Red.

My hands are red. Everything is now. I stumble to the water side.

“Stand down!”

He heard another gunshot but the bullet imploded before it reached him. Like everything else. The ground shakes as my sore feet limp across it, even the air vibrates around me. I look back. I do not care for the army of men and machinery that have followed me to the waters edge but beyond, my road of desecration. Tall skyscrapers have become nothing but crumble dust howling the grey air. Nothing but red remains of the people…or my family.

“Stand down!” a solider repeats. There all shaking.

“For what it worth,” I say slowly, still they flinch and shoot at my words. When the gunfire stops and the wind takes the metal shells away with it I continue, “For what it’s worth…I’m sorry.”

I fall backwards into the water. As I hit it, it explodes upwards boiling me. As I sink further the water burns through my metal and bone leaving nothing but red.

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Men in White Coats

Lizard Men

James watched, he’d been watching it for a while. He’d couldn’t do much else. The government officials that had bought him in had left him in a straightjacket and left him in his cell. The cell had three white padded walls. The other wall was made of reinforced glass so the officials could ‘talk’ with them at a safe distance. The glass shook as one of his cellmates punched it. He was a brutal looking man greying greasy hair. The other sat opposite James, watching him intently with his one eye.

“Ben,” the greying man hissed, “tell me he’s safe.”

The grey man was pointing at him now.

‘Ah shit’, he shuffled in the suit, feeling it tighten around him.

“Oh, I’m safe,” James said, “completely safe.”

“Hey!”

He jumped, his arms tighter around his chest and twitched in pain, the grey man now stood over him.

“I’m not talking to you.”

“He’s safe Henry. He’s one of us.”

Slowly, much slower than James would have liked, Henry backed away.

“What…what’s going on?” James asked.

“Oh, you don’t know!” Henry screamed, bashing his fist against the glass, “Fucking sheep.”

“You’re like us,” Ben said, still staring at him. James didn’t know if the one-eyed man had blinked yet. “You know.”

James shifted back. Could he trust them? The government wanted to know what he knew. About the secrets he’d uncovered. It wouldn’t be the first they had tried to do so. He jumped, nearly falling over as Henry hit his head against the glass as he screamed. Yes, he could trust them.
He swallowed, “about the drugs?”

“Hah!” Henry turned back to him, his oily hair sticking to his cheek, his eyes bulging, “the pills? That’s only the start! The chemicals in the air, the signs they put around our kids! You know nothing!”

James finally fell to the floor, his heart pounding against the jacket. He couldn’t escape, the raging man now striding closer to him. Henry pulled him up and slammed him against the wall.

“Please don’t, please.”

Henry paid him no mind, instead he seethed through his gritted teeth and his stale breath wafted over James’ face. He tried not to grimace.

“Soon you’ll see.”

He released James and returned to his glass beating. James, on the other hand felt a cold sweat drip over his skin. The walls were too bright. The room was blinding. Was this the chemicals Henry was talking about?

“Breathe,” Ben said, “In here, it’s not a good idea to lose your sanity.

He sighed. He couldn’t, he needed to tell everyone.

“Why are you in here?” James asked the older man across from him, “Do you know the truth as well?”

“I am the truth,” he replied and said nothing else.

“Why…why am I still alive? I killed one of their uncover agents, they were pretending to be my friend, but I knew who they were. I thought they’d kill me.”

“No,” Ben shook his head, “they need us alive.”

“Why?”

“So, they can experiment on us,” Henry answered, “they pretend this is a hospital but it’s all a lie. They want test their new drugs of us to use on everyone else.”

To use on his family.

“I can’t let that happen.” He tried to stand but fell to the floor once more.

“Finally, you understand,” Ben said.

“Here,” Henry pulled him up, “I’ll help you get out of this.” He started tugging at the straps of James’ jacket.

“Thanks. We’ll show them all.”

The door behind the glass opened and Henry flung himself at the glass so hard it shook.

“Get me out of here you fucker!”

The man dressed in white didn’t flinch from Henry.

“Hey!” James shouted, and the man now looked to him, “you can’t keep us in here, we’ll escape and tell the world the truth.”

The man didn’t even blinked and spoke into the Dictaphone in his hand.

“Patient 301 appears to have successful integrated with the group, however our hopes that their collective disillusions communicated to each other would help improve their dissociation have…not come true.”

“No, you asshole, you can’t hide the truth!” The man turned away, “we will tell the world what you are doing! We will reveal your plans to everyone!” James continue to shout even when the door locked shut behind the man dressed in white.

