Fiction Frenzy Winner – Freezing Nightingale

Written by Lynx Firenze


It’s been four days since I was thrown in this well. The woman who left me in here promised she’d bring me some food in a week, if I survive that long, but I’m partially submerged in freezing salt water, up to my chest, and I can’t sleep for fear of slipping and drowning. The only means I have of telling the time are the shadows cast by thin rays of sunlight I catch a glimpse of every now and then.

As the cover is removed and more freezing water is poured on me, which is my only source of hydration, I think someone or something must be adding more salt to the water I’m submerged within. The addition of fresh water is masked by this strange sea salt. A sudden shiver runs through me though it’s a reassurance more than anything – the end stages of hypothermia have yet to reach me.

To stave off the inevitability, I start to fidget and flex my muscles as best I can in the confined space. Wasting my strength is, perhaps, needless but I don’t know how long I can last before my blood starts to clot or freeze. I don’t know what that woman wants from me but, unless it’s my corpse, she’d best let me out of here soon.

Death is close, I fear. No sunlight. It’s probably night-time. I hear the sound of a heavy metal bucket being placed on the edge of the well and tilt my head back, mouth open and hands cupped to capture as much of the precious liquid as I possibly can. A torrent of warm water with a slightly metallic tang washes over me and I blindly guzzle it down, meekly hoping that if it’s poison it finishes me off quickly. The flow stops and I whimper, partly out of shame at what I’ve been reduced to, and partly because it once gained me another cupful or so of water. The cover closes, leaving me in total darkness again, and I drink the remaining liquid I’ve caught in my hands.

There’s a faint blue light coming from the water underneath me, but I don’t believe it’s anything more than a hallucination. For all I can tell, I’m probably suffering from advanced hypothermia. A faint singing accompanies the light and I smile. Feeling warmer with this voice around somehow, my own lips purse ready to join in with the woman’s song. Her song – strangely – seems to lift as I join, as though she’s happy that I want to sing with her. Thoughts of hypothermia vanished, nothing seems to cloud my voice, as I focus on the sound of hers; fillling me up and lifting my mind from its present cage.

But as all things come to an end, so does the song, with her voice fading away, leaving me in the cold darkness once again.

“She’s in here,” a woman’s voice floats down to me, the one who put me in here.

“A disused well, is that safe?” Another voice joins; I believe it’s the woman who sang. “Seems dangerous to me. Mortals are so fragile.”

“She’s either dead and unworthy or alive and determined. Or she’s just lost her mind.”

“I don’t find that particularly reassuring Juno.”

“Well, you said to test her.” The cover comes off and I can see stars, cold moonlight illuminating the area around me.

“I meant her supposed abilities as a singer, not her ability to survive in a disused well for a week.”

“Well, maybe if you were more clear…”

A teenage goth, the likes of whom populated my concerts since the start, leans over the well. “She’s alive, so that’s a start,” shrugging her shoulders. “Come on Nightingale, sing for your supper,” she laughs, cruel and bitter.

Nightingale… Is that my name? I think it is, or at least it’s my stage persona, why do they want to hear me sing though? The thought crosses my mind that perhaps she’s just an overzealous fan who saw Misery one too many times and got ideas.
“W-Why?” I croak after several attempts, forcing the words from cracked and bleeding lips. No tears come when I try to cry, just pitiful wheezing sobs.

“She’s too thirsty to sing. Give her a drink,” the singer said.

“Are you going to pay for it?”

“Just add it to my tab, I’ll work it off later since I know that’s all you want.”

I hear the sound of laughter and a firm slap; a minute later a hose appears over the edge of the well and a steady stream of water spills in. I drink it gratefully.

“Whenever you’re ready, honey.” A second woman appears over the edge of the well, almost albino in her complexion.

After a moment of silence, filled with resentment and tears, I force my swollen tongue to obey; singing a melancholy song about a girl lost in her memories as she wallows in a dark dungeon. The song ends by implying that she dies alone and unloved in the cold darkness of her cell – I hope the irony isn’t lost on them.

“That was beautiful,” the albino sighs.

The goth is silent for a moment then she shakes her head, “I should teach Darla to sing,” she says, “do you think she could do it?”

“Darla? Sure, loan her to me for a few weeks and I’ll have her singing like an angel for you.”

