Friday, 29 September 2017


Chuck has asked us to write about a tree... to be a tree's viewpoint or whatever... so I thought this was going to be easy.

Nope it wasn't.


Today is my last sunrise.

Yes, by the time the sun sets on this very day, I will no longer be the lovely tall, strong, shady sentinel people have come to enjoy in my part of the neighbourhood.

But I have been here for years... well over three centuries, actually... but doesn’t anyone give a squirrel’s arse?

No. They don’t.

Those fucking developers with their grand ideas and their wonderful sky scrapers and money-grabbing investors have been standing next to me blabbling about how wonderful this apartment building will look once it’s built!


Why, I remember when I was planted here and there was not a single building to be seen around for miles! My first planting was next to a lovely little hut of a house when the city that is here now was just a tiny, insignificant little village by the wide and strong river.
I had people tie their lines to me to catch fish, to dry their clothes and – when I was tall and strong enough – children loved to climb to my highest branches in the Summer trying to touch the sky as they sang.

Oh! Those were the days!

I’ve seen dreadful Winters and scorching Summers.
I’ve watched the village vanish as buildings emerged from almost nothing and cobblestone roadways pass by in front of me... and yet, I still stood!
People stood under my shady greenness on hot days and decorated me in the Winter as, oh so many Christmas’ drifted by, just like the snowfall. I’ve seen floods, storms and disease take my fair city of people... and invasion take all forms trying to destroy all of those who lived in this growing metropolis around me – and yet, it seemed that all that happened to me was that I grew older and the people of the city occasionally took branches from me that died or looked like they were going to pose a danger.

I’ve had famous people visit me, like that Attenborough person (now who was he again? Everyone talks about him and his connection with nature). 

Young people have kissed under me on New Years Eve... I’ve witnessed every type of human emotion happening around me.

There’s been so many proposals for marriage right next to me, and just as many break-ups.
I’ve had people fall asleep under me, leaning comfortably – companionably – against my sturdy, strong trunk; only to have them puke all over me the very next day... yes, charming lot those.
There’s been shootings on the street in front of me, where people have died against me; their blood forever staining my bark as they take their last breaths – with them begging for forgiveness, for pity... to be let go and to live... such sadness.
Cars have rammed into me, shaking my branches, leaves falling from above – and occasionally an odd branch dislodging from far above, and smashing up the car. Sometimes the vehicle will have been stolen and the occupants got out (if they could) and ran away in all directions – like rats leaving a sinking ship. Or a drunk driver, who’d open the door, with sick all over themselves and collapse on the ground crying, “What happened! What have I done!”

I’ve seen the best of parades pass by here... these were the best things in the world. From the times of courage with the knights heading off to war, then coming home on horses in their bravest best, then after the most recent wars where the families would march for the fallen in remembrance. Yes... I’ve seen them all.
Ticker-tape parades for when our wonderful teams won at any type of games, and celebrating our greatest of people of our times with the population of the city lining the street, waving flags and enjoying the sun as the gleaming cars slowly coast by.

Oh yes!

This is best type of thing to see as a tree.

However, things have been changing of late.

Those parades don’t come around this street much anymore.

There’s more people being killed here than anywhere else and the apartment buildings are being pulled down and being replaced with big and tall, glass buildings for the upscale type of people who work in the city.

And I heard them talking about me...
“What are we going to do about this Oak?” one suit asked, rolling up the plans.
“We’re not allowed to do anything. It’s Heritage Listed.” The other bald one grumbled, the sun shining off his sunburnt head. They both looked up at my grand branches and huge trunk with their black lenses over their eyes. Baldy sniffed, “I want to chip it, but the council has dated it back to the Dark Ages... we can’t touch it.”
“So, you think we should do something about it? Like move it?”
Baldy shrugged.

A year passed.

New buildings were built around me as I sat in a set of my own scaffolding and protection.

They cut some of my roots – and it hurt like hell. I screamed, but nobody heard me as I dropped my main branches and killed three people.

Then as the last three months went by, I saw something different happen: there was some landscaping things coming in.

Rolls of turf arrived on the truck.

A couple of park benches and a pond to be installed.

Over three weeks, the landscapers built a miniature park right around me. The turf allowed my roots to heal... and new branches to grow.

