Love After Death

Written by Ricardo

“Where the hell is Nina?” Sam screamed at Paula, throwing her off and making her exert herself a little more to pick up the pace. “Where is she? Did she fall? Oh god, tell me she didn’t fall.”

Sam’s heart was already beating at an inhuman rate, but with the fear of losing Nina he thought his heart was going to burst out of his chest. His legs gained an abrupt burst of energy and, in that moment, he felt like he could have leapt onto the far-off green planet they seemed to be running towards.

“No!” Paula shouted back. “Her heart rate is still on the system, there’s not many of us left,” she paused to get her breath back, “most of us fell, but she’s still alive. She’s probably going for the escape pods too. I just hope she can make it with that body.”

“She’ll make it!” Sam shouted, almost offended. The escape pods. That’s where they were heading. He didn’t need the map displayed on the screen on his forearm, he’d walked the length of this ship more times than he could remember. And right then what he hated most about the world was not the emptiness behind them, or even the thought that Nina could be down there, it was that the doors he had installed last year were the newest models by Archon’s Security. He’d tried them out himself before fitting them with his own Tarantula rifle. Nothing was getting through those. Thankfully the walls were still as shitty as ever though.

“Give me your pistol!” Sam shouted at Paula, who had drawn her sidearm and unloaded the cartridge with alarming speed. He took the cartridge and threw it overarm toward the wall they were approaching. He took the rifle from his back at the moment the cartridge left his hand and fired off a single shot. Sam was thankful he was still a little drowsy since, if he’d been on top form and as fast as usual, the blast would have blown him right back into the depths of space. Sam went first into the escape pod chamber, thrusting his shoulder into the honeycombed wall and breaking through, followed by Paula only a fraction later.

They were far enough ahead to take a second to gather themselves. There were two pods left, and besides Sam and Paula there were was only one person there – Khaj, the technician. Sam had an insatiable urge to shoot the useless bastard directly in the left eye. Why was he here rather than Nina? What reason did he have to live over her?

“Sam,” Paula knocked him from his wandering thoughts and grabbed his arm, pulling him into one of the pods. “We’ve got to go! I’m sorry, but we have to go.” Sam knew it. He couldn’t stay even if he wanted to, survival was all his body cared about right now. He’d have gotten into that pod whether he liked it or not. It was only when he saw the glow of Nina’s eyes through a slender gap in the wall that he jumped back out of the pod. Paula grabbed his ankles, forcing him to lurch uneasily and slam hard onto the floor.

“NINA!” he shouted as a small robotic feline leaped into the chamber and toward the pod, the silver metal paw landing in his palm as his fingers closed around it, with Paula pulling him back into the pod. The end of her tail caught in the door and scraped it slightly as it slammed and sealed shut. All forty thrusters fixed to the outside ignited at once, propelling the pod from the shell of Andromeda, Sam’s father’s space station turned space cruiser, and then his, and now it belonged to the infinite grasp of the universe.

In that moment Sam couldn’t have cared less. As he held Nina in his arms, tears slipping off the top of her shiny head, she consoled him with gentle words. All he truly cared about was safe and still real, still in his grasp. And as their shuttle hurled toward the distant green planet that he felt he could jump to, he knew he still had a shot at redemption. He could still make it to humanity’s colonies. He could still get Paula back to her home planet. But most importantly, he could still get Nina back to her old body. He could still make up for what he did. He could kiss her again, even just once more. He could get her back.

It was when he was drifting off to sleep with Nina in his arms that his fingers traced up and down the robotic feline’s right leg. That’s where Nina liked to be tickled – on the inside of her forearm. And it still had the same effect of making him smile like an idiot.

Then Nina whispered in her old voice, “I love you”.

There’s something chilling about Ricardo’s tale of love, death and hope. Maybe it’s because space is cold, or maybe it’s just because it’s an incredibly tense piece of work that gets us worked up in such a cold sweat. We’ve chosen a neat little excerpt from Ricardo’s ‘Love After Death’ as it’s gripping and pauses in just the right moments for great effect. If you enjoyed Ricardo’s work, make sure you check out, ‘The Start of Something Beautiful‘ and ‘Careful Driving‘. 