“And then when she divulged all of my secrets?”

“I’d ask her why she was telling me about your operation when she should be practising. You can keep Nightingale for a while longer if it’ll make you feel better in the meantime.”

“Please don’t leave me down here,” I whimper involuntarily, “I’ll die.” My voice seems pathetically small, like a child begging the monsters under her bed to leave her alone.

“Will she?” the albino turned to the goth.

“Probably. Chances are she’s suffering from deep hypothermia, she won’t have slept, she only drinks as much as she can catch, and she hasn’t eaten unless you count the blood I tossed her last night for a joke.”

Blood? Surely, I would have noticed. “You never fed me blood,” I say with false bravado.

“Yes, I did, you’re covered in it.” The goth laughs and drops a compact mirror into the well. I catch it and flick it open, a pale blue light illuminates me and I drop the mirror in shock, my face and breasts are caked in a deep crimson crust. Gurgling a scream, new tears burst from my eyes with accompanying wails.

“Juno, that was just cruel, you’ve needlessly traumatised her.”

“I’ve taught her to respect her betters,” the goth corrects. “If she behaves herself from now on she has nothing to worry about, but if she doesn’t she’ll be back in there. Whenever she feels like disobeying or causing trouble then a part of her is going to remember how she feels right now.”

“It was unnecessary. Haven’t you ever heard of a blood bond?”

“So I did it because I’m a sadist, sue me.”

“Just throw her a rope.”

Through my tears I vaguely make out the shape of a rope as it’s thrown down to me, a loop tied at one end to make a foothold.

“Nightingale, sweetheart,” the albino’s voice takes on a honeyed edge. “Come out like a good girl and we’ll only keep you for a week, there’s towels and food and a blanket up here for you…” There’s a familiar warmth to her words, “And I promise not to let Juno do anything this horrible to you again.”

“Like I said, so long as she behaves.”

I hesitate then try to slip my boot into the loop, but I miss. “I can’t get my foot in the hole,” I whimper after four attempts; expecting another bucket of blood or, worse, the well cover sliding back into place.

“Big surprise, hang on,” the goth retracts the rope and drops it back down with a lassoed knot. “There, just loop that around your waist and hold on.”

I obey silently and she effortlessly pulls me out one-handed, I wonder if it’s because of a pulley system I can’t see, or she’s just freakishly strong.

It’s almost as dark outside the well as in it, the only illumination being the headlights of a black sedan parked nearby with the boot popped. I shiver again.

“She’ll live,” the goth says dismissively. “Dry her off and stick her in the boot, I’ll drive.”

“Don’t mind her,” the albino wraps a towel around my shoulders and starts to gently dry me with the other. “She isn’t as bad as she seems. There’s food and blankets in the boot for you.”

“OK,” I sigh weakly, not wanting to be put back into that freezing darkness. “Just please don’t hurt me, I don’t want to die.”

“Do as you’re told and you’ll be fine. But if Juno gets pissed off, stay out of her way, she’ll be nicer to you the more submissive you are so if you’re in any trouble with her just beg and call her Mistress a lot. She liked your song by the way, not that she’ll ever admit it. Lay down though, I don’t want the boot to hit your head.”

I obediently lay as flat as I can and she closes the boot, sealing me in. The engine of the sedan roars into life and pulls away at high speed, taking me away from the life I loved and into the waiting darkness of the future.


After running the Fiction Frenzy between July 1 and August 31, we received various entries and all of which were superb. In the end, the winning entry was one which was both strangely comical and enticing. Written by the newest member of our writing forum, Lynx Firenze has pieced together an interesting tale, blending vampires and the supernatural with humanity. Given us the chills just by wondering what’s in store for this poor young Nightingale, we hope she gets out alive. If you enjoyed Lynx’s work, please consider leaving a like or comment below. 

Featured Image CC // Dilip

 

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October Editorial – A Return to Horror during “Scarefest” on Inkblots

Hey Inkblotters!

Returning after our September break, we’re back to bring you lots of fantastic content as part of our Halloween Scarefest. After a short break away to Austria, where I was unfortunate enough to be ill for half of it, it was nice to be back in the UK and ready to start afresh at work once again. Despite my time away from Inkblots, I was still busy and didn’t get much of a chance to recuperate in between different jobs. But, with that said, it’s nice to be back again writing the editorial for October.

