Monday, 19 February 2018


Now then folks, this piece is going to be my entry to Black Library's open submission, which you should definitely check out if you're at all interested in the lore of Warhammer 40k or Age of Sigmar. The competition requires a five-hundred word sample of a story set in either of the two settings, mine is set in the grim-darkness of the far future and aims to highlight the brutality of the Imperium. Although the Imperium is the protagonist in the 40k setting, they certainly aren't what you could consider as 'good guys' and are often as savage, if not more so, than the other factions. My piece focuses on the (short) experience of a survivor of an army destroyed by Imperial forces in a cataclysimic battle, hence the title.


The carnage was awful to behold, men and machines lay in bloody ruin as far as the eye could see; a vista of death stretching eternally to the horizon. In the distance, huge pyres released great columns of greasy smoke into the air, which mixed with the dense haze of the planet’s atmosphere to cast a hellish ochre pall over the landscape. It was like looking at one of the ancient sepia picts that dated back to the pre-history of humanity, though the subject of this image could be no other domain than hell.

Sudden vibrations and coarse shouting heralded the arrival of the enemy; three of their cavalry auxiliary, mounted on grim steeds bulging with artificial implants and stim-injectors. They were clearly chasing something, but what?

Ah, there!

A survivor of the defeated army struggling through the mire of mud, oil and blood, frantically trying to outrun his pursuers. Slipping and sliding down a slope, scrabbling and clawing at the opposing incline, but to no avail - a black spear plunged into the man’s back, transfixing him to the ridge he had desperately sought to climb in his wild bid for freedom. To his credit, he did not scream. Well, not until the soldiers reached him. Their leader retrieved his weapon, the cruel barbs tearing through soft flesh, bringing forth terrible screams that were abruptly cut short by a swift downward strike of 
 the spear.

Once the warriors had moved on, distracted by another victim for their cruel sport, no doubt; Khavel slowly raised his head to survey his surroundings. No further survivors were to be found in the local vicinity, that was clear. Many more of the mounted death squads roved the battlefield, quickly impaling anything that moved, and the harsh cracks of pistol fire revealed a slower purge of the wounded, conducted by staggered rows of infantry. Escape. That was his only priority now, no tactical retreat or heroic last charge against the terrible invader; no cunning ambush or bold sabotage. No, his only chance of salvation lay with evasion and flight.

He crawled forward, nudging aside the corpses of fallen warriors, both friend and foe. The cursed symbol of his enemy glinted dully from the cuirasses of their fallen. Pausing to wipe blood from his face, he suddenly stopped, alert. There was someone nearby, a movement, a sound. Drawing his knife, the only weapon left to him now, he wriggled through the mud.


He couldn’t believe it, his squad vox-officer still lived, grievously wounded though he was. Slithering alongside his former comrade, he opened his mouth to speak and was instantly sprayed with fragments of bone, blood and grey-matter as Nahros’ head exploded, crushed by an enormous ceramite boot. By the Gods! He had fought alongside gene-bred giants, but this was something else entirely. Shifting his head to look upon his death, he caught a glimpse of that hated symbol, that burnished golden eagle, emblazoned across the giant’s chest.

Sunday, 4 February 2018


Now then folks, a quick hundred-word story to get me thinking. These are darn hard to write, but really help one think about what's necessary and will have a meaningful impact and what is, essentially, chaff.


We’re running.

Feet pounding against hard, cracked mud; breathing ragged gasps torn from heaving chests. We can’t stop, can’t slow down, can’t even turn our heads to look behind; if we do, we know we’ll be lost. I stumble, but you save me, grab my arm as it swings wildly in a vain attempt to find balance. I scream at you to keep moving, keep free, but we both know you can’t leave me. Faster. 

This time you fall, thudding into the dirt. I hear your cry to keep moving, keep free and we both know I can leave you.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

The Rains.

Now then folks, I've started this blog to aid me on my journey back into writing. The majority of these posts will be little shorts, or me bouncing ideas around, though I may branch into longer musings as I progress. I'll be using writing competitions as motivators as well, so expect to see a few links for those popping up.

The following is the first prose I've written for a few years now, it's just over five hundred words and is just a bit of a test run really. I'll either cut it down to five hundred or keep running with it, but we'll see.

The Rains:

It had been following me for at least an hour now, of that I was sure. Beyond that, however, I knew nothing. The sheeting rain hid everything more than about four yards away from me as I slowly crept through the hedgerows, pausing occasionally to listen. 



Could I hear breathing?

No. Just my imagination, whatever was out there was too careful to allow me to hear it. I resumed by progress through the deluge, following the contours of the land, aiming for the low rise I knew to be in the vicinity. I hoped that upon reaching higher ground I might be able to see a little further, regain my bearings and, perhaps, gain a knowledge of my hunter.

Besides the hissing of the rain, the world is silent and still, no birds sing in the solitary, withered trees that loom forth like gallows from the mist; no mice or rabbits rustling in the grass at the base of the hedgerows that crisscross this patchwork land. This unnatural silence and the tension of knowing I was constantly being watched by unseen eyes was taking its toll on me; frustration rose to the fore as I tripped over an exposed root and tumbled down into the gully left by an old, long-dry dyke. Cursing, I pulled myself back up onto my feet, wincing a little as pain flared in my lower back and knee, old injuries that refused to leave me be, always returning in damp weather such as this, reminding me of my age.

The ground was growing steeper now and, as I’d predicted, the curtain of rain was pulling back ever so slightly, gifting me an extra few feet of visibility, though of my hunter there was no sign. It was still there though, always just out of sight, out of earshot, never revealing itself. Though it was certainly there, I could feel it. Up ahead of me I could see the outline of a small building materialise from out of the rain, perhaps it was a crofter’s hut, or shepherd’s cottage?  No such luck, upon reaching the crest of the hill, I discovered the building to be nought but a dilapidated ruin, clearly left in disuse for many a year. Regardless, it had a roof and four walls and no matter the gaps in the stones and gaping doorway, it was more than enough shelter for me to gain a respite from the ceaseless rain. I sank to the ground, my back leaning against the crumbling old wall facing the doorway. A voice inside was screaming at me to continue, to forge a path through the endless grey vista of rain and escape my pursuer, but I knew there was no point. Whatever was hunting me had followed me effortlessly for miles, consistently evading detection and never leaving any evidence as to its nature and now I was spent. I doubt I could have escaped it in my youth. Fought it? Yes, of course, I would willingly enter combat with anything that lived back then. Would I have won? An interesting question, but I’m inclined to say yes, though that may be the echoes of the foolish pride of youth that still live within me.