FLASH FICTION FRIDAY: Horse | #flashfiction #freefiction

Sharing from my other site Days with the Undead

HORSE

It neighed softly, fear flickering in its eyes. The poor animal was scared and with just cause.

A horde ringed its paddock, each of them straining against the wire fence, trying to get in.

It circled the inner sanctum, nervous energy twitching its muscles as it pranced. The undead surrounding it keened desperately for the meal only a few feet away.

The fence bowed slightly before snapping back, propelling part of the gathered group backward. With the wall of bodies behind them, they snapped forward again, the tension on the fence finally causing it to buckle inward. Like molasses, they flooded into the pasture, each of them slowed by the sheer number clamouring to get in.

As the undead sought out the entrance to their prey, the animal saw its chance.

With hands scrabbling to catch hold, it bolted in the opposite direction, barely clearing the fence as it jumped. Hands continued to grab at the fuzz-covered muscle as it mowed down any who stood in its way.

Clearing a copse of trees, it was brought up short. The numbers in front greatly outweighed those behind. Flight took over again and it bolted through the middle, only to be stopped by the sheer number of bodies packed tightly together.

Within moments it fell, its attempt at escape over.

Copyright © 2013 Julianne Snow

 

FRIDAY FICTION: The Event | #FreeFiction

The Event

prints.jpgThey came from the sea, leaving evidence of their arrival in the sand. Millions, perhaps even billions of them in an organized display of power and existence across the beaches of the world. At first no one truly understood why they chose to reveal themselves to the human world, their existence having been so well hidden in the depths of the oceans. But nevertheless, they came, dragging their scaly tails, and smiling through their reptilian-like mouths. Their grasp of our languages was astounding, further evidence they had been planning their relocation for quite some time. We had no real idea what their agenda was, but in time it all became very clear.

Governments gathered to discuss the event—each of them worried about what a collective show of force would do to their popularity in the polls. So far the veritable army hadn’t displayed any aggression, only asking for equal rights as a sentient race on the planet from the shanty towns that had been hastily built to house them. Pro-inclusion groups sprung up like weeds, picketing the steps of all the major governments, demanding those rights be granted. How could they have known? How could any of us have known?

New laws and charters were drawn up, public opinion amounting to more than common sense. They were not deemed a threat by the scientists and consultants at the UN, so it only seemed fair as the reams of information flowed freely between us and them. They helped us to understand the sea better than ever before. But with it came a hefty price. Only a few years after they walked out of the water, they’d found a way to turn the tables, enslaving us. Now we serve them. And when our bodies cannot work any longer, we become dinner.

Copyright © 2014 Julianne Snow

INDIE SPOTLIGHT: Emmy Nation: Undercover Suffragette | #Equality #StandUpForWhatYouBelieveIn

Emmy Nation:
Undercover Suffragette

L. Davis Monroe

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A fascinating glimpse into often-overlooked aspects of women’s history, Emmy Nation: Undercover Suffragette follows a young typewriter girl as she struggles to survive on her own in 1913 London.

Emmy’s wages are far from sufficient to feed and clothe her properly, so when she’s offered a better-paying job with Scotland Yard she doesn’t hesitate to accept—even though it means spying on the seemingly harmless Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). She soon meets Edith, a wealthy suffragette, who promises to show Emmy the ropes.

When a man from her past takes over the Scotland Yard task force and questions her loyalty, Emmy accepts a risky mission from the WSPU to prove her value to both sides, only to wind up endangering herself and Edith and wondering for what or whom she’s actually fighting.

Honest, yet hopeful, about the hardships facing women in the early twentieth century, this story honors the human struggle for equality and serves as an ongoing reminder of the importance of standing up for your beliefs.

