Monday, 30 October 2017

Monday Flash Fics: Forever Young


Forever Young

This place…

I’m not sure how long I’ve been here. Time has lost its meaning since I discovered this sanctuary, forced my way in, and secured the place, making sure no one would be able to follow me.

Mind you, this is not a bad place. I have a roof over my head, clean water to drink, and the vegetation gives me both a soft place to sleep and fruit to eat. I’m neither warm nor cold. All of these are positives, things I yearned for and never thought I might find, so why is my stomach knotted up with anxiety? Why am I sure the apparent peace surrounding me is a sham, a ploy to give me a false sense of security?

“Hello!” I shout out the word, breaking the silence. The same silence that comforted me when it first enveloped me. Before I fell asleep, when the light disappeared, I had been sure I was safe here. As soon as I opened my eyes I knew that was no longer true. I have no idea why my perception changed, can’t put my finger on the disparity between then and now, but something is different.

Soft giggling pulls me out of my thoughts. The laughter is high pitched and happy. Then I hear soft footfalls but I can’t pinpoint where the sound is coming from until I look up at the ridge running parallel with the lowest window. There! What’s that?

I look on in wonder as what appears to be a youngster skips along the narrow, shelf-like feature. He or she, I can’t tell from here, squeals louder with every hop, skip and jump. I can’t watch, for reasons I don’t understand I’m terrified to discover I’m not alone after all.

I push my back against the large rock, making myself as small as possible before closing my eyes, hoping that if I can’t see my visitor I’ll be invisible too. The giggling changes, becomes louder and turns menacing. Memories assault me.

I’m running, fleeing something I can’t see but hear all too well. My pursuers are getting closer, I can hear their feet hitting the ground and without turning my head to look, I know they’re almost upon me. I need to find refuge. I don’t want to die. I…”

“You can hide but you can’t stay hidden.”

The voice singing the words is beautiful, mesmerizing, urging me to reveal myself so that I can admire its owner. Then it’s joined by a second voice, a third, a multitude of timbres combining until they reach a breathtaking cresendo.

“Peek-a-boo.”

The word is spoken so close to my ear I can feel the speaker’s breath caress my cheek. Instinct takes over and I open my eyes. I’m surrounded by a group of youngsters, all grinning at me, their eyes hard and accusing.

As soon as they pull the black hood over my head and tie my hands behind my back I remember. There’s nothing wrong with them…it’s me. I turned twenty-one last night.

As they pull me up and lead me away my mind clears from the fog it has been shrouded in for longer than I care to recall. I failed… I grew up. There’s no room for adults in this world. I never wondered where they went. I guess I’m about to find out now.

****

554 words

More flashes based on this evocative image can be found in the Monday Flash Fics Group on Facebook. Enjoy!

Monday, 2 October 2017

Monday Flash Fics - Three is ...

 
 
 Three is…

Cory concentrated on the steaming coffee in his cup while listening to the increasingly heated discussion between Jasper and Aaron. He’d known it wouldn’t last. From the start he’d feared that it was too good to be true. Aaron’s suggestion had made so much sense at the time, it had felt right, the three of them fitted together perfectly, and now, here Cory was —listening to his worst fears being realised.

“Oh come on Aaron.” Jasper voice was getting heated as he gathered steam. “Just listen to me for fuck sake. I’ve done this before. I know what I’m talking about.”

Jasper snorted. “The fact that you have done it before is enough reason not to pay any attention to what you say. Remember how that ended? Remember what a mess you were?”

Cory had to stop himself from flinching at Jasper’s harsh words, and they weren’t even aimed at him. He did remember…all too well. Aaron had been a mess, devastated. It had taken weeks and long nights of talking, cuddling, and, eventually, love making to calm him down and restore his belief in himself.

“One…” Aaron sounded as if he had a hard time keeping a reign on his temper. “That’s not fair. And two, maybe I learned something from everything that went wrong then. Maybe we can use my past mistakes to our advantage.”

Silence settled around the table but the mood didn’t lighten. Cory didn’t need to look up to know that Jasper’s face would be scrunched up while he searched for further arguments to convince Aaron. He also had no doubt that Aaron would be staring at Jasper, wordlessly urging him to see reason. I know them so well. I don’t want to lose them.

