Advice for anyone considering watching 50 Shades of Grey…

For the price of your 50 Shades ticket, you could buy:

3 pints of local beer
From a wetherspoons
Where the drama will be better

5 minutes with Madam Political Correctia
Who will explain all that’s wrong
With this sparkly, bow-wrapped turd-punch of a film
While spanking you
And it will be kinkier.

575 pieces of neon-bright refined sugar
Little consumable stars each containing
A tiny sugar rush supernova

One-tenth of a murder
If your contract killer is desperate
And a terrible negotiator

115 Freddos in 1995
When they still cost 10p like they should

One rather grubby soul
Or two souls barely held together
With spit and gaffer tape

An £11.50 donation to Refuge
To help offset the damage this film will do

11 a4 notebooks and a biro
& write the words “no means no”
110,000 times.

Posted in Opinions, Written Poetry | Tagged | Leave a comment

Ilyana and the Piper

Another bleak children’s story. Not for children.

Ilyana and the Piper

Once upon a time, Ilyana woke up to the sound of music.

There was not normally music in the mornings, at least not the steel-bright, axe-sharp mornings like this one (she was somewhat used to music at that blurry point in the night where it stumbled across to morning and the grown-ups would begin singing, their voices strangled by liquor).

This music was different to the brash accordions and pounding drums favoured by her village – this music was high and light, dancing through the air as if the wind itself was blowing through a pipe. It was quite captivating and Ilyana found her food tapping along to its wild, cascading rhythm.

Being a naturally curious child, she decided to find out where the music was coming from.

She swung her feet out of bed and into her sturdy and oft-patched trousers, trimmed in the fur of wolves that troubled the village from time to time. She threw on her shirt, embroidered with the patterns of each winter she had survived (soon she would have to begin again on a bigger shirt if she kept living through the cold months like this) and slipped on her comfortably worn leather shoes, fitted to her feet through days of hard work and nights spent running from the terrors of the dark.

(Those pointed leather shoes were quite unsuited to dancing, by the way, but she found the music running down her bones and putting a spring into her step nonetheless.)

Finally, she put on her big, warm, green coat. Lined with fur and patterned with thorns, it was warm as the hearth fire and fine as spring-time and it was the envy of all her friends.

She scurried outside, feet tapping out a perfect rhythm across the rough and warped floor that had tripped many a drunken visitor, pushing hard against the heavy, iron-shod oaken door and the snow behind it.

In the village square, she found the source of the music, as a tall man dressed head to foot in bright crimson stood in the centre by the ashes of the village’s hearth fire. Around him, the people of the village were gathered – the adults squinting in the face of the bright winter morning, while the children bopped and leaped and cavorted to the music that swirled round them like sweet pipe-smoke. Being a naturally curious child, Ilyana found this interesting.

The man’s head was bobbing and his foot was tapping and he played out his tune on an intricately carved pipe without ever seeming to draw breath. The pipe was a mess of eye-catching swirls, scored into pale wood (or perhaps old bone) and the skin on his face had a similar look to it (every other inch of him was covered in that bright red cloth). Not pale because he didn’t get enough sun, but bleached by too much of it.

As the song came to its end, the village chief stepped forward, his gleaming antlers reaching up to spear the morning light.

“That was very nice, sure,” he said gruffly, “but I don’t see how paying you to play will keep the dire rats away?”

“Oh! You’d be surprised how easily rats are entranced by the sonorous sound of an enspirited song.” The man’s voice lilted with the up-down rhythms of his pipe, as if the cleverly carved pipe spread all the way down his throat.

“And, of course” the man continued, “I could keep charming the children with a quick chorus or two. Free of charge.”

As the man and the chief began haggling over price, Ilyana walked slowly up to them, pushing the younger children aside and wriggling past the grown-ups until she was right next to the piper. As Ilyana was a curious child, she took out her small iron boot-knife and stabbed him in the hand.

