurry out of the room, wondering all the while, who could possibly inhabit that room? 

Hope you liked it!
Em x

Monday, 6 December 2010

Micro fiction Monday!

Microfiction Monday is a challenge where Susan, at Stony River provides a picture and we have only 140 characters to come up with a story. I, as always, have cottoned on belatedly, and am posting my response a little late in the day, still as they say, better late than never!

That night they ran on wild heathen moors till breaking dawn,
And found a love that surpasses even death,
For now they finally lie as one.

I have to admit the character limit was a real challenge! I wrote this as an ode to one of my favourite books, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. 'Whatever our souls are made from, his and mine are the same.' - The image just brought to mind the unattainable nature of Catherine and Heathcliff's love, and the irony that it is only in death that they can lie as one.

Hope you like it!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Unpredictable Tale - Round Two

Here is my second attempt at the Unpredictable Tale - Explained here are The Rules. The process was the same as before, only this time with no word limit, so apologies for the length! See if you can work out the options, I'll post them the end anyway! Enjoy!

Jacques scurried through the trees, as the bobby blew his whistle shrilly, and a flock of nesting blackbirds flew into the overcast sky. He had torn his rough trousers clambering over the sharp iron gates, and he felt the unpleasant warmth of blood trickling down his leg. Yet it was a mere scrape, and he shrugged it off as he darted into the shadows. This time he would escape that horrible cage, they couldn’t shut him bedlam forever, or the screams would really drive him to the insanity he was supposed to possess. The whites of Jacque’s eyes flashed in the darkness, and he grinned as the sound of pursuit grew distant. He was in a thick forest, surrounded by imposing shadowy trees, the image of a sinister captor at every turn. Jacque ran a rough hand through his long and untamed hair, and wondered if the paranoia eating at his mind really was a case of madness.
Jacque had slipped into a feverish sleep on a bed of fallen leaves; he was running from pursuers in an inescapable maze, turning and twisting in an agony of indecision.  He sat up, crying out in fear, having been at the brink of capture in his twisted imagination, to find himself looking up at a collection of whispering servants. There were several ladies’ maids, judging by their uniform, a butler, and a serving girl, who seemed incapable of keeping to a whisper. Indeed the girl squawked in excitement, a merry blush covering her cheeks, as she saw him awaken. “Maam! ‘e’s up ‘maam! An’ don’t he have lovely eyes” she giggled furiously, shouting through the trees. A path seemed to be clearing over to him, and soon enough a thin faced woman squinted at him through gold rimmed glasses. She was holding an ornate caved walking stick and had thick heavy skirts, adorned with a seemingly astonishing amount of decoration and jewellery. He merely gawped at her extravagance, having seen nothing of the whims of the rich in his pitiful life. She raised a delicately painted eyebrow in her humour. “It seems they have lost another one at bedlam” she observed, a wry sarcasm in her voice. She turned on her heel before Jacque could protest and ordered for him to be brought inside. Her eccentricity was quite clear in the exchanged glances of her servants. Jacque inwardly groaned, it was back to the madhouse.
When he had supposed to be sent back to the madhouse, it was not this that he had expected. Jacque found himself in a canary yellow parlour, staring about at his setting in astonishment and gripping a delicate saucer in his trembling hands. He had been led to a large estate, with an imposing fa├žade, down the dark corridors of the servant’s quarters, and into a light, airy and otherworldly room. Covering the patterned canary coloured walls, there were sentimental paintings of cats and dogs, of birds and flowers, even a few depicting children, although Jacque rather doubted the eccentric woman to be married. There were knick knacks everywhere covering tables and the mantelpiece, exotic items from far away colonies. He vaguely remembered talk of a huge beast with a long nose to the floor in a tavern once. That was before they had taken him, a lifetime ago. He had been trapped all his life, firstly by poverty, then in the workhouse. That’s when they had taken him away from his family. That’s when they said he went mad. The truth of it was he couldn’t remember, it seemed to be a blur, a blip in his memory, and he couldn’t even remember their faces. Something had ended him up in the madhouse, and he didn’t even know what. He jumped from his memories abruptly as he heard the door slam shut, turning to see the woman watching him with beady eyes. She seemed to be a like the canary itself, surrounded by its toys, surrounded by an ornate cage. If the woman was a bird, Jacque was beginning to feel very much like a worm, by the hungry look she had in her eyes. He gulped and looked down uncomfortably, feeling her ravenous stare prickle on the back of his head. He heard a bolt being slowly drawn across the door, before that same voice asked the innocent question “How do you like your tea?” He shivered, overcome with dread; he was trapped in yet another madhouse.
The woman came and sat down in a wooden rocking chair, draped with an uneven and moth eaten blanket. There was a quiet squeak and groan from the chair as she rocked through the silence. The noise caused Jacque’s blood to boil and his teeth to grind. “Paranoia, Memory Loss, Extreme… Anger” She cackled watching his face with an ecstatic look of interest. She knew she was right. “You’ll fit in very nicely with the rest of us” she taunted. The ranks of servants, some of whom he recognised from the forest earlier, seemed to merge from the darkness; it was as if their presence was made visible only when she called them out. It was as if she was a dark and insane puppet master, controlling them for her own amusement, making them dance for her. Jacque stood and began to back to the door, feeling himself grow cold with fear; this was a dream, a concoction of his own misery, his own madness. The door was bolted, he knew before he even reached it, and still he banged on the door, screaming for sanity. He stared around him at the advancing minions. He was white eyed and clammy, the room was spinning. He felt a surge of all the anger and pain and fear in his life, before the canary yellow faded to an unseeing blackness. Jacque never remembered who he was, or the life he once led, only somewhere in the deepest black holes of his mind he knew:
He would always be trapped in a madhouse.

