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Just a short story I wrote for my Writing Group at school. The topic was ‘Vampires’ and the challenge was a 1000 word story. Want to read it?


The clock chimed midnight. The coffin creaked open, cobwebs straining and breaking. The man inside emerged, his pale eyes glinting through the gloomy darkness. He stood, long dark hair streaming past his shoulders and onto his cape, once rich velvet but now a little moth-eaten around the edges. His coffin obviously wasn’t as air-tight now as it had once been.

The attic was empty. His heightened senses showed him that the entire house was, likewise, abandoned. No humans, no animals, not even a rodent lurking inside a wall. He smiled wanly. His vampiric scent, undetectable by humans but not by more sentient creatures, must have become noticeable during his decade-long slumber, so anything larger than an insect had fled. Still, he preferred the solitude. Bloodlust upon waking could be unbearable if blooded creatures were nearby; it was so much easier to maintain control if brain cells activated before centuries-old instinct. Intellect before everything was his philosophy; control was paramount. Hence his decision to wake today; the day to commence his plan.

He descended to the second storey of his mansion, noting instantly that not all was as he had left it. His eyes narrowed, the only outward sign of his temper flaring. A sign to those who knew him that death – much, much death – was imminent.

He took a deep breath. Yes, since he had fallen asleep, human fools had occupied the house… but his determination to overcome baser passions was strong, and he calmed his wrath within moments. The power of rational decisions over mere instinct. He quirked an eyebrow and intentionally focussed on the changes. 

Someone, years ago, had repainted, and furniture he didn’t recognise lay scattered in random fashion. The heavy curtains he’d chosen, which blocked out all view of the mountainous terrain beyond, were the only feature left untouched. Wise. It could get cold up here – not that he’d felt it once he’d been turned. Still. Whoever the interlopers had been though, they’d long since gone. It looked as though they’d been moving in when suddenly they’d been interrupted. And for whatever reason, they’d left and not returned. Curious.

He continued down to the first storey. More unusual furniture, more evidence of sudden abandonment. Dishes laid out on the dining table, ingredients prepared in the kitchen with saucepans ready on the stove – all long since left to dry up and rot. He snorted. Humans. Limited intelligence, rarely successfully utilised!

The ground floor revealed still more questions, but some answers to others – the family was here. What remained of them, anyway. Two larger skeletons were huddled together with two smaller and one canine. Amongst the jumble of bones, now stripped bare of flesh by insects, he noted that their faces had been either turned toward the main doorway, or averted from it. His brow furrowed. What had happened here? He thrust his senses out further, searching beyond the house for the logical explanation. There may not be any creatures inside – his scent had driven them away – but he knew there’d be owls hunting rodents in the forests outside, foxes stalking their prey, eyes bright despite the lack of moon.

And yet. He canted his head to one side, forcing his senses further, then still further. There was nothing. No blooded creature nearby. No sense of anything. He stopped, noticing his powers were only rudimentary due to his long fast. He’d need blood, and soon, to regain his strength.

He stepped to the main doorway. Its thick oak had stood for centuries now; he expected it would last for many more. It had withstood wars, plagues, even a siege during medieval hostilities, however it had always prevailed. The question of safety fleeted through his mind, however he dismissed it. It was well past midnight on a new moon; it was almost pitch black outside. And although vampiric sight meant everything was visible for him, he’d be unnoticeable to others. Not that there were humans outside. He tried casting out his senses again. No. Nothing and no-one in the immediate vicinity.

The sturdy metal handle felt old, and uncared for. Like his cape, it was showing evidence of age. He sighed. The bolt grated metal on metal as he unlatched the door, swinging it wide, releasing air into the house. And that’s when he noticed it.

The air was lifeless, oxygen-depleted. The forests opposite were gone. The mountains were bare; empty of everything… as far as his eyes could see. No trees, no creatures, just bare grey earth. And the sky wasn’t black anymore, stars shining brightly with the lack of a moon. No, the sky was orange, as if it were burning. The brilliant intensity of the colour hurt his eyes. By the light of the sky he stared out at this unexpected scene. It was desolate. Completely and utterly dead.

