Adventures at the end of the world

The wind screams into my ears , hitting me front on, as I struggle to cycle onward down the never ending road. Flat, smooth, long. In the distance more of the same. I stop at a bus stop and see a conspiracy of gnomes hiding at the beachside.
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The hateful things are no coincidence, they’re up to something that can’t be good.

The elements are pushing me back, doing their best to keep me away, but my stubborn streak pumps at the pedals that bit harder, and I adjust my gears, vainly hoping for some miracle boost.

Stark at the end. But no more than most of what fell behind. Cliches of desolation fit the landscape, scattered across stretching nothing. But through the wasteland comes absurdity.
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A tree of junk and left behind stuff, leads to a charming exhibition, signposted by a garden of brushes.
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This ozlike tipsy-turvy distracts momentarily from the sinister. A creaking sign pulls me back, rocking in its own time, a prelude to a scream.
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I reach a lonely pub at the end of the road. Welcoming, with a reassuring normality. Empty but for an aging couple, who communicate in passive aggressive fragments of speech. Mewing at the quality of the food, he shuffles from his seat to stare closer at some pictures on the wall. He is not interested, only hoping to break the torpor of his stagnant existence. Either would kill the other given half a chance, but they lack the the imagination.20121120-130639.jpg
Their forks screech on porcelain, and I cringe at their lifeless mastication. They are replaced by an older pair. Tie pulled tight in a severe jacket, he declares the food too rich for him and they head out to oblivion. She uttered not a word. There is no other sustenance, they will likely starve out there. A final couple, a few years younger than the last, take the table closest to me. And there are a few smiles, laughter and a steady conversation. Hope there is another way. Between them some signs of at least a passing concern for the others presence.

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I decide to leave it here, before more doom laden manifestations further assault my sanity. I will flee with the wind behind me, not to the sea, but back to firmer ground and the hope of meaning in the turbulence.

***

‘Nice bit of fish.’
‘Mmmm.’

Her fork penetrated his jugular and he fell face first, smothering his chips in red sauce.

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Unfinished + Short Encounters + Zombie Filming

Its going to be a busy month, I’ve not had much time to write new material recently due to writing my dissertation, but hope to get a lot more active from December. Have had a really inspiring day at Rochester Lit Fest’s ‘Unfinished’ event. Brilliant event and great to talk to other bloggers from all sorts of backgrounds – including creatives, political and lifestyle writers. Also enjoyed reading some pieces as part of the Basement Gothic and chat about all those little problems that prevent us from getting stuff finished, as well as getting insight into how people get round those problems or turn them to their advantage. Its always reassuring to know your not struggling alone.

Anyway, here’s two things that are coming up that might be of interest to some of you…

Zombie Filming at the Lines

From 1pm on Sunday 28th October, some of the guys from Cinovice and I are teaming up to film scenes for a short Zombie film on the Great Lines in Gillingham. We’ll be meeting opposite the leisure centre and will be finished no later than 5pm. If anyone is interested, join the Facebook page by following this link We will be the ones dressed like Zombies.

Short Encounters

On Wednesday 31st October join us at the Dot Cafe for an evening of sci-fi and horror short stories from local writers, inspired by the Medway Towns. Featuring some peculiar FX, ‘The Sci-Fi Soundboard, Short Improv Challenge’ plus an extra special tin-foil hat making competition. Please let me know if you are interested in reading or taking part in the improv. Join the Facebook group HERE

Enjoy yourselves

Roy

Pause

Amongst a crowd of people,
speaking words I do not understand.
I never make a sound,
but know many things in the quiet of a beer glass night.
Watching as the clouds turn black
and laughter stills,
there is a peaceful pause.

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Searching for Sci-Fi Art and Music from or inspired by the Medway Towns

I am putting together the podcasts for ‘Short Encounters‘, a collection of Medway inspired Science Fiction stories from local Writers via ME4 Writers.  If anyone has got any Art work or photos they would like to contribute to the accompanying booklet OR any Music (ambient background sounds or appropriate tunes that I could put between or after the stories) and would like to get involved, please let me know.