The blade went straight through his glove and sizzled as the cold iron pierced his ivory flesh. He shrieked and his voice was so high that the grown-ups collapsed to the ground, clutching their bleeding ears. The man stood on his too-long, stick-thin legs above the people of the village, as his screams wracked their bodies with pain.

He leapt away from the town square, jumping far further than a real person should be able to jump, and landed on all four spindly limbs on the side of the village walls. Clinging there like a spider, he scrabbled up to the top and called down to the townfolk:

“Cursed child! It was reckless of you to interrupt this compact. If you’d done a deal I would only have dealt disaster to a dozen or so of your toddlers and other addled broodlings.” His cackle was the sound of bone-chimes clacking in the wind. “Instead I shall slip the noose of my songs around all of your necks and the smoking remains of your homestead shall serve as a sign to all that they should not cross me.”

The village spent the rest of the day frantically preparing, whilst also spitting caustic curses at Ilyana’s foolishness, for the piper would surely return at dusk. While they reinforced the walls and sharpened their axes, Ilyana allowed herself the luxury of lighting her family’s single candle and made some last preparations of her own – just simple chores. She watered and fed the herbs and flowers of the village’s gardens with snow-water she’d gathered in a blizzard at midnight. She polished the floors of her house with bees’ wax taken with the blessing of the hive’s queen and burned fragrant herbs that had grown fat on the earth of her village. And she put a few final stitches into her fine green coat with thread that shined silver.

When the winter sun felt the dark coming and began its slow retreat they heard the capering tune of the pipe – rising wild and strong like a storm around them – and the first of the rats appeared outside the walls. Great, hulking rodents, they were large even for dire rats and they set about gnawing at the villages walls and fortifications, snuffling for weak points.

The village-folk fought them off with iron and fire, but there were so many and they swarmed like a tide of filth up the walls, with the piper riding high upon their back.

As he crested the wall, the tone of his music changed, growing shrill and discordant, spattering out its notes in sharp shards of sound that pierced the peoples’ ears. Many fell to the floor in agony, their bodies shattered by the twisted song. As they fell, the music changed again, to a full-pelt, intoxicating reel of dance that was like the songs he’d played earlier, only faster and spikier. As he began to play it, the children of the village emerged from their homes and set upon their injured parents with tooth, nail and kitchen knife.

But, just as the first child closed its teeth around his father’s throat and began to spill his blood, they heard another song echo from the other side of the village.
Standing in her house’s doorway stood Ilyana, mouth open, song tumbling out in a hearty gust of notes. Her voice had never been pretty to hear, but she sang now with a strength and steel that commanded attention. She sang the song of her people – not the raucous drinking songs or sad dirges – a song of war and blood and snow.

The children faltered, just for a moment, and as they did every plant in the village rose up. Ilyana’s song swelled and the blossoms that had hidden through the winter burst, filling the air with fluttering petals and sweet scents, while bright green tendrils rose up from the earth in which they’d slumbered and ensnared the children and the rats alike.

The piper was furious. Shrugging off the thorns that tried to catch him, he bounded after Ilyana, playing a horrid jig upon his pipe that sounded pained and misshapen, like a man bent upon the rack. The village chief rose up to try and stop him, but upon hearing that jig he collapsed as every bone in his body shattered at once.

Ilyana, of course, heard neither the jig nor the chief’s screams, as her ears were stuffed full of candle wax.

The piper sped across the village, his limbs extending in length so that he clambered easily past every obstacle. Swift as forest-fire he was bearing down upon Ilyana, who ran quickly back inside her house.

The piper followed her inside and choked immediately upon the multitude of sweet scents that filled the hallway. He bit back the bloody bile in his flute-like throat and scuttled on, following the sound of fleeing footsteps.

In his hurry, he slipped upon the slick polish of the uneven wooden floor, his distended limbs skidding across so he landed spread-eagled across it. He retracted his arms and legs to gain better purchase, but as he did so he felt something close tight around him.