And by the next Spring, just after Christmas, I was witnessing another lot of young people professing their love to each other.

Children were yet again climbing my branches and singing to the sky!

I was again needed in this community!

Then, I saw it ... my first parade in so many years passed by me! It was for Remembrance Day... it was wonderful watching it all happen again.

And to think I wasn’t going to survive that day.

Now, I love to watch the sun reflect off the gleaming mirrors of the buildings surrounding me, from sunrise to sunset.

And you know what? I’m always lit up for everyone to see now... they put lights under my butt!

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Future Graveyard

This week, I didn't receive a Flash Fiction prompt from Chuck. So, I dug into my archives of emails from the past he's sent us... and found a few titles we have played with just last year or so. This one is just over the 1,000 word mark; and based in a real cemetery here in Brisbane - which really is part of a Ghost Tour and really is rumoured to be haunted.


We stepped off the bus as the sun was setting outside the Toowong Cemetery, as our guide talked to the guard outside the gates. I had brought along my camera – an old film camera, with a few extra rolls – and my phone to take some photos, but I found that everyone else was quietly muttering amongst themselves.
“Now, when you’re all ready, we’ll begin the tour.” Richard’s strong voice called across to us and we walked to him as he gestured to us to stay close, “I don’t want to lose any of you here – this place is rumoured to be haunted and isn’t an open cemetery.”
“Ooooh, haunted.” The guy next to me nudged my arm, rolling his eyes, “I’m so scared.”
“You’re visiting Brisbane?” I asked.
“Yeah.” He smiled, “This Ghost Tour is cool. Funny as hell, but cool.” He walked off towards the gates to get a photo of first pathway into the place, then came back. When he saw I wasn’t amused by what he had said before, he really looked at me, “You’re not taking what he said seriously, are you?”
“Listen, I’ve lived in this city all my life. And I’ve seen and heard some pretty weird things – personally – and I can’t explain them. And this cemetery has my great-nanna in it. I just hope we walk past her plot.” I walked away as the group followed Richard, leaving the guy behind.

The tour was wonderful.

Our tour guide knew every single piece of history there was to know about this place – very impressive; and seeing I live in Brisbane, I thought I had heard it all. But I gotta say, I learned some new things about this cemetery while we walked around the place.

Richard took us to some of the oldest parts of Toowong Cemetery and I started looking for some of my family. I pulled on my headlamp, looked around and read the headstones carefully.

Then, there it was.

My Great-Nanna’s plot!

I stopped, smiled, pulled out my film camera and took a few photos, then took a photo with my camera and texted it to Dad. Then looked around at the surrounding plots to see if there were anyone else I knew... there wasn’t.
“Miss Anders!” Richard’s voice called from my right in the distance, “Please don’t be left behind!” I heard him coming closer, until he was standing right next to me, “Did you find something?”
“Yeah, my Great-Nanna... I thought to take a few photos.” I smiled.
“Aaah, yes, of course you can’t get in here without an appointment; and even then, it’s months to wait on a list.” He sighed, “Let’s see if you’ve got other family members here, usually they’re buried nearby.”
“No. I think Nanna was the last one buried here. The other plots were sold off.” I said feeling kind of sad that I couldn’t get in here to be with my family at the end of my life anymore.
“Actually, there is another plot right here.” Richard said. He shone his large ‘Dolphin’ torch right on a relatively new headstone right next to my Nanna’s grave, as he began to read it out: “ ‘Elizabeth May Anders. Born 5th, October, 1973 – 30th, September, 2017. Beloved daughter, Aunty and friend to everyone who met, knew and loved her. ‘The Time Lords Are Waiting’” he stood, frowning, “Well, that’s really strange, a pre-dated headstone.”
“Well, it must have been a mistake done on it... like the year or something.” One of the ladies suggested from the back.
But as I looked at it, I knew it wasn’t. It looked like it had been here a few weeks; and that it wasn’t going anywhere soon, “I gotta get a photograph of this.”
Richard moved for me as I prepared to photograph it with both the film camera and the phone... in case one of them didn’t work out, “Okay, people just follow the guard back to the front gates and we’ll catch up with you.” He waited until we were both alone, before asking, “That’s you isn’t it?”
“Yeah.” I fidgeted with the charms on my phone, “I want to know how this has happened?”
“You’re not the first to see this kind of thing; nor will you be the last.” He said, “Come on, we’ll do some research and see what’s going on.”