He tasted the air again, closing his eyes this time to focus his concentration. And there it was. The radiation he’d missed the first time, when he’d been astonished by the devastation before him. The air was saturated with it – so much radiation that nothing could survive except insects. He even felt his bloodless skin recoiling from its touch.

A faint buzzing nearby made him reopen his eyes. A swarm of gnats rose from the area where the forests had been, racing toward him. They’d sensed his presence when he’d opened the door perhaps? And acting purely on instinct, they’d decided he’d be a worthwhile meal.

Fear shot like a lightning bolt down his spine, and he turned to close the door – too late. The swarm was upon him, biting and tearing, devouring his clothes in seconds, his bloodless skin yielding under their assault soon after.

What had happened to the world he’d planned to conquer? His scheme had been flawless; his intellect had foreseen it!

As millions of razor-sharp teeth ravaged his body, and his mind descended into pain and darkness, he regretted not living by his instincts after all.

random scribblings Scribblings Writing

Flash fiction contest entry

The contest allowed 100 words, and 5 prompt words were mandatory. Fox / Sox / Blue / Cold / Shiver. You could split up the word over multiple others, but not change the order of the letters.

My entry:

The bell rang. Everyone left, then Tess slipped the card into Steve’s desk tray. She shivered, thinking about tomorrow. Would he like it? She’d tried her hardest, rubbing out the wonky lovehearts. She’d also pasted fox pictures onto it, cut from Grandpa’s encyclopaedia. (Steve liked foxes. See? She’d thought this through!)

Then she’d spent ages writing the words. The front: Be my Valentine. Inside: Roses = red, Violets = blue. Once I was cold, now I’m hot for you. (Something grownups said on Mummy’s TV shows.) Then she’d signed it.



Unfortunately, their Kindergarten teacher checked desk trays each morning.

What do you think, dear Reader?

And have a love-filled day yourself 🙂

  • KRidwyn
random scribblings Scribblings Writing

What would you do?

I was given a progressive story to finish recently. This is what I had to work with:

  • 2 love-struck teachers, John and Angela. They’d been kissing for the first time, in the school break-room, when
  • an explosion had occurred and they’d been knocked to the ground. Angela had been impaled, and John was also much the worse for wear.
  • Enter cleaner, George. He tells them he’s called the ambulance and encourages the two teachers to talk to each other. They declare their undying love (yeh, I added the adjective here because hey! irony!)
  • explosion number 2.

Oh – and finish the story in just 300 words.

So now what? What would YOU do?

If you’re interested in my take on the story, read on below. If not, that’s fine! Have yourself a fantastic week, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn


Now it was George’s turn to be thrown to the ground. He landed heavily on his vacuum cleaner. John, who’d finally managed to stagger upright, was blasted down again. This time, his temple hit the corner of the lunch table. He’d never rise again.

Angela, disoriented, bleeding profusely from multitudes of cuts, tried to rise but couldn’t. Her legs wouldn’t support her. She could feel her body growing weaker. In her pain, she didn’t notice a man stride into the destroyed room, gas mask covering his head and a thick black coat disguising the rest of his muscular body. He kicked John’s body out of his way.

George, regaining consciousness, groaned loudly. Leaning over, the man hauled him to his feet. “Leave.” George, spluttering, quickly decided this was not a man to trifle with. Eyes wide, he took the stranger’s advice and fled.

Not even bothering to watch, the stranger had calmly sauntered over to Angela’s broken body. He removed his mask, his face flushed with hatred. “I told you,” he spat.

“Henry?” Angela’s whisper held pain and confusion. “What…? Why?”

“When you broke my heart two years ago, you promised me ‘never again’,” he roared, over the wail of approaching sirens.

He grabbed the piece of window frame embedded in her abdomen and twisted it slowly, painfully. “You lied.”


“No,” he snarled. “You’d promised. It was easy enough to get the gas contract for this stupid old school. A piece of cake, letting it leak into this break room over the past several weeks. Just waiting for today. For you. And him!” His eyes glittered crazily; her eyes, tear-filled, lost their sheen of life.

