Computers Can’t Make Coffee

I know, it’s been a while and not a lot of that time has been spent writing creatively. The books is currently in various bits and pieces having been carved up, chopped out and messed about with. It’s a task and a half putting it all back together. I had to keep something ticking over and I’m now pretty safe in the knowledge that I’m far more comfortable writing strange science fiction than I am doing more ‘domestic’ stuff. With that in mind I decided to just writing something short and stupid to stretch the cells again. It’s rough around the edges but I won’t be spending time going back to it to sharpen it up because it’s supposed to be fun. Here then is ‘Computers Can’t Make Coffee’. Enjoy and leave any comments down below.


The sound of birdsong filled the streets before the sample ended and it looped round again for another minute long duration.

Desmond was the last person the sun would shine on. The sleep of the last few hours had been interrupted not by any noise from the street outside or the late-night TV his neighbours always watched but more the absence of any human activity. His was the only street left illuminated, two lamps standing until the end. The traffic signals were turned off a few days ago. The shops had left only the moonlight to cast shadow on the empty shelves.

Desmond’s notification had been slow in arriving. Once the idea of leaving Earth had left a touch screen somewhere and the pictures of the settlements had circulated, he had sat waiting. Looking out of his window each morning he saw more and more floors on the housing grids becoming vacant. Every time another light out and wind turbine still. The eldest residents had been first, forming a queue to get into the monorail terminals leading to the ports. Herbert down the corridor had refused to go whilst spending each evening shouting up at the night sky from his balcony. Desmond had ran into him one night outside the local shop. “I was born on Earth and I’ll bloody die on Earth” he growled whilst stabbing his walking stick forwards as if he were fencing. A few weeks ago his wish was granted. They didn’t fill his house afterwards.

Each evening the bright blue jet trails of the rockets had bled through the black. Desmond had grown to be familiar with looking out for the final scattering of colour as the ships left Earth’s atmosphere. The final distant thump of another one entering space above was a comfort to him as one day he’d be up there too. This morning the skies were empty as even the clouds had given up flying overhead. The blazing heat from the sun rays has already melting the tarmac across the road. Desmond could see the bubbles from his window.

“Looks like another warm one”.

The familiar voice chimed in from the screen across the room with the usual tones of cheer.

“Morning Theia” said Desmond still slightly unsure if he should be giving such wishes to a computer programme.

“Do you want a full weather report for the day?” the software enquired.

“Is it going to be you asking me to put lots of sunscreen on and avoid going out in the sun until this evening?”.

A silent few seconds followed as this questions was hurled through processors and memory.

“That would be where I was going”.

“Well in that case I think we can save it”.

The window began to darken automatically, shielding Desmond from the harsh light. A protective protocol in action.

“Your flight leaves in a few hours, your last few bags are waiting at the space port having been checked in at 3:08am this morning”

“Thanks” came the only mutter from Desmond’s mouth as he peered back to the tinted window at the sunlight bouncing off the electronic advertising boards on the building opposite. His own personal adverts had been scrolling on these screens for so long now he could follow along with them word for word. He had cut himself shaving around three weeks ago, the bathroom mirror had recognised the blood and played him an advert for instant Cut Sealer. A whole minute had passed by showing the miraculous properties of a sprayed layer of plastic across any size of wound. After Desond had answered the following survey the mirror had deemed it suitable to dispense a sticking plaster.  A free sample had turned up unannounced through his door not long afterwards but it remained unused. Life away from Earth would surely not need Cut Sealer.

“Is this the end of the world?” asked Desmond of the computer.

“Far from it, it’s a new start for you”.

“But what happens to all of this here?”. Desmond gestured to the outside world in what looked like a half hearted attempt at Semaphore.

“Do you want the answer?”

“I do”.

“Very well then Desmond, the coastal areas that aren’t flooded already soon will be and the heat from the sun rays will take care of most of the rest”.

Desmond considered this information for a few seconds. If he had stayed around on Earth for any longer he would probably try to see if he could convince the computer to stop asking his permission in order to give him plain facts. It had originally started with it suggesting he took an umbrella outside rather than just saying it was raining. Before long it was telling him about the benefits he could have by taking a long walk before actually telling him the trains had been cancelled. Over time the software had learned that Desmond liked the plain facts. It had also learned to not make him coffee in the mornings. When the kitchen appliances had all been registered in the network the software had taken the liberty of ordering in the best selling coffee flavour in the city, taking in a general method of preparation honed through the data received from over one thousand hours of consumer focus groups and only then splotting forth something that Desmond could only describe as tar. The easiest solution would have been to disconnect the network card from the back of the coffee maker but, like all appliances, it refused to work without one.

