My dreamy story for last week’s Reedsy: ‘Night Train to Pinea’

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Well, I’m catching back up again, aren’t I? Even when I’m not keeping this blog up to date, I’m still always writing something or another — so when I don’t post for a while, I pile up a bit of a backlog of stories that I’ve gotta upload…

This story was written for the theme ‘Agatha Christie’. I chose the prompt, “Write a short story that takes place on a train.” My favourite kinds of prompts are ones such as this — giving you a push in a particular direction, but without being too specific. I like a little bit of vagueness when writing to a prompt, otherwise I get the feeling of being “tied down” to an idea, without any creative freedom of my own. So, I really loved last week’s Reedsy for this precise reason! Anyway, enough rambling… The title of my story is Night Train to Pinea, and you can — as always! — read it here on WordPress or over on my Reedsy profile.

“Tickets and passes, please! Tickets and passes!” bellowed the conductor, startling John awake from his slumber. His eyes snapped open and he lifted his head from the table. Panic jolted into his veins like crackling electricity. His stomach lurched.

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I really liked the psychedelic, dreamy vibe of this one! It felt very peaceful, yet very creatively fertile. P.S. I did the artwork for this story — I’m quite into painting abstract art, so I thought I’d have a go at making the related image myself. Maybe I’ll have a go at more of these in the future. Who knows?

Also, there won’t be a Reedsy story written for this week. The prompts for this week are all non-fiction. Non-fiction isn’t really my cup of tea — I like making stuff up, letting my imagination go wild! I don’t think my life is interesting enough to write about, really… Having said that, I will still be reading the stories that others put up (and you should too!) — as I’m sure there will be some great ones.

Check out my dark little story for Valentine’s Day: ‘Which Heart?’

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Well, hey guys! Happy Valentine’s Day! Have you got much planned for today? Got a special someone you’re spending it with? Don’t worry if not, there’s no pressure — some say it’s just a Hallmark holiday anyway, manufactured to make money from sales of saccharine cards, boxes of chocolates, and red roses that die within a week…

But, hey, that’s enough cynicism for one day! I’ll be spending the day with my partner, but we won’t be doing anything particularly out of the ordinary to mark this date; a couple of pizzas, a bottle of wine (or two), cuddles on the couch, and a few movies to fall asleep in front of. Maybe even some video games… Perhaps Resident Evil? (At least, that’s how we spent V-Day last year!)

Anyway, on to the reason for this post! For Halloween and Christmas last year, I made holiday-themed posts for my Bite-Sized Horror series. I had a lot of fun with them, and I want to continue the trend for many holidays to come. I thought about doing something for Valentine’s Day, but I honestly haven’t had enough time to properly do it justice. I have, however, had just enough time to write a short story! So, here you have it, a dark little tale about love, life, and death, in order to celebrate Valentines Day 2020. The title of my story is Which Heart? You can read it by clicking here!

Friday the 13th of February: Part One

The witch staggered into the clearing clutching the man’s body. She stumbled to her knees, for his weight was greater than her own, but she did not drop him. She would not drop him, not ever. With a grunt that might have been a howl of rage, she lurched to her feet, arms cradling the lifeless frame.

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I hope you like the story, I really enjoyed writing this one. I’m quite proud of it! Also, I made the artwork for the associated image, which I’m also rather fond of. Art is sort of a “side-side-hobby” for me (with making music being my “side-hobby” and writing being my “main” hobby!), and I’ve kinda got it in my head that it’d be nice to make my own art for my stories, to really draw the reader into the twisted little world I’ve got within my mind…

My entry for the February #BlogBattle: ‘Old Strittie’

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Well, another month, another #BlogBattle! You might be thinking, “Josh, you’re awfully late with this entry, aren’t you?” And you’d be absolutely right! This month’s prompt word was ‘vivacious’ — a great, but tricky word! I had to have a think about how I could work this one into a story… But I got there, in the end! The title of my short story is Old Strittie.

Something was feeding off the child. It came out at night, from out of the closet.