Available on:

Amazon:

US | UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | Japan | Mexico | Brazil |India | The Netherlands

Amazon Print:

US | UK | Canada | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | Japan | Mexico | Brazil |India

***

81wudiwok9l-_ux250_ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Lia Davis Munro holds a master’s degree with a focus on women’s suffrage theatre and works in theatre and dance in Toronto. She has published articles in the Canadian Theatre Review, Mondo Magazine and Excalibur: York University Newspaper and has worked as a dramaturge, director and producer in the independent theatre scene in Toronto since 2012. Emmy Nation: Undercover Suffragette is her first novel. She is currently writing the second book in The Suffragette Nation series and continues to connect with readers regularly through her blog, Discovering/Writing Life.

A REVIEW FROM MY COMMUTE: Diary — Chuck Palahniuk

So what have I been listening to lately? I’ve been on a bit of a weird fiction kick and Diary by Chuck Palahniuk certainly did not disappoint…

diaryMisty Wilmot has had it. Once a promising young artist, she’s now stuck on an island ruined by tourism, drinking too much and working as a waitress in a hotel. Her husband, a contractor, is in a coma after a suicide attempt, but that doesn’t stop his clients from threatening Misty with lawsuits over a series of vile messages they’ve found on the walls of houses he remodeled.

Suddenly, though, Misty finds her artistic talent returning as she begins a period of compulsive painting. Inspired but confused by this burst of creativity, she soon finds herself a pawn in a larger conspiracy that threatens to cost hundreds of lives. What unfolds is a dark, hilarious story from America’s most inventive nihilist, and Palahniuk’s most impressive work to date.

I really enjoyed this tale from Palahniuk—it was so utterly bizarre but made perfect sense. It was horrorific in a humourously physchological way and I loved each moment of it. Told in diary format, it felt a little odd since it wasn’t completely told from the first person perspective as one might expect but for some reason, against the backdrop of the interconnected story lines, it works. Definitely worth the read if you enjoy a little strange with your horror fiction!

Rating: 4.5 stars

A REVIEW FROM MY COMMUTE: Everything’s Eventual — Stephen King

So what do I have for you today from my commute? One of the short stories from Stephen King’s Everything’s Eventual: 5 Dark Tales

everything19-year-old high-school dropout Dinky Earnshaw explains that he’s got a good job now. He used to be a clerk at the Supr Savr, where he worked with morons and was relentlessly bullied by an aggressive dimwit named Skipper. But now Skipper’s dead and Dinky’s got a new job, where the main perks are that he gets his own house and his own car and virtually anything he asks for, including CDs that have not been released yet. He also gets a small wad of cash each week, provided he doesn’t look for the people who drop it through his mail slot, and that he remembers to destroy or throw away any money left over at the end of the week. He gets rid of his excess change by dropping it down the gutter by his house, and he puts his bills in the garbage disposal, each week.

As it turns out, Dinky has a certain gift. He has the ability to mentally influence people by drawing complicated designs or pictures, in a way that he does not completely understand. This is illustrated when he recalls that, as a child, he (semi-unknowingly) used this ability to drive to suicide a dog that tormented him on his way home from school. After Skipper humiliated him every day for years, Dinky makes the decision to use this power to kill Skipper, or more accurately to make Skipper kill himself.

Dinky is discovered by a man named Mr. Sharpton, who claims to work for Trans Corporation, an organization that searches across the world for people with such talents. Dinky is recruited to kill very specific targets by e-mailing them these designs that he creates on an Apple computer. He is, in return, given a life that seems ideal, complete with a house and other benefits. Mr. Sharpton tells Dinky that the people he is ordered to kill are wicked, horrible criminals that the world is better off without.

For a time, Dinky is happy with his new position, living life in a semi-mindless bliss; however, when Dinky finds an article in the newspaper about one of the individuals whom he has killed (a seemingly innocent old newspaper columnist) he begins to feel guilty for what he has done. After researching more into his other victims, Dinky realizes that the Trans Corporation has been using him to assassinate political dissidents and alternative thinkers. As the story ends, he is planning his escape from the Trans Corporation, but not before sending one final email to Mr. Sharpton, his recruiter.

While listening to this story, I was captivated. In part, it could have been the story itself but it also may have been due to the fact it was read by Justin Long. I recommend this one if you’re looking for something with a little supernatural element.

