The Horror Goes South

So, I’m getting pretty good at this getting up earlier thing. I’m going to need to be once my day job’s working hours move an hour earlier and I may have to teach at the ungodly hour of 9.30 am (I don’t actually mind, it will be good for me). However I chose to shift my sleeping pattern around in order to do some writing in the mornings and then have more time in the day. I think I have successfully worked my transition in to a ‘morning person’, before now I was more of a ‘those-few-hours-in-the-middle-of-the-day-I-feel-like-doing-something…person’.

But I need to do some more writing. I’ve been pretty lax this week as I’ve had some other things on. I also haven’t written a blog since last week as far as I can remember. However that one at least was a story rather than my random ramblings. I’ve actually been busy sorting out my move. Yesterday I handed in the notice on my current flat, which is both exciting and scary. Exciting because I am now moving out of this flat which has caused me so many sleepless nights and moving somewhere new. Scary because the new place hasn’t actually gone through yet so unless it goes through by the time my notice runs out I may end up homeless.

So, what am I working on? Well, Games Day UK is coming up pretty soon, which I’m immensely looking forward to. Although my wallet is already silently weeping to itself in the corner. It doesn’t know what’s hit it yet! I do love Games Day, a place where like minded individuals all come together to have a day of pure geekyness about something they love. You will probably see me there running between various stands trying to catch as much new stuff as possible and take in all the atmosphere. Got to get to the Black Library, Forgeworld and I will also be checking out Fantasy Flight Games. I’m hoping to get hold of a copy of their new 40K game, Relic. I did have a few years out of going to Games Day and I really did miss it. I went again for the first time a few years ago and fell straight in to it without missing a beat. Though I don’t spend nearly as much money as I did when I was a kid. My poor parents!

Anyway I am digressing. The reason I mentioned Games Day is because, as the Black Library will be there, they have started to take submissions on the day. I am currently wondering whether to take something I have already written or begin work on a new 1000 word story to take with me specifically on the day. Any suggestions as to this will be greatly appreciated. If you really like something I’ve already written and think it’s worth submitting let me know.

I’ve also been given an opportunity of possibly having something published on Amazon. On a forum I peruse they are compiling a horror anthology and I have had my name listed as part of it. I already have a story idea; A Lovecraftian horror set on the Island of Portland in Dorset. That’s all you’re getting out of me for now. I just have to write the thing…I’ve not really written any horror before (except for Tyranid infested space ships) so I’m a little bit scared by it. I’ve done the leg work, I’ve written a plot outline, I just need to research the writing style and get to work on it. I will try and do that this week, look out for updates and wish me luck.

On Twitter the last few days I seem to have had a lot of authors follow me. I’m slightly perplexed, do they like my work? Is my writing starting to have some form of impact? If so, that’s really great, wow. Or maybe they have just seen that I have called myself an ‘aspiring-writer’ and have decided to see what I come up with. That’s also great. Perhaps they can offer me some advice? If you’re reading this, please send some twitter-esque tips my way!

Right, I really must get on with my day and some writing. This blog, amongst cooking breakfast and tidying some of the flat, has taken me the best part of an hour to finish. Ooops.

 

More stories soon, hopefully. Thanks for reading.

 

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Fallen Angel

I was recently having a chat with a friend of mine. We talked about a gaming group we have set up and how we were going to integrate some role-playing elements in to it. He told me of a character he had come up with for a game of Deathwatch; a black shield from an unknown chapter that had no recollection of his past. The day after I wrote a few notes about this character and came up with this little background story for him. I hope you like.

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The Swordsman

Two blogs today? Oh goody! And this one actually has a story in it! Hurrah! No more endless ramblings of the insane. Well actually there are some quite insane parts in it…nevermind eh!

This is a story that I came up with and sent off to the Black Library in the first of their submission windows that I was truly aware of. It includes a certain well known character that they wanted a story for, only I decided to tell the story from the perspective of the other side. Lets see if you can guess who that character is? (answers on a stamped addressed postcard…or a comment, your choice). As you’ve probably guessed, I didn’t hear anything back from them regarding this story. I didn’t expect to, it was a good plot, in my honest opinion, but rather than writing 1000 words of flowing sample text I naively wrote several short samples of the scenes which I was going to include which amounted to approximately 1000 words. However I still like the plot and it’s something that I would like to work on and refine and maybe one day have published, if I get lucky.

I’ve included the Summary I sent to them to start off with so you get a basic feel for the story. I would include the synopsis I wrote, but I don’t want to give too much away. The following is the sample text I sent them, along with some better, more recent additions. Let me know what you think and if you can guess who that famous character is!