Part of Cory wanted to tell them they should just forget about it. Obviously this wasn’t going to work. Maybe it had been a stupid idea from the start. There were reasons why most people tried to avoid scenarios like the one they’d embraced so optimistically. But he said nothing. Past experience told him Jasper and Cory had to be allowed to slog this one out between them.

“You know it makes sense.” The pleading note in Aaron’s voice was harder to bear than his earlier suppressed anger had been. “We’re good together. I don’t want to give up on us.” He stared at the table for a few moments. “I don’t think you want that either.”

Jasper sighed and Cory knew that the battle was over.

“You bastard.” Jasper growled the words yet managed to sound affectionate. “I love the two of  you. Of course I don’t want to give up. We’ll try it your way. I’ll take care of finance and IT, you look after customer service and PR, and pretty boy over there can be our face and voice in the world at large.”

Pretty boy, also known a Cory, relaxed and grinned. “You two are so hot when you argue.”

As he followed Jasper and Aaron back to the bedroom they’d vacated only an hour earlier, Cory pondered that he never would have guessed that the three of them starting a business together might turn out to be harder than being part of a triad had ever been.

****
542 words

It's been too long since I last did a Monday Flash Fic and I'm delighted I managed to write a new story this week. I do hope  you enjoyed it. As always there should be more stories based on the same image in the Monday Flash Fics Facebook group. Click on the link to find and enjoy them.


Monday, 3 July 2017

Monday Flash Fics - Lost and Found


Lost and found

I can’t keep my eyes off him. The way he stands there, leaning against the post that once upon a time held a door, glaring into the establishment that has recently become my home away from home, I can’t help being intrigued. His posture and gaze suggest strength, power, and more than a little menace — all traits which should frighten me. And yet, I find it impossible to tear my gaze away from him, even after he’s caught me staring more than once.

I should be used to creatures like him by now. After all, while I don’t remember how I ended up in this world, I do know for a fact that I’ve been here for thirty-three days, eleven hours and forty-nine minutes — but who’s counting? I’ve seen it all, at least I think so. It’s hard to imagine there could be more creatures. The giants and the dwarves, the elves and the orcs, the unicorns, centaurs, dragons and leprechauns are just those I recognised and could put a name to. In fact, everything I’d be taught didn’t exist has crossed my path here. And I’ve learned to be weary. Where I came from humans like me ruled the world to the point of destroying it without care for those we shared it with. Here? In this new world I’m nothing but an after-thought, an also ran. The only reason I haven’t been killed yet is that nobody perceives me as a threat.

Take him, whatever he is — too large to be an elf but nowhere near big enough to be classified as a giant and too good looking to be in anyway related to orcs — he could snap me in two with one hand tied behind his back. And still, something draws me to him. It is as if an invisible thread, some weird form of magnetism, connects us. I’m all too aware that the only way to stay safe is to remain in the background, and yet, the urge to close the distance between us and connect with him becomes harder to resist with every passing moment.

The cat that’s been my constant companion since I first woke up in this world, abandons its usual perch on my shoulders, jumps to the floor and casually saunters over to the creature. It circles his feet a few times, as if sussing him out, before rubbing its head against his booted calf and staring at me intently. Is it trying to tell me something?

I resist the demand in my cat’s gaze for as long as I can, but when I look up in an effort to evade it I find the creature staring at me with equal intensity. My free will shuts down and I leave my seat. Putting one foot in front of the other without knowing why and against my better judgement, I close the distance between us. As soon as I stand in front of the stranger, who’s even bigger up close, my cat jumps up and settles on my shoulder again.

“I belong to you.” His voice is deep and its timbre makes my blood flow faster.

“You do,” I reply without understanding what’s happening or why. “Let’s go.”

He turns without another word. When he walks off I follow, while the cat purrs happily into my ear.

****

554 words.

Okay, the above is obscure and feels more like the start of a story than anything else, but hey…it’s what wanted to be written. And who knows, I may actually turn it into something longer at some point.


More stories based on the same image will be posted in the Monday Flash Fics group on Facebook. Go check them out!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Dublin VirtuesTrilogy: One Release and Two Special Offers

It is all happening today and I’m all kinds of excited. For starters, today Renewal, the third book in the Dublin Virtues Trilogy releases across all platforms.