“I shall heat the water for you” came the robotic chirp.

“Just that, nothing more”.

The water sizzled inside the machine and the jet of black. Desmond slowly added the dark oily gloop and mixed it together.  He took a sip of the bitter concoction then smacked his lips together.

“Are they growing real coffee beans in the orbit?” he asked?

“I’m afraid I don’t know for sure Desmond, my network doesn’t stretch that far”.

Desmond took another sip and thought about the stations in orbit and how, if they truly were meant to be the next step in mankind’s journey, they would surely be a space on each of them for growing some proper coffee. The videos that had been sent back down showed whole forests being grown in large sections of the stations. Spotlights reflected off the water of streams and lakes as animated figures danced and ate picnics on the riverbanks. All was perfectly possible when you were off the surface of the now crumbling Earth. He put down his coffee cup and was about to clean it in the sink until he remembered he wouldn’t need it tomorrow morning.  

“The taxi is waiting outside” said the computer.

Desmond was about to jolt himself across the housing pod in his rush to get changed. Upon processing it further he came to the conclusion that the taxi wasn’t exactly going to pick up anybody else afterwards. He allowed himself the time to put on the last clothes he had that weren’t in space by now.

A few minutes later he found himself adjusting his belt in the mirror.

The computer chimed in for what seemed like the final time.

“I hope you enjoy your flight, it’s been a pleasure being with you these last few years”.

“Do I get something like you when I arrive up there?”.

“I don’t believe they have the structure yet for such systems. Perhaps in time but you’ll have to make your own coffee in the meantime”.

“I think I might be able to manage that”.

Desmond stepped out into the hallway, thought initially about locking the door behind him but instead left the keys hanging in the lock before walking down the corridor.

Hexenwulf The Dreamer

I wrote another book. More aptly I should say I finished it before I got to the end of the last rewrite of the book I’ve been working on for the last four years on this site. Put simply, writing about old wrestling shows became far easier than facing my own story and the many flaws it has. Hence nothing here since August.

I’ve been podcasting, I’ve been miniature painting over on Instagram, I have written reviews on videogames alongside my son and I have been plotting how to write a text adventure game. As the world caved in with a cocktail of COVID and Brexit these things felt like instant wins. Clamouring back to the coal face of aliens from other worlds and Scottish tourist villages felt far too much of an uphill task. It’s a task that must begin again though especially as I’m not that far away from a possible ending.

There’s a chance my head is a bit out of practice with creative writing though so I might go and write something fairly short to get back up to speed. If so it’ll get posted here.

The very best to you and I hope you’re all keeping safe and well.

Fell Down A Hole

It was going fairly well. At one point in the first week of July I was rewriting a chapter each day. Then I got into a complete funk for a few days in which I wasn’t in the mood for anything other than watching Chill With Bob Ross with the lights off. Battling through this book was off the agenda because it felt exactly that, an uphill battle with no guarantee of anything at the end of it. Whatever it was it gnawed a big hole in my confidence.

I bought more notepads the other day. I probably didn’t need anymore but I wanted to write some stuff in my biggest notepad and found some written stuff from around 2009. It was a ten year echo from what felt like another dimension. There were notes about sending emails to people I can no longer recall, scripts that were dead ended long ago and half finished character profiles. I didn’t want to write anything else in that book as it just felt like adding to previous failures. A fresh one has a better outlook.

I’m thinking I might start working on a couple of short stories just to have an outlet that won’t be a massive fifty thousand word mess. It might prove to be a stupid idea in the long term as it’ll take even longer to get the book done but when was I ever in a rush?

Fret For Your Lawsuit

It’s probably a big mistake to start thinking about new projects before you’ve finished the current one but, as I get towards the end of this story, I’m doing exactly that.

Writing another book will really depend on how well this one goes. This entire blog was created at a time when I was writing a short play and U haven’t written another one since. I’m proud of giving it a go and happy it got performed but I’m not sure bothering a stage again is in the future.

Same goes with a short film. I wrote one, it got made and I have yet to return to the format.