Hope you enjoyed the story and are not too worried about my sanity.  Upon attending a talk from William Nicholson, I learnt that every character we write is a reflection of our own personality. I'm not sure what that says about me! 

The dice dictated:
1] Poor Person
2] Male
3] Forest
4] Victorian
5] Rich Person
6] Woman
7] You are Trapped
8] Your Fate Confirmed

Give it a go, you never know what might happen!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

The Unpredictable Tale - Round One

Below is the first story which came from my game. I explained the way which this game worked in the rules here:
I hope you enjoy it, this was certainly a challenge!

The sound of the machine guns rattled around John Browning’s head as he ran up the steep and slippery mountain path. The towering giants of the Pyrenees loomed down on his young shoulders, seemingly a reminder of the oppression from which he was running. He wiped the bitter sweat from his brow, stopping to survey the inhospitable land around him. His attractive dark features were pulled into a grimace of pain and fear. He should not have run, he would surely be caught and brutally shot, but then even death seemed a sweet release from that never-ending assault of fear.
A sudden noise startled John, his face blanching white, he dived for the side of the road. He lay panting in the thorny bushes, wishing himself silent, in anguish. Soon a young boy came around the corner, his face was dirty and his knees soiled with dried blood. There was an onslaught of tears streaming down his face and he fell to his knees, whimpering for his mama. The boy’s innocent pain cut John to the heart, and he stepped towards the child, simply holding out his roughened hand. John wept and felt, as the boy, lost and disillusioned with the world.
John led the boy down the road, feeling his hands cleansed of their sins, as they engulfed the boy’s innocence and transcending trust.
Suddenly John felt himself being thrown backwards by a landmine, a force that seemed to split his body into a million pieces, and he felt the small hand flailing away from his grip. He was aware of a deathly scream coming from his lungs, although his mind seemed far away from the physical realm. He saw himself reach for the boy, from whose sleeve scarlet pain was seeping, and drag him into a protective embrace.
John felt the pain overwhelm him as he tentatively crept back into his body, rocking over the limp frame of the young boy. He felt hot tears fall freely down his cheeks, as he leant close to the picture of purity in his arms. The death of his innocence and his hope was surely irredeemable, still they prevailed. The boy fluttered his wet eyelashes open, and stared into the eyes of his protector, the reverence of life conquering the corruption of his body. John stared back rapturously, only his soul soared far above with the epiphany of true, innocent joy. 

If you were wondering the options that came up were:

1] Fighter
2] Male
3] Mountains
4] The World Wars
5] Child
6] Male
7] There was an Explosion
8] Joy

Hope you enjoyed the read!

The Unpredictable Tale

Upon looking for some fun and inspiration today, I came up with a game for my dad (over at Writes of Passage) and me. It is a sort of literary exercise in itself, in which you have to write a short story depending on the rolling of a die! Hence the title 'The Unpredictable Tale' came up, and we got to trying it out. Before I post the result of my literary experiment, I'll explain the options that came up, and you can try out the game yourself if you like.

First die determines the basic role of the main character:
1] Spy/Detective
2] Fighter
3] Mage/Sorcerer
4] Child
5] Poor Person
6] Rich Person

Second decides the gender:
1-3] Male
4-6] Female

The third die shows the setting:
1] Forest
2] City
3] Cave
4] Desert
5] Mountains
6] Dungeon

And the fourth the time period:
1] Medieval
2] Futuristic
3] Victorian
4] Present Day
5] World Wars
6] Post Apocalyptic

At this stage you write the first paragraph, which needs to detail the information you have gained so far. It will describe the character and the setting. The first time we did this exercise dad and I decided to limit each paragraph to 100 words. This is great if you want a real challenge! The next stage in the process was to introduce a second character, by re-rolling the first two dice. You then have another paragraph to introduce the second character and make them meet your initial character.

The third paragraph occurs after you have rolled the die once more to determine 'What happens when...?':
1] There is an Explosion
2] There is a Thunderstorm
3] A Weapon is Drawn
4] A Prophesy is Made
5] You Find an Object
6] You get Trapped

Lastly the fourth paragraph is the ending. Having a set ending is difficult, but it really challenges the imagination to think outside the box. Here are the options on the die:
1] Joy
2] Fate Confirmed
3] Defeat your Demons
4] Death
5] Love
6] Cliff Hanger!

I know I found this game, difficult and very informative! It was also great fun, and really pushed me to the limits of my creativity. I came up with two short stories that I'm really very proud of, firstly with a hundred word limit to each paragraph and secondly with no length limit. I hope you enjoy reading about, and maybe even playing my game, and check out my stories and my dad's stories when he gets round to posting them!