Callum

Blocked

Completed today (June 21st) as part of World Writing Day

“Bit of a cliché, isn’t it?” My worst critic said. I sighed.

“Look it’s all I can think of. Anyway what would you know?”

“Just writing about Writer’s bloody Block. How original and bold.” The comment was oozing with enough sarcasm to kick off a fight in a nunnery.

“Oh, that’s an idea there. What about fighting nuns?” The deafening silence I got back was enough of a response. “Alright nevermind then.” My gaze drawn back to the blinking cursor.

“Well you’d better write something. Make it funny too. That’s the stuff they like. Your other stuff is well shit.” My critic smiled.

I keep hitting the keys hoping my random word choices will miraculously apear on the screen.

“You spelt appear wrong. Two p’s.”

“So, your gonna help now? Why the change of heart?”

“Oh, you are still utterly awful, I just felt embarrassed for you.”

I turned away trying to drown out Mr. Critical with more key pressing. Random words and half formed ideas take centre stage in a great circus of second rate fiction. Sci-Fi gets blasted, Slice of Life Drama gets cut and well the Romance got told to fuck off. Mr. Critic certainly had his perfect comment lined up for whatever I typed out on the screen.

“Hey, you can’t blame me.” Mr Critic complained. “It’s all your own fault. If you wrote good stuff, no one would complain.”

“You are the only one that complains. Let me write my strange meta-rant thing.”

“Ooooooh, someone’s defensive.

HEY!

Stop looking at the cat video and get back to work.”

“But he’s really cute! Look at him he can play a keyboard!” I say, a little too excitedly.

This time Mr. Critic sighs.

“Fine, I’ll get on it.” More key tapping, more random gibberish.

“God, it’s really gone off the rails hasn’t it? Best put an end to it.”

“Sure whatever, how should I do it?”

“I dunno, I’m just a figment of your imagination, who thinks you are a shite writer.”

“Oh thanks, that really helps.”

“Shut it. Just say it’s all a dream.”

“Bit of a cliché, isn’t it?”

“That’s my line. Just rip off the Sopranos and end it mid-sent…”

Dinner at the Manor

Dinner at the Manor

The Fifteenth Lord of Stultshire, sat in his drawing room, watching the motorcars pull up outside of his historic abode. His family tree was lain bare on his gravel pathway leading to the mansion. Sons mingled with Daughters, Aunts with Uncles, obscure cousins no one seemed to know. There they all headed towards the ancient manor house, the epicentre of this branching network. He had summoned them there, he had an important issue to discuss. The inheritance. His Lordship was an exceptionally old fellow. Now it was time to arrange what would happen on… well, he didn’t like to dwell on it.

His Lordship caught a glimpse of his half-reflected face in the window. His features now exaggerated by time. His “distinguished” nose was now a reddened swollen mess. His brows were a thick tangle of black and white hair, almost like they were compensating for the lack of any on his scalp. Deeps wrinkles snaked across his plump face, he had a life of decadence to thank for that.

The bell rang from the entrance, his loyal staff eagerly answered the door. He could hear the footsteps of his faithful butler, Lawson, as he approached the drawing room. The door slowly creaked open.

“Your lordship, they are here.”

“Good.”

His Lordship rose slowly from his seat, his joints grinding and groaning as he did so. He slowly turned to the door held open by Lawson, who was standing bolt upright like one of those statues from the parlour, or was that in the smoking room. His Lordship had never been one to ask for help. That was something that had been thrust into his lap. The proverbial silver spoon was permanently held between his lips. He made his way past and headed down the stairs slowly taking his time. Awaiting at the bottom was a group of some of the most influential people in the country. Politicians, writers, actors. They all bowed down to him. His Lordship made his way to the main dining hall as a gaggle of desperately clingy young men eagerly held doors open for their beloved uncle or grandfather or whatever. They were licking his boots as he made his way to his seat. There was a brawl going on as minor relatives eagerly held his seat back for him. He took his seat at the head of the long thin dining table. Before him on either side stretched relatives as far as the eye could see. They were all eagerly discussing any slander they could. So and So got his maid pregnant, What’s his name preferred gentlemanly company and old thingy was still as mad as a box of frogs. God how much energy must they waste in this endless gibberish.

