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

 

 

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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

Inkblots Special Hallowe’en Post – A Hedgehog Named Barry

Written by Lilith

hedgehog_foliage

Scavenge hunt. Image // Tomi Tapio

The hedgehog looked up at May with wide black eyes and twitched its nose. It was a tiny ball of brown spines, sitting at the edge of the pavement and staring up at her with something akin to adoration, though the little girl didn’t know why. She bent down to him, expecting him to shuffle away, but instead he sniffed her hand curiously.

“Hello,” she said nervously. The streetlights were starting to come on now, and she was late coming back from the shops. She would get into trouble for it, she knew, but she’d spent so long deciding what pick and mix to get – choosing and weighing and taking some out and weighing again until it was worth a pound. Now she knew she should hurry back so he wouldn’t be so angry, but at the same time couldn’t bring herself to face her father’s rage.

The hedgehog sniffled at her fingers and licked them.

“Can I call you Barry?” she asked, and although he didn’t say yes or no, she decided that he was OK with it.

“I have to go now… Sorry.” Another street lamp flickered from pink to orange to yellow above her. Home was only two streets away, so she picked up her satchel back and carried on walking.

She was only a few doors away from home when she heard a scuffling sound in the gutter beside her; she looked down and saw Barry waddling through the autumn leaves.

“What are you doing?” May hissed down at him. “Don’t follow me! My dad’ll be angry.”

Perhaps he understood her words or maybe her tone of voice, but Barry stopped still in the leaves and turned around a few times. He watched her go with mournful black eyes, his nose beneath a crisp golden leaf.

May’s father was angry, but her mother was less of a wreck than usual. She took one look at her daughter traipsing in with windswept hair and muddy boots and sent her to her room at once, in a tone that was forceful, but not wholly unkind. She stood between the little girl and her husband, who had been drinking for hours and was already shouting at the slightest thing. As May’s door closed, he began to shout at her up the stairs, and although May could work out some of the words, she did as her mother had said and kept the door tightly shut, then played pop music to drown out the worst of it. He fell silent after half an hour, but when May was called to dinner there was a dark mark on her mum’s face that hadn’t been there before.

That night, as May lay in bed, it started again. First her dad yelling, then the crashes and bangs as he threw things – anything that came near to his hand – at his wife. May was too scared to put on the music, so she pulled the duvet from her bed and sat by the window, staring at the sky.

“I wish…” she began to say, but the world was too big and too scary and too bloated with unfulfilled wishes that she suddenly didn’t know what to wish for. Should she wish for her dad to stop drinking? Would that make it better, or worse? How would she know? Or maybe she should wish for him to go away again… But when he did that before her mum had sat hunched over the kitchen table for days on end, crying into her wine, pulling May onto her lap and phoning him over and over again to tell him how much she missed him and they needed him back. Did she really want that?

“I wish Barry would come back,” she said, and looked down into the garden. The kitchen light was on, flooding the yard with light, and there besides a flower-pot was… No, it couldn’t be.

She squinted down at the flower-pot, trying to make out the dark shape beneath it. The noises from downstairs faded to nothingness as she struggled to identify whether that shadow was really her friend, or just a trick of the light.

There was only one way to be sure. She threw on a dressing gown over her nightie and stepped carefully out onto the landing. She could hear them arguing again – were they in the living room? She tiptoed down the stairs, placing her feet near to the sides of each step to stop them from creaking. Yes, they were in the living room, she decided, so she kept away from that door, instead stepping into the kitchen where piles of washing up had been discarded only ten minutes ago. As she reached the back door, she heard a crash followed by a sickening “thunk” sound, and then her mother screaming.

She peered out into the night. There was the flower-pot – the big one with the poppies – and there he was, smiling his sweet half-smile at her from the shadows.

“Barry,” she whispered. The door clicked open quietly and as quick as a flash she was outside in the yard, dropping to her knees to greet the hedgehog.

“Come with me,” the hedgehog seemed to be saying to her. “Just for a little while, until your mother is feeling better. It will be an adventure.”

May glanced nervously back at the house.

“Won’t dad be angry if he finds out, Barry?”

“He would, little girl, but he won’t find out. I promise.”

She put down both her hands to the ground and Barry climbed into them, carefully keeping his sharp spines from stabbing at her soft skin.

“You tell me where to go, OK?”

He nodded.

“Do you promise I’ll be safe, Barry?”

He turned around to face her, his black eyes meeting her blue.

“Yes, little May. Right now, this is the safest place you could be.”