Blurb

When everything changes, can renewal bring redemption?
Shane Boyle left Dublin for America, burning most of his bridges, certain his future lay in Florida. When a family crisis forces him back to the city he grew up in, he knows his life will never be the same again. With his sister close to death, his mother and five-year-old nephew Danny need him not just to be around but also to be the rock they can depend on. Torn between panic about his new responsibilities and despair at his impending loss, love and a relationship are the last thing on his mind.
Chris Anderson left Australia for Dublin ten years ago with no intention of ever going back. For reasons he can’t explain, even to himself, he hasn’t been in a relationship for almost as long as he’s been in Ireland. Now thirty-five years old, he wonders what happened to his dream of a lasting bond and a family to call his own.
When Shane and Chris hook up one night in a pub, neither knows that the next day they’ll meet again, this time as colleagues in a tattoo parlour. Chris has no idea about Shane’s dodgy past and Shane can’t figure out the mountain of a man who refuses to take no for an answer. Having to reinvent his whole life is only the start of Shane’s process of renewal. Will Chris turn out to be his savior or his downfall?

If you’d like to know more and/or get a preview, you can find a not quite safe for work excerpt here, on the Pride Publishing Website.


But there’s more. To celebrate that the full trilogy is now available, the first book in the series, Patience, has been discounted to $.99/€.99/£.99



And, as if that wasn’t enough, Equality will be discounted too and made available for $2.99/€2.99/£1.99.



If ever there was a time to get the full series, it is now. But, you want to be quick, these discounts won’t last forever!




Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Double the fun


Two years ago today I and many others in Ireland held our breath while we awaited the result of the Marriage Equality referendum. Of course we now all know that the outcome was exactly what we hoped it would be; the majority of Irish voters had indeed voted in favour of equality.

I would love to be able to say that two years later Ireland is a paradise of equality where all traces of phobia and discrimination have been eliminated, but unfortunately the situation is not quite that ideal yet. Only last weekend a prominent gay bar in Dublin was defaced with painted on swastikas, much to the horror of the vast majority of Irish people.

But, on the other side of the spectrum, it is becoming ever more likely that in just a few weeks’ time Ireland will have a gay Taoiseach (Prime Minister). And whatever issues some people may have with Leo Varadkar and his politics, him being gay doesn’t appear to be one of them.

But, back to today’s date. How appropriate is it that Equality, the second book in my Dublin Virtues Trilogy should be released on the anniversary of the Equality referendum? Especially, since the story takes place during the weeks leading up to that vote and features the ‘Yes Equality’ campaign.



The blurb

Love is love. But what if the fight for equality gets in the way of building a relationship?

Lorcan Barratt has never considered himself relationship material. After his parents made it perfectly clear they’d never welcome a partner of his into their home, he learned to love his own company and can’t imagine sharing his life with another. After a single passionate kiss with Eric Kavanagh—the night before he travels to Canada for three months—Lorcan’s no longer sure he wants to be on his own. The problem is, he has no idea what sharing his life with someone else might entail.

Eric Kavanagh grew up in a loving and supportive family and always assumed he’d end up in a committed relationship. Sure that he’s found the one, Eric doesn’t worry about the fact that Lorcan has no experience when it comes to love and relationships. They are good together, so what could possibly go wrong?

When both men get involved in the marriage equality referendum in Ireland, it appears to bring them even closer together until Lorcan’s insecurities get the upper hand and he shuts Eric out. Will the fight for a yes-vote cost them their relationship or will they be able to find a balance between the love they share and the need for equality?


And if you follow the Pride Publishing link you will be able to read an excerpt.



And now for the ‘double’ part of this post’s title. You see, Equality going on general release isn’t the only thing worth celebrating today. As it happens the third book in the trilogy, Renewal, will be available for early download on the Pride Publishing website from today too!

The blurb

When everything changes, can renewal bring redemption?

Shane Boyle left Dublin for America burning most of his bridges and with no intention of returning, certain his future lay in Florida. When a family crisis forces him back to the city he grew up in, he knows his life will never be the same again. With his sister close to death, his mother and five-year-old nephew Danny need him not just to be around but also to be the rock they can depend on. Torn between panic about his new responsibilities and despair at his impending loss, love and a relationship are the last thing on his mind.

Chris Anderson left Australia for Dublin ten years ago with no intention of ever going back. For reasons he can’t explain, even to himself, he hasn’t been in a relationship for almost as long as he’s been in Ireland. Now thirty-five-years old, he wonders what happened to his dream of a lasting bond and a family to call his own.