Moving swiftly on, then, there are a number of changes currently taking place within the Inkwell forum. In what will be announced officially soon, we’re moving away from the writing forum platform and focusing solely on Inkblots Magazine. As it stands, the magazine is a great way to showcase the talents from many of our contributors and, we feel, it’s the best place to continue our little community. Unfortunately with my time stretched in multiple directions, I can now longer run the forum as I have been doing for the best part of two years. And with no one ready or willing to take that responsibility on, our writing forum must come to an end.

Of course, we aren’t just dropping it entirely. And for those who are members of the forum, they will be able to save all of their work before we archive everything completely. The official closure for The Inkwell forum is December 31, 2015. But until then, we’ll continue as a community on both the magazine and the writing forum.

Getting down to business, October’s content really gets us in the mood for a good old scare. Kicking off with our Scarefest content on the 5th is Dizzy Dazzle’s thrilling short on wolves, while on the 15th we’ve got a particularly interesting psychotic tale from Lockmaker entitled Mulberry Way. The short poetry spotlight is once again returning on the 25th, so don’t miss it, and we’ve also got returning contributor Alex McCarron and her short fictional piece, Morte Mare, penned in for prime time scaring on October 30th.

As our Fiction Frenzy competition ended back in August, I’ve taken the time to read through the entries and have finally crowned a winner. Check back on October 20th to see who won and to read their gruesome entry. Of course, I can’t end the editorial without mentioning our next Half Hour Challenge. Inspire yourself with a horror classic under the theme: The Devil Inside. As a fan of horror, I’m going to revel in reading your entries.

For now, I hope you have a fantastic October and I’ll be back in November for our Winter special issue.

– Colette, Inkblots Editor

Featured Image CC // Kevin Dooley

August Editorial – Brighten Up Life with a Little Bit of Sunshine

Hey Inkblotters!

Welcome to August’s editorial post, where it’s starting to heat up in Britain with a little bit of sunshine, though mostly rain! Aside from the July two-week heat wave, it seems our summer has notoriously left on vacation, or in the very least just moved location. More than ever, I’m desperately looking forward to my week-long holiday to Austria in September. And as we all need a little “R & R”, Inkblots will be taking a break from publication for one month. We’re back in October with our Hallowe’en Scarefest though, and we’ll still be taking in submissions throughout September.

Moving on to August’s content, we’ve got lots of beautifully written work to share with you from our pool of regular contributors. With sunshine as our overarching theme, HHC veteran writer Rob kicks off creativity on the 5th with his flash fiction, while we have some wonderful poetry from the lovely Arwa later on in the month. As part of my Nana’s passing ten years ago, I also have a short poem to share with our readers as a tribute to her life. As always, make sure to check back during the month for new and original work.

August’s Half Hour Challenge should get the inspiration cogs turning with the following quote: “Without ice cream there would be darkness and chaos”. It’s a lovely summery theme, a little light-hearted, and it’s also delicious to eat, so why not? Our Fiction Frenzy is still running until August 31st, so if you are planning on sending an entry in under either of the themes, Sunlight and Moonlight, then please send an email to theinkwellwriting@gmail.com before the closing date.

For any members of the forum, we’ve currently reverted back to our original domain name creativewriting.freeforums.org. All your work is still there, so please don’t panic. But for now, please access the writing forum via that URL address. Our administration team is currently assessing the situation and we’re hoping to make an official announcement in a couple of months.

Right, I won’t waffle on any longer – have a wonderful August and September! I shall be back for another editorial in October.

– Colette, Inkblots Editor

Featured Image CC // Leo-setä

July Editorial – Tipping the Scales with a Range of Content

Hey Inkblotters,

Wow, what a busy June we had, whizzing by in a flash. But now isn’t the time to be thinking about the madness of last month, rather I’ll be looking forward to July and the content we’ve got on offer. As the summer holidays kick in towards the end of the month for the kids, sports days arrive, and the temperature just keeps rising – especially during this British heat wave – it’s a good idea to slap on the sun lotion once again to save yourself from getting burnt. Though, that being said, it’s an unfortunate Factor 50 for me again.