Please note that this is a labour of love and completely devoid of any financial benefit to anyone (especially me ;-> )  I will credit any work contributed and hope that by working with a lot of other people, everyone involved gets to reach audiences they might not otherwise.

If you are interested or have any questions, please email me on: roy_smith@hotmail.co.uk or on twitter @roy_smith –  Please share this with anyone who you think might like to know about it.

Cheers

Roy

Laziness, apathy and the resurgence of brilliance

I have been having a lull.  A time of low productivity in creative spheres that is about to come to a crashing end.  I could blame my MA or general business and skulk around with a disheartened frown, but truth be told this is a traditional behaviour, caused by a tiny parasite that lives on the misfired neurons somewhere in my mind.

I picked up this bug after spending far too much time watching television and scrolling through pointless twitter updates.  Thats right, this was a MTD, a media transmitted disease – (although I think the appropriate term is infections)  Fortunately, I have booked myself into a mind clinic to have this thing removed once and for all.  Apparently it is a simple procedure that involves removing a section of my skull the size of a shoe and running a metal comb through my parietal lobe.  This will apparently either untangle the idea sucking mites from gray matters or kill me outright.

In the mean time, having noticed a recent surge of interest in my blog (three new subscribers in a week!!!)  May I direct you to http://rejected52.wordpress.com/ for a piece of old…

and unveil…

http://utopical.wordpress.com/

In Which…

Everything is wrong with something, so there must be a better way of doing it? I plan to right our lazy obsession with failure by striving for perfection, the future needs dreams of better solutions…alright, some of them might be a little…tricky, but it’s got to be worth a go.

This weekly blog, will create work arounds, solutions and alternatives to the general rubbishy problems we face in the day to day rumble. The will never be restricted to the achievable, likely or mundane. This is future dreaming. This is Utopical.

Your problems are welcome for the solving, please bare in mind I specialise in minor problems, but will work up to world peace…need something solving? Then let me know, whether stone in your shoe, can’t get out of bed in the morning, forgotten the name of your bosses imaginary friend? I probably can’t help, but I can certainly give you some advice that is probably best avoided at: roy_smith@hotmail.co.uk

Keisha

Standing just behind me, breathing excitement with eyes full of wonder and curiosity. Dallying in a flowerbed or sniffing at some post or rock. She is there. Snoring by the radiator or dancing on her side, chasing invisible prey and waking with a surprised look. Following each piece of food with a longing gaze or barking at nothing and for no reason. She is there. Held close when things are hard and full of love for who we are. Expecting no more than a gentle breeze, some food and a bit of attention. She is there. Whether wrestling with a young one or engaged in polite ‘hellos’, meeting and sharing the day. Standing close beside us, to keep us safe from harm. She is there.

She is always there and though we might not always see; our shadow will never really leave.

Loved

Keisha, January 19th 2012 xxx

Squashed two

I am squashed between two worlds
and though grown from my roots,
trying to maintain some clemency.
Hoping to think and not offend;
I was raised too cautious,
but in awe of heroes;
I fought inside my mind:
I did not step on grass.
I did not talk in class.
I did not sleep around.
I held back most I felt.

Understanding is the rarest thing,
a ghost amongst ideas.
And when the call was sounded
and as usual I had no heart,
but on hearing violent voices and
displays of casual threat,
the petty digs and schadenfreude,
provoked a hidden rage.

Speaking a little louder,
at risk of unknown change
then in a moment critical,
SMIILING.

To share an open feeling
of honest lost belief,
where no one is a victor,
but everyone is heard.
Better loud than silent
I suppose, or else I’m wrong,
to roar my thoughts ferocious,
as I retreat in to my cage.

Squashed one

I don’t agree with all I love,

but love those who don’t agree.

If my mother taught me anything,

it was how to be contrary.