The sirens stopped, replaced by screeching tyres on the gravel outside.

Henry, smiling grimly, surveyed his handiwork, then slipped silently out the back door.

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Moving right along…

So now the musical’s over, I’ve been head down and getting stuck into the work I’d been (of necessity, mind you!) neglecting. Housework, gardening – oh, and my students’ assignment drafts too, don’t forget! I’ve also had enough head-space to actually ponder the commencement of writing again, would you believe? And I also found 15 minutes in there somewhere, last week, to FlowState… although what came out was embarrassingly pitiful and barely worth keeping, but writing is writing and a skill practiced is a skill improving, I always say. (Well, okay. I made that saying up just now. But it sounds significantly better with the word ‘always’ in it, don’t you think?)

What’s FlowState? You ask. Well, it’s a horrific tool which forces you to write by threatening to remove all your words.

Originally, you could set the timer for 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or 30 minutes. I preferred that. But with an update a year or so ago, they removed that functionality, leaving users with only a 15 minute option.

And the idea behind it is that you WRITE for 15 minutes. No hesitating, just writing. Adding word after word to the screen. Or else!

If you hesitate for longer than 5 seconds (from memory; I *think* it’s five but I’m too scared to check it and see) the words fade on the screen and when they’re gone, they’re gone forever.

You’re forced, you see; to write, and write non-stop, until the timer finishes, and the work is saved.

And believe me, you do NOT want to stop at 14 minutes and 55 seconds! I did that before, and lost literally hundreds of words. Yes, I cried. And yes, I also stopped using the app, my own solitary protest, for several months. But returned though, because it’s perfect to get the writing mojo happening (rather than the thinking mojo!) and the threat of losing work is enough to keep the fingers tapping keys 🙂

Anyway, so that’s what I’ve been doing.

That, and dreaming about publishing. If only Book 7 of my Justine Browning series would write itself!


Have a great week, dear Reader 🙂

– KRidwyn

#AtoZchallenge Blogging challenges random scribblings Scribblings Writing

W is for ‘wavelet’

I was writing a short story one day a year or so ago, and I needed the word for one of those small waves that washes into shore. You know, the ones that squealing toddlers get lifted over, that little children run backwards from, that bring the flotsam and jetsam of an uncaring world to deposit on the beach?

“Wave” was too big. Too much power for what I wanted. So I made up ‘wavelet’. Or so I thought…

Wasn’t I surprised to find it in my dictionary, the following day!

Wavelet. Noun. A small wave, a ripple.

Exactly what I had wanted! Don’t you just love the English language?

I do.

Have a great day, dear Reader!

— KRidwyn

PS If you’re interested in the story I was writing, sorry. It was about a woman’s murder at the hands of her drunk ex. It was a pretty intense story. Far too ‘dark’ for this blog. *shrugs shoulders*

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U is for ‘unknown’

Jan 1, 2016, saw me decide I needed to ‘practise’ my writing. I realised that I’d never get anywhere if I just started a story, get stuck, get frustrated, start another story, and repeat the same process.

Mentally, I compared this to my chess game. Okay in the opening, wobbly in the middle, and pretty woeful at the ending. I decided practise was in order. Practise of ‘end-game’ stuff; then recourse to the middle, and finish at the beginning.

“Smiling nervously at each, they started walking into an uncertain future.”

So: I worked out the final sentence (above) and worked backwards. Ended up with a 1500 word short Sci-Fi story about two teenagers crash-landing their spaceship onto an unknown planet.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I related this story to the members at Beerwah Writers Group. Inspired, they used my final sentence, and produced their own stories. I joined them, and ended up with a 500 word story about a Greek God who’d been cast out from Mount Olympus. Prophemius, I called him. God of the Future… except his powers were stripped from him, meaning he couldn’t see the future anymore.

I wrestle, regularly, with the fact I can’t see the future. I want to know what will happen before it does, so I can prepare for it. Part of my control-freak-ishness, probably. (Yeh, I know. Not a word.)