Without further ado, The Swordsman:

Summary

 

The Swordsman is a lieutenant in the venerated Albun Hussars Imperial Guard regiment. He considers himself the finest Swordsman in the guard, but constantly reprimanded and mocked for his selfish attitude and disregard for his orders he still has something to prove. On the world of Comorran he will face his greatest challenge yet. In the network of trenches The Swordsman will battle against the forces of Chaos, the Emperor’s Children Renegade Space Marines and their greatest champion. Will this be his making or his downfall?

Sample Text

 

He loathed the way the others talked about him, he was no child, he was a veteran of many battles with the Albun guard. He could decide which was the best course of action, when to stand back and wait for the enemy to come and when to make sure they paid for their heresy.

He drew his power sword, a family heirloom, and began to sharpen it as he always did in these moments of anger. It helped to calm and settle him for the oncoming battle. Letting them get inside his mind was foolish and would probably end up getting him killed. He just had to concentrate of what he did best. He would prove all his doubters wrong sooner or later.

A wailing siren brought him out of his inner turmoil and as soon as he registered what it meant he began collecting his armour jacket and weapons. He would need them for what was about to come. The siren was a warning to all members of the Albun Hussars, that an attack was imminent. They would all need to man their stations and await the inevitable death and destruction any attack presaged.

His small platoon command squadron was waiting for him as he arrived at their designated trench board.

 

The enemy were now pouring in to the trench system in numbers. Those tasked with holding the end trenches failing in their given duty. There was nothing he could do except keep firing and The Swordsman added to the weight of fire with the snap of his own laspistol. He kept firing, change clip, fire again at wave after wave of horrific face masks all of a different grotesque image. Some of the icons even making him head sick and forcing him to look away.

Something would have to be done and quickly in order to stymie the tide. The enemy could not be allowed to gain a foothold in the trench system or they were all dead.

He glanced around the trenches taking in the individual battles that were taking place and looking for the best place to add his forces to. Furthest to his right the fighting was heaviest and amongst the guardsmen desperately fighting for their lives by clash of bayonet and blade was a group of black armoured traitor marines. The lieutenant quickly made up his mind. This would be the best place to strike. The traitor guard would be looking to their superhuman allies for leadership and confidence. If his platoon could hurt them in some way then perhaps they could change the tide of the battle.

With a quick barked order to those around him, The Swordsman led his platoon along the trench. Periodically, stragglers from the main enemy force would be encountered along the trench and the men of the Albun guard would dispatch these with a quick salvo from their lasguns or a bayonet thrust.

As The Swordsmen gained ground on the traitor marines he drew his sword from the scabbard at his waist with a sharp scrape of metal on metal and levelled it at the figure he assumed was their leader. As the champion of the black clad warriors saw this act of defiance he licked the burnt lips of his ritually scarred face and grinned in acceptance.

 

The traitor was a swordsman in his own right. The forms he made, precise and practiced with years of experience. A thrust here, a feint, a backwards step there. Keeping the opponent occupied and allowing them a confidence while staying completely in control. Almost as if it were a game. Every movement fluid and accurate with an ease born of confidence. Such supreme confidence it permeated his very being. The figure in black was grinning, each kill becoming quicker and quicker.

 

Human swordsmen met superhuman champion in a clash of blades. Sparks flew as the two powerful fields encompassing these ancient weapons tried to occupy the same space. The traitor marine was immensely powerful and The Swordsman struggled as blow after blow landed on his own power sword, feinting from side to side and trying to return a blow against the champion. The leering scarred face would not stop laughing in an effort to put him off and it was all he could do to concentrate on the battle at hand. Each blow he blocked with his power sword sucked more energy from his reserves and he already knew he was flagging. The duel had only been taking place for a few moments but it already felt like a lifetime to the lieutenant. He would have to do something quick in order to change his luck, or this superhuman monster would take his life and lead these forces in to the heart of Imperial lines.

He fainted to the side again in an effort to avoid a killing blow and launched one last desperate attack at the chaos champion. Amazingly the lunge connected in the waist of his enemy cutting through the armour with ease and splashing a spray of bright red blood over his weapon and body armour.  The disfigured face of his enemy still laughed and it was almost as if the heretic was enjoying the pain and bloodshed.

With this sudden boost of confidence and in disgust The Swordsman lunged again, splitting armour and carving the torso of the traitorous marine in two.

The face was no longer laughing.

 

Juran hated sentry duty, it was cold, wet and miserable and what was worse, he had to sit still and keep watch, any shift of movement might alert the enemy and get him killed. This only added to the Emperor forsaken discomfort of this wet and muddy planet. He would rather be in the trench waiting to go over the top than be sat here waiting for the next poor soul to take over sentry duty. At least then he could move his aching, atrophying muscles.