Featured Image // Sweetie187

We Listen To The Song

Written by X3naurus


Remember the pink petals, too? Image // Gazeronly

I’d never play music too loud,
just loud enough for us to sing along.
I’d never speak of praise or hatred,
only when my thoughts are held alone.
A girl who sat by me once said she’d
heard the music.

She’d never wish in the night
until a star was born, her eyes closed.
She’d always give a glowing smile
to any dawned and dusked to fear.
A man who passed her by once had
saw the smile.

He’d sometimes stop to think,
just before he’d drown in wonders.
He’d come home to collect his thoughts,
and leave for thoughts to collect.
You looked at him and asked to
share just one.

You remembered a dying light,
but forgot the pink petals underneath.
You always screamed inside your head
when anything you loved was lost.
But I could only play the music for us to
sing along.

Though written a few years back, X3naurus’s lyrics are still a beauty to behold today. Stripped back and subtle, ‘We Listen to the Song’ flourishes on paper, and we can only wonder what it would be like to hear with music. Twinned perfectly with our theme this month, Light, we hope you enjoyed reading it as much as we did. If you liked X3naurus’s work, you can check out other pieces such as, ‘Minor Wounds‘ and ‘Tame‘.

The Laurel


These laurel flowers are bitter-sweet for the tale below. Image // Love to Know Corp.

Written by Miss Smiley

We met beneath the laurel tree
Where once I flew my kite
Oh, we met beneath the laurel tree
Our love grew out of sight
Oh, you sent me reeling through the sky
With kisses wild, but oh,
My love, my love, my darling love,
It’s time for you to go.
Yes, my love, my love, my darling love,
It’s time for you to go.

Oh, changes come. Yes, changes go.
Oh, changes touch us all.
I’ll not forget your smiling face
Beneath the branches of the laurel
Oh, beneath the branches of the laurel.
Oh, beneath the branches of the laurel.
The laurel.

We met beneath the laurel tree
Where once I flew my kite
Oh, you sleep there now, upon those roots,
Your body hid from sight
I often come to visit you
When all the sky turns red
I’m haunted by your memory
And of that day we wed.
Oh, I’m haunted by your memory
And of that day we wed.

Oh, changes come. Yes, changes go.
And changes touch us all.
I’ll not forget your warm, sweet lips
Beneath the flowers of the laurel.
Oh, time will pass and time will flow
And time will slip away.
But I’ll not forget your warm, sweet lips,
Beneath the flowers of the laurel.
Oh, beneath the flowers of the laurel.
Oh, beneath the flowers of the laurel.
The laurel.

That laurel tree is fallen now
Felled by fiery storm
Now I sleep with you where its memory sobs
Wrapped safe in ground so warm.
Though our walls keep our bodies far, my love,
In Heaven shall we meet
Oh, beneath that fine old laurel tree
We’ll kiss our love new-sweet.
Yes, oh, beneath that fine old laurel tree
We’ll kiss our love new-sweet.

Oh, changes come. Yes, changes go.
Oh, changes touch us all.
I’ll feel your honey-sweet embrace again
Beneath the boughs of the laurel.
Oh, time will pass and time will come
When I hold you once again,
I’ll feel your sweet caress again,
Beneath the boughs of the laurel.
Yes, beneath the boughs of the laurel.
Oh, God speed you to that laurel.
The laurel.

Miss Smiley’s song lyrics for ‘The Laurel’ were inspired on behalf of an older Half Hour Challenge. We thought it was such a gorgeous lyrical ensemble but we never found the right moment to use it in our themed content. However, it’s here now and it gives us goosebumps thinking about the bitter-sweet days of love and loss. Miss Smiley also recorded the song too, and you can listen to it at the link here. If you enjoyed Miss Smiley’s work, be sure to check out ‘Rosebed‘. 


Written by Nonexistent Rose


Beauty in the simplest of forms. Image //

I couldn’t remember the past twelve hours but I guessed that meant the drugs had worked. I’m sure it would have been much worse if they hadn’t. I felt light fingers touch the gauze around my eyes.

“I’m jealous,” Rosie spoke softly.