Essentially I seem to be trying a hand at any given medium and seeing what sticks.

Next might be a game. A lovely, story driven downloadable game. We’ll see what shape that takes as the time comes.

The List At The End Of The Universe

Blame it on getting past the halfway marker on the book but I’ve been thinking a whole lot about endings recently. A chain of thought that led from the ending of the book and spanned further outwards into how everything ends, eventually stopping in one form or another. Then I began to think about ideas and projects of my own.

It’s said that Stanley Kubrick only made one film of each genre. Whilst I’ve had a look at his filmography and that statement isn’t completely accurate there is a tendency to regard his main cannon of movies cornerstones in their particular field. His Science fiction movie was 2001, his horror The Shining, his comedy Dr Strangelove and hell knows what Eyes Wide Shut was going to be.

I have no idea if this will be the only book I ever write. For something that I felt like doing just to give it a go it’s going fairly well. Any thought that I’d have it done by the time the clocks go back has pretty much faded right now though. If it is the first and last book I ever write then at least I can say I’ve written one.

This in turn got me thinking about all the small, one time projects I could do and then never make another one of that particular type again. Then I got down to writing a list.

1X Short Film.

When I was in college one of my tutors encouraged us to write a list at the start of each week with what you hoped to achieve. He added that he always put something at the top that either you’d already done or were close to doing so you could cross it off straight away and have a psychological boost right off the bat. This would be mine. Already done, made and screened. One day I’ll stop banging on about it.

1X Feature Film

Still working on this one, script have been done but nothing picked up yet.

1X Book

Currently in progress.

1X Comic Book.

I’ve always had a few ideas kicking about for a comic book actually but I cannot draw to save my life so I’d need somebody who could.

1X Album

Once again I cannot play any musical instruments at all but about a year ago I went round to a friend’s house who certainly can. We had a system running where I hummed stuff and he translated it into guitar and drums. It was a really fun day and we had something akin to a song by the time we were done. The idea of just making one album or strange bleeps and bloops, never playing it life in any way and only producing about three physical copies of it just appeals to me.

1X Radio Play.

Something creepy with sound. Quite doable on a really low budget, at home with decent microphones too.

1X Published Short Story.

In a magazine or something along those lines.

1X Video game.

Probably something with a bit of story to it especially as I’m really only able to make text adventures right now.

1X Any of the above but under the banner of Doctor Who

Because the day I get to write ‘TARDIS lands’ I will truly have to stop myself from flipping out.

Working through this list I feel I could die a happy man. Probably quite poor but still happy.

The Glass Jarred Dust Of All That Remained

The occasion has arisen when, whilst writing one script, I feel that the idea was possibly stronger and better for another one that I was just planning out. Then that thought process carries on to thinking if that better idea would be better still if it wasn’t a film script at all but a book. A straightforward book when the costs of locations for filming could be jettisoned out of the window at great speed and shatter on the pavement below.

One great thing in the positive marker for this would be the fact that text would be complete with only me working on it. It wouldn’t need another person to agree to it after reading, making sure it was worth putting on screen and taking the time and the money to gather everything needed and go forth and make the thing. The idea would be there, it would only take me to get something readable.

But then I’ve never written a full scale book before and I probably think very visually anyway so delving into such a different craft is probably not something that would come off well. Also, putting some changes into a ninety page script is fine but I can only imagine the pain of having to change paragraph after paragraph of pure text.

Yet, I still want to see what it would be like.

Time Is My Business Mr Scarman

Right then, if you missed the first part of ‘Hunters Of Gods And Demons’ then catch it here. If you’re one of those who’ve read the first part then I thank you very much. If you’ve read it and commented on it or mentioned to me you’ve read it then I thank you even more.

Here’s part 2 alongside my thoughts at the end.


He was standing on a small pile of rocks as if taking to a stage. He pointed his torch upwards towards the ceiling. The beam of light shone up towards the high stalactites. The sound of water ran through the cave, a small stream just to one side.

Do you know the difference between stalactites and stalagmites dear boy?” he asked.

I hadn’t found quite enough time to gather my thoughts.

I’m sorry, what was the question?”

Stalagmites and stalactites, the difference between?”

I thought for a small moment. This information had probably been put in front of me in school but, after what had just happened, I found myself in no position to recall. Sensing my hesitation Philip pushes forward.

Tights always go down!”

