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

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Morte Mare

Written by Alex McCarron


There’s a pool way out on the moor, as deep as you ever did see. And there’s a lady who lives in that pool, and she’ll come out if you ask kindly.

“Please won’t you come out, please can’t I see—” She’ll rise up, her face like a shadow on the water at night, for it’s all dark depths and deep, hidden teeth. Her name’s Lizzie Jack, and she once was a girl, a girl twice your age and three times as pretty.

Plump and fair our Lizzie was, with slim hands, long fingers, and such strong white teeth. She used to work spells and she used to bring children all alone to the moor at night. She rocked them and spun them, and sucked the life from them, and drowned them in the pool at night.

Now Lizzie had a sister; a sister who followed her to see what she did at night. She saw Lizzie lift the bones from the pool. She saw Lizzie crack them and suck them, and lick the marrow from her sharp white teeth.

With every bone she sucked, and every life she took, Lizzie grew fairer, and far fairer still. She grew fat and full, like a billowing cloud, and her hunger grew with her. Day and night her teeth ground in her mouth, ripping her own cheeks and tongue. She longed for meat. The bones called her back.

Her sister watched, and her sister followed her. She couldn’t believe it, but she could stand it no longer, so she pushed Lizzie into that pool. How Lizzie screamed, how she fought, clawing her own fingers to the bone. And how long her sister held her there, long after she’d breathed in the black water. She drowned Lizzie in that pool in the moonlight.

Night after night she came back to see Lizzie at the bottom of the pool. Lizzie cried and cried, and said, “Sister, sister, I’m rotting away, and the children all hate me. Sister, oh, sister, their bones hate me so.”

Now her sister loved her, though she was a witch and a murderer. With her own hands she drew Lizzie’s face up from the water. She kissed her wet and crumbling forehead.

“I bind you to these waters,” she said. “I bind you to these bones. I bind your lips so you will not speak. But if anyone is a fool enough to come here, let them rot in the water with you. I’ll not leave you alone.”

Her sister knew a witch’s words; her sister had a witch’s power. Lizzie sank down, gnashing her teeth.

Lizzie’s sister returned every night to talk with her beneath the water. She grew old, with a handsome husband and a house full of children. Far and wide she spread their story, so nobody would go near the pool but her. But one day she set out early, striding tall in the mist of the moor, and she did not come back.

Her children searched for her, we all searched for her, calling long into the night. We found her, but late, much too late. She’d fallen and split her head on a stone. We buried her where she lay, for what the moor takes it must keep; so her blood seeped into the earth and her bones sank until they lay buried in the roots of the hills.

But Lizzie still waits, for nobody’s told her that her sister has died, and nobody ever will.

If you go to that pool, and if she rises up, don’t look in her eyes, but look at her hands and her teeth. Lizzie’s hands are scabbed and twisted. Her teeth are broken and bloody and ready for your throat – for she is so hungry, and so lonely, with only the bones rattling beneath her, night after night after night.

If you look in her eyes, you’ll see the beauty she once was, fat and full as a cloud, gathering little children into her arms. You will jump into her arms, and Lizzie will carry you down to the dark depths and the feast among her bones.

There’s a pool way out on the moor, as deep as you ever did see. And there’s a lady who lives in that pool, and she’ll come out if you ask kindly.


Inspired by the classic ghost story, returning contributor Alex McCarron has written such a creepy tale. The black water has seeped through and into Lizzie’s spectral figure. We can’t get enough of this terrifying pre-Halloween treat, hiding under our blankets and pillows, just hoping to avoid the gaze of Lizzie and her sharp teeth. If you enjoyed Alex’s short horror story, make sure to read her other supernatural tale published earlier this year, “Jenny of the Road”. 

Featured Image Courtesy // Fatal Frame, Nintendo

Short Poetry Spotlight – The Trickery of Death

Written by Rae-Chan

Blood

Beware the war that’s sure to come,
Looming overhead like a vulture.
Or else you will find yourself caught in the middle,
Of course, should you ignore my warning
Death with surely await you.


Written by Wasteland Explorer

Trouble Today

I woke up this morning,
with feathers instead of skin.
I knew the day was going bad,
against this I could not win.
I tried to climb out of my bed,
to lift my tiny head
But I forgot about my cat,
too late for me, I’m dead.


Written by Master412

All Hallows’ Eve

It’s again that time of the year
where we all live in wicked fear.
A time for us to believe
in All Hallows’ Eve.

O, I wish I had the time,
to dress up like a villain,
a zombie, vampire, or witch.

But hell, I haven’t got the time,
I survive only to make this rhyme.

So enjoy All Hallows’ Eve,
As come trick or treat, we all believe.


Our short poetry spotlight highlights the trickery of death from three great writers. From the darkness of Rae-Chan’s short poetry to the light trickery of Wasteland Explorer’s, there’s a solid range to suit all for this Halloween. It comes at the perfect time too, as we prepare to carve our own pumpkins or Jack o’ Lanterns. Spooky! If you enjoyed our thematic poetry spotlight, why not view our other issues such as, “The Warmth at First Light” and “Strength in Mind, Body and Spirit”.