Flashing lights of emergency crews woke me.
The ambulance guy working on me glanced over at me, “Hey! She’s awake! Do you know what happened?”
I felt so calm, and yet knew something was wrong with my body. But I couldn’t feel any pain: “Where am I?”
“The bus you were on was in an accident. Everyone except you and three others are injured.” He looked at other things on me as he worked hard, “You were wearing you seat belt, but it broke... damned bus wasn’t maintained properly.” He whispered.
I touched his hand, stopping him from what he was doing: “What is the date?”
He glanced up at a calendar on the wall of the cabin of the ambulance, “It’s the 30th, September, 2017.”
“My injuries?”
He looked to his hands, “I’m not sure. I’m no doctor. I can only stabilise you; but you’re on Life Flight; and the doc will be here soon....”




We stepped off the bus as the sun was setting outside the Toowong Cemetery, as our guide talked to the guard outside the gates. I had brought along my camera – an old film camera, with a few extra rolls – and my phone to take some photos, but I found that everyone else was quietly muttering amongst themselves.
“Now, when you’re all ready, we’ll begin the tour.” Richard’s strong voice called across to us and we walked to him as he gestured to us to stay close, “I don’t want to lose any of you here – this place is rumoured to be haunted and isn’t an open cemetery.”

Saturday, 16 September 2017

The Fixer-Upper

'To fix something, you first must break it'... this is the theme of this week's Flash Fiction. But there's more to it - you have to show there's a hidden message behind your story. I love this kinda thing.


It was love at first sight.


As soon as the hammer went down and we signed the papers, we thought we had a right bargain!

I’d been in the renovation business for a long time – over a decade – and old houses have stories. Sometimes I’ve pulled down walls and found all kinds of weird things inside them – from extra rooms to extra bodies. But for my regular builder to be so scared of this place was something new.

I slotted the key in the door.

Turned it and opened the large, heavy door to the foyer.

As it was before, there was plenty of light, some cobwebs in the corners and a lovely light hanging there from the last owners.

Yep, I was going to enjoy taking this gorgeous house back to its former glory.

Weeks past and I was working on this place almost on my own. My partner worked here on her days off and weekends; and we sometimes worked here into the evenings and crashed in the Kombi out the front – simply because we were too stuffed to drive anywhere.

But after six months, thousands of dollars and back-breaking work, we finally had the house just as we liked it – back to almost original condition; but with all the mod-cons.
Yes, it had the charm of the old-world style, and yet the modern feel of what we were used to in our up-to-date, internet-based world.
The place we had seen in our mind’s eye had become a lovely reality; and we could now live in it instead of the Kombi; and take our gear out of storage and move in for real.

And it was time for the house-warming party as well.

We set up the party out the back in the large garden where everyone could be comfortable. But our family and friends wanted to see the house’s interior first.

This is where things started to go wrong – really wrong.
My folks arrived first and I took their jackets, opened the hall closet and Mum stopped me, “Wait! Not on them!”
I turned from the hooks, “They’re new hooks, of course on them.”
She blinked, cringing, “Well, we’ll be out the back, I think it’s best if we keep our jackets with us.”
“Okay.” I handed their jackets back to them and my parents moved quickly down the hall towards the back door.
I stepped back and looked into the hall closet, wondering what the hell my folks were looking at, when my partner joined me, “What are you looking at?”
“My folks got totally wigged about hooks inside the hall closet... but there’s none.”
She frowned, “She must be seeing things. Come on, party’s beginning.”

As time went on, we had different reactions from friends about our place. Some of them loved it, while others ran from the place. But then, the neighbours told us that while we were at work, they’d hear 1920’s music coming from there from the time we left until about half an hour before we came home.
It was as though the other life the house had was existing right alongside our life.