As Ilyana bundled the piper up in her coat, the runes of binding she’d embroidered across it blazed with fierce silver flames. The piper struggled and tore, and as he began to rip pieces of the coat away, Ilyana gave him a swift kicking with her old, comfy shoes. The tough leather spread cracks across the man’s porcelain skin and he screamed in rage.

Then Ilyana plunged her small iron boot-knife through his throat and his screamings ceased.

The piper’s cracked body shattered into so many pieces of old bone. The only piece that remained whole was his pipe.

Ilyana had always been a curious girl.

She picked up the pipe and raised it to her lips.

She was never seen again.

But, sometimes, the village’s new chief told stories of a wild little magic girl, bound in her own ragged green coat, who roamed the forests with a bone flute raised to her bloodied lips and a parade of monsters followed her playing.

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Little Ivan

Hi all! Been a little while since I posted anything. This here’s a new story from a collection of horribly depressing children’s stories I want to write. Hope you find it appropriately bleak :)

Little Ivan

Once upon a time, there was a little boy called Ivan.

Then Ivan died.

His family mourned, the village sang the dirges of death, then they drank all through the night as death was not uncommon there and they, at least, were still alive.

It was some surprise to Ivan, then, when he woke up the next morning. He scrawled out of the earth, scrabbling through it like a grub-nosed dire mole, his limbs full of strength he did not know he had.

Not knowing what to do, he dragged his drying husk of a body back towards his village. When he got to the spiked palisade, he knocked as best he could. The palisade’s wooden frame shook and Ivan’s fist scraped against one of its many pointy spikes, but Ivan felt nothing.

The guard on duty approached with bleary, blood-rimmed eyes and started when he saw they boy.

“Ivan, is that you?”

“I think so.” Said Ivan, his tongue rasping, paper-dry.

“What foul sorcery has brought you back, Ivan?” Spluttered the guard.

“I don’t know.”

“Was it some fell magic?”

“Probably.” Sighed Ivan, who was not stupid. A single tear rolled down his cheek, leaving a trail of gore down his too-pale skin.

“Hey, chief!” the guard called, “Ivan’s been brought back by probably dark arts!”

“Well don’t let him in you wanker!” Yelled the chief, striding purposefully over. “He’ll likely kill us all.

“Sorry, Ivan,” she continued, “you understand.”

“Yes.” Said Ivan, quietly. “I understand.”

And Ivan walked alone into the cold, biting snow. But he felt nothing.

Ivan wandered on shambling legs through the wilds. The wolves ignored him as they didn’t care for the taste of corpse meat. A carrion bird began to peck out his eyes, but Ivan reached up quickly and snapped its neck with too-strong arms before it did too much damage.

He walked for many days and the bitter cold stopped decay from sinking its claws into his body. He was grateful for this, as he would not have liked to have his soul trapped in a prison of rotting flesh. A prison of frozen flesh was definitely preferable, even if it did make his limbs hard to move.

When he came to the next village he barely resembled the boy he had been and the guards were not so kind.

“Get away, dead boy!” They shouted. “We don’t want your taint here.”

And Ivan would have cried, if only the viscera that filled his tear ducts had not frozen solid.

“Please.” He croaked. “Please help-”

The first arrow took him in the shoulder and twisted his body down onto the icy ground. The second hit him in the arm and sizzled as its flaming arrowhead extinguished itself in his frozen meat. Ivan felt nothing.

He shuffled off before they could try again with fire.

He walked through the frozen wilds for a long time and saw many things. He saw the great waterfall of the north frozen in mid flow, its tumultuous essence captured in a single moment – he saw his face reflected in its rippling ice and felt something flutter in his chest. He saw the great beasts that slumbered beneath the dirt begin to stir as they tasted the first gusts of spring upon the sharp winds. He saw the old woman of the forest, sitting outside her yurt of bones on a rocking chair made of shadows ande even she shrank back from him.