Featured Image CC // Kevin Dooley

 

 

Prologue from Aes: Book 0.1 – The Blaze

Written by Rae-Chan


Blazing flames sent shadows dancing around the buildings, the sounds of people’s screams mixing with the noise of gunshots. Freya Park cowered behind her mother, clinging onto her older brother Jun, eyes tight shut, tears leaking out from under her eyelids, and coughing from the smoke that was making its way through the shirt Jun had pressed over her mouth.

Jun was doing his best to hold his breath, he only had one shirt to use as a gas mask and he was much more focused on keeping his little sister safe than himself. He was crouched low where the smoke wasn’t as thick, feeling light-headed as he took shallow breaths, black spots starting to appear before his eyes.

“Jun, take your sister and run,” whispered Kanya Park, stepping away from her children and walking towards the front door.

“Mum, don’t!” Jun cried, immediately his lungs burned as he lifted his head, letting smoke into his lungs.

Jun could hardly see anything anymore, the smoke that was flooding the room already starting to swallow up his mother. He held Freya close to his chest as he choked on the acrid air, her small little hands clinging onto him for dear life.

“Take Freya and run,” Kanya repeated, looking back to offer her son a teary-eyed smile.

Tears spilled from Jun’s own eyes as he bit his lip, pulled Freya closer, and rose just enough to be able to move. Freya whimpered against his body as he sprinted out the back door. He ran as fast as he could, dodging the flames that were quickly spreading from house to house. He heard a gunshot from close by and felt his heart skip a beat. He knew what that gunshot meant.

The noise startled Freya and she buried her face into her brother’s shoulder, sobbing uncontrollably.

“It’s alright, Freya,” Jun lied, trying to stop his sister from hearing the tears in his voice. “It’s alright.”


Rae-Chan’s gripping prologue from her upcoming Aes series was written on behalf of the Half Hour Challenge in January. Focusing on a traumatic beginning, the prologue simply titled “The Blaze” is a great reflection on strength and how it affects characters both physically and mentally. And as such, it’s fantastic work to close our strength-themed content on this month. If you enjoyed Rae-Chan’s prologue, feel free to view her additional published pieces, including “Remembering War” and “Ignite”. 

Featured Image CC // Kaibab National Forest

Lift Girl – Part 1

Written by Fantasy Girl

My white shirt was stained crimson as I held her dying body in my arms. I didn’t know her – not directly anyway. She worked in the same office block as me. We would pull up in our cars at 8.45 every morning. We would park our cars next to each other every morning. We would walk in and get the lift together every morning; I was on the third floor, she was on the fifth. We would see each other in the lift down as we left at 17.05 every evening, and so on.

Her name was Shiv, short for Siobhan, or whatever variation of the spelling she used. I didn’t know this because I’d spoken to her, I’d never spoken to her apart from a polite ‘hello’ on a morning other than today, I knew it because I saw it on the front of one of her birthday cards one Monday morning a few months after I started working there. Did she know my name? I guess not. How would she? It’d never come up in our ‘hello’s’ on a morning.

She doesn’t even know my name, and I sat there, cradling her head in my lap as she lay dying on the floor before me.

The day stated as any other did: my alarm went off at six am (I snoozed until half past) and dragged my arse out of bed. I brushed my teeth and stumbled downstairs to the back door to have a cigarette. I ironed my shirt and trousers, got changed, wolfed a bowl of Rice Crispies down, and strode out of the door at 8.15.

Chris Moyles was doing his last breakfast show on Radio 1 as I climbed into the car, and ‘Star-boy’ was playing – the remake of the McFly song ‘Star-girl’ that the band did to say bye to Chris. And by the end of it, both Chris and the boys from McFly were in tears. It was a painful half hour drive; just listening to the goodbyes, the celebrities’ goodbyes, as well as the fans. I was sick of the whole charade by the time I pulled up to work. Yeah, I get it, he was a good DJ, but he didn’t deserve that much of a send-off.

I wondered where Shiv was as I walked into the office reception, but heard her shout, “Hold the lift!” as I stepped inside. As she slid in beside me, I noticed her dark hair, usually pulled back into a neat bun, was falling elegantly about her shoulders. And I soon saw why; as she pulled the sleeve of her shirt up to scratch her shoulder, I saw a bruise blossoming on her collar-bone – the purples and the blues of hurt and anguish.

Thinking back on it, I could have stopped this from happening – maybe I should have invited her out for coffee, asked her to come over to my place and look over some of the finance stuff I’ve been working on for the company, or something. It’s my fault it happened. I’d seen the signs. Most of all, I’d seen the bruises and the low self-esteem. Her seemingly irrational fear of most of the men we worked with. I should have stopped it. I could have stopped it. I could have stopped her going home… but hindsight is a wonderful thing. How was I supposed to know how that night was going to end? But somehow, I can still only blame myself.