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I hope you guys like the story! I rather enjoyed writing it, once I knew where I was going with it. Also, I did the artwork for this story — hope you guys dig it! I’m not very good at painting “real” things, I’m more into the abstract stuff…

Also, be sure to head over to the #BlogBattle site, and check out the other stories! There’s always some corkers to read!

‘Listening to Ghosts’: My occult Reedsy story!

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I know, I know, I’ve been lazy with keeping this blog up to date. I do apologise! Unfortunately, my life has gotten incredibly busy over the last few weeks, for reasons I won’t bore you with here. All that matters is I’m back now, and I’ve got a few stories to share! I’ll be uploading ’em in the next few days, so keep an eye out, ’cause I reckon there’s a few good’uns!

Anyway, this story was written for the contest ‘Musical Genius’ (the theme was to honour the legendary Mozart!). I chose the prompt, “Write a story about a character obsessed with one of the long-dead “greats” in their profession.” The title of my story is Listening to Ghosts, and you can find it here on WordPress or over on my Reedsy profile.

Jed Blancher, now there was a good paranormal investigator. Rumour had it, he could talk with the deceased without need for a planchette or Ouija or anything.

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I hope you like the story! I really loved the vibe of this one — stories of the occult really speak to me!

Read my dark comedy, ‘A Long, Narrow Box’: The entry for this week’s Reedsy!

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So, how are you doing? Had a good week? Fantastic. I’ve had a semi-stressful week, trying to balance my creative hobbies (this blog and my WIP) along with regular life. I’m hoping to rectify that in the near future! I really want to get a first draft of my novel done soon(ish), so I’m going to have to buckle down and get on with it… This might mean that Bite-Sized Horror may not make its return for a short while, but I’ll still keep churning out my short stories!

This week’s Reedsy theme was ‘resolutions’. I chose the prompt, “Write a story about someone in the self-help aisle of a bookstore. What book do they pick up?” I wrote a dark little comedy called A Long, Narrow Box. As is always the case, you can read it here on WordPress or over on my Reedsy profile.

Marvin needed help, and this seemed to be the place to get it. He looked at the laminated label on the bookshelf. SELF-HELP SECTION. He nodded to himself. Yup, this was the right place all right. He held his hands behind his back – neatly, as Mother had taught him – and surveyed the books on offer.

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I had a lot of fun writing this, chuckling to myself maniacally as the words bled from my fingertips. I hope it’s an enjoyable read!

‘Something Swims Behind (Still My Sunshine)’: My aquatic entry for this week’s Reedsy!

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Ah, here we are! All caught up, at last! Made it! How are you guys doing? Still with me? Still reading these inane ramblings and occasionally perusing my mad scribbles that I’m trying to pass off as “writing”?

This week’s Reedsy theme was ‘genre-blending’! How exciting! I chose the prompt, “Write a sweeping romantic tale of two lovers who must overcome the horror of being hunted by an unseen foe…” Naturally, the allure of horror drew me in to this prompt. Did you expect anything less? 😉 The title of my story is Something Swims Behind (Still My Sunshine), and — as always! — you can read it here on WordPress, or over on my Reedsy profile!

We were just entering the hadal zone when we realised, we weren’t alone.

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As mentioned in the last post, this story was written with plenty of time to spare, and I think it really shows. I hope you guys like it — I had lots of fun writing it. I just love the ocean, even if it is an utterly terrifying place!

Well, until next time… stick to the shallows, and if something starts knock-knock-knocking, you best get the hell out of there!

‘Onwards, Towards the Witch’: My magical entry for last week’s Reedsy contest

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Whew! We’re getting there, aren’t we? Almost done! This story was written for last week’s Reedsy contest (just one more short story, then I’m all caught up!). This story was written for the Reedsy theme ‘winter wonderland’. I chose the prompt, “You go for a walk in fresh snow. Suddenly you realise you’re not leaving any footprints.”

This story was written shortly before the deadline of the contest, but it wasn’t quite as last minute as the previous one (although I did cut it close!). I feel that this is a better story somehow… it feels more ‘complete’ — even though I’d have liked more time on it. The title of the story is Onwards, Towards the Witch, and you can read it here on WordPress, or over on my Reedsy profile.