Rating: 5 stars

A REVIEW FROM MY COMMUTE: Autopsy Room Four — Stephen King

So what do I have for you today from my commute? One of the short stories from Stephen King’s Everything’s Eventual: 5 Dark Tales

Autopsyroom4.jpgHoward Cottrell awakes from some form of unconsciousness to find himself laid out in an autopsy room. As the doctors prepare to begin, Howard struggles to come to grips with what is happening.

After realizing that he is not dead, he deduces that he is in a paralysed state, and struggles to somehow inform the doctors of this fact before they cut into him.

While prepping Cottrell’s body, the doctor in charge, Katie Arlen, finds shrapnel wounds around his nether regions. While she is absent-mindedly examining these, another doctor rushes into the room to inform them that Howard is still alive. Katie looks down – to find herself holding Howard’s erect penis.

In a humorous afternote, Howard explains that he was possibly bitten by a very rare snake, causing the deathlike paralysis. Another one of the doctors discovered that same snake in his golf bag and was promptly bitten. It is presumed that he will recover. Howard adds that he and Katie dated for a while, but parted due to an embarrassing issue in the boudoir: he was impotent unless she was wearing rubber gloves.

I really enjoyed this short tale. I think my enjoyment stems from my own fear of waking up paralyzed on an autopsy table and they say that pleasure and fear can run parallel through your body. It was well told and the visuals I got while listening were enough to make me shiver. Highly recommended.

Rating: 5 stars

 

 

A REVIEW FROM MY COMMUTE: Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

And so it goes…

Today’s review from my commute is Kurt Vonnegut’s bizarre masterpiece Slaughterhouse Five

slaughterhouse

Unstuck in time, Billy Pilgrim, Vonnegut’s shattered survivor of the Dresden bombing, relives his life over and over again under the gaze of aliens; he comes at last to some understanding of the human comedy. The basis of George Roy’s great 1972 film and perhaps the signature student’s novel in the 1960’s embracing protest and the absurdity of war.

I read Slaughterhouse Five for the first time in high school (many more moons ago than I care to admit…) and was struck by the subtle nuances of protest under the umbrella of time travel and science fiction. The story at times seems hard to follow but the over-arcing themes and plot line always work themselves out to create a picture of bizarre fantasticness.

I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting the story of Billy Pilgrim in audiobook format and would recommend that everyone take a chance on Slaughterhouse Five if they haven’t already.

My Rating: 5 out of 5

A REVIEW FROM MY COMMUTE: Think of a Numb3r – John Verdon

Okay so what happens to the audiobooks I can’t finish?

I return them to the library and think of how to best portray what I actually did listen to. This is going to be one of those reviews and admittedly there are a few that are going to end up like this. The reason could be something as simple as the voice of the reader just didn’t gel with me or I didn’t find the story itself particularly interesting. 

One of those books is Think of a Numb3r by John Verdon. Based on the reviews, it seems to have been a great read for many. Here’s the synopsis so you can see why I was first interested in reading it…

ThinkofaNumberAn extraordinary fiction debut, Think of a Number is an exquisitely plotted novel of suspense that grows relentlessly darker and more frightening as its pace accelerates, forcing its deeply troubled characters to moments of startling self-revelation.
 
Arriving in the mail over a period of weeks are taunting letters that end with a simple declaration, “Think of any number…picture it…now see how well I know your secrets.”  Amazingly, those who comply find that the letter writer has predicted their random choice exactly.  For Dave Gurney, just retired as the NYPD’s top homicide investigator and forging a new life with his wife, Madeleine, in upstate New York, the letters are oddities that begin as a diverting puzzle but quickly ignite a massive serial murder investigation.
 
What police are confronted with is a completely baffling killer, one who is fond of rhymes filled with threats and warnings, whose attention to detail is unprecedented, and who has an uncanny knack for disappearing into thin air.  Even more disturbing, the scale of his ambition seems to widen as events unfold.
 
