Negative dawn

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The bright green sky shone out beyond the white branches of the treeplynths.

Flinners sang in the plynths, making booming noises and screeches. The star rose above the horizon, deep red in the sky.

Veleno watched the dawn, Earthship Orion would be leaving soon. The journey to Betelguse had been stressful, but they had found this beautiful and bizarre planet circling the red giant star. But now it was time to leave. The return journey to earth would take centuries, but the Red Giant was going to go super nova soon. If they didn’t get a fair distance away from it in the next fifty years they would not survive.

Veleno took a few more images of the dawn. The whole star rise thing took about three Earth hours. He looked at the rising star, moving so slowly, what would it be like to stand here and see it explode? No, he could not imagine its immense effects and size. Time to leave.

Snakes alive

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As Sara reached out to throw the dice she saw a flicker on the Snakes and ladders board. Something had moved quickly on the surface. She saw it in the corner of her eye.

It’s your go, said her partner Jamie. Are you going to throw the dice?

Sara picked it up and threw a six. Across the board, six spaces. Her partner took the dice and threw a three. Base of a ladder and up to the fifth row. He chuckled.

Beat that he said. She threw again and again, always missing the ladders.

It’s not fair, she said.

He was almost on square one hundred now, top of the board. Sara was getting fed up.

Then she saw a flicker again. She looked at Jamie. Did you see that? No, what? He said.

Next throw, two, oh no! As she placed her counter onto the head of the snake, ready to move it down the body back to the bottom row she saw the Snakes tongue protrude from the board. It flickered against her fingers. She froze, shocked into a paralysis. She felt its fangs pierce her index finger, saw its mouth open into a black void. With impossible speed the snakes mouth raced up her arm, gaping wide it covered her head, with one single swallow her body disappeared into it.

I told you I’d win, said Jamie quietly, as he chuckled.

A tail….

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Last week she had ended up halfway up a tree, and this is the story of how it happened.

She had woken feeling tired and the base of her spine was sore. Like she had sat down hard, or fallen over and bruised herself. They had been to a party, got ‘slightly’ tipsy, and come home. The rest was hazy. Something about Halloween, and trick or treating, and What was that all about? Then each of them had drunk from a cauldron, yes that was it, sip a drink from the cauldron of fate and see what happened? Except that she had knocked back the whole glass full. Then she had felt really squiffy, fallen over, yes, and hurt her spine. Ow.

Now it was the morning after, and she felt awful. A proper hangover. But it was time for work now, better get ready.

It was when she was showering that she felt a lump down at the base of her spine. She rang the doctor for an appointment. She was scared it was a tumour?

Two days later at the surgery, she was told it was some sort of bony growth, but the surface was covered in skin, and it was not any form of cancer the GP had ever seen. She had told her that they would probably need a biopsy, but that would take a few weeks to arrange.

She had gone home, wondering what the hell was going on. The ‘thing’ was growing at a fast rate, she couldn’t face calling it a tail. She realised she had control of it, like a prehensile tail of a monkey? Why?

The tail continued to grow. She had to wrap it round her waist to hide it under her clothes.

It was after about three weeks that she made the mistake of telling her friend. He laughed, serves you right, he said. You upset the witch! He said. Drank the cauldron dry. He laughed again. Wait till I tell the others. She must have cursed you.

The next day they came knocking at her door, ‘ let us in’ , ‘ show us your tail’ ‘you’ve been cursed’. Things were getting out of hand. She ran upstairs and opened her bedroom window. The group were hounding her now.

Suddenly she jumped. She was falling…. Then the tail snapped out around the branch, holding her weight, she swung back up to onto her feet. Using her tail for balance she clambered and swung into the trees. It had saved her life. Perhaps it wasn’t such a bad thing after all…..

Where have you been?

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Through the door into the dark shadows, light shining through dusty windows, shafts of sunlight with dust motes dancing through the beams. We were exploring, looking at the racks of plaster molds, stacked high on racks, above head height. Hundreds of them, all shapes and sizes. For slip casting pottery.

In the back of the store room something stirred. A figure unfolding, grey with dust. Semi transparent, like a ghost? We saw it as it lurched to its feet and grasped at the racks of saggars. It spoke. ‘you don’t belong here’ it shouted ‘get out’, and we did! We turned tail and ran, through the door, through the yard and away. We won’t be going back there again!

Waiting for him…

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Standing under the sculpture of two people holding up pottery was not her idea of fun. But they had agreed to meet there. She didnt think he would turn up. They had met on line, but never spoken. Would he turn up with a rose in his lapel, or a funny hat? Was he tall or short, fat or thin? He wouldn’t send a photo, didn’t like selfies, and would only communicate by email or text. He’d told her he was shy! Shy? In this day and age, where everyone did so much to talk and share, and talk about themselves.

Ten minutes later, she was still alone, he was late, no one had come near her. People were popping in and out of the museum. Couples, singles, adults and children….

A man approached, middle height, middle aged, dark hair, glasses, reddish beard. ‘ Do you know where the bus station is?’ he asked.

I’ll give it five more minutes she thought. It had started to drizzle, and the wind was washing over her, freezing her eyes, her ears, her hands.

No one came, the sun was setting, a young woman with a baby in a buggy walked past, and held out her hand to a young man walking along the pavement. The street lights started to twinkle and she decided she had had enough of this torture. She stood up and started to walk away. Someone rushed up behind her and tapped her shoulder. ‘Hi, I’m Mike’ he said…..

Green skies

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Something bloomed into the sky after the meteorite fell. A green mist rose from the sea and started spreading across the land. For a while it lay in the hollows and valleys, but steadily crept higher.

People noticed it and shied away from it. They travelled inland and up hills and mountains. Soon they were isolated, no one would cross the green air.

The small islands of high land topping the green murk gradually were overcome. People breathed their last air as it rose, scrabbling for height, but succumbing to the green gas. They were suffocating and dying.

Asian mountains stayed above the haze for a while longer. But like everywhere else the human population passed away. Eventually the only survivors were left alone, high above Earth, in the space station. There was nothing left for them to do but wait for the end.

But then a miracle (if after all the death that could be said) happened. The gas started to clear. After three weeks it had gone completely. It was then that the astronauts realised that all Earth’s animals had survived. They realised that it was the humans haemoglobin in their blood that had been affected. Other animals had different DNA.

But the problem was how would they descend from the space station? What would become of them?

Blood red lamp

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Over the front door, the lamp caught the blood red light of the sunset. Strings of ivy trailing around it. Outside a gate heavily covered in it. Swathes of creeping vines hiding the steps.

Only one man came through the gate. The count, the noble man, Dracula.

It was time for his nightly wandering, the lust for blood strengthened his old bones.

New years eve, 2019. Time for sustenance, time for the deep red drink, and the thrill of the chase. Soon he would have his fill.

The leaves of the ivy rustled as he passed through the gate. The churchyard beyond was quiet except for a late dogwalker. The dog would arrive home later. Alone.