I see you, child.

The words slithered into her brain, as if they were her own thoughts. The world flashed a momentary red. And then they came again.

I see you, child.

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Well, I hope you guys like the story! From this point on, I’m hoping to have more time to dedicate to my short stories (as well as my main WIP — progress for which has recently stalled…). Indeed, the one I wrote for this week’s contest was complete by Thursday. Until next time, guys! Have a good’un, and always pay attention to the warnings of your fairy!

‘Returning the Favour’: My first Reedsy story of the decade

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So, here’s another Reedsy short story, as promised! This one was written for the theme, ‘Auld Lang Syne’, for the new year. I chose the prompt, “Two strangers meet at a New Year’s Eve party. They spend the party together, and then never see each other again…”

As mentioned with my last Reedsy story, this was written mere minutes before the deadline, as it was a very busy period. I pondered not doing a story, as I wasn’t sure it’d be up to my standards, but I decided to do something. After all, the worst thing you ever wrote is better than the best thing you never wrote. The title of my story is Returning the Favour, and you can read it here on WordPress, or over on my Reedsy profile.

“Don’t panic,” said the man with my face, “I’m not here to hurt you.”

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I hope you guys like the story, despite it’s length and rough, sketch-like nature. I think if given more time, I could have made this much better, but sometimes life gets in the way of our art. Even though I know it’s far from my best, I’m still quite happy with it.

Until next time, guys!

Read ‘When the War Falls Silent’: My last Reedsy story of 2019!

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Ah, not doing very well at uploading these at a steady rate, am I? I’ll chalk it up to still waking up after the excesses of Christmas, NYE and my birthday (which was yesterday)!

This particular story was written for the Reedsy theme of ‘that holiday feeling’. I chose the prompt, “Write a short story about an innkeeper wondering whether this will be their last holiday in business.” The title of my story is When the War Falls Silent, and it was the last story I wrote in 2019. You can read it here on WordPress, or over here on my Reedsy profile.

It’s worth noting that this story (along with the two Reedsy stories following it — they’ll be uploaded in the upcoming days, keep an eye out!) was written just an hour or so before the Reedsy deadline. I like the idea(s), but I fully admit that I should have dedicated more time to the actual writing process. Alas, this piece (and the other two that will follow) are a bit rough — so keep that in mind! You might be thinking, Josh, if you didn’t have the time, why did you try and squeeze a story in? Why not just wait until you can work on your stuff? And the answer to that is, I like writing one short story a week (at the very least) — I find it’s good practice! I don’t want to get lazy with my craft. Even if the work isn’t quite up to the standards I set for myself, I like the idea of putting something out there on a regular basis. Anyway, this has been enough of a rambling post. I’ll let the story speak for itself…

When the men from the Otherworld arrived, they brought death and destruction with them.

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I hope you like the piece! Even in spite of the previous ramble, I’m quite happy with it, considering I spent about 40 minutes on it. Who knows, maybe I’ll polish this (and the others) when I’ve got more time?

Read ‘The Dead at My Door’: My Reedsy story based on a nightmare of mine!

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Well, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, hasn’t it? Thought I’d better get on with uploading ’em, before the backlog gets any bigger! This short story was written back on the 18th December, for the Reedsy theme ‘quite the character’. I chose prompt #2 — “Write a short story about a character experiencing anxiety.”

The title of my story is The Dead at My Door, and it is based entirely on a nightmare I had a few weeks back, beat-for-beat. The dream was quite vivid, and I did my best to transfer the feelings and emotions I had upon waking to the reader. I am currently living in Austria with my partner, but this dream was set back in England, where I grew up… You can read it here on WordPress, or over on my Reedsy profile.

They were still following us. We hadn’t managed to lose them, despite our best efforts. I could hear their frenzied footfalls and their growls filling the wintry night air, just behind us.

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I hope you guys like the story! Even though it was based on a nightmare, which, at the time wasn’t very pleasant, I had fun writing the story. Read into this whatever you will about the state of my mind. 😉

Until next time, be sure keep your windows and doors locked and your ladders handy…