Finally, the food arrived. A cornucopia of perfectly cooked nourishments was laid before them. His Lordship’s extended family wasted no time as they quickly devoured anything that was laid before them. They were almost animalistic in their hunger. His Lordship could swear he could see the salvia drool from their mouths like a hound’s. The feast continued, course after course of some of the most lavish food imaginable. Strange new food from the far flung corners of the earth quickly devoured with gusto. The raw greed in these people’s hearts, laid bare for all to behold. The feast continued. Drink, drink and more drink. Wine, liquor, anything was eagerly drank down with great aplomb. Bacchus himself would be shocked at the level of alcohol that was easily imbibed by his extended family. The discussions grew rowdier, louder and more salacious with each glass. Thankfully, the meal finally drew to a close. Now it was time for what they all really wanted to sink their teeth into. His Lordship slowly forced himself to his feet.

“I have an announcement.” His Lordship croaked. The dynasty looked on, eyes intently focused on him. The drooling was back, greater than any food could conjure up.

“I have decided who should inherit the estate when I’m gone.” Insincere cries of shock came from various points at the table. Some insisted His Lordship had a long life left, all the while secretly hoping for him to leap off the mortal coil as soon as possible.

“Well, I look at this family and do you know what I see?” His Lordship paused for dramatic effect. “I see a horde of fair weather friends. A group of cads, scoundrels and vagabonds.” Murmurs of slightly confused laughter rippled across the table. Surely this was some kind of farce? “I can say with an absolute certainty that none of you reprobates deserves this position of honour and great wealth. Thus, I’ve decided to bequeath the Lordship of Stultshire to, my beloved butler, Lawson.”

The room was deathly silent, until a loud metallic clattering could be heard as the most powerful butler in the land collapsed in shock. Like boxers set to work by the ringing of a bell, a full blown kerfuffle sprang to life. Desperate pleas for compensation were mixed with angry threats all aimed at His Lordship. His Lordship calmly turned from the table as the anger and accusations of his family began to turn in on itself. Each member claiming that it was someone else’s fault and not their own. His Lordship continued up to his room, as the commotion downstairs continued. He took his seat and watched as the family feud spilled out of the manor and back towards the cars. Drunken shouting echoed across the estate, as bandy legs wearily weaved their way down the path. His Lordship had a chuckle to himself. That’ll teach them.

The First Day

The beginning was boring
Sure, it was fun,
Everything was new,
Different and shiny
Then came the work.
It was fun to begin with
Then the monsters came out.
Those black twisted souls

It kept on going
No help from those above,
Cries for help reach deaf ears.
Suddenly, scenarios change
New places, new faces
Better people
Change in me though.
Awkward

Lots of changes,
Responsible now,
New places again
No friendly faces.
Darkness covers me,
No way out
Suddenly a glimmer of light.
A new day is dawning

The Launch

Here come The Chatterers again, Sebastian thought to himself. They were standing with their silly little planks of wood, staring at him. Sebastian wondered why they stared so much. He was just lying down, having a pleasant day dream. They’d already seen that before, several times. They were chattering away excitedly too, as always. They often seemed to do that. One of them was coming towards Sebastian. His plank of wood clutched in one arm, the other rubbing furiously across it. They seemed to do that a lot too. When Sebastian had first arrived in this new place, these white-coated outsiders had been fascinating to him. He’d never seen anything like them before. Now of course, they were there all the time. Their constant chattering is how he decided to name them. It was very boring in here. There were just a couple of trees and some grass, nothing like where he used to live. There were these strange barriers too. Big white cliffs, not made from stone though. They were some weird material, Sebastian had never seen before. He didn’t much care for them. Ugly things they were. The only punctuation of the white barrier was a hole that The Chatterers would come through. He longed to roam free like he had in the past. The one closest to Sebastian turned to the others and chattered some more. He reached out and grabbed for Seb’s hand. Sebastian let him do it. The Chatterers loved it when he did his little trick, normally giving him something to eat. They clearly thought he was pretty smart. They didn’t know the half of it. Seb let himself be led out of the place he’d been in for the longest time, so long he could scarcely remember when he’d first arrived. They went through the opening in the barrier and out of that place.