He chuckled at his own joke for a few seconds. I found myself smiling along with him.

What just happened?” I asked.

He folded his arms.

Are you one of those people who gets shown a magic trick and instantly tries to work out how it was done?”

Doesn’t everybody?”.

Yes” he replied “but some take a few moments to enjoy what they’ve just seen instead”.

I turned around to face where we had come from. There was no wind blowing through the entrance we had just come through, no view to the outside world, no sunlight. There was only a wall of dark stone. I held out my hand thinking the rocks would part again. My fingers hit only the cold rock and stopped there.

How do we get out?” I whimpered.

Out?” said Philip “I was rather thinking more of going further in, I have something to show you”.

He jumped down off the rocks and walked away. I quickly followed. The lights from our headlamps illuminated the cave just enough to see ahead. We walked alongside the small river, taking small steps and edging our way through the dark. Eventually the high ceiling narrowed down into a tight tunnel, the walls smoothed down. Eventually we both had to stoop in order to continue.

What did you want to show me?” I asked, still thinking exactly why I was down a narrow tunnel.

Sometimes people forget” Philip started.

Forget what?”.

Beliefs that become outdated and talked of less and less” he said, pressing onwards down the tunnel and never turning to face me.

What has this got to do with a mountain?”

When they’re forgotten about, many Gods or demons go into hiding from mankind, only occasionally emerging to rattle a few cages here and there”.

There was a silence as this thought hung in the desperate air for a while.

Philip stopped, turned around and held his hand on my shoulder.

I think I may have found one”.

For a short while I was glad that Philip seemed to have a plan for this impromptu expedition. Upon thinking more about it I had a sudden need to ask a very important question.

Is this a God you’ve found or a Demon?”.

If I asked you to name the God of Mischief who would you say?”


Philip’s face turned downwards, as if almost disappointed by my response.

Most people would say him but there were more with that title”.

The tunnel opened out once more, easing the atmosphere and making the walk much easier. I turned my head only for my light to settle on a stone figure. It was around six feet tall or thereabouts, muscular and dressed in furs. The figure’s face was covered my a mask which looked at first glance to be made of bone with antler horns positioned at the top. Held aloft above one shoulder was a spear with sharp flint at the tip. I reached out a hand to touch it.

I wouldn’t if I were you” said Philip “Anything here is property of the Gods, they may not take kindly to a mortal meddling”.

I quickly retracted my arm as Philip continued walking.

What is it though? Who?” I inquired.

A guard positioned at the threshold” came the response.

Threshold of what?”

Philip pointed further down the tunnel towards a light in the distance. We both gathered pace down towards the doorway. Philip walked in first, keeping to the edge of the room. He stood waiting for me to arrive.

What say you of this?” he said, looking almost proud of what was in front of him.

The tunnel through the mountain had suddenly given way to something that looked almost purpose built. It was a large room with tall walls that supported a high ceiling. All were perfectly smooth, almost marble in appearance. Sunlight shone down from gaps in the upper levels leaving round disks of gold on the floor. In the centre of the room there was a large wooden table with intricate carvings across the surface. On each leg of the table were carvings of the same antlered mask worn by the guard outside.

Philip waited for the initial amazement to pass.

This isn’t on the map they give to the tourists” he said.

I shook my head “No, it certainly isn’t”.

There’s talk around this place of a God called Bevran”.

I searched in my head for anything like that name.

I’ve never heard of anybody…”

Philip cut me off.

I refer to my previous point”.

He propped his stick on the table and tapped the wooden surface.

How did you find this place?” I asked.

Philip took a deep breath.

Local legend mentions Bevran being a figure who used to walk the mountain and the woods here. He would pop up every once in a while to remind the mortals he was still very much here”

Have you seen him?”

Not he himself, I’ve only recently discovered this place”.

But how did you make it here, walking through the rocks?”

His voice went low.

I went looking”.

And why show me all this?”

So that somebody else would believe me”.

The room was peaceful, if I strained my ear enough I could just about hear the birds chirping in the high parts of the mountain. There was a satisfactory stillness to the area.

The sound of a footstep came from down the tunnel, quickly followed by another. For a second Philip and I looked at each other as we both tried to silently think what it could have been. An animal of some kind perhaps? Surely not this deep down? Philip stepped away from the table, never taking his eyes off the doorway.

I think it’s been noted that we’re here” he called.