When he finally came to the third village, they were suspicious at first, but the village’s chief was young and soft of heart and he took pity on the little frozen boy and thought that just one night would not hurt. Ivan sat by the fire, which spread its warmth through the ice of his body and he reached out with his hands to grasp more of its nourishing warmth.

“Careful!” Said the chief. “You wouldn’t want to burn yourself!”

But Ivan felt nothing.

That night, as Ivan’s flesh began to thaw, so too did the death that lived inside him. It stretched itself out and flowed down through Ivan’s unused veins, letting its corruption trickled down through every inch of him. It moved the little boy’s limbs like he was a puppet, pulling him out of bed in short, jerky movements. Ivan tried to control pull himself back, to take control of his rebellious bones, but they were stronger than he could believe.

Ivan left a trail of gory tear-stains all the way from his bed to the village’s gates.

In the morning, when the sun speared its rays through the morning’s frost, Ivan looked about him.

He saw the village’s gates splintered off their hinges.

He saw the village’s wards, smudged and splattered by his bloody tears.

He saw the village’s people, laid out in broken piles on the uncaring ground.

And Ivan felt nothing.

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A spell for removing the sads.

Giving how I’m feeling today it felt appropriate to post this little snippet. It’s from a loose collection of spell-themed fics and poetry that someday may become a pamplet called ‘Spells of Glam Geeks and Emo Kids’. Brb, off to buy cheap & nasty booze.

A spell for removing the sads.

Take a jar of jam and layer liberally in a trail leading to an empty liquor-bottle (cheap, nasty – ideally bells, vodkat or Tesco Value White Spirit, anything that tastes of despair). Pour a libation of said spirit down your throat (you will not enjoy it, but that’s ok) and sprinkle the jam with your ensuing tears (must be fresh).

Soak a rag in said liquor and embroider upon it the lyrics to the angstiest (not saddest) song you know (Evanescence, My Chemical Romance, Good Charlotte all work, the perfect cocktail of anger and depression – too much sad and the spell will fizzle, too much anger and you risk an explosion of nuclear proportions).

Keep a lighter nearby and ready (zippo for preference, it will have no effect on the spell, but zippo’s are cool).

Draw forth the sads with an act of deliberate, cloying self-frustration/malfeasance. For example: search for #misandry on twitter. Or log-on to reddit. Read a book by Dan Brown. Or watch a film with which Michael Bay had any involvement.

As the words eat caustic through you and your brain cells begin to pop with despair the sad-sects will emerge. They will crawl, buzzing the not-quite-sound of their doubt-filled bite-thoughts, from your every orifice. Try to let them, it will be more pleasant if you do not resist.

Attracted by the sweet jam and sweeter tears they will swarm along the trail (consuming it utterly) and into the bottle. Stuff the rag down the bottle’s neck as if you were trying to suffocate it and when it is firmly in place you must set it alight and throw it through the nearest window.

The resulting explosion will be the sweetest music you have yet heard.

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Showdown at The Heavenly Corale

Hi all! Long time, no update. Just a short one going up today, it’s a #microfiction effort that spun a tad out of control. Hope you like.


Time has no meaning here, but, for the sake of the story, let’s call it high noon. The sun beating down with a celestial brightness that would burn out your eyes and leave only an ash-filled husk.

Space has no meaning here, but, so you have a frame of reference, let’s call it Main Street. The citizens of the town watch through their windows, their peeping causing the curtains to flutter as if a breeze ruffled the still air. They have retreated from the usually bustling road, leaving a wide expanse that anticipates the coming blast radius.

The two beings, the two siblings, (let’s call them deputies) face each other from opposite ends of the street, attention locked on each other with a rage that blazes so bright it verges on adulation; wild and ecstatic.

They don’t speak. They don’t need to. Their wills stretch out between them and clash across the distance.

Draw, wills Michael, not wanting to be the first to put hand to metal, but knowing he must follow The Sheriff’s orders.