“Of what? Having your eyes ripped out because they aren’t good enough?” I felt my left arm tingle when she drew close, the hairs standing on end from the slight draft.

“Are you really upset about this?”

“Why wouldn’t I be?”

“You got new eyes, Charlie. They’re beautiful, they fit right, and they work much better than your old ones; I even heard your parents paid extra to get the eyes of an expert pilot.”

“My mother couldn’t stand to see her child walking around wearing glasses, like I’m one of those, you know, slum kids. So she bought me a pair of used eyes. Big whoop.”

Rosie sighed. I was being unreasonable, clearly. But she still leaned on me, choosing to ignore my petty attitude. I almost wish I could say that I was the jealous one because Rosie still had her own eyes, but I couldn’t because she hated her eyes. She would give up both of them just for one new one. They were such a dull blue they looked grey and their vision wasn’t perfect, but her family couldn’t afford to buy her new ones. I wished my family couldn’t afford to buy me new ones. I wished our money was directed at more important things than appearances, though my mother would throw yet another unnecessary tantrum. 

But normal people didn’t wish to not be rich so I kept my mouth shut. Rosie touched the gauze on my face again. 

“I wonder what they look like.”

“Why don’t you peel off the tape and find out?”

“I thought you weren’t supposed to take off the gauze yet.”

“I don’t care.” I didn’t care if I went blind or ruined my vision back to its previous blurred state. I just didn’t care.

“I’ll be gentle.” Rosie whispered and I felt her stand up. Her touch was always delicate, as if everything she laid her hands on was as fragile as a butterfly wing. And true to her word, she was gentle with the gauze as she peeled it off. I was rough and impatient and my foot fidgeted until I nearly reached up and peeled it off for her.

I felt the air dance over my closed eyelids once she finally shed the final layer. I was scared to open them, to let these new eyes see the world. Would it look the same through someone else’s eyes? Would Rosie look like she always did, with her plain brown hair and dull grey eyes? 

“Open your eyes, Charlie,” she murmured like a mother waking her child.

Continue reading →


Written by Lilith

The author wrote this as a response to 35.1 by Bobartles, fearing that his first person narrative didn’t do him justice. While we think this piece works fine as a stand alone, she’d like to request that you read 35.1 first for a spot of context.

Love keeps the winter from freezing us all to death. Image courtesy of laura-makabresku on deviantart.

It’s cold, shit, I don’t think I’ve ever felt this cold before. The draft clings to my thighs and I regret not dressing more warmly for January, but it’s too late for that so I clench my legs together, wishing for heat. I cradle my coffee in both unsteady hands and try to stop crying.

I look back at the screen. “It’s cold,” I read aloud. “I don’t notice.” I try to envision the narrator; a man so jaded and dead inside that he can’t comprehend every eddy of cool air snaking across his skin, creeping through his clothes. I know I’m meant to think he can’t feel it because he’s so cold on the inside, but something about it strikes me as wrong. Cold isn’t like that. It creeps in, not out.

I know you better than you think, dear narrator. I know your smile. My shaking hands still as I consider you, and a tiny twinge of warmth makes its way through my body. I sip my coffee, feeling a little more like myself.

How can I possibly tell you that you aren’t this person? I imagine you in his place, standing on the bridge with the harsh winter wind ripping through your immovable body, feeling nothing at all. I see myself at your side, my hand creeping into yours as you stare down at the traffic below.

Continue reading →


Written by Miss Smiley


A love was born for stories, snuggled into the arms of a grandparent.
Image Courtesy of

Tommy got the inkwell for his 8th birthday, right after Grandpa died. This is because Grandpa had given it to him in his will, but, nonetheless, a present received on your birthday is still a birthday present, regardless of the circumstances around said gift.

He treasured the inkwell. Sure, it was old, with a faded monogram on the front, painted in a gold, flaky paint that was slowly peeling, but that didn’t matter to Tommy. It was from Grandpa. He’d loved Grandpa, and it was one of the only things he’d received when he’d passed away; the other thing being the first copy of Tommy’s favourite book,The Albany Treasure, written by Grandpa himself.

