Tastes of the darkness #1: Isolation

Welcome to the inaugural edition of ‘Tastes of the darkness,’ the blog carnival of horror flash fiction. Prepare to be amazed and a little disturbed by the stories we have seen on the Blogosphere this fortnight. This edition’s theme focused around the idea of isolation, but in doing so we have removed this isolation writers face by creating this network.

The Pot,’ Anthony J. Rapino – The silver cover jostles nervously as steam escapes the pot; sharp overhead lights glint and Samantha watches. Her left hand grips a stained potholder…

Beneath memory,’ Benjamin Solah – Where was I? I panicked. It was dark. My ears rang and the damp air reeked…

Isolation,’ Melly AllKinds – “Don’t do this,” Jacob said. The knife on his throat was cold and sharp. “Don’t do this,” he said again. “Please.”…

Below,’ César Puch – The sounds wake him. A shout, a cry, a chuckle. He opens his eyes at first, not sure what’s going on, then sits up with a start. A familiar cold wave creeps up his back. He shudders…

Mechanical Creatures,’ Fred Charles – I just snorted a line of No-Doze. / Do you believe that? / I tried mashing the tiny pills with a spoon but that didn’t work so I covered them with a piece of paper towel and crushed them with a rubber mallet…

Spread the word by announcing the carnival on your blog or forum. Use the banner and button that can be found here.

The host for next fortnight’s edition is yet to be confirmed. If you would like to host the next edition, please email me at benjamin@benjaminsolah.com. Check the ‘Tastes of the darkness’ website for updates on the next host. In the meantime, send your submissions to me. The next theme is betrayal.

Update: Jayne d’Arcy is hosting the second edition at the awesome new writing blog, Third Eye Writers. Send your flash piece’s link to etherian@gmail.com. Also, stop by her blog and leave a comment, don’t forget to tell her you sent your sub to make sure she gets it.

horror, fiction, flash fiction, carnival, blog carnival, isolation

Beneath Memory

This is my contribution to ‘Tastes of the darkness.’ This was rewritten a few times and I learnt some lessons from it. Namely, reading Silence of the lambs does affect your writing voice and it doesn’t help at all. I had to go read something else to get a taste for good writing again. I hope you get something from it.


Where was I? I panicked. It was dark. My ears rang and the damp air reeked.

I swung my arms around to find my way and wrapped my knuckles against wood. I tried to breathe clearly, but between panic and the air, it was impossible. I felt I was suffocating.

How did I get here?

Memory eluded me as I felt around. Wood surrounded me in a box and I shot my arms up to find an opening. I only wrapped my knuckles again, but above me, the wood was loose. I tested it more and it moved.

I stretched my head to the coming light as I moved the lid aside. Dirt littered my face.

When I wiped it aside, I looked to the sky. The dark clouds offered little light and I still couldn’t remember.

Desperate, I climbed to the surface; mud smeared my clothes.

I stood on an empty landscape full with dirt and rubble. Concrete squares jutted in a semi-ordered form from the ground. Tombstones, I thought.

I looked to the hole and picked the broken piece of concrete from beside it. I couldn’t read what it said. They were just blurred lines.

Daddy, Daddy, read this to me.

I can’t. I don’t have my glasses.

How did I get here? Memory came rushing back.

“Miska!” I called out to my daughter and she didn’t respond. Had they taken her too, as they did to me? I sat against a wall, weak and my life bled through my fingertips. And then her screaming pierced my ears, followed by gunfire.

I looked at my hands. They were ice white and I knew I was dead. Something caught the corner of my eye. I picked up the book, Miska’s book and took it back with me. Maybe she would come back to me, so I could read it to her. And so I waited.

writing, fiction, prose, horror, flash fiction, death, war, grave, memory

Hadeon therapy session

I’ve been doing some thinking about Hadeon, whist working on various short stories and my flash fiction piece for ‘Tastes of the darkness.’ I haven’t been writing towards it, just thinking over various ideas for the continuing story. I definitely think I’ll have to do a complete rewrite of the novel. I’m completely fine with that. I’m wondering if I should now consider the current draft as an exploratory draft, by just writing and seeing where it takes me, whether right or wrong. That way I can get an idea of the real and complete story. Some people see writing with the intent of starting over, a waste. I’ve done this before with short stories, I do it now with short stories, but for a novel, it seems a little daunting. What do you guys think?

On the plus side, seeing the novel in this light could totally remove the inner critic and any apprehension to exploring new ideas in order to move the story forward. It could me allow new freedom to just write without the feeling that the words are absolute. Of course, words are never absolute, but in your mind, you often don’t think that. In terms of the actual storyline for Hadeon, there are some tentative ideas there, born out of some flash fiction writing and other stuff.