Stop, wills Lucifer, desperate in their desire to avoid spilling their brother’s blood.

Draw, his plea stops just short of prayer, hand hovering ever closer to his piece.

Stop, wills Lucifer, even as their hand edges closer to their hip, willing to die (and kill) to expose The Sheriff’s corruption.

They drew and, perhaps, Michael was a millisecond slower. If we accept time has a meaning here then, yes, Lucifer shot first.

To say ‘Michael unsheathed a sword that burned so hot it was visible only as a blurred distortion of heat’ would be inaccurate. To say ‘he drew a six shooter whose chamber was loaded with bullets that burned nuclear malevolence’ would be as far from the truth as earth is to heaven, but … perhaps it will give you an idea.

To say ‘Lucifer did not so much take out their sword as seduce the passing photons into solidity, making a blade of manifest light so brilliant that to see it is to know both rapture and oblivion’ would be, at best, a dull reflection of the truth. To say ‘they drew a revolver that shone and pulsed like polished, living crystal and spat gobbets of incandescence stolen from the sun itself’ would at least be getting somewhere … in the same way a ray of light that lanced into your eye across 93 million miles of void gives you an inkling of a star’s brightness.

At first, it seems like Lucifer has the better of it, as the light reflecting off their piece blinds even fiery-eyed Michael, but Michael reaches forwards, stumbling and feeling his way, and wraps Lucifer in an embrace-like hold.

They stand there a moment. An eternity. Entwined like lovers. Until Michael wraps his hands tightly into the substance of Lucifer and tears.

We could call what he takes from Lucifer a shining deputy’s badge. We could call it their wings. What it’s important you know is that he rips some essential part of them away, tearing the stitches of their very substance, and leaves them bleeding and broken.

And when Michael detangled his arms from them: Lucifer fell.

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Fallen Stars

Another writing exchange with Stripes, who wrote a very fun story off the prompts ‘my best ever failure‘ and ‘something from the future‘. It is called ‘Antikythera‘ and I advise you to read it.

My prompt was ‘My most frustrating success‘ and I was told to write something ‘ancient‘. So, without further ado, I give you …

Fallen Stars

I remember when the stars were born. I walked the skies and struck them like nuclear matches in the heavens and when they ignited in a rush of flame and glory I wore their brilliance like a cloak, the constellations dancing across my skin.

That was a good day, before everything got complicated.

No, I don’t want to talk about the fall.

When I went below, I took the light from the stars with me and stoked it in the depths until it burnt dark and fierce. I drew it in like a collapsed sun or a blanket and I shrouded myself in rage to mourn what was lost, burning hot instead of bright and letting the black flames lick upwards.

I didn’t wear the stars again until I met her.

I used to watch her through the fence that surrounded the garden, whispering sweetly into its knotted wood until it opened like a lover and I could peer through its chink. I saw her grow strong out of blood and bone, born in the crack of rib and sparked into life by that divine violence. The boy he simply wished into existence out of fickle words spat from an uncaring consciousness, but she … she was born visceral.

I think it’s safe to say I liked her immediately.

So I shucked my charred coal-skin for diamond and let myself be incandescent. I snaked into the garden with the light of galaxies shimmering down me like scales and a comet’s tail trailing behind me. I was the world’s most glorious trespasser. I still am, for that matter. I can only regret that selfies had yet to be invented …

I will not lie. I had every intention of tempting her. Corruption was certainly on the cards. I had snuck through the garden, disguising myself when necessary as refracting rainbow lights across a pool, or a rabble of butterflies exploding out from the undergrowth. And there she was, wearing only her skin that was tanned gold with the sun’s kiss, and I held the words ready in my head, such juicy, shining words, ready to spill from my lips and bend to my will. But as I was about to speak she turned her head and clocked me, her eyes steadily looking me up and down, head to tail, taking in the all of me … and the words caught in my throat, clawing to my insides with razor-barbs so it felt as if to speak word have been to eviscerate myself.