Brought in as an investigative consultant, Dave Gurney soon accomplishes deductive breakthroughs that leave local police in awe.  Yet, even as he matches wits with his seemingly clairvoyant opponent, Gurney’s tragedy-marred past rises up to haunt him, his marriage approaches a dangerous precipice, and finally, a dark, cold fear builds that he’s met an adversary who can’t be stopped.
 
In the end, fighting to keep his bearings amid a whirlwind of menace and destruction, Gurney sees the truth of what he’s become – what we all become when guilty memories fester – and how his wife Madeleine’s clear-eyed advice may be the only answer that makes sense.
 
A work that defies easy labels — at once a propulsive masterpiece of suspense and an absorbing immersion in the lives of characters so real we seem to hear their heartbeats – Think of a Number is a novel you’ll not soon forget.

I really wanted to give this audiobook a chance. The synopsis sounded interesting as you can tell from this post but when I got into it, the word choices of the author seemed strained to me, almost as if he searched a thesaurus to suss out the $100 dollar words when a $5 word would have worked just as well. In the audiobook treatment this doesn’t translate well — trust me, you don’t really want to have to think about what each word means as you listen. You just want to sit back and enjoy the story as it unfolds. This will be a book I will likely read instead of listen to, but I had to give up when I found myself concentrating more on the story to be sure I didn’t miss an important word than the road around me.

Rating: DNF (yet)

A REVIEW FROM MY COMMUTE: The Dead Hour – Denise Mina #Crime #Mystery #Scotland

So what book will I be reviewing for you today?

The Dead Hour

Denise Mina

TheDeadHourPaddy Meehan returns in Denise Mina’s most powerful mystery yet, nominated for a 2007 Edgar Award.

When journalist Paddy Meehan investigates a domestic dispute, the well-dressed man who answers the door assures her the blonde in the shadows behind him is fine, and slips her money before he closes the door. In fact, the woman was tortured and left to die later that night, and Paddy has only days to uncover the truth before the newspaper learns of her bribe and the police close the case for reasons of their own. Only Paddy cares enough to pursue a dark and brutal story that could make her career-or kill her, in a novel that proves why Denise Mina is “some kind of magnificent” (Wall Street Journal).

So what are my thoughts on The Dead Hour?

I picked this one up after listening to Field of Blood and enjoying it so much. I was not disappointed. It’s the second in a trilogy and I plan on picking up the last installment on audiobook once I can find it. Read by the same actress who has become the voice of Paddy ‘Patricia’ Meehan in my mind, it’s just as fantastic as the first book.

The story took off after the conclusion of Field of Blood and Paddy’s got a new position at the paper that allows her to follow and report on the crimes that occur overnight. The Dead Hour was filled with alternate moments of terror and dark humour that made it an easy listen and an engaging tale. I definitely recommend this one as well.

Rating: 5 out of 5

A REVIEW FROM MY COMMUTE: Field of Blood – Denise Mina #Crime #Mystery #Scotland

So in keeping with my promise to get these reviews out to the world at large, I’m back with another installment of A Review from my Commute. Today I’ll be sharing with you my thoughts on:

Field of Blood

Denise Mina

Here’s the synopsis so that you’ve got a little context…

FieldofBloodA sensational murder provides the young journalist Paddy Meehan with her big professional break when she realizes that she has a personal connection to one of the suspects. Launching her own investigation, Paddy uncovers lines of deception that go deep into the past – and that could spell even more horrible crimes in the future if she doesn’t get the story right.

So what are my thoughts on Field of Blood?

Delightful and devilish.

I believe that about sums it up! I’m a huge sucker for crime drama and this one delivered from a wholly different perspective. The book itself is set in Scotland and the actress who read the story was Scottish so if the idea of an accent turns you off, don’t consider listening to this one – read it instead.

The plot itself was full of twists and turns, along with characters that were interesting and multidimensional. It also gave a glimpse into the cultural landscape of Scotland in the 1970s which felt like a character in and of itself. I loved every minute of it. Oh and I just discovered that it was adapted to a television series by the BBC so I’m definitely going to search it out.

Rating: 5 out of 5