So with July just beginning, we’ve got a whole range of content to share with you under this month’s theme, Tipping the Scales. It’s a theme that’s given a lot of our writers food for thought, so regular contributor Terrestris Veritas brings his A-game on the 5th with HHC, Spark of Hate. Later, we’re featuring beautiful poetry from Lost in a Dream on the 10th, while on the 20th and 25th we’ve got a double poetry special from new contributor Scarlet Hardy with her wonderfully written ode. Of course, lots more short fiction is on its way as well, so check back continually throughout the month.

As per usual, our Half Hour Challenge for July shares a similar theme to the one we run on Inkblots. So if you’d like to submit anything to us this month, make sure you write a piece within 30 minutes with Justice in mind. Also on the agenda is our Fiction Frenzy – which we’re running over two months starting from now until August 31. We’ve got two fantastic wide-ranging themes to inspire you: Sunlight and Moonlight. Remember to check our submissions page for all the details on our Fiction Frenzy rules; you can take as long as you want on your entries!

So with all that said, have a great July and I look forward to reading all of your submissions as part of our Fiction Frenzy.

– Colette, Inkblots Editor

Featured Image CC // Mike Bitzenhofer

June Editorial – The Many Faces of Betrayal

Hey Inkblotters!

Wow, we’re halfway through 2015 and I still can’t quite believe it. I’m craving the heat of the summer sunshine, too, as it’s only arriving in fits and starts here in the UK. With the beginning of June, the festival season kicks off once again, children can’t wait until school’s out, and parents are a bit concerned as to how they’ll keep their offspring occupied throughout the summer. It’s a slightly busier time for me, as I not only have a number of work events and exhibitions to attend, but also the biggest gaming event of the year springs up, namely E3. But don’t worry, Inkblots will continue to bring you fresh content this month.

And speaking of which, last month we had some fantastic poetry and short fiction, and it continues into June under a new theme, Betrayal. Yes, it has many faces, often hiding the truth under our feet. But it’s also a great theme to explore. Veteran forum member Sparky takes June’s first slot on the 5th with his short story, while on the 10th we have beautiful poetry from Kvothe. Later, we have a special two-part fictional piece from Rob and a superb poem from new contributor Awokunle Toyin Sheriff on the 30th. Of course, that’s not all the content we have planned, so make sure you pop back during the month to view the latest work.

As per, the Half Hour Challenge theme for June works in conjunction with our current content theme for the magazine. So to inspire our fellow writers, we’re asking you to pen a short story, lyrics or poetry with Poison in mind. Perhaps you think of a plant, or maybe it’s the famous Alice Cooper song. But whatever your inspiration is, we hope to see some fantastic entries emailed over to us. Check our submissions page for all the necessary details. And before I forget, Inkblots is bringing back the FICTION FRENZY starting from July 1 until August 31 once again. More details will come in July’s editorial.

But for now, it’s time for me to wrap this post up, so have a lovely June and keep writing!

– Colette, Inkblots Editor

Featured Image CC // Aasif Iqbal

The Ascension of the Pilgrim

Written by Dice


The gong rang through the old temple.

“Almighty Orlin from the Great Ringed World of Phorlin, you look over us.” Chanted an old priest in practiced rhythm and certainty from his position on a high dais, as he looked over the gathering crowds filling the large main chamber of the temple.

“Blessing to the almighty Orlin,” came the replying chant from a kneeling man dressed in a simple white cloak.

Upon finishing his reply, the man named Damus returned and bowed low, placing his forehead on the holy floor. He knelt in the middle of the six pronged star, each point of equal distance from him. At the tip of each point there stood a thin, three-foot high pedestal. Behind these pedestals, at least from Damus‘s view point, stood a high priest or priestess dressed in the vibrant colours of the Divine One they served.

According to religious teachings, the seven Divine Ones were demi-gods. Once mortal, they had been hand chosen by the Great God Orlin to rule and protect each of the seven Shift Worlds; six moons that orbited the large gas planet named Phorlin. The Divine Ones were Orlin’s representatives in the mortal realm and they lived in their temples on their respective worlds, which they shaped and changed as they saw fit.

Damus risked a glance forward. The pedestal directly in front of him had no priest stood behind. Instead, about five yards back, upon an ornate golden throne sat Alynne, the greatest of the Divine Ones. This was his temple, his moon, his world.