Careful What You Wish For.

Witches Cat

“Meow.” I tap her cheek, “meow,” I repeat, louder this time.

She doesn’t move. She hasn’t moved in a while. I hop onto her chest and wobbled as I sit upon it. It isn’t moving, even as I pad my paws down on her, she doesn’t move.

I groan; this is bad. I lean closer to her face expecting her breath. Very, very bad. I groan again louder this time as I jump down from her.

She collapsed in the Bad Kitchen, there had to be something in here that could help. The Good Kitchen is where I take nibbles from her hands and steal from the bin. In the Bad Kitchen

I am not allowed to touch anything, none of the coloured bottles nor steaming pots. The food in here did strange and miraculous things. I need a miracle right now.

Mistress likes to look in her books to know what to cook. The only problem is I have never been a good reader. Still, l jump onto the side and look at the already open book. I don’t recognise any of the words as I only know few. I begin to flick through the pages with my tail, looking for anything helpful.

‘Power-Hex…Thunder-Elixir of…-Hex of…-Spell…love-Hex-Hex-Hex’

I hiss at the book for not being helpful and wipe it across the table and onto the floor. It sends to empty bottles to the floor with it and they clatter and shattered on the floor. In the echoing din afterwards, I watch Mistress.

She doesn’t move. I sniff and lick my nose, before hopping back down to the floor. The book has torn at the spine and fallen on a new page.

‘Elixir of…desire.’

Desire…yes I know what that means. I desire to be with Mistress, to have her alive again. I stand on the page, looking closer. I’m lucky, most of the instructions come in the form of pictures, dotted around the edges of the page. Two lily leaves, a teaspoon of toad dandruff, four cod eggs and a cup of kangaroo milk. All reasonable to ingredients found around the Bad Kitchen. I gather them into an empty caldron, nudging the stirrer around with my tail when it looks to be necessary. Mistress always says that the stirring doesn’t matter as must as many witches wish to make out.

When it looks like the pond green in the book and once again look over the text. There are some words in bold…that usually meant they were important.

‘…focus…on wish…CAREFUL…FOCUS’

I can focus on mice but on desire…I desire to not be alone, to have mistress with me. To make sure it’s in the front of my mind, I knock her broom from the wall and push it into her hand, as if we are about to go flying. I groan again at the cold feel of her fingers and lick my nose. With a bit of luck, her hands won’t be so cold in a moment.

I prance back up the side table and look into the pot. Still green and bubbling. I lean into the pot and take a gulp. It’s disgusting and slimy and takes a while to get down my throat.

But as soon as it does, I feel sleepy. I shake my head, but my eyes feel heavy. I wonder if it’s gone wrong but no, I followed the instructions as best I could, I know it’s working. I stumble down and make my way over to her. I’m so sleepy that I decide to curl up on her chest. Perhaps she’ll be awake when I do.

Curses of Love

“I’m just saying that…” the Fool grasped at the air for words to take form, “maybe we should see others.”

“And why is that?” Princess Elani had her chin held high as the slouching Fool tried his best to not fall into the hole he was digging himself.

“I just don’t-” the boy stopped and tried to phrase it a different way.

Good luck, Mr H thought. He watched the Princess Elani who remained emotionless as the Fool tried to separate himself from her. The Princess Elani was a famed beauty that another man, a brighter one perhaps, would have waged war for.  She had paper white skin, high cheekbones and dazzling blue eyes. But she was so much more than that. She was a Lady, prim and proper with elegance. She was a great singer, dancer and –

Damn. He pressed his lips together. He was doing it again, waxing to himself like a poet.