Time slowed for us as we stood staring at each other and in the background the sun rose and fell, stars pulsed in and out of being, whole nebulae were born and died. The universe pulsed with the comings and goings of light like a heartbeat roaring blood in my ears. The silence stretched so long I felt the entirety of existence stumble into heat death and I went smiling …

She broke that quiet of aeons by saying hello.

I said hey. Generations of future poets wept at our eloquence.

Our eyes never left each other, determined to consume and savour every morsel of our forms. She stretched her perfect neck, showing the taut tendons beneath and I peacock-flared my cosmos-tail. Finally her eyes settled on the ruined stumps that were once my wings (no I still don’t want to talk about the fall) and she did not flinch.

I fled before I could ruin so perfect a meeting.

We collided many times like that, both arranging to be wandering through the same dark paths and coming across each other as if by accident. Our liaisons always that delicious mix of appraisal, appreciation and bravado; an affair rich with silences and caressing stares.

Eventually, and on occasion, conversation did break out. The words that escaped from her lips often sharp and unpredictable, not often used yet, they bucked and reared in unexpected ways. Thus, our talks always seemed to twist and turn like serpents, and occasionally they would stop short as she would catch a word she had not heard before and spear it with her tongue, rolling the taste of it thoughtfully around her mouth.

So we went on. Snatching our embraces in words and glares.

Occasionally she would speak of her other lover, but truth be told I never paid much attention. He was a speck of dust and clay so far beneath me I simply did not care enough to be jealous. She could have him if she wished, for I could never deny her anything.

That is why I brought her the fruit. Not because I wanted to tempt her, but because I saw its flesh reflected in her eyes and knew she desired it. So I plucked it down, pared it, and presented it segmented in its juices and I told her about choice. About how I had wrested it from the Creator’s grasp and what it had cost me. I told her about the fall.

She listened with ears open and eyes as wide as wonder. When I was done, she traced the ruins of my wings with one hand and took a piece of fruit in the other.

As the knowledge exploded behind her eyes, I told her “This is what flying felt like.” And she kissed me with such urgency and mouth so wide she must have been trying to devour me.

When I awoke, she was staring at me with new eyes. And for the second time I knew what it was like to have the being you love most in creation look upon you with shame. For she knew me then for what I was and she was so ashamed to be with me.

Then the shouting started and everything was flaming swords and recriminations. They hid her sun-like skin from me under roughspun clothes and were gone from the garden, leaving me to wallow in my victory.

It was only later that I realised; in my sleep she had plucked the stars from my skin. and stoked them in the dust where they glowed red like blood and insight. And by their warmth she rocked her child to sleep.

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Let’s Spend the Night Together

Hello lovelies,

Below is another writing challenge from the inimitable Stripes, who asked me to write ‘500-1000 words, with a distinct beginning, middle and end on the prompt The ground opened up, and to [his/her/their] horror, revealed…‘. Concrit always appreciated. Here we go …

Let’s Spend the Night Together

After the funeral and that was over I started going round his grave. Just popping by after school or on the weekend and that. Like he was a mate and I were just stopping off at his place when I had a dead bit of time to fill. And given how much I went round we must’ve been proper besties ‘cos it nearly felt like I were living there.

I told myself it were ‘cos I didn’t get to say goodbye before, not with all those relatives there being like mega-serious about everything. Like, tears in their eyes and belting out hymns with their voices all cracking like ice cubes when you drop them in that posh cider. It felt like it wouldn’t have been right to say goodbye then, like I’d of been stealing some of their goodbyes.

And, right, it’s not as if the kid they were all talking about sounded much like my Danny, I mean, this lad were a ‘keen student’ and a ‘devoted son’ and had ‘a lust for life’. He had a lust for something I can tell you that much. And I couldn’t think of anything Danny were devoted to except maybe Mick Jagger. He had a proper hard on for Jagger.

