Ray Bradbury Challenge, Week 47.

19 Nov

All finished on this weeks story, 1186 words.
That came from watching a very slow, crappy film called Minotaur last night.

One week closer to the end! Bring it on!

Approaching the finish line!

16 Nov

As we are rapidly closing in on the end of 2014, I put a bit of work into getting all the weekly stories grouped together.
46 of them are all happily sitting side by side for the first time, unimpeded by the extras that I wrote between them.

I’ll make a start on reading & proofing in earnest today, hopefully get that done fairly quickly.
They’ve all been spell-checked but need to be read aloud to catch any outstanding mistakes I may have missed to date.
I don’t know what kind of word count they add up to yet, I may work that out along the way.
They may still yet need some fine tuning too, final touch-ups to perfect them.

At the end of last year I was quite nervous, scared even, about the scale of the resolution ahead of me.
So far, it’s turned out fairly well.  Saying that, I won’t be doing it again any time in the near future.

I’d like to write some authors notes for each story, the why’s and what’s and in-jokes.
This year was exactly the right time to do this, I’ve become a much better writer for it.

I have no resolution plans for next year at all. I may just go with the 1 story per month release as usual and nothing else.
I guess we’ll see.

Happy to be finishing a story

15 Nov

1902 words worth of story finished even though I’d lost the thread of the thing.
An okay end, I guess.

We’re now up to 154 stories written in total this year.

Ray Bradbury Challenge, Week 46.

13 Nov

Just finished this weeks story.

2336 words. It’s an idea I had WAY back in February but never expanded on.
A bit weird as it was all written in present tense but I think it worked rather well.

I spit-balled most of the detail in my head in bed last night and scribbled some notes down.
Which i could barely read this morning.

At least I am done for this week anyway. Happiness abides.

 

RIP Warren Clarke, My favourite droog.

Dawn Breaks (an end of the world story)

9 Nov

Dawn Breaks
8/11/14
By Ray Daley

EJ has spent all day in the safety of the back of the garage with nothing but a screwdriver, a soldering iron and the Top Gun soundtrack for company. He has been disabling the roger bleep on his walkie talkies.

“Go to the bottom of the alley. Count ten, then key up.” He passes me a walkie talkie.

I look through the safety mesh. Trust the runner to be given the dangerous job. “To the pavement?” I ask.

EJ nods. I pull the garage door open as quietly as possible. They slide it closed as soon as I am outside. I run down the alley, alert for any signs of movement.

Ernesford Grange wasn’t where I’d planned on spending the end of the world. I was there more by accident than design.

As I reach the end of the alley I slow down to a complete stop. Then I walk far enough forward, I can see up and down the street. Nothing there. Or rather, no-one. Good.

I fire up the walkie and key up. “This is me. No-one’s dead out here. Not even me. Can I come back now?” I let go of the transmit key.

“And this is me. You’re tuned to EJ FM, all EJ, all the time. Any roger bleep?” Ah. The comforting tones of EJ.

I key up again. “Not a dicky bird bud. How about your end?”

“Nope. Nothing here either. Get yourself back here now. Door’ll be open when you get here.”

In fact the door was just sliding open as I reach it. I was clearly quicker than they thought. Or so frightened I was running quicker than even I thought I could.

I roll under the door before it is fully open. Justin and Jason are already stepping over me to push it closed again.

“All dead out there?” That’s Richie B, drinking what looked to be the last of the beer.

“Was that the last one?” I ask, hoping it wasn’t.

He nods. “Boards birthday. Had to drink it.”

Every empty can is stacked up in the traditional Bud rocket. It’s now the end of the world without any beer in the garage. What to do, what to do? I’m looking around, my friends are doing likewise. Then all but one of us focus on the same face.

“Soutar. How would you like to make everyone wildly happy?” I ask.

He isn’t sure what I have in mind but doesn’t fancy the idea of a trip outside. My suggestion of a quick beer run to Bills is met with near violence.

“It’s just down the street! I didn’t see any bodies about. Zip in, grab some beers, zip back here. Ten minutes tops?” I say.

“Unless he wants to get us all crisps as well?” says Justin.

“Actually Soutar, more food isn’t a bad idea.” I say.

We’ve finished all the soup. EJ cooked it over his soldering iron. Someone had joked that Shaz should cook it. She joked that she’d happily punch anyone who suggested she should cook because she was the only living female. So far.

Soutar actually got punched after that, never ask Shaz to cook. She’s not that kind of girl. Shaz is worth any man here. Probably two of Soutar, on her best day. Easily two thirds of Bobby.

Shaz gives Soutar one of those looks. “If you go, I’ll go. Two can carry twice as much as one. We’ll take Bobby for the crisps.”

So it’s decided. Basically because once Shaz makes her mind up, you don’t argue with her. She might only come up to your shoulder but she’ll make up for lack of height in volume.

Bobby is given the walkie talkie, it’s put in a back pocket to make space to carry more food.

“Grab shopping baskets!” Justin’s always one for a good suggestion in the heat of the moment.

“Check in when you get there, let us know when you’re on the way back too.” says EJ.

Then the door is pulled open and the three of them are pegging it down the alley. Just as the door is being pulled down, something makes me roll under it and start running after them. I’ve caught them as they are reaching the corner of the street.

“You decided to join us then?” Shaz asks.

I nod. “Not sure why. We can carry two baskets each, if we fill ‘em with food we can last a good while before we have to forage again.”

We reach the bottom of the hill, waiting as Bobby radios back that we’ve made it this far. Then I have a thought. “What if Bills isn’t empty? He lives above the shop, right?”

We go in anyway.

By the door we pick up a couple of wire shopping baskets each. Soutar and Shaz are in the booze aisle, stocking up.