Standing in the doorway was the guard. No longer was this figure made from stone but now of flesh and bone. It’s masked head turned towards both of us before raising the spear over it’s shoulder. It jerked forwards as if trying to shake of years of inactivity. Philip, for reasons known only to himself, proceeded to copy this movement with his stick. There was a stand off over the table. Philip turned his eyes towards me.

Whilst I’ve got him like this I suggest you run” he shouted as the guard brought the spear down, taking a chunk of wood from the table. I turned and ran, only once turning back to see that Philip was not following. I hurtled down the dark tunnel, cowering as best I could through the smaller gaps. It was then I became aware the sound of the footsteps had not gone quiet. Gulping down air I forced myself onwards eventually meeting the stream. The antlers of the guard’s mask scraped across the rocks of the tunnel behind me.

I reached the end of the cavern and had to stop in front of the rock wall. The stones themselves seemed to stand out even in the darkness. I twisted around only to see the outline of the guard running towards me, spear ready. If it had worked before, I thought to myself, then I must work again.

Gathering pace I threw myself headlong towards the wall fully expecting to smash directly into it. Instead the rocks parted and I found myself once again running through the shadowy cloak of the mountain. This time however I did not have Philip’s hand to hold. I could only close my eyes and hope that the guard would not or could not follow. My head was down, a full on charge through chance hoping my luck would hold. My legs could no longer keep up the pace and I collapsed, sucking in every last bit of air I could.

When my eyes opened the sunlight shone down. The early morning sun had risen high in the sky and the grass had lost the dew. The opening of the mountain that had parted for me showed no signs of breaking, the face still steadfast and solid. Philip was nowhere to be seen. I quickly started to dig around in my pockets for the advert I had torn from the newspaper that morning. Once it was back in my hands I unfolded it only to see that it was blank. A scrap and nothing more with no words or numbers upon it. I thought about calling the police to report Philip missing but I had doubts they would ever believe me. A raving lunatic pointing and screaming at a blank piece of paper.

I walked back to my car, staring blankly at the walkers and mountain bikers who were passing in the parking area. I sat in the driver’s seat and took a few deep breaths before turning the ignition and pulling away.



It tails off a bit at the end there doesn’t it? The pay off of finding a dining table after walking through some rocks probably wasn’t the best idea either. The attempt to get across that Philip is also Bevran ain’t exactly done too well either. Also, it’s really obvious I read Neil Gaiman a lot.

For a knock about piece I did when I was waiting on some technology to work it’s not bad. I haven’t written anything like it in a long while.

Feel free to ask questions about it or tear it apart in the comments below. I won’t cry honest. 🙂

Deeper Into The Mountain

I should be playing Street Fighter V.


It might be released worldwide officially today but I ordered it from a very nice website that managed to send it out first class post on Friday meaning it was here on Saturday night. I’ve had a couple of hours on it over the weekend, enough to remind me that I’m rubbish at it but I still enjoy playing it.

Instead of this I’m writing. Getting further through ‘Hunters of Gods and Demons’ short story which, as a complete surprise to me, I’m actually enjoying writing. I’ve never really done much in the way of writing in the first person before but it seems to be flowing well because of it. I’m not typing away and hating every single word of it as has happened so many times in the past.

When I write a script I’m just applying dialogue to a set up and it would take somebody to come along and film it for it to be a final product. Writing a story means it’s already in the final stage after it’s typed up. It’s pretty cool to have a reaction to something I’ve written almost straight away. The fact I was greeted by a workmate today asking “What’s in the mountain Cam?” was also a pleasing moment.

Part two should be up here in the next couple of days. We’ll find out exactly what’s in the mountain in due course.

Buddy Holly

I haven’t finished the story yet.

It’s odd that something which I started purely to waste time whilst a blog post wasn’t working has now become something which I feel I must finish. It’ won’t be tonight however as it’s 11:30 and I have work in the morning. I’ve reached what might be the halfway point.

In fact, I might as well do this thing in two halves. Here’s the first part. Please bear in mind it’s been ages since I wrote any kind of short story so I’m open to it being torn apart and/or kicked to death.


The advertisement in the newspaper had stood out on the page. ‘Adventurers wanted’ were the bold letters on the top of the column, framed by requests for scrap metal and antiques. The page was already upon the café table when I took my seat. Before the coffee had arrived I had examined the wording twice, trying to fill in the missing details as I went along.

