To Prove

Written by Terrestris Veritas


I wouldn’t call it anything other than what it was. Things happened and I just got on with life. The way people tell you to, shouldn’t have to dictate certain things, but because they’re “bigger” than you it does. Even still, you get to have your way occasionally; though it pales in comparison to how often they get they’re way.

The way to do things is in secret. That often works since to observe and criticise something you must first know about it. So if they never know about it, they cannot do a thing. The triads that were in The Hatch were actually quite nice despite whatever crimes they were accused of. One of them told me she could help me do what I wanted, help me get revenge for what they did to my friend. Even though it wasn’t them at fault this time. It was more like him.

Her name was Lipi. She was from the south and locked in the binding chains, the sort that inhibit the use of vintage powers. Even though I couldn’t break them, she still taught me a lot. She gave me elixir to awaken some powers, others she guided me towards. Pretty soon I had all the strength that someone my age was capable of wielding.

Vintage, however, was illegal for common people. It was only used by the elite hunters that they owned and by those in the south. Even though it was frowned upon for the latter, it was still tolerated up until a certain distance from the border. Since it was such an exclusive art as well, it could be identified pretty easily. Luckily for me, Lipi had been observing my crystal magic and taught me how to hide vintage within the crystal. “Since crystal is in your soul, you can do everything through your own soul.” That was what she told me.

She had been a good teacher, given that it was through the constraints of The Hatch – and I felt proud that a little girl such as myself had been such a good pupil. I owed it all to her. As I stood over his body, I felt my heart give a little skip and my crystal flare a little brighter. Maybe I was built for the killing business. At the very least, I had proved to myself that little girls just like me can have quality time with a boy; and make sure it’s his blood that’s spilt, rather than hers.


Inspired by our July HHC challenge themed under ‘Justice’, Terrestris Veritas’ short piece is a beautifully dark tale woven to keep us suitably intrigued. We feel there’s a glint of magic in the moonlight here; blood spilled from previous lovers, hearts beating and skipping. If you enjoyed Terra’s work as much as we did, why not view his previously published work such as “Spark of Hate” and “The Wisps on the Moor”. 

Featured Image CC // Macroscopic Solutions

Advertisements

Winter Editorial – There’s Magic in the Moonlight

Hey Inkblotters!

It always comes as a surprise when the end of the year draws near. We’re starting to pop on our woolly knits and embrace the cold air over a warm cup of tea, coffee or even mulled wine. And of course there’s Christmas to start thinking about. The rush of shoppers as they take to the high street and plow through their savings is more than just a little bit bonkers. Think Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which will clearly be many times worse since the 5p bag charge was brought in for the UK.

With all that said though, it’s still the most magical time of the year. Tonight it’s Bonfire Night, so get out your sparklers and your rockets, or go watch a beautiful display disperse in the dark sky. And afterwards, it’s time to start thinking of a white Christmas.

Inkblotters may have noticed we’ve changed our format for the end of 2015. Inkblots will be moving into seasonal issues, given the closure of our lovely little writing forum. But that’s not to say the magazine will be closing its doors – in fact we’re looking to rebrand ourselves entirely for 2016 with a new logo and look. There will be more information on all of the above in the New Year Editorial.

For our Winter issue, it’s all about magic in the moonlight. So we’ve got some cracking poetry from Dizzy Dazzle in a new Short Poetry Spotlight on November 25th, alongside short fantasy fiction from Dice on December 5th and, later, Doishy on the 10th. Our content will conclude with an absolutely beautiful tribute poem from Ashcloud on the Inkwell writing forum’s closure – a must-read on December 20th.

Of course, we’re still continuing with our Half Hour Challenge themes. November’s theme is Magic in the Moonlight, while December’s theme comes under Farewell. Both of which are beautifully fitting for the time of year, as well as the closure of The Inkwell.

Before I forget, for any of those participating in NaNoWriMo, that’s National Novel Writing Month, I must wish you the very best of luck. Yet again, I cannot dedicate the time to take part in it, though I envy those who can! I say it every year, and I’ll say it again, but one year I shall definitely take the time out and participate.

For now though, it’s time for me to say a fond farewell to our lovely readers in 2015 and I’ll be back with the New Year Editorial in January. How time flies, eh? Make sure you have a wonderful Christmas.

Colette, Inkblots Editor

Featured Image CC // Annie Fischinger

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

The New World

Written by Ricardo


“What is this?” Charlotte asked in the gap between shoving more of the half-melted brown substance into her mouth, occasionally stopping to wedge a chunk out from between her molars with her tongue. “It looks kinda like poop,” she stopped chewing then, with several blocks of the stuff in her right hand and looked up at the man beside her, horrified. “It isn’t poop is it?”