Grandpa was always writing things. Mum said that was his job. Tommy didn’t believe this – how could writing something be a job? Jobs were things like fire-fighters or doctors or, his personal favourite, pilots. Or teachers… maybe… though he still didn’t like them.

But Grandpa wrote stories.

Tommy asked him once how he came up with the stories. He’d heard a reporter ask his Grandpa that question once and Tommy was curious. Where did the ideas come from?

Grandpa had chuckled and told him, “not sure, my boy. Not sure. I just dip the quill in the inkwell, Tommy and the ink and quill just… go walking.” He’d surveyed Tommy for a moment, as if weighing up a decision. “In fact, the inkwell’s a bit… well, it’s a clever inkwell. If I tell it what I’m writing for, it’ll write me a story. Simple as that.”

Tommy had looked up at Grandpa’s bright blue eyes, with the wide-rim glasses tucked into his old cap, and made a decision. The decision was this – nope. He’s lying.

But he smiled anyway, because he loved Grandpa and Grandpa deserved to have his stories believed. Continue reading →

Thoughts On Forever

Written by Topaz


Beautiful golden afternoons…
Image Courtesy of Irene Suchocki

if you ask me,
forever seems like an awfully long time.

forever consists of so many countless
slow lazy sunbeams stretching out
and bringing in new-born mornings
with tiny crocuses poking heads up wondering
if it is time to wake up and greet the world
so many countless
beautiful golden afternoons with dappled leaves
casting shadows on forest floors
and booming laughter bubbling out of shaking shivering bellies
until waterfalls of tears are streaming down red rosy cheeks
so many countless
inky midnight blacks when the shadows awaken
and the stars remembers what it means to fly
when the moon serves as a cradle for angels
and it is mandatory to spend the night dreaming
instead of living

so many countless little things
that add up to such big beautiful things

forever seems like just about the longest time there is, I think –
and yet somehow, even though all I know
is a hasty smudged green-inked name
scrawled on the soft skin of my hand
even though all I know
is an electrified first glance and a
soft sweet conversation
even though all I know
is that I can still feel your fiery eyes
burning into mine, still hear your
quiet voice echoing in my mind, still taste your
unvoiced fears and dreams and promises on my tongue –

even though I do not know anything at all
about you or me or us,


somehow I think the sun’s rays and crocuses
might bloom a little lovelier;
the laughter and tears
might bubble a little happier;
the stars and moon
might fly a little higher;
and everything that makes up forever –
well, I think it might not be so long
if it were to be spent
with you.

New contributor Topaz has written us a sumptuous poem on the intricacy of nature and the innocence of love in her poem, ‘Thoughts on Forever’. Her stream of consciousness writing is reflected in the poem’s form and style, which she says was inspired by initial thoughts on the complex nature of the word ‘forever’. The free form allows her to explore the theme and provide us with a deeper connection to the piece – we think it works wonderfully.  

Thy Tears Wash

Written by Rob


Remember to buy those flowers!
Image Courtesy of – RowHouse14’s full range of cards can be found here.

It was only a silly prank. No-one had any evil intent or wanted to cause any upset. I can’t even remember who instigated the idea: probably Derek – everything about what transpired had a “Derek feel” to it. Although he holds down a responsible job, he has the devil in him. One does not expect a senior business analyst to be stirring up trouble or encouraging practical jokes in the office. And, truth be told, Derek rarely actually did anything. He would usually set an idea adrift and allow someone else to run with it. Throw the pebble in the pond, stand well back, and watch the ripples.

Ken is “Mister Reliable” to most, though “Mister Boring Bastard” to some. He does not get involved in practical jokes, office shenanigans, or banter. He’s a pleasant enough bloke to talk to but he lacks imagination and likes to do things “by the book”.

We were lounging about in the canteen after lunch. Jenny was talking about Valentine’s Day and about the cards she’d received in previous years. I’ve never received a Valentine’s card anonymously, so I was surprised at the tales she was able to tell: jokey ones, rude ones, passionate ones. I guess she’s young, single, and good-looking, so that’s understandable. Margaret said what fun it was to watch someone receive an anonymous card; see them look around and guess at who had sent it. I remember laughing at that.