‘Long Lost Gods And Demons To Discover.

Please Phone For Details’

I had carefully torn around the edges of paper, stealing the words for myself so nobody else may enquire before I was able. My breakfast arrived and I quickly placed the scrap of paper in my pocket as if it were a contraband substance. The waitress had looked at me, noticed the hole in the middle of the page and possibly thought better about asking why. In between chews of bacon and pancake I had fumbled for my phone to dial the number. There had been no answer and so I had left a message in a low voice. Only a couple of fellow diners raised their eyes from their phones and magazines upon hearing me mention gods and demons. After leaving my number I put my phone back on the table, watching the screen go black after a few seconds.

The frantic moments seemed to have passed. Everybody around me appeared to be going about their day as normal yet my mind still whirred on what creatures could be living nearby that would warrant somebody’s help in finding them. This place was fairly rural with one road running though it. The occasional gathering of buildings were placed almost only to break up the monotony of trees and rocks. It was hardly an opening to hell.

The phone began to buzz across the table, causing the gentleman next to me to tut loudly as it broke the atmosphere. My hand dived to scoop it up from the table before answering it.

Hello” I said cautiously.

Were you calling about the demons?” came the voice of a older man on the other end.

And the Gods as well” I replied.

Are you close to the mountain?”.

About a twenty minute drive”.

Excellent, I’ll meet you in the car park and explain more there”.

He hung up. Leaving the money on the table I paced towards the door, rattling around in my pocket for the car keys as I went.

The drive was accompanied by the sounds of local radio, a phone in about the price of the postal service and how deliveries were being cut down. The sun cut low through the branches overhanging the road. ‘Drive Carefully’ the signs read ‘Beware Animals In Road’. The voice of a now former postman chimed through the car as I pulled into the parking space.

There was initially nobody else around. I switched off the engine yet kept the keys in the ignition. There I sat for a good five minutes or so watching through the windscreen for any other movement. I heard myself speak out loud, in the privacy of the car, saying this had all been far fetched and nobody was really there. If anybody was then they were currently looking through the undergrowth at a man who had fallen for the gag.

Then, from over the brow of the nearby hill, hobbled a man in his 50’s. He carried a stick in his left hand and wore beige trousers and a checked shirt. On his feet were a pair of brown walking boots. He scanned around the car park, holding his free hand over his brow to stop the sunlight from hitting his eyes. He squinted in my direction before slowly beginning to walk over.

I opened the car door and before I could stand he was extending his hand towards me. “Philip Braithwaite” he smiled alongside a jostling handshake “Sorry about not answering the first time, not much mobile reception in the caves”.

Caves?” I asked.

Indeed” he said with a shine in his eyes “Certain creatures don’t like the broad daylight you see”.

He reached into his pocket and brought out a head lamp, the kind that miners use. “You might well need this old boy” he said. I wrapped the soft cloth around my head ensuing the light was facing front. Philip had already turned around, walking back in the direction he had came from. Without turning back he cried “Good to be keen, follow me”.

The stick was no barrier to his movement. I launched myself over rocks and across streams which lapped away at the forest floor. I had only a few moments to look up and see him becoming a small speck in the distance. “There’s a footpath soon” he bellowed back to me. Maybe, I thought to myself, this is some strange man with stories to tell and I should leave him to those. The thought of giving up and just allowing him to walk on ahead occurred to me and yet it was instantly replaced by the question of why anybody would place an advert in the local newspaper asking for help in whatever he thought he would discover.

We arrived at the base of the mountain. The promised footpath had faded away under the feet of many walkers. The wind flowed softly across the grass. Philip held his stick up and tapped it on the stone. “People often imagine Gods as being up in the sky” he pointed upwards “Yet many are here on Earth hiding from us”. He ran a hand across the rocks and stared at them. There followed a few seconds of silence then, without turning to face me, he announced “We need to get inside this”.

The mountain?” I asked in disbelief.

Oh yes” he answered as if this was completely normal.

The tourist entrance is just up the path”.

Dear sir” he exclaimed “Do I look like a tourist to you?”.

He held out a hand and pushed his fingers between two rocks. Before long his arms had followed and the rest of his body was vanishing into the stone folds. Slowly he pushed his way further. As his shoulder became absorbed he turned to me.