There, a faint glimmer of…what…a piece of enemy armour, weaponry? No, it was just his mind playing tricks on him, eager for something to pierce the unending boredom of keeping watch over the enemy’s lines.

A tinkling of armour and a crunch in the dirt drew his attention behind him with a start.

‘Oh, it’s only you, what are you doing sneaking up on me like that? I could have shot you.’

The figure said nothing and so Juran returned to his duty, looking out over no-mans land to spot any potential movement of the enemy.

He assumed his comrade had moved on, perhaps to the latrine to relieve himself until a shuffling sound behind him roused him again. There was only time to shift a little in his seat before a cold cramping sensation in his gut stopped him in his tracks. Looking down he could the tip of a sword glinting in the moonlight emerging from the middle of his stomach. Juran barely had time to utter a grunt of pain before the laughing figure behind him slit his throat and the last of his life bled in to the muddy ground.

 Loren was the night shift orderly. He preferred this shift as it was calmer, easier. The quiet hours of the night gave him all the time he needed to think, to ponder while he went about the steady routine of his work.

The wounded soldiers rested peacefully in the medical cots behind him, accompanied by the soft sound of snoring. Occasionally the grunted sounds of discomfort from injuries broke the peacefulness of the room. Despite being protected from the desperate cold outside the infirmary, there was a definite chill in the ear tonight.

Loren pulled the thick fur-lined collar of his coat up around his neck to keep the cold out, it didn’t normally affect him this badly but tonight was unusual.  He had a notion of movement behind him. He dismissed it readily, probably just one of the wounded soldiers rolling in their sleep, dreaming.

 

Existence is Futile?

Two blogs in as many days?! I know, I was just saying the same thing to myself. I don’t quite believe it either.

This is all part of my plan to, on my days off, get up as early as my body will allow, make a big cup of coffee (white, one sugar please) and spend at least an hour writing. So once again today I have been leafing through my notebook and typing stuff up. I like to do it this way as to me it gets at least one edit before it has even been typed up. From what I write in the notepad which can often be rushed, illegible and sometimes a bit basic, I can take that and refine it in to something better via a keyboard. Although there is some stuff in that notepad that I ain’t lettin’ no one see! Nuhuh!

So as of now, I almost have 2000 words for the ‘Project Xenos’ story, some of which I posted on here a short while ago (you can search for it under that title). And that is before I have even begun to flesh out the story. I aim for that to be my first proper short story rather than just a 1000 word short. I know for a fact I still have some parts for it later in my notepad, so you will see more from that story soon I hope.

Today’s story allows me to get a little arty-farty and philosophical, which is something I don’t tend to do. That is unless I have been plied with alcohol (make mine a red wine, scotch or cider please, ta!). This is where the title comes from. You can work so hard to achieve, get so absorbed in that work that you can forget the little things in life, then one day, one small act or one mistake can destroy it all. I don’t know where I am going to use this little scene but I really like what it portrayed. I’m sure it will come in handy somewhere.

Also, for those of you getting your A Level results today (though you are probably to busy to read this crap!); don’t worry if you don’t get what you expected. Sure it’s a great feeling to achieve and get brilliant results and it can open doors. But A levels are not the be all and end all of your life. I only managed to achieve one A level in Physics (thanks to having ME and my Chemistry teacher thinking it was better for me to dedicate my time to Biology that I was failing miserably rather than Chemistry where I was ahead of the rest of the class – see, I’m still making excuses!), I still got a degree, now I am a college/university lecturer, teaching sound engineering to degree students. So in short, you can achieve whatever you want to achieve if you put your mind to it, don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t. You have the power to shape your own destiny, even if the fates can be exceptionally cruel at times.

 

Anyway, I digress, enough of that. Here is today’s story (Once again thanks for reading and I truly value any feedback):

 

Hector Lumus was a scribe, he was an exceptional scribe, the most efficient and well respected in the sector. Many other adepts came to him for the quality of his work. So much so that he was always busy with one thing or another. Many scrolls and slates were stacked in ordered piles on his workstation waiting to be started.

So busy that he did not notice the creeping, dark shape behind him.

The kill stroke was so quick that he did not even register his own death until he lay on the ground, his own blood pooling around him, the once neat ordered piles of dataslates now strewn about.

He stared up at the face of his killer, wondering briefly what he had done to deserve this pain, he had always worked hard. That grizzled evil face was the last thing he would ever see as the light faded from his eyes.