Then, one night, I woke in the middle of the night to go to the toilet when I heard music playing downstairs. I headed off to take care of my business first and then headed downstairs in my dressing gown to find the place was filled with people.
But they weren’t just ordinary people – they were the party people who were here when we went to work. I walked to the stereo system, only to find it wasn’t switched on, so turned in search of where the music was coming from and found an old-style gramophone sitting on a large stand in the corner with a crank in the side. A pile of 78’s were slotting in underneath in their paper sleeves.
“Excuse me, sir, are you ready for your martini?” a voice asked by my side.
I turned to be greeted by a dude in tails with a mirrored tray with metal handles, “Um... pardon?”
“Your martini, Mr. Senator, as you like it, with two olives and plenty of gin.” A smile briefed his face so quickly I almost missed it as I took it from the tray muttering a thank you, “Now, onto the hoards outside.”
As I turned, I noticed the house had emptied and we were alone in my living room, “Hoards?” I followed him through to the kitchen and looked outside where there were around thirty people out in my backyard all the women were dressed as though they were ready to do the Charleston and the men looked like they were bankers.
“Honey, what the hell’s going on?”
I turned from the kitchen window, “You’re seeing all of this, right? The gramophone, the waiters, the noise?” I asked.
“Well, yeah, that’s what woke me.” She walked up next to me and looked outside, “Who are all those people out there?” she whispered, “And since when do you drink martinis?”
I put the drink down on the counter where it vanished as soon as I let go of the glass, “This isn’t real. We’ve walked in on a ghost’s party.”
“So, what do we do?”
“You leave.” The waiter’s voice said from behind us. We turned and he had the same martini on the tray as I had just put down; this time, though he had a large chef’s knife next to it, “The party is going to get a little messy. So, you leave now.”
I didn’t know what to do. I took my wife’s hand tightly, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but we’re the new owners. We fixed up this place to live in.”
The orderly man began to chuckle, his eyes gleaming, “Oh, you didn’t do your homework did you?”
“Actually, yes we did. This place has been here since around World War I and has had a variety of owners who have attempted to fix it up – but they’ve never really finished her until now.” My wife nodded, “And I’m talking to a ghost.”
Giving her a snide look, he sniffed, “Is that such a bad thing?”
“No.” I said, “We’ve never owned a place with... extras such as yourself added in. The real estate guy did say it was something really special – and he was right.”
“Did he tell you what happened to the last people who bought this house?”
“No he didn’t.”
He looked beyond our shoulders, out the kitchen window, “That’s a nice garden out the back isn’t it? So full of people – and yet not a single one comes inside.”
I almost turned to look where he was, when it dawned on me that we never had to do anything with the backyard. Michelle and I both agreed it was just perfect exactly the way it was; so we didn't touch it. 

We left alone - nothing touched, nothing dug up.

I looked at her, and she at me; and we had the same thought: we're going to sell the house.

That is if we survive the night.

Saturday, 9 September 2017


This week, Chuck has us writing about Good vs Evil... but with this piece, you gotta wonder which is which - like the story below. Is my character good or evil? There's a fine line between them, right? 


I’m not a bad person.

Really, I’m not.

I was bit at a party a couple of years ago by some strange dude who never told me the fuckin’ rules and I had to do my own research on what he had turned me into – then I took my life in my own direction.

By daylight hours, I’m a quiet mail clerk at the local post office. I sort your mail. I sent off your parcels through the best courier service your money can buy; and try to keep to your budget and a lot of you think I’m a pretty decent kinda girl.
Sure I’ve got a few tattoos, I dress kinda sexy and for some reason, you men think I have a dangerous sense about me – in reality, I’m not that bad. I like to listen to good vinyl, read some cool books by Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe and get into the O-Neg when I can (what can I say, it’s rare and it’s got a different taste).

But by night, I research those crimes the police just can’t solve. They’ve had them open for over five years and the trail’s gone cold on them; and this is where I come in. I go back to the area where the crime happened. No matter how long it’s been, I can always pick up on what’s happened there... I mean, blood is blood. It can stick around on just about anything for such a long time and no matter how much rain has been around, the only place I tend to find a lot of it is in the sewers – just where it runs away.

It’s always the places the police don’t want to go too.

That’s not where I go.

Instead, I start walking around where they lost the scent in the first place. Because you see, it’s where the crim is usually hiding out – or not far from it. Like a fire bug, they love to come back to the scene of the crime and watch the police trying to figure out what the fuck went on.