“No, you idiot, of course you haven’t,” the man replied. “It’s a food from the Old World.”

“Oh, so it isn’t…?”

“No,” he interjected. “Just eat it.”

“Oh, okay.” Charlotte looked down at her hands, where the chunks she had been holding had begun to melt, creating a hardened shell around her palm and the base of her fingers. She shoved the chunks in her mouth, chewing at her hands like a cat trying to groom itself.

The man shook his head, looking up and away from the girl pulling more of the stuff from a broken vending machine. He scanned the area around him, trying to mark out any potential hiding spots or escape routes, either for himself or for anybody else currently in here. But he found it difficult to concentrate when all his eyes could see was what used to be there.

It had been nearly fifteen years since he was in this particular supermarket. He with his girlfriend the last time, buying groceries and kitchen appliances for their new house. He even remembered, rather oddly, the vending machine. He tried buying a drink from it but the damn thing ate his money. It took almost two decades, but he finally showed that vending machine what for.

Illuminated aisles showed shoppers the way to their selected produce for the day. The burning heat of thirty 700 watt light bulbs went largely unnoticed. Nobody cared, it was normal. But there was a brief moment after stepping back outside from your weekly shop when natural sunlight was appreciated. And the warmth of it too, rather than the chilled air conditioning and stale smell of sweat.

Now all that surrounded him were filthy floors, shattered windows, and the shelves were pushed into each other in order to create makeshift camp sites and barricades. Everything was either riddled with bullet holes, or plastered in blood, or the green sludge that those things emitted whenever you so much as touched them. This was a hot-spot for them. In actuality, this was good as it meant it was one of the few places where no humans came, meaning supplies. And lots of them. He checked his bag was still intact and nothing was leaking, tightening the cross-body strap around him. They made a good haul today, they’d have enough to survive the next three months.

“Shaun, what’s that man doing?”

The man stopped right where he was looking, between two empty and defrosted chest freezers with the lids torn off. Charlotte must have started looking around too and saw him before Shaun did. He could see the figure between the freezers clear as day, on his knees, with one hand on the freezer beside him vomiting blood and a puddle of green sludge in front of him. Shaun’s heartbeat seemed to triple in speed after seeing the man at the freezers and hearing the Howler tear the revolving door out of the wall, throwing it into the parking lot behind it, and showering the entrance in a glowing green spatter of goo.

Shaun dropped behind the shelving units where the vending machine was and where Charlotte was sitting wide-eyed, a mouthful of the chunky sweet stopping her from screaming. As her eyes filled with tears, they locked on to Shaun. He never thought he’d be so thankful that she had an insatiable sweet tooth. He placed a hand over her full mouth.

“Listen, we’re going to get out of here the way we came in, okay?” he waited for her to nod in confirmation, her tears now streaming down his hand. “You go to the manhole, I wedged it open so you can pull it back open. Get back to the shelter, I’ll be right behind you.”

Charlotte obeyed, crawling through the door entitled Staff Only. Shaun heard the manhole cover drag across the ground, and her footsteps descend the ladder. He took several deep breaths, getting his thoughts together. Now that she was gone, all he had to worry about was getting out with his supplies. He clenched his hands into fists until his knuckles turned white and peered over the shelving unit.


With our next batch of content coming up in October under the theme “Halloween Scarefest”, it’s a great time to conclude August’s work with a post-apocalyptic short story. Loosely tying into both themes, Ricardo’s story was written on behalf of a past Half Hour Challenge and we can’t get enough of it. In fact, we hope he writes more! If you enjoyed his HHC, you can read his other stellar work published on Inkblots, including “A Sweetened Ache” and “Love After Death”. 

Featured Image CC // Revan Jinn

The Merriment of Summer

Written by Rob


Pebbles click and rattle as each restless wave retreats. The gentlest of sea breezes wafts the drying seaweed, over-salted spinach, on the groyne. Gulls wheel and squawk, searching the next titbit to squabble over. Only mid-morning, but the glare and heat-haze from the white sand is already intense. Almost low tide, the beach is vast; this town barely qualifies as “sea-side”. The awkward merriment of the fun-fair seems miles away. All is calm, azure, bright.

This place, this “here and now”, what can it mean? Decades and millions of holiday-makers passed this way. Two weeks escape from the daily grind, the blood and bullets of economic activity, the boss and his targets. Plump wives and sticky children, string vests and ingrowing toenails, shown to sun, sea and sand. Gritty butties and cherryade, ice creams and squeals of delight; the summer was made for these. Aspire for nothing more: these are the times of our lives.