Above Alynne the old priest, his High Priest continued the ceremony.
“O’ Pilgrim, you have travelled to each of the six worlds and have received the favour of each of the Divine Ones.”

The gong sounded again and the priest standing behind the first pedestal, and left to the one directly in front of Damus, lifted a small – perhaps fist-sized – shining green orb above his head. The High Priest of Alynne continued.

“Endu, The Young, lover of life and children.”

The gong followed and the next priest to Damus’s left raised a similar orb, but her orb was yellow and slightly larger than the last.

“Sudale, Protector of the Weak, lover of re-balance.”

The High Priest named each of the Divine Ones, Ilture, Galaine and Ninsune, and each respective priest raised their orb. When the High Priest named ‘Alynne, Orlin’s Second and Lord of All’, Alynne himself stood. Raising one empty hand, he breathed into his open palm and an orange orb formed.

“Stand Pilgrim,” demanded the High Priest.

Damus stood, tall and proud, though with a slight shiver.

“Pilgrim, are you ready?” asked the old man in a powerful voice.

“Yes, High Priest,” answered Damus confidently.

“Do you accept the honour placed upon you?”

“I accept and thank the Great Orlin for the honour he has granted me.”

“Are you pure in heart, innocent in life and free from any bonds?”

“I am free to serve.”

“Do you welcome the blessing of the Divine ones?”

“I welcome and thank them for their Blessings.”

“And will you take up service to the Almighty Orlin, who has hand chosen you to serve by his side for one hundred years, after which you will bathe in the glory of his heaven?”

“I will gladly serve.”

“Then may you ascend to his side and serve him well.”

The gong sounded again and the five priests and Alynne stepped forward. In the order of their calling, they placed the orbs upon the pedestal before them. But when Alynne placed his orb, a coloured beam of light erupted from each orb. The beams then connected the orbs together and blended to create a perfect circular beam of white, intersecting each of the orbs.

Damus held his arms outstretched, as a symbol to welcome the light.

“I go to serve Orlin,” he chanted.

There was a great flash of white light from the orbs, which dazzled all in attendance for a brief moment before it vanished. And with it, Damus and the orbs had disappeared, too.


Written on behalf of our Hallowe’en Trick or Treat Fiction Frenzy, Dice’s short fantasy excerpt was originally planned for a NanoWriMo entry. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out the way he had expected, but we did get a great entry for our Fiction Frenzy competition. If you enjoyed Dice’s piece, feel free to view his other published work on Inkblots, including “The Game Parts 1 & 2” and his most recently published Alexander short, “Summer 1943”

Featured Image CC // Zach Dischner

Remembering War

Written by Rae-Chan


Bodies. There were bodies everywhere. They were strewn about the field like old, unwanted ragdolls. The gunfire was ringing in my ears, blending together with shouts in different languages and the screams filling my head, echoing endlessly.

I couldn’t see anymore, everything was a blur as the adrenaline took over and I ran. I ran as fast as I could. I didn’t feel the pain as a bullet grazed by leg. I didn’t see the bodies falling around me. I just ran.

My clothes were wet and cold as ice, clinging to my skin, caked with mud. I was shaking as I raised my gun. I couldn’t even tell who my enemies were anymore. I just shot at anything that moved. I saw one boy, barely a child, his eyes wide with fear. This wasn’t what war was supposed to be. This wasn’t a life of honour and respect; we were animals tearing at each others throats, and no one back home would give a damn how many of us came back in boxes.

The boy saw me. I watched his eyes grow wider as the bullet ripped through his body. He fell to the floor like all the others before him, not moving at all.

When I returned home, I could still see his face. It was etched into my mind; those terrified eyes, with large pupils, haunted my dreams. The scar from the bullet has long since healed but, even now in my old age, the screams echo in my head.


Remembering War was written on behalf of last summer’s Fiction Frenzy. While it didn’t win the coveted title, Rae-Chan’s haunting piece as fitted perfectly into our reflection theme for this month’s content. It may only be a short piece, but in that time she brings us in to the narrator’s terrifying dreams from PTSD. If you enjoyed Rae-Chan’s work, why not view her other works such as, ‘Ignite‘ and ‘Wings‘.  

Featured Image CC // Paul Gorbould