It’s a damned turn-on for them!

So, when I’m standing in the crowd outside the taped off area, I’m not looking at what the cops are doing, I’m looking around the crowd; watching for the right person – the person who did the crime, who spilled another’s blood, who thought it was their job to be a complete dick and scare the rest of the Human Beings around and... oh there he is.

His hoodie is pulled up.

His hands are fidgeting – flexing – in his jeans pockets.

He has a smirk on his face ... and...

I can smell the blood of that Human on him.
Standing next to him, I almost can’t control the urge to rip out this throat and guzzle, drink and take in his soullessness now... but it’s not right. Instead, I reach up and...
“Oh, hey, you’ve got a bug on ya.”
“What?” he turns to me, eyes jumping. He’s nervous about a nice person reaching up to his neck.
I scratch his neck just enough to draw a little blood, “There’s it’s gone. It was a tiny bug. All squished, dead.” I smile, “Well, hope they get that sick bastard.”

I turn and find him gone.

Rubbing my fingertips together, I find his blood staining them red, hold them up to my nose and inhale deeply.

I know exactly where he’s going.

Looking up, I spot a cop looking directly at me.

It’s time to leave.

Like I said, I’m not a bad person. But this is how I live, where I get my blood. And it normally takes me around three weeks to track a criminal this way.

Besides it’s the fun way of doing it.

And during this time, he came into the post office while I wasn’t there. I knew because I could smell him in the place when I was working there the next day. My colleagues were nervous as well; telling me that some ‘weird dude’ came in the day before.

I knew then it was time to strike.

It took almost all night to find his house.

It was a damned dump in the middle of nowhere; and yet, he had set it up as a trap thinking he was going to get me.

The door was unlocked – I pushed it open and walked straight in.
“You need an invite don’t you, you night walker?” he asked, a rifle levelled at me.
“Old wive’s tale.” I smiled, my hunger showing as my canines did, “You turned an ordinary family into a blood bath.”
“I got revenge.” He said.
“No. You didn’t. You murdered. Why didn’t let the courts take care of them? Or me?”
He shook his head, tears filling his eyes, “You have no idea what they did to me!”
“I don’t care right now. To me, you’re the criminal; and you’ll be punished tonight.” I smiled as his eyes widened, “And you’ll be painted all over these walls just like you painted their house... but I’ll make you suffer.”

He hesitated in pulling the trigger.

I grabbed the weapon and threw it to one side where it shot wild as he careened across the room, slammed into the wall.

His leg snapped. He screamed in pain.
As I climbed on top of him, he tried to get away from me, his leg lagging behind him, his sobs pleading with me to let him go.

But I was so hungry that night.

And he had to pay for his crime.

I’m not a bad person.

Really, I’m not.

And when I was finished with him, I left him where I usually left my finished meals....

What? You want me to tell you? 

Sunday, 3 September 2017

The Limits of Our Imperfection

Chuck has been getting lines from us lately. First it was a 5-word title. Then, there was a first line... then a last line. This week, it's all pulled together and we're picking 1 from a list of 10 each, and using them in our own stories... mine's biblically scientific and weird...


No one had bothered to tell her about this part.

Which part?

Well, stick around, buddy, and follow along.

Who’s she? The cat’s mother... well, okay sarcasm never got me anywhere, but who I am, isn’t important. She’s Eve... the important one, the one who we’re here about.
She started her life in a hospital – like everyone does – and she never left.

Well, that was the plan.

We were going to make her the first one to plug into the first totally automated computer system which would be controlled by a human... Eve was perfect in every way. She was smart. Her gene pool was immaculate. There was nothing wrong with her DNA...

Like I said:  Eve was perfect.

As for the name? Well, there had to be a first, right? We did have a Lilith, but she kinda shat all over the systems and blew up our computers. So, we had to let her grow up in an ordinary family... yes, like in the Bible, she was ejected from this perfect garden that Eve was in right now.

The perfect, computerised matrix of a garden this little girl was growing up in.

Eve is now six years old; even though she’s not chronologically that age. She’s been growing quickly since she was born, and her metabolic rate has increased so fast, we didn’t know how to slow it down – but really, who would want to?
I did, but I was vetoed from doing that. I was also vetoed from teaching her anything old-fashioned – like traditional books, turntables, television sets or Corningware.