The other side of the hole had more of those barriers. The ground was shockingly cold and hard. Sebastian had never seen anything like it before. Each footstep they took echoed around the space. They led him along to another opening and into another place. There were strange objects in the room. Seb had never seen anything like them before, strange parts jutted out of them. A whole group of the chatterers were waiting for him. They didn’t have the same white coverings as the others. Some had dark colourings, with weird shiny colourful bits on their chests. Seb wondered if they were females trying to attract a mate. Seb had never even seen a female Chatterer before. The group were all chattering excitedly. They were very pleased to see Sebastian apparently. He couldn’t say the feeling was mutual. Seb was then inflicted with a prolonged assault of jabbing, measuring, poking and general medical unpleasantness. How long it lasted he couldn’t say, he’d long since given up trying to tell the time in this god awful place. They finally stopped. One of them was walking over clutching something in hands. It was some sort of leaf maybe, Seb wasn’t sure. It was about the size of Seb, so it must be a pretty big tree. A very unusual colour too, Seb hadn’t seen an orange leaf before! The shaky one was now at Sebastian. He stood for a second and grabbed for Seb’s leg. Sebastian was understandable startled by this and promptly smacked the thing right in his quivering jaw. What followed next was a little hazy. Seb remembered a lot of noise. Arms were flailing wildly. Where they his arms? He wasn’t sure anymore. He remembered more of them rushing into the place. He remembered the other thing, the stabbing in his neck. It was painful, but at the same time, it had felt good. An immense feeling of bliss washed over him. That’s when he’d decided to take a nap.

When Seb woke up after what felt like half an eternity, he found himself somewhere new. It was cold. It was a circular tube made of another weird material. Had they banished him here? Looking down he realized the strange orange leaf was encircling him. It had a total grasp on him. Maybe, it was more than a leaf. There was a small bit of light coming from something on the roof. He couldn’t see the sun though. There was a strange noise, like something rustling the leaves. Seb tried to look around but without much luck, the orange thing had him well in place. He could hear one of them chattering. He didn’t like it. Sebastian couldn’t see this Chatterer. It was making him nervous. The chattering stopped. Seb could feel his heart beating frantically in his chest, long forgotten memories came flooding back. Horrific images of his old life came flooding back, how could he use them to help. The whole place started to quake and shudder. There was a distant roar, like a tidal wave somewhere below him. He hoped he was high enough up. The Chatterer was back. This time though he wasn’t chattering. He was slowly saying something at a regular interval. The rumbling was getting worse and worse. Sebastian felt as though his skin would melt off his bones as the whole place juddered. The Chatterer stopped. Seb then felt the space rising up along with him. The whole place was lifting. Seb was screaming and howling desperate for help but the voice was long gone. He was going so fast. He’d never moved like this in his life. It was so wrong. His brain was screaming at him to fix it, not that he could do much. He could feel some half digested food rising up his gullet. A mess of fruit sloshed out of his mouth and floated in the air away from him. Seb’s heart was racing faster now. Where was he? What had he deserved to be tortured like this? Were they trying to make him crazy? Seb eventually blacked out.

When he awoke the shuddering had stopped. He could feel his own vomit plastered onto him as some still floated around the place. He felt weightless, like he was in water. It was amazing. He wished the orange thing would let him go. He was floating off his seat slightly and could see that it wasn’t the orange thing holding at all, but some terrifying black snake that had coiled around him and his seat. Something wasn’t right about it though. It was too still. Maybe it was dead. Great, Seb thought to himself, I’m floating in a weird place made of some weird material, with a weird orange thing clinging onto him and now a weird black snakey thing too. This was not a typical day at all. Seb yawned. The Chatters had always liked that too. He was feeling very drowsy but he’d slept so much already. Well, it had been a stressful day or however long it had been. He was actually feeling kind of light headed. It was like that time he saw one of the Chatterers drinking something in this see through thing. It was a browny golden colour, and when the chatterer was distracted he took a drink of it. He’d felt pretty good after that. Seb yawned again. The Chatterer had been so surprised. Another yawn. Wow, he was feeling kind of weird now. He couldn’t describe it. What was it like? What… When did he start feeling like that? Like what? Who was he talking to? Where did the Chatterers go? Yawn. He could feel his eyes beginning to flutter. Maybe just a little snooze. Yeah, that was a good idea. He would wake up fine. He was sure of it.

Social

I see them, full of grace,
They glide with ease,
No fear in their face.

I watch them from outside,
Still and alone,
I want to go hide.

Occasionally one comes near,
Terror seeps in.
I cower in fear

Internally, I scream and shout,
joke, laugh and quip,
Can’t force it out

They scoff, get up and leave,
Slip away
I silently grieve

In the confines of my head,
different,
things unsaid are said.

Tell myself the usual lie,
“Next time’ll be different,
Just give it a try”

I hate my stupid anxiety
Who’d ever bother with me?

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