Best be following me if you want to see this, it doesn’t hold open for long”.

He held out his remaining hand and I grabbed it, cautiously walking after him with small steps. His body pushed forward, his face disappearing into the stone. Soon my arm followed. In my mind I thought the jagged rocks would shred me, my body tense to the expectation of such an event. When the time came a few seconds later it was like being muffled by a large blanket. The tweeting of the birds outside soon faded to be replaced by a low rumble. I could see nothing ahead, only taking comfort from the fact I still had hold of Philip’s hand.

We’re nearly inside” came his voice, echoing around the darkness “Just a few moments longer”.

It was like standing behind an industrial drill. The vibrations continued making me feel like my brain was rattling inside my head as small fragments of stone dropped from above and bounced on the ground below. I wanted to cover my ears but I could not let go. I was, it would seem, between two worlds. At the moment I thought the noise could not get any louder it stopped as if somebody has disconnected the power. I stood for a few moments, my eyes still closed, until I was sure I was on solid ground. As I took a deep breath back in I felt something poke me in the shoulder. Peering out with one eye first I focused on Philip prodding me with the end of his walking stick.

We’re here” he said with obvious glee.


The Spirit Box

So in between scripts I’ve been trying to do some of the smaller odds and ends I had floating around. Tiny little projects that would take a day or two to get done before I launch into another feature script which may take another year off my life.

One of them was the fact I reckon I should probably write more short stories as I’m way out of practice with the idea. I had the idea of ‘The Exorcist but by a kid’ for ages and the result is a bit messy. The ending just kind of fizzles out, it’s a horror that isn’t really that scary and…



…oh how about I just let you read the bloody thing?

It’s very first draft but then I won’t be going back to it to sharpen it up anytime soon so it would have just sat on a hard drive all this time. Read it, rip it apart, let me know what you think, share it as an example of how not to be Stephen King.

The Spirit Box

It was a thin cardboard box, black with a yellow line around the outside. The price label still clung to the top half peeling off. Kevin looked at it, turned it over in his hands and placed it back down on the table. It didn’t look like the sort of thing that would be able to hold a ghost but he lacked anything else. The shoe box would have to do.

The house had seemed welcoming at first. Kevin’s parents had taken him to look at it after school one evening. They had driven for ten minutes in a downpour up the hill on the outskirts of town. The driveway seemed to snake up the side of the hill, taking numerous twists and turns until they had reached the front door. Even with the rain water battering the windows it had seemed comforting. Kevin’s Dad had spent a while walking around the place, putting his hand on almost every surface and pushing it. ‘Plenty work to be done’ he had muttered as some chunk of wall had come away. They had moved in regardless and his parent’s had spent the time whilst Kevin was at school to redecorate the place. Each time he arrived home there would be something different, usually accompanied by instructions not to touch or be careful of his step.

“We’re getting there” his Mum would say “It’ll look brilliant once it’s done”.

Kevin had been given the room at the back. It was smaller then the rest but the window was large. In the mornings the light would stream in from the surrounding woods and glow around the room. It wasn’t the mornings Kevin had become concerned with, the nights are what had become difficult.

There had been a black figure in the mirror, late in the evening. It had been fleeting, visible only for a few seconds and then gone in a moment. Kevin had often quietly crept towards the mirror to get a better look but there had been nothing there. A few nights later he was reading in bed and the figure had returned. Kevin slipped out from under the duvet and slid across the floor to see. The figure had not moved, it had stood like a cloud of smoke within the mirror slowly shifting. He did not know why but Kevin has felt the urge to hold out his hand and touch the reflective surface, to see if this was real. As his hand touched the cold of the mirror the figure had let out a scream unlike anything else. It was a drawn out rasp, a cat vomiting up a rattlesnake. Kevin screamed and jolted backwards, landing against his bookshelf to see the smoke grow. In a few short seconds it had taken up the mirror’s surface, covering it completely in an ink like darkness. Kevin’s father had burst into the room and the cloud had gone. When his Dad had looked he saw only his own reflection. The mirror was removed the next morning.

The sound returned that night. From inside the wall and the floorboards below the hissing has started again. Undeterred the smoke began to drift underneath the door, coming in from the hallway. It filled the floor around Kevin’s bed before building upwards towards the ceiling. It began to fashion arms, wiry taloned twigs, out of each side before developing a gaping maw. Kevin had ran full force across the room nearly knocking the door off the hinges making his escape.