The Fool was struggling for words again. “I just feel like we’re after different things, El’.”
Like more Land, maybe. Mr H shook his head. He needed to stop. He wasn’t supposed to be thinking such things, he was meant to be part of the restaurant like a chair or fork. He was Elani’s bodyguard, not her advisor…though…he had told her this would happen. She looked at him as if she heard him. But she looked away just as quickly, twirling her fork.
“I see,” she said, her jaw stiff. Angry perhaps but Mr H knew she was trying to keep her lip from quivering.
You’re here to protect them both, you’re here to protect them both. Just a part of the wall, just a part of the wall.
The cook and waiters entered, carrying the dessert. And like that the two sat straight, waiting for their food to be served as if nothing had past between them.
“Your final dish your Highness, Sir.”
Elani and the Fool nodded once and allowed it to put down in front of them. However, once the waiting staff had bowed their way out, Elani turned to Mr M beside him.
“Mr M take his Lordship back to his car and escort him home.”
“Yes your Highness.”
The Fool leant forward, “El’-”
“I think we are done here, don’t you?”
He closed his mouth, and after a beat of them stared each other down, he stood.
“Your Highness.”
Mr H watched them go, the Fool didn’t turn back once. When Mr H looked back Elani was watching the door too. They looked at each other, though she soon looked away. She knew he was meant to be invisible to her as much as he did. But they were alone now.
“Did you just send the heir of Fife to bed without supper?”
She let herself smile, though still didn’t look at him yet. She first dabbed the corners of her eyes.
“Eat.” She gestured to the bowl opposite her.
“No thank you, your Highness.”
“No isn’t an option Mr H, I am your Princess, if you can tackle someone to the ground when I tell you to, I’m sure you can eat tiramisu as well.”
The corner of his mouth twitched and sat opposite her. She took a spoonful, laid the spoon down while she ate and then picked it up again to take another bite. Mr H did no such thing, scoffing the rich dessert down.
“You were right,” she said simply, she sounded defeated and tired.
“Your Highness, don’t be so hard on yourself. You like to see the good in everyone.”
“But is there any good in him?”
Before he could answer that no, of course there wasn’t, she continued.
“I think there is. Or was…I still can’t believe he just-” she stopped and stared off into the empty restaurant that had been cleared out for her tonight.
“You think his father told him to court me?” she asked, “That’s why you warned me?”
He nodded.
“And it’s true, of course it is but I don’t want to believe it. I suppose I’ll find out, if father doesn’t support the Lord’s case then it must be. But I love him, even now.” Her voice shook and quaked as she spoke until it came a whisper when she confessed her love.
He stared hard at his plate, ice settling in his heart. But he was used to the feeling.
“Of course I love him. I can’t hate him. I’m still expecting him to come marching back through that door to tell me he truly does love me and damn his father.”
She sniffed, making Mr H look back up, but her cheeks still remained white and dry as she dabbed the corners of her eyes with her handkerchief.
“It’s a curse I suppose, for rulers…that people see a means of power before a person.” She laughed bitterly, “I am a fool to believe I could have been loved for who I am.”
Their eyes met again and this time Mr H looked away, shovelling a spoonful of the melting ice cream into his mouth. When Elani laid her hand on his, he moved it away.
He swallowed and said, “Yes your Highness, we all have curses to bear.”

Writing Tip: 111#

GrammarForFictionWritersEbook

Read ‘Grammar for fiction Writers by Chris Saylor and Marcy Kennedy’ because grammar is surprisingly important. It the difference your writing being well-written and well, written.

 

Writing Tip: 107#

Read your work aloud.

reading-aloud-to-improve-your-spoken-english_preview

You’ll notice more mistakes that way.

I’m so Sorry Winner’s Curse. Please forgive me!

Synopsis: War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the Empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?

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Review: Okay it’s official, I love this book, I love trilogy and I confess it to the world! Let me start off by saying, I have had my doubts about this series since the first book and I had those same doubts going into this one. Doubts of cliqued arcs and relationships. Every plotline I rolled my eyes at. Every mention of love disgusted me. But I found it harder to do with this book, until finally told myself to stop trying to find bad things in great writing, because this is a great book. And I owe the Winner’s Curse trilogy and Marie Rutkoski an apology because the last two books have been good too.

(This is the bit where I apologise):

If you’ve seen my last two review of this series you may get the hint that I don’t like it. But no more, my thoughts on this series has been quite biased and slanted and truly after reading this, I realised how much I bloody loved the last two despite what I’ve said.

(Okay back to the review)!

My favourite thing about this book is that I didn’t know where it was going, the plot lines and steps the book take, feel very organic. The same can be said for the characters, they develop and grow very realistically and it made me genuinely sit on the edge of my seat for most of the final act. I cried and jumped for joy over these characters, their journey has mention SO much to me.

However, to mar a great book, the final few chapters of the resolution really were lacklustre. I felt that a lot of loose ends were not tied up, perhaps because they couldn’t be, perhaps they were too huge for the author to deal with. But either way, it left me feeling pretty empty after what was such a good final book.

Despite this, I implore you to read this. I’ve been on such an adventure with this series that I’d invite anyone to go on it too.

Love this book, love this trilogy.

comment-belowHave you read this series? Did you like it? Comment below!!