I hear Shaz say “Red Stripe? What are you, gay?” No Red Stripe for us then.

I could vaguely hear Soutar muttering something about K and Bud. I’m too busy trying to find food that will last us.

Any crisps?” Bobby asks.

“Pickled Onion Monster Munch for me if they’ve got it, Bob! Or anything Salt and Vinegar!” I call back.

I fill my baskets first, tins, packets. And an opener, because I’m not a complete twat. I position myself at the front door, ready to lock it if anything dead approaches.

Shaz is next to finish, Bobby and Soutar a few minutes later. Everyone’s filled their baskets.

I look over to Bobby. “Radio and tell them we’re done, we’re on our way back. Door open in four minutes tops.”

I half hear Justin asking what kind of crisps we’ve got. Then we’re off, back outside and running up the hill. It’s really hard to run whilst carrying two full wire shopping baskets, trying to not drop anything.

Soutar’s the first casualty there. A bottle of something big goes. We have to push him to keep going, turns out it was JD. Shit. We’re gonna catch some grief for that from everyone else.

Still running, top of the hill, round the corner. Down towards the alley. Lucky for us, we’ve encountered nothing dead.

The others haven’t been so lucky.

I’m at the front, so I see the blood first. And the body opposite the garage door which is half open. That’s not good.

No-one’s in sight as I enter. That’s bad.

I look behind the board. Initially everyone seems alright. Then I see what they are crowded around.

Or more rather, who. It’s Dawn. She must have turned up while we were getting supplies.

Everyone’s arguing, do they chuck her out or not? She’s been bitten. And it looks terminal.

I’ve piled my baskets inside the door. Shaz comes in next, followed by Bobby and Soutar. It’s left to me to shut the garage door this time.

I’m trying to keep the raiding party at the back of the garage but they can hear the arguments up front, from behind the board.

“EJ, we dropped the JD! Sorry mate!” Soutar’s already preparing his excuses.

Shaz knows something’s wrong straight away. Smart cookie. “What happened?”

Then EJ walks round to us. “One of them got Dawny. She was banging on the door, it must have heard her.” He stops there, he can’t say any more but he doesn’t have to.

We’ve been on the rig all this time, as the world’s been going downhill, we know what happens to the bitten.

Dawn hasn’t got long and no-one here wants to chuck her out in her current state.

Jason sticks his head around the board and fills the rest of us in. First Aid isn’t going to save her. Nothing is.

“When’s she going to turn?” Typical Soutar, cutting straight to the chase.

“Ten minutes tops?” says Justin.

I’m looking through the safety mesh. There’s nothing else out there, nothing coming up the alley either. Whatever we decide, it better be quick.

“If we don’t decide, she’s going to turn. And she’s totally not eating me. She’s not my type.” Thanks for those words of wisdom, Shaz.

“Logical idea, vote on when we put her out? I guess no-one wants to kill a mate. Not even Dawny. Bright side, at least there’s gonna be more Baileys for the rest of us.” Richie B, trying to see the good in this situation. You can count on him for that.

I’ve suddenly got an idea. “We’re not killing her. She’s dead already. She just hasn’t gone yet. People on the rig were saying the dead seem to remember being alive for the first few minutes. One of us needs to get her as far away as possible before she goes. Because the last thing we want when she turns is her bringing dozens of her new dead mates to the garage. We’re already pretty fucked as it is.”

I look around. Any takers? Anyone want to carry the dying girl and probably get eaten?

“I’ll do it. I’ll take her to The Standard Bearer. Maybe she’ll think she just finished work. She might go home.” Of course EJ is going to volunteer. She’s his ex, after all. That’s why she came here, she knew at least some of us would try to make our way here. Safety in numbers. Safer with your friends.

“Two of us can move her quicker. I’ll go as well.” It’s Richie M. No surprises there either.

I give EJ the walkie talkie, Jason’s already moving to the garage door.

But we’ve taken too long to decide.

Then Dawn breaks.

It was a nice life. While it lasted. If you’re going to check out, at least be with your friends.

THE END.

Meanwhile in Cardiff (A Flash Fiction story by Ray Daley)

8 Nov

Meanwhile in Cardiff (A Flash Fiction story by Ray Daley)

“You know Hugh, if we don’t win the cup this year, I’m not worshipping Welsh Satan any more.”

“Welsh what?”

“Welsh Satan.”

“We have our own Satan? Is he someone special?”

“Let me think. Even numbered year, it’s November. He’s Ryan Giggs at the moment.”

“Ryan Giggs is the Welsh Satan?”

“Only in November. If it’s an even numbered year.”

“And if it were an odd numbered year?”

“Oh. Then it’d be Tom Jones.”

“Tom Jones is Welsh Satan?”

“Only in November, in an odd numbered year.”

“So who’s Welsh Satan next month?”

“Kelly from The Stereophonics.”

“I guess that makes sense. So how do you worship Welsh Satan?”

“You need three pints of Brains SA and a sheep.”

“Not sheeps blood?”

“Who’s the Welsh Satanist here, me or you?”

“Sorry. You really think City are going to win then?”

“James Dean Bradfield seems to think so.”

“Who?”

“Lead singer of The Manic Street Preachers.”

“Don’t think I know them.”

“Welsh Satan for March in even numbered years.”

“Oh, him! I love that dude!”

“Right. You get a sheep. I’ll see you in the pub.”

THE END

Ray Bradbury Challenge, Week 45.

6 Nov

Just finished this weeks story, was writing it on and off for most of today.

An extremely complex Sherlock Holmes piece where the notes alone were 600 words before I’d even started the story!

Story topped out at 3788 words, quite a brain stretcher!

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