Rob’s flash fiction was written as part of a previous Half Hour Challenge. Though it’s one of his older HHC works now, it’s a great way for us to kick off our content for August. We rarely think about what’s on the surface during the summer, usually we’re just hoping we don’t recognise anyone from back home when we go on vacation. Tan lines and bulgy bits are a constant worry but they rarely keep us from having fun in the summer. If you enjoyed Rob’s work, you can also view some of his recent published fiction such as “Heidi”, parts one and two

Featured Image CC // J Lippold

 

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

By Force

Written by OrdDiff


“Dragons. Beautiful creatures, aren’t they?” The magician said, gazing out of her tower’s window. “Faster and tougher than any beast in the natural world, yet fully aware and able to speak. There isn’t a single adult dragon that hasn’t mastered the arcane.”

The group gathered in the magician’s study was diverse. A military commander fidgeted in ceremonial armour, protecting him from the cold and not much else. A long-nosed bureaucrat scribbled away on a sheet of parchment, recording the meeting for any fuel he might use to ascend a rung on the political ladder. A kind-hearted nobleman sat with rapt attention, while his aide scanned the room for the closest exit.

“You like drakes. We get it,” the bureaucrat interrupted. “Can we please get to the point?”

The magician eyed the bureaucrat with disdain. “Very well. As you know, the secrets of flight have eluded us for the longest time. My predecessor,” she spoke the word with unconstrained vitriol, “declared it an impossibility, stifling any and all research into the area. Young apprentices were intimidated into dropping it, and sponsors were encouraged to invest in more stable research.” She turned her golden gaze to the rich man. “I must thank you again for your trust.”

The nobleman beamed with pride. “You have always done right by me, it was the least I could do.” He said with misguided humility. The bureaucrat made a particularly aggressive note.

“We knew that the secret of flight would never be found on our own,” she continued, “so we turned to the natural world. Thanks to recent accidental discoveries by the military, we gained solid groundwork on the mechanics of mundane, or physical, flight. We found out how birds and other small creatures flew and, through collaboration with the mountain dwarves, created a prototype glider.”

“Which failed.” The commander interjected, much to the magician’s chagrin.

“Indeed.” The magician countered with a sly grin. “While it was capable of carrying an amount of weight over a short distance, it was impossible to create one sturdy enough to carry anything as heavy as an elf, let alone a human or dwarf. So, we left the designs with the dwarves and turned once again to magic. Clearly, birds did not hold the answer.”

“Let me guess,” the bureaucrat said snidely, “dragons did.”

The magician smiled. “Exactly. According to our previous understanding of flight, dragon wings should never be able to carry their immense bulk. We needed their secrets.”

“And that’s where we came in.” The warlord grunted.

“That’s right, and I thank you once again for your sacrifices.” She said somberly.

“Weren’t my sacrifices.” He said, accusingly. A glare from the bureaucrat reminded him of his place, and his brow, previously furrowed, slowly smoothed once again. “Did you get what you needed from the specimen?”

The magician nodded. “Yes. With the live dragon you captured, we were able to study its magic and biology. After several weeks, and a lot of accidents, we finally got it. Gentlemen, you may want to step back.”

She ushered them away from the desk and moved to the edge of the chamber, pulling on a silken rope. The large table the group had been sitting by moved aside, revealing a large, dark hole. The sound of metal chains clinking against themselves filled the air, and slowly a wrought iron cage ascended from the depths of the tower. Inside, bound by the wrists, was what was once a human. Crimson scales covered her back, leading up to two massive, Draconic wings sprouting from its shoulder blades. A small pair of horns pierced the creature’s forehead, and a thin wisp of smoke escaped from her nose.

The three visitors looked upon the sight in horror. For the first time all night, the scratching of quill-on-parchment could not be heard as the bureaucrat’s board fell to the stone floor. “This is what we have accomplished, gentlemen.” The magician proudly declared. “A successful chimera! The dwarves can keep their gliders, this is the weapon we have truly been searching for. Take note, for we have taken flight from the dragons.”


Inspired as part of a past Half Hour Challenge, OrdDiff’s fantasy piece gives us the chills somewhat. A human turning into a dragon, though not by way of skin-changing it seems. It feels a little like a Marvel or DC superhero comic – swapping the science-fiction for pure fantasy here. By Force closes out our “Tipping the Scales” content for July, and it’s a rather apt piece to conclude on, don’t you think? If you enjoyed OrdDiff’s work, consider viewing his other short stories, including “Hunter and Prey” and “Bronze Regrets”. 

Featured Image CC // Kenneth Lu