Hadeon, novel writing, planning, fiction, horror, writing

AW down thanks to a bitter agent

I’ve been frequenting AbsoluteWrite.com since only recently. Their forums and articles are priceless. And now they’re gone thanks to one Barbara Bauer. Basically, Bauer wasn’t happy that she was on a list of the twenty worst agents that was posted to the site. She rang up and complained, the host freaked out at all the legal ramifications and shut the site down. For a full wrap, click here. A whole site with a massive member base is now struggling to find a new host thanks to Bauer. And so, bloggers from AW have Google bombed Barbara Bauer with a link to the list so when you type Barbara Bauer into Google, the list comes up. Sucked in.

Update: Spread the word by posting the news about Barbara Bauer and use the below technorati tag in the post. This tag is one of the hottest on the site in the past hour.

BarbaraBauer, agents, scams, AbsoluteWrite

Late night sub and musing

I was in my usual ‘lazy, not writing’ mood tonight. I was browsing through forums and reading bits and pieces. I frequent the Carnival of Wicked Writers, and so, it led me to the forums of Meat Grinder Press today. And I was looking at their forum tonight and it said there were still a few spots left in their upcoming issue.

I was inspired!

I forgot to tell you, ‘An abused mind,’ was rejected from Wicked Karnival a little while ago, but I don’t like to dwell on these things. Anyway, I opened up ‘An abused mind,’ and tinkered with it, fixed some minor errors from the last edit and sent it off to Meat Grinder Press. Now, the waiting game begins…which means I should probably write to pass the time.

And yes, I’m aware of the time. I’m going to bed soon, I promise ;) In other news, I got a job today. Coles Myer accepted me and I’m waiting to be placed in a store. Go me!

horror, short stories, submissions, magazines, Meat Grinder Press, Wicked Karnival, job, Coles Myer

Nuclear power: NOT an option

Howard wants full-blooded nuke debate, smh.com.au

Prime Minster John Howard has called for a full-blooded nuclear debate in Australia during an overseas junket. He’s spent a ridiculous amount of money to schmooze with other international ruling class fuckwits like George W Bush and the new leader of Canada. And I bet most of my friends over in the US didn’t even know the dickhead was there. How funny is that? He’s spent something like thirty thousand dollars a night in accommodation and like two hundred and twenty thousand dollars for travel. What a waste of fucking money.

Anyway, whilst wasting our money, he was bragging with this ruling class fuckwit from Canada, who also has too much Uranium in his hands, he was saying how we should consider Nuclear power. Now, that’s even more insane than wasting money on a fucking holiday. Nuclear power is NOT an option now and never will be. Worse, Labor looks like they’ll be back flipping on their stance too despite their enviro poster boy, Garret registering strong words in the media about it.

Nuclear power will never be an option because the risk of meltdown is something too great to even risk. We’ve just had the anniversary of Chernobyl and yet people still see this as viable. The meltdown risk, as well as the problem of waste, makes this option null and void. The answer to the energy crisis is simple. Spend more money on research for truly safe and renewable energy like solar power. The likely hood of Howard getting away with this is slim. The anti-nuclear movement is one of the strongest we’ve seen out of any political movements. And it looks like its revival is imminent – and I can’t wait!

energy, nuclear power, Howard, Bush

Velocity – Dean Koontz

Velocity, UK trade paperbackDean Koontz never fails to grip his readers into a complex and deeply addictive plot. ‘Velocity’ is, of course, no different. Koontz’s style is both literary and contemporary. He doesn’t fluff up his description to sound good, but in places, his language has a beautiful quality to it.

The novel is about a bartender, Billy Wiles, after he finds a note stuck in the windscreen of his SUV. It reads, “If you don’t take this note to the police and get them involved, I will kill a lovely blonde schoolteacher. If you do take this note to the police, I will instead kill an elderly woman active in charity work. You have four hours to decide. The choice is yours.” This note starts a downward slope of bad choices that get Billy Wiles into more trouble than he can handle. The unbelievable situation allows from some believable, but deeply disturbing actions. You both sympathize with Billy as he is given choices that don’t deviate from the absurd and you also hate him for the choices made.

The other characters in ‘Velocity’ are also compelling and add to the intricacy of the story. The only flaw is the ending. It doesn’t totally take hold of the situation the story sets up. The climax was an anti-climax and I didn’t feel the closure needed – and it doesn’t even leave an opening for a sequel because all the ends are tied up, just rather dully.

Koontz, Velocity, horror, review, book