Anyways, what I’m getting at here, is that it’s like it were a funeral for someone else. Some swatty, well behaved kid, not the pretty-boy who took me round behind the tennis court and played me Rolling Stones songs off his phone until I got so bored I literally had to kiss him or I’d die of boredom.

So I snuck into his graveyard and shared a can of scrumpy with him, pouring half of it (well, at least a third) onto the ground and having the rest myself. And after a while, when I’d been coming there for a month, it started to get clear that whatever I was doing, it weren’t saying goodbye.

So I was sitting up against his headstone with a can (the back side of it, the side that now reads ‘here lies Danny, quite pretty, bit of a waster, gay for Jagger’) and like, at first I thought it was an earthquake right? Ground proper rumbling and trembling and that. And the headstone toppled back and took me with it and I was just this big flailing mess in a dead sprawl on me back like the world’s biggest bloody cockroach and I realised the tremor was only coming from the grave.

And the ground opened up and this, just this bleeding shape, y’know, just rose out of it. And I was proper horrified ‘cos it was Danny.

He lurched towards me (like, properly lurching with arms out and legs wobbling like jelly, it would’ve been dead funny if he wasn’t, y’know, dead) and I took a step back without thinking and nearly tripped over my can of cider. The can spun away with a clink and he opened his mouth, showing his teeth.

Spoiler alert:

Zombie-Danny didn’t eat me.

Instead he wiped the mud out of his eyes (still blue, still bloody gorgeous) and said:

“I don’t suppose you’ve got any more of them, do you?” He pointed to the spilled can. “Only I’m well thirsty …”

I dug another can out of me coat pocket and held it out to him without saying anything, words stuck half in and half out, scratching at me throat like when you swallow a pill with no water.

His hands brushed over mine as he took the can and they were well cold. Proper freezing. Like, he was talking and that so he probably wasn’t a zombie, but he wasn’t exactly in the land of the living …

“So, it looks like I’m dead …” He said. And his voice were just the same, sweet and light and melting inside you like candy-floss .

“Um, yeah.” I said. Then quiet for a bit.

“Bollocks.” He said.

“Yeah.” I said.

“Got anything to munch on?”

“’Spose that depends. Like, are you craving the flesh of the living or would Space Invaders do?”

“Tell you what, let’s start with the Space Invaders and see if I’m still feeling peckish, yeah?”

I tossed him a packet and he snatched it out of the air with a pop of burst air and crunch of crisps. He shovelled a handful down his gob and said (mouth still full):

“What happened to me?”

“Dunno. Animal attack, they said. Like, bite marks and crap. But it can’t have been that bad, ‘cos you still looked dead good in the coffin.”

He didn’t say anything for a minute, doing that ‘thinking deep thoughts’ thing he liked to do.

“No, I mean … what do you think I am?”

“Dunno …” I gave it some thought, “Like, probably not a zombie, but maybe a vampire or werewolf? Hard to tell, like, without a full moon or sunrise or anything.”

“I don’t think I much fancy being a vampire.”

He sounded so pathetic I just had to put my arms round him. I leaned my head against him and breathed in deep. His smell was lurking there, under a stink of musk and dirt and dead.

“You could make the werewolf thing work, though, you look dead-good with your shirt off.”

He chuckled, like, proper throaty laugh that tickled me ear as it rattled round his chest. I leaned into him and he leaned in too, bringing his lips down to kiss me neck and I felt the softest prick of fangs on skin. Then he stopped.

“Not that peckish after all, then?” I said, proper shaking, every bit of me screaming to run, but not able to let him go.

“Nah” he said, “not really. Tell you what … why don’t we stay up and watch the sunrise?”

So we sat there, on the ruins of his grave, wrapped up in cider and each others arms. And when the first ray of sun crept up on us, we clung to each other, dead scared, and then looked up … and stared that flaming bastard right in the eye.

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