Lilith’s ‘A Hedgehog named Barry’ was written as part of a HHC challenge in 2013, however it was such a wonderful short that we raided through the archives in order to bring it to you, our readers and followers, as an Inkblots special Hallowe’en post. Those feelings of uneasiness through the sinister shadow of May’s father really come to light within the final few sentences. Is Barry really a lovely hedgehog? Or is something more horrible happening? Either way, we can’t help breathe a sigh of relief when our fear for May’s safety is finally over. We hope you enjoyed reading Lilith’s story, and have a Happy Hallowe’en! 

Monthly Editorial – October’s Content Gets A Little Spooky For Hallowe’en

pumpkin_patch

Time to do some carving? Image // Andrea Vergani

Hey Inkblotters!

Welcome back to the monthly editorial post – we’ve only been away for a month, but it’s surprisingly felt much longer. Maybe it’s the routine and the great comfort it brings when sharing some fantastic content with our readers. Either way, I’m very happy to be back writing, editing, and covering all sorts of things for magazine content.

Late summer has closed its doors and a new autumnal breeze has swept across Britain, making the tawny leaves hit your boots and probably your face. Autumn is delightfully pretty, but it’s also messy – there’s nothing worse than wet leaves sticking to your hair, specifically if it’s already curly and tangled. I’m not here to whinge, though, as it’s the start of a very spooky month here on Inkblots. With the arrival of Hallowe’en, my Pagan roots strengthen and begin to welcome in the new Pagan year. It’s out with the old and in with the new. I even find time to start carving a pumpkin for the evening celebrations!

Given the time of the year, October’s content theme surrounds itself with the idea of fear. And we’re kicking the month off with the winning Fiction Frenzy entry. As many of you will know, in conjunction with our sister site The Inkwell, we ran a writing competition throughout July and August with two themes: Carnage and Virtual Reality. We had some truly wonderful entries, with three in particular making the final shortlist. But there could only be one winner, so it was with great joy we awarded the Fiction Frenzy Winner title to Magnificent Mayhem for her horrifying tale “Rabid”. It will be published on October 5th, so make sure you check back to read it.

For the rest of the month, we’ve got poetry from Ashcloud on the 8th, a great HHC short from our veteran forum writer Rob, as well as a lovely twist on the Red Riding Hood fairytale by Bandit Queen. On Hallowe’en itself, we may have a spotlight special for stand-out HHCs under this month’s new theme: Pumpkin. So if you’d like to get your piece into the spotlight on the 31st, make sure you send us in your HHC entry. All details for submitting entries can be found on our submissions page.

And that just about covers October. Keep checking back to Inkblots regularly so you never miss a post, and you can always follow us on Twitter or Facebook too. Also, before I forget and in aid of National Poetry Day, here’s a link to see a snippet of the BBC’s Dylan Thomas animated poem, The Hunchback in the Park. Narrated by Michael Sheen, you can catch the full animation on BBC iPlayer or BBC One Wales later in October, which marks the centenary of the poet’s birth.

Have a fab October – don’t get too spooked!

– Silver, Inkblots Editor

Fiction Frenzy Winner’s Piece – The Princess and the Dragon

Written by Blue-Eyed Devil 

princess_dragon

The intriguing relationship between a princess and a dragon.

“You know, I’ve never really got Halloween,” he said to himself, trundling down the street. Packs of squealing children ran wild, with worn-out adults trailing after them like old sheepdogs herding baby sheep. Scratching absent-mindedly at one of the patches of dead skin that afflicted his face, half hidden by an unkempt beard, he continued chattering away to himself.

“Kids spend their nights terrified of the monsters under the bed and in the closet, but once a year they dress up as little monsters and go around knocking on doors, demanding candy. Trick or treat, they say. What is that? Is it like the saying: your money or your life? It’d make sense; I’ve never once seen one of the home-owners give them a trick.”

If he noticed that most of the adults were steering the kids as far away from him as possible, he did not show it.

“Or maybe they’re just worried about getting egged? Kids expecting sweets and getting a show of someone pretending to pull their thumb off might very well get peeved. Or maybe they’d use toilet paper? Or rocks? I’m not sure what kids throw about these days but -”

“Who’re you talking to?”

He jumped, making an odd yelping noise as he did so, when he heard the little voice, wondering for a second if his mind had actually started talking back to him. But it was just a little girl, all dressed up as a little princess. The tiara that was loosely placed on her head wobbled a bit. She tilted her head to the side in her curiosity. Continue reading →