But I always come back to the fact that it’s good I don’t know. I’m glad, deep down, that I’m in the same boat as everyone else. That the future – for all of us – is an unknown. I like that. We’re all on the same playing field, as it were.

And there’s so much freedom in that!

Have a lovely day, dear Reader!

— KRidwyn


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M is for ‘monteith’ (the bowl, not the name)

‘Retrieving a cup from the scalloped rim of the monteith, he served himself some of its cool water. He could feel the eyes of the lady of the house boring into his back, but he refused to turn and meet her glance until he had quaffed his fill.’

Ah, the monteith. A large bowl, commonly made of silver, often with a rim for suspending drinking glasses in the cool water within the bowl; also used as a punchbowl.

This one, above, I found on Pinterest (I realised I needed to search ‘monteith BOWL’ after a ‘monteith’ search brought up photos of Cory Monteith, of Glee fame) – and it apparently is a Victorian period reproduction of a C1685 Charles II period Monteith bowl – this English sterling silver monteith or punch bowl is by James Dixon & Son, Sheffield, c1905.

Isn’t it beautiful!

Have a great day, dear Reader 🙂

— KRidwyn

Christianity random scribblings Random thoughts Writing

Possible pacing problems?

And how’s the alliteration in that title for you 😀

So I wrote a 100 word story last weekend for the flash fiction contest on Janet Reid’s blog (literary agent extraordinaire, QOTKU and now agent-wrangler at New Leaf Literary and Media) with the five prompt words: dog, horse, proud, spirit, and herd.

I must admit, I was pretty happy with my entry.

But nary a mention. Nada. Zip. (Well, being awarded a zip might have been nice. Instead there was not even the sound of a lonely cricket…)

And casting my eye over the story again, I was wondering if perhaps pacing could be the issue. (Assuming, of course, that it’s not the overtly Christian content, the fact that it’s written from Satan’s point of view2819385851_04df2f653e_m, or just too obscure…)

I was happy with the ‘Adam naming the animals’ leading into the ‘creation of Eve’ sections – but perhaps that didn’t leave enough space to develop the antagonist’s POV enough.

I emailed it to another writer friend, but – I didn’t know at the time! -he’s moving house. He apologised about not replying; I said please don’t; he has enough on his plate!

I then fell sick a few days back, so was unable to make it to my local writers’ group meeting. I had another member read out my story for me. Her response? “Everyone enjoyed it.” Which is nice, but not particularly detailed. Sigh.

So I’m still left wondering – is it pacing? Is it too Christian? Is it too Satan-ic? Or is it just, simply, too obscure?

I’d love to know what YOU think!

“Cat,” he says. “Horse.”

The angel scribes carefully; smiles. “Last one.”

The man gazes at the creature. “Dog.” The angel scribes, nods; then disappears into the spirit realm.

The Master inclines his head. Ancient eyes close.

The man falls asleep.


Later, he wakes; a woman beside him, clothed in purity. “Eve,” whispers the man, eyes wide, marvelling. “My own.”

I smirk. This’ll be easy.

Later still, she explores the garden, head erect; her desire to please ripe for the plucking.


I slither over; make my move.

Offended, proud, she seeks to best me in a match of wills.

I win.

So – do *you* think that pacing may be an issue?

And have a lovely week, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

CC image courtesy Nicholas Brekhus on Flickr

Christianity Life random scribblings Scribblings Writing

Short story: CRIME

Herewith, a story soon to be published in my local Writers’ Group biannual magazine. 800 words. Here’s hoping you enjoy it! 😀



Nathanael stood still, watching.

The man in the bed next to him didn’t have long to live. He was 87, after all, and had been ill for months now. Nathanael watched him sadly, wheezing in his sleep. It was such a waste, it truly was.

Nathanael had guarded hundreds – if not thousands – of humans before. He’d been assigned to them when they’d finished their terms as innocents, and stayed with them until their last breath. Then he’d been assigned a new human to guard. Every assignment presented its own challenges, its own highlights. No two were identical, just as each of the Master’s creations was unique. But this last assignment left him saddened. It had been easy, but that in itself had been part of the problem. It had been too easy. The man wasting away in the bed next to him had not lived. Not in any meaningful way. Yes, he had been alive, but he had never lived; he had only existed. And they were very, very different things.