Written on behalf of the Fiction Frenzy with the theme ‘Just One Day’, Fantasy Girl’s short story fits perfectly into the theme of beginnings. Starting at the end and gradually hooking us with a dark tale, reeling in all the raw emotion from a sudden death. It’s gut-wrenching but, still, a wonderfully told story – and this is just the first part! If you enjoyed Fantasy Girl’s short fiction, why not consider reading some of her other fine pieces including, ‘Commune‘ and ‘I’m a Slug, Get Over It‘. 

Featured Image CC / Chris Chabot

A New Star Is Born

Written by Ashcloud

Beyond the horizon’s furthest reach,
Up above the clouds,
A star is shining bright and strong,
Within the dazzling crowd.

Although this glimmering star is one of many,
Although small, it is unique.
This young star, this love of mine,
Through the clouds it always peeks.

You watch over me in any weather,
Through storms and sunny days.
You remind me that my life is precious,
Unlike you I have found a way.

I have found a way to live my life,
So that yours shall not be in vain.
I have found a way to live my life,
So that now I can cope with the pain.

Ashcloud’s poem was written on behalf of a significant friend’s loss but is absolutely beautiful in verse form. Though it’s a sad turn of events, ‘A New Star is Born’ reflects on the life that was lost on earth and then given to the night sky. We think it’s perfect for Christmas Eve through its celebration of life and love. Have a very Merry Christmas on behalf of the Inkblots editorial team. If you’d like to view more of Ashcloud’s work, check out ‘Sleepless Nights‘ and ‘The Root of Insanity‘. 

Featured Image // Susanne Nilsson

There Will Be Tea

Written by Miss Smiley

high_tea

High tea anyone? With a slice of lemon or death…? Image // Blake Bentley

The woman breathed raggedly, hurling a terrified look behind her as she ran down the alley. A shot of adrenaline hit her breastbone as she spotted her pursuer, no more than ten metres back, shrouded in the darkness, strolling along like they had all the time in the world.

Miss Herrington, however, didn’t. Too panicked even to scream, she bolted as fast as she could in her flailing skirts. The hobble skirt bashed painfully against her shins with each frantic step, almost tripping her. A thought flitted through her head –

What on Earth has fashion got against physical activity?

– too slippery and quick to follow. She threw her hands up to stop herself crashing into the brick wall. Wheeling around the corner, she scrambled against the cobblestones, wishing she had not been quite so vain that morning – without the hobble skirt and extra petticoats, she would have been much quicker on her feet.

She stopped short as she spotted the wall, mere inches from her face.

A dead-end. No escape.

“No…” she whimpered. She let out a little moan of despair and pushed against the wall with a palm, willing it to move, hoping for a miracle. “Please…”

Footsteps clicked on the cobblestones behind her. She wheeled around to face her attacker.

“Wh-what…what do you want?” It came out ragged, whimpering and terrified. Madeline Herrington cursed herself for not sounding more confident.

Her pursuer smiled from beneath a hat. “You know what I want.” A woman’s voice, refined and silky. On her hands, she wore white gloves. Madeline wondered how the woman would ever get her blood out of the fabric.

“Don’t you dare touch me!” she screamed as her attacker neared, those gloved hands outstretched to her.

“Why not?” The gloves curled around her arm, jerking her forward to the eyes of their owner. Her attacker smirked confidently. “It’s nothing personal. Curiosity killed the cat, Miss Herrington. We’re just putting that practice into play.”

“I’ll never publish it, I swear!” Madeline was weeping now, her make-up smeared with grime and tears. Her heart thumped frantically in agreement. “No one knows, I swear it!”

“Too bad. You still know.”

She looked into the eyes and recoiled. The reports hadn’t lied. The woman’s eyes were dead – lifeless, like a doll’s. “I swear I’ll take your secret to my grave.”

“Yes. Yes, you will.” The woman smiled from beneath the hat, a smile that never reached her lifeless eyes. Her gloved hand made its way up her arm to her neck, cold to the touch.

Madeline shuddered, too terrified to say a word.

The woman surveyed her for a moment with those blue eyes and then smiled again. “Goodbye, Miss Herrington. Nothing personal. Just orders.”

Madeline felt cold metal against her skin and swallowed. And then…

Nothing.

She hadn’t even had time to scream.

As many of our regular readers will know, Miss Smiley is a dab hand when it comes to creating suspension in short stories. This is only a mere snippet of more to come, but we hope it’s just as deadly as this piece. We’re also perplexed as to when tea will be served and if it’s laced with poison. Maybe someday we’ll have the pleasure of finding out. If you enjoyed reading Miss Smiley’s short horror, you may just find her other work just as charming in ‘The Bells of Campden‘ and ‘The Laurel‘.