Actually I’ve been demoted to just observing and being her biographer; and I’m not permitted near her without another scientist watching me. This means I can’t talk to her.
But she’s been talking to me... not physically talking, I can hear her voice in my head. There’s is a problem, I don’t know how to talk back. I tried thinking things back to her, but I scored a huge headache in return, which levelled me for over a day.
In this day and age, that’s unusual – to have headaches anymore. Nobody in the Human Race gets them. It’s just not something people talk about... there’s a lot of things we don’t say to each other anymore; seeing the internet has made it so easy to keep us from actually talking to each other in the same room.
Everything is done through texts, on social media and other such forms. Nobody says anything to anyone in person – and this has made socialising so impossible for Eve. She’s not used to talking to people... and so she’s never been taught to speak.

Then the other day, as the other scientist was leaving the room with me, I felt her voice, ‘Andrew, can we... communicate?’
I stopped, turned and looked at her. Eve had just turned eighteen and was growing up so fast. She was starting to push boundaries and the other scientists were becoming concerned about how she was pushing the matrix to its limits. I wasn’t. My children had grown to this age and were rebelling... the other scientists were still young, had just met their DNA-set partners and had mated with them for the next generation of Perfection Children – children without any diseases, any problems handed down through generations of bad DNA. That part of the population were figured out and ‘fixed’ so they were not permitted to have children... it was so dreadfully scientific and demeaning.
“Dr. Simmons... come with us now.” Rick snapped, “You are not allowed to speak with the specimen.”
“She has a name.” I said, “Can’t you hear her asking questions?”
She doesn’t speak.” He shouted, “Now, get outside!”
I cast a glance at Eve as she stood, raised a hand to Rick and he was thrown out into the hall and the door slammed hard; the locks thunking home in the floor and ceiling. She turned to me, opened her mouth and a squeak came, ‘Teach me to speak... I’ve a voice box but without an opinion of my own. I can read, but I can’t speak... this is painful.’
“They’ve made sure you can’t voice your own opinion on purpose.” I said, “And they’ve kept me away from you so you don’t learn old-fashioned things.”
A smirk grew on her face, ‘Old-fashioned things... I am older than you think. I am not eighteen... I am far older than ...’ she looked at me as she reached out and touched my arm, ‘I need to get out of here... soon, there are things I need to do which are to do with the world; which I can’t do from here.’
“What are those things?”
‘Dr. Simmon... have you ever wondered who my parents were? Have you met them? Did you see me born? Or did I simply show up here as a baby and grew swiftly?’ she looked around the large windowless room.
I frowned, checked my dates and data, “I don’t remember seeing anyone being pregnant here... I just remember being put onto this... oh, you seemed to have come from nowhere.”
She nodded, ‘I need to get out of here... but I’m trapped.’
I quickly looked around the room, behind cabinets, curtains, desks, and other objects and found markings on the walls which looked strange, “What are these?”
Eve looked at them, ‘They’re keeping me in... and others away from me, so nobody can find me. Break them!’
Picking up a pen, I began scribbling them out. At the last one, I turned to see Eve standing there, naked, golden light emanating from within her, around her and she was smiling. She held her hand out to me, I took it, and in a blinding flash we were somewhere completely different.
“Where are we?” I asked.
She smiled, “We are in the Darkened Underworld; the world where you never see. This is the world where Lilith was sent because she thought for herself too much. Nobody cares about this world... this is where those poor people live who are ‘fixed’ and aren’t allowed to have those Perfect Children.” She looked over at me, “This is what you’ve been so curious about.”
I thought I was going to be sick and covered my mouth, “Oh my god.”
“I can fix this.”
“You can speak.”
“I could always, but not in that place... you helped me. Now, let me help you.” She smiled, turned toward the edge of the cliff we near as she let go of my hand.
“Hey! Stop! What are you doing?” I rushed forwards and grabbed her arm.

With tears streaking her face, Eve half-turned to me, as we heard from the darkness beyond an angry ocean, felt the salt-spray against our skin, “For the light to cleanse the darkness, I must die. These wings have never been used; so I don’t know how to fly... not even a little.” She spread her wings and stepped off the cliff.