This man, his current assignment, was the second child of three. Overshadowed by both his brothers in intelligence, the man had made up his mind at an early age that he would never amount to much. He had lived with the ridicule of his siblings and the disappointment of his parents, and so had found it difficult to make friends at school. His peers didn’t like him; he’d never gone out of his way to be friendly. By graduation, he’d been friendless. Average school marks had meant that further education wasn’t an option, so he’d gone into the workforce, helping out in his father’s business. And he’d stayed there. Sixty years later, when society had forced him to retire, he’d stopped going to work and stayed at home. The home which he’d inherited from his parents after their death, after his brothers had moved on to bigger and better things. Successful careers. Marriages. Families. Houses. Overseas holidays at ski resorts.

This man, though, had had none of those things. He had told himself that he didn’t want to be seen to be ‘ambitious’ – but really, Nathanael thought that it was because he was scared. Scared of what might happen if he had tried. Scared to succeed; scared to fail. Coasting, making as few decisions as he possibly could, carried less risk. So that’s what he’d done.

He’d never married. Never had anyone that he could call friend. Never even owned a pet! The man had deliberately chosen to be responsible for no-one and nothing. He had told himself that he had preferred it that way. Nathanael wondered if that was true.

It wouldn’t be long now, Nathanael knew. The man’s breathing was becoming more and more erratic. With his angelic sight, Nathanael could see the man’s bodily systems labouring with more and more difficulty, then starting to shut down. The man had just minutes to live.

But what is a life? thought Nathanael. Is it just the number of breaths measured out to a man? Is it the seconds that he has between conception and death? Or is it the decisions that he makes in the time allotted to him? The emotions he allows himself to feel? The experiences he chooses to have?

The Master had created humans to be social creatures. He had created them to be part of community. To care for each other. Life was about living. Not just existing, oblivious to those around you. A life without choosing to interact with others was no life at all. Nathanael knew this. He had had enough experience watching lives to be utterly convinced.

This man, who had lived without thought for others, had done little harm to them. But neither had he done any kindness. And that was such a waste. He could have done so much good! He had had the opportunity for wealth – and with it, the opportunity to be generous with that wealth. He had had the opportunity for friendship – and with it, the possibility of choosing to make others happier. To make their lives easier.

But he had chosen to live his life as risk-free as possible. He had chosen a life without social interaction. A life of solitude. A life alone.

A life wasted. It was almost criminal. To have so many opportunities, and to neglect to nurture them. It was so sad.

Nathanael watched as the man took his last breath. He watched as his heart beat its last time. Nathanael watched as his soul departed, to the place where all souls went, ready for the final judgement.

Nathanael sighed. A final reflection on this man’s life. Then he too departed, thinking with hope of the next life that he would guard. He wondered who his next assignment would be.

The man’s body lay almost as still in death as his spirit had been in life. Unremarkable.


So – did you like it? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please feel free to leave any and all comments below.

And have a lovely week, dear reader 😀

— KRidwyn

momentous events random scribblings Scribblings Writing

Writing Flash Fiction

Task: Write a story.

Limitations: Use 100 words (or fewer). Include the words: may, play, whee, brie, and quick. Submit within 48 hours.

My take on the task:

Daddy, quick – watch me slide! Whee!
Sally, four. All giggles, sloppy ice-cream kisses.

Daddy, please may I have Jaimee over to play?
My daughter, nine. Nudges and whispered secrets.

Daddy, I love you. Father’s Day, thirteen. No more under-the-table cubby-houses…

My own car? Thank you, Daddy! Squeals; hugs of gratitude.

An aisle; a walk; a bride on my arm. Tears, threatening, choked back. My heart too big for my chest.

These memories should be treasured forever.

But they’re ones I’ll never have.

The tiny limp body in my arms? My Sally?

I curse the day brie was created.


Response by Flash Fiction contest judge and Queen of the Known Universe: Shortlisted!!! WOOT!!!!!


Happy writing, everyone 🙂