Various people chipped in with their own anecdotes. Jack said he always denied sending his long-term girlfriend a card so as to test her honesty and faithfulness to him. Most of the women thought that was sick. I can’t remember how we got from that point, to the plan to send Ken a card. I say, in my defence, that I thought the plan was to leave it on his desk: otherwise, what’s the point? If you can’t watch his reaction, there’s no fun to be had.  Continue reading →

Monthly Editorial: Celebrating Love In February’s Content


Awww. We couldn’t help but put up an adorable picture of sleepy animals!

Hey Inkblotters!

Welcome to a new month and lots of new content. As it’s February, we thought we’d go all out and celebrate love – but not just the obvious type of love with the mushy, lovey-dovey stuff (though there may be a little of that…) but also a deeper kind of love: the love for our family, the love for our hobbies or just a general love for writing. If you’re single, don’t get all down in the dumps this month when you see glossy red and sickly pink hearts through restaurants or card shops, but embrace it in a different way. Love yourself for once – whether that be picking up some ice-cream and your favourite movie, or going out and enjoying a day with your mates. And if you’re all loved-up, remember that Valentine’s Day is just another day to tell your partner that you love them.

Anyway, enough of the chit-chat, I’m here to talk about our exciting content for February! Beginning the theme of love, we’ve got veteran HHC writer Rob with his take on last month’s theme ‘Inkwell’ on the 5th. He’s such a pro at writing great twists, we just can’t help but choose his short tales over and over again. Next up on the 8th is a beautiful poem written by new contributor Topaz, engaging in thoughts of love and life and how nature is truly prominent in our world – keep an eye out. And on the 20th, we’ve got song lyrics adapted from Patrick Rothfuss’ novel, Name of the Wind, by long-standing forum member Kvothe. But that’s not all our content, of course, there’s plenty more hidden in the wings.

This month’s HHC theme is a little unorthodox, but we like to change our routine up every now and then. Sherlock does this all the time, in fact that’s probably a ridiculously big clue. That’s right, our theme is Guessing and Second Guessing. To give you a little nudge in the right direction, co-editor Lilith left us this amusing picture to keep us on the straight and narrow. What can I say, most of us are 90s kids! Remember, if you’d like to submit a HHC, poetry or fiction, check out our submissions page.

And on that note, I hope you have a lovely Feb painting the roses red.

– Silver, Inkblots Editor

Death’s Mistress Prologue

Written by Miss Smiley

Phone a friend

When will you get the call?

She hums softly, hiding her musings under her breath as her hairbrush glides slowly through her hair. Her eyes hook dreamily into the two green eyes that stare at her, a dazed smile spreading across her lips.

“Corinth! Hurry up!”

Corinth jolts back to life before the mirror, broken from her reverie. Hastily coming to her senses, she pulls her smooth, auburn locks into a quick ponytail. She tugs at it impatiently before slinging a courier bag across her thin shoulders and rushing from the room.


“I’m coming, Mum!” She rolls her eyes. “Jeez!” she mumbles to herself. “Anyone would think it was life or death!”

She quickly reviews this statement and, frowning, wonders if it actually is a matter of life or death. The news article she is meant to be writing today is a big one, and one sure to be a direct focus of the librarian, Mrs. Connelly, who ran the school newsletter. Not known for her sensibility or any particular semblance of wit or intelligence, Mrs. Connelly would, no doubt, have no issues with making any student’s life hell for the sake of her beloved newsletter. Corinth often wondered how a woman so superbly unsuitable for human interaction had come to be deemed fit for running a school library, let alone a school newsletter.
Shaking the thought from her head, she checks herself.




Pencils! She rummages in the kitchen drawers, carelessly sharpening a stubby pencil into the fork compartment. Check.

Satisfied, she plucks a green apple from the fruit bowl sitting on the table, a present from her older brother, and glances hurriedly out of the windows. A glimpse of her mother pacing the driveway, not unlike a caged tigress, catches her eye and she smirks to herself on her way out of the house.

Corinth yanks the heavy door open.

“Cori—! Oh, there you are. Come on! Are we going or not?”

Corinth nods silently, making her way to the door of her mother’s Volvo. She slides her petite frame onto the leather seat and quietly closes her door.

Continue reading →