The Mortographer

This nasty little tale is my contribution to the ME4 writers short and nasties collection, which can be downloaded at:  http://roysmith.podbean.com/ 

He throws open the shutters that have kept out the past few days and wicked light invades our hidden world. I had watched you drift into endless sleep, as your tiny nails cut into the palm of my hand, waiting whilst your breath whispered to pathetic silence. A man of straight lines, dressed in black with a coachman’s hat and cane; his servant carrying assorted boxes, as he stands stiff at the centre of my room. Through thin wire glasses his yellow eyes flit from my chair to the bed where you sleep no more.

I heard you cry that night; a choking fit then nothing. Left alone in silence with your porcelain skin and gentle face, hoping for one more sign of life, but knowing it would never come. Your father sent this shade to solve his guilt, to grab one last glimpse of his fading creation and free himself of the obligations his family would never allow. He never met you, but I saw him looking back at me every time you laughed or smiled and even when you lied. They kept us well, or so they had me suppose. A terraced house upon a hill overlooking the banks; a small house, but clean, surrounded by boat builders, dockers and their whining wives. The family sent us money, just enough, but not so much, yet we were happy and I loved you dearly. They will send no more, after today I am worthless, and despite this I know your father cared for us, though was far to weak to show it.

The straight line man and his bulky assistant pull wood and metal apparatus from their weathered boxes, building a scaffold to hold the heavy machine they move with such care. They bolt and screw and tighten each part, so the thing stands firm in the centre of the room, pointing down at where you lay. He powders your face and ruffles your hair, not happy with your sweat stuck curls, twisting them around his fingers and pulling to spring. You lay too straight my beautiful boy. He turns you to the wall and puts his knee behind yours, forcing a bend with a crack, before flipping you back to face his lens, propped up on a tear soaked pillow. My nails scratch at the arms of the chair and I feel my blood racing as I watch him manipulate your fragile limbs. You mustn’t fear my child, you have no more need of this broken body. 

I met your father whilst I was working at his mother’s house. She rarely spoke, but everyone obeyed; her few words were bitter-cold and empty of kindness. He was the life in that house, as you were in mine. When he was away the days dragged on in mechanic isolation, unchanging and grey. That long summer he left a trail of smiles behind him, I ached for the relief of his presence, the lightness brought by his casual words. We loved one night, time caught and kept and there you were, a secret in my belly. Her screeched orders sent me packing, hidden behind these prison walls; to birth you here and raise you, in silence away from him and her.

He hides beneath a darkened cape that flows from atop the metal box. The cloth of his pristine suit stretches over his hunched back, close to ripping and I swear the daggers of his shoulder blades protrude in the way of severed waxen wings. I cannot watch and bury my head within my hands, he twists and turns the dials of his vicious lens, clicking and snapping into some ghastly configuration. I look up at your peaceful face and feel your love beaming back at me from your unnatural pose, your painted eyes staring into nothing, but somehow pleading. 

Click. I scream, as searing white floods the room, blinding it hangs and fades in a permanent instant. I find myself caught between light and dark, your image burning into my mind. You glow, outlined with streaks of colour and wherever I look you follow, inescapably staring into my soul, accusing, reaching out to cling to earthly things.

I am alone now in the fading day; the room is empty, cleansed of any memory of you. Upon the bed lies a husk. There is no sign of who you were, all that is left is a featureless form, dried of emotion, there is nothing inside. It is not you. He has taken any part that remained, stolen away the only thing that kept me. And as he walked away, I swear those boxes seemed to sit heavy in his servants arms then in the sunset glow I caught a sideways glimpse of unfolding leather wings.

Mourning the dodging of many bullets

If I survive to be old,

I hope that by then society will have learnt that experience does not equal wisdom,

and that survival may only indicate the dodging of many bullets.

If they treat me with reverence,

let it be for my achievements and not from any misguided sentimentality,

they should chide me for my follies

and ignore my foolish advice, but without cruelty or intention to cause pain.

Leave me alone when needed and expect me to function as best I can,

it is a wickedness to control through care,

or to diminish through sympathy.

For now I shall run towards the bullets

and try not to wince if they scrape my skin,

I might need it when I am baggy.