“It’s an old house” his Mum had said by way of explanation “Perhaps it was just a shadow from the window”. Shadows do not scream, they certainly do not change shape and they cannot fill entire floors before rising upwards.

Kevin looked again at the box as it sat on the kitchen table. His Dad was out, probably going to buy even more wallpaper, his Mum was busy dealing with the old paper as she peeled the faded yellow flowers off the walls. Grabbing the box off the table Kevin dashed down the hall holding the makeshift spirit confinement unit under his arm. His pace slowed as he navigated his way through the slalom of ladders in the hall.

“Where are you going?” asked his Mum from the top rung.

Kevin tried best to ignore her.

“I asked where you were going and why does the box need to be there too?”

“I just need to keep something in it”

Her face turned to curiosity, never quite crossing into suspicion.

“Okay, as long as you’re not going to say you’re bored in ten minutes”.

Kevin shook his head.

The mirror had been placed in the basement. At the time Kevin had insisted upon such a thing, to be as far away from his room as possible. At this moment however it was a source of regret. He slowly opened the door and fixed his gaze on the flight of stairs that led downwards. He placed his foot forwards, a loud wooden crack rang out through the walls as a cloud of dust fell downwards. Kevin stopped to check for any signs of movement downstairs. He saw nothing. After gently closing the door behind him he carried on downwards.

The walls were covered with old shelving units holding pots of paint with the remnants of colour dried around the sides, wooden ladders stacked fence like on hooks and a pile of old newspapers with the dates worn away. A large dust sheet covered what was stood in the furthest corner. Kevin could see the stands at the bottom edge, his Dad had been careful to keep the mirror out of sight. Kevin carefully placed the box on the stone floor and stalked his way towards the mirror. His hand began to grip the cover, as he did the familiar scraping rasp filled the room. Kevin retained his grip but backed away quickly. The cover soared through the air before landing in a crumpled heap.

The mirror’s surface was soon consumed by the black void. Kevin found himself gripping the box in his cold, sweating hands as the dark escaped the mirror and flowed out onto the floor. Once again this mass formed a tall figure, not drawn by pen more by knife slashes. The room now had a haze, as if plunged into a dream of which there was no waking up from. The mass fixed its wound like eyes at Kevin.

“What are you?” he asked.

The head of the thing tilted, considering this. Then came the voice like nails hammered into an ice block.

“The one who was left”.

There was no follow up. Kevin gathered himself together, heaving together the pieces of bravery he had into one pile. Before he could ask another question it emitted one of its own.

“What are you?”.


“Have you been left here?”

Kevin thought for a few seconds. He’d expected this to be a battle, a struggle to contain this apparition. He had not looked into the possibility of it having questions.

“I was brought here by my parents” replied Kevin.

“The rest have not yet returned”.

“Not unless you’ve been down here all the time and I’ve met something else”

The silence after this Kevin accepted as a ‘No’. The form seemed to shrink and withdraw, there was a sudden despondency.

“They said to stay here”.

“Will they be back for you?”.

“Not now”.

Kevin made a dart across the floor with the box. If he was going to use it it would have to be now. He placed it on the floor.

“You could go somewhere to find them”.

The swirls still filled the room.

“I brought this box, can you get in here?”. Kevin made a feeble pointing motion towards the open cardboard. Within seconds what looked like a miniature tornado appeared inside the box, the fog twisted and spun, getting smaller and smaller as it reached the centre. The box vibrated and moved along the floor but never left contact with the narrow point of the storm.

Seconds later the fog in the room had lifted and all was still. Kevin reached out a foot and gave the box a light tap with his toes. Everything seemed normal. He picked the box up, holding the lid firmly on with both thumbs and resisting the temptation to look inside before running back up the stairs and out of the back door.

He had wanted to bury the box, to dig a hole in the ground deep and leave it there with the Earth over it so he could forget it ever existed. If they did return however, how would they ever find it? He couldn’t stay in the house, of that Kevin was certain. Instead he walked down towards the tree which sat in the very bottom of the garden. It was a good distance from the house, good enough so Kevin was satisfied that the ghost wouldn’t return easily. The tree had formed into a snarled hand on the horizon over the years. Kevin placed the box gently, out of sight of the windows, before walking slowly back towards the house.

If they came back, they’d find him there.