When Shane and Chris hook up one night in a pub, neither knows that the next day they’ll meet again, this time as colleagues in a tattoo parlour. Chris has no idea about Shane’s dodgy past, and Shane can’t figure out the mountain of a man who refuses to take no for an answer. Having to reinvent his whole life is only the start of Shane’s process of renewal. Will Chris turn out to be his saviour or his downfall?

Early Download Date: 23rd May 2017
General Release Date: 20th June 2017 

Buy link: Pride Publishing


This link will also give you the opportunity to read a not entirely safe for work excerpt.


Monday, 22 May 2017

Monday Flash Fics: Rainbows


Rainbows

“And go”.

Big G pushed out his arm, unclenching his fist at the same time. A stream of bright light burst from the dark clouds, hit the ground, and bounced back up again. “They deserve a reward,” he said.

Little g watched in awe as Big G unleashed his power and bathed the tiny green island in explosion after explosion of vivid rainbows. Fields, mountains, and cities lit up, the colours in the sky matching those worn by many of those out and about.

“Do you think they understand?”

Big G sighed. “I’m not sure, little one. Some will see and recognise it for what it is: our vote of approval. Others will just put it down to a happy coincidence, and unfortunately, there will be plenty who will barely notice the beauty, never mind consider the message.

“Then why can’t we be more specific?” Little g asked the same question he’d been asking almost every single day ever since they’d been created. “If they knew for sure that we’re here, watching and waiting, if we told them what we expect from them, surely they’d be likely to comply?”

Big G grimaced. “And prove once and for all that we’re real? Look at the damage all their organised religions are doing. And that’s without them knowing for sure whether or not we exist.” His usually jovial face suddenly looked pinched; the corners of his mouth turned down and tears gleaming in his eyes. “Until we can trust them to not abuse the existence of an otherworldly power we need to stay hidden and bide our time. As much as I would like to lessen their burden, take away the pain and suffering, they’ll have to earn it first.” His voice grew louder and for a moment little g worried he might set of a ferocious thunderstorm. “Unless the majority of these humans show us they know how to be tolerant and treat each other with respect and honour, they don’t deserve our support.”

“These people did.” Little g nodded in the direction of the small landmass beneath them. “And they’re not the first. Surely that means they’re getting there?”

“You’ve obviously not been paying attention.” Big G slipped into teacher mode automatically. “Or you only see what you want to see. It is, as it has always been, two steps forward and one step back. Every positive development is followed by a backlash from those who feel threatened by good happening to others.” The sadness in his voice was heartbreaking. “I’m still waiting for the day when they all work together for the betterment of everybody.”

“Do you think they’ll ever reach that point?” Little g asked the question, dreading the answer as much as he needed to hear it.

Big G sighed. “God only knows.”

****

476 words
So yes, I’m a bit whimsical this week. I couldn’t help myself. But on the day that Ireland celebrates the second anniversary of the day we got to vote for Marriage Equality, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to both commemorate that occasion and reflect on the fact that we still have an awful lot to do before the whole world will be a more equal place. 

As always, more stories based on this image can be found in the Monday Flash Fics Facebook group. I do hope you’ll go and check them out.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Monday Flash Fics - Then and Now



Then and Now

“It almost looks like home, doesn’t it?”

For reasons he couldn’t quite explain, even to himself, Josh whispered the words. It had something to do with not wanting to upset the mood, a — probably unfounded — fear that any loud sounds might shatter the sight in front of him, destroy the beauty. He’d seen his world destroyed once and wasn’t sure he’d survive it a second time.

Mario squeezed his hand, their entwined fingers pressing closer together. “Your home maybe, it’s nothing like mine. I come from the dessert, remember.”

For a moment Josh diverted his gaze from the stunning vista in front of him and gazed at his companion. He had forgotten. Funny how that worked. His past was so very vivid in his mind. His carefree youth; followed by the growing realisation that the world he lived in wasn’t a mostly friendly or safe place. And then the days when it had been clear to all that disaster had become unavoidable; the only remaining question being whether the planet would self-destruct or human madness would cause its demise. He pushed the memories away. They didn’t serve any purpose. What had happened was behind them and lingering on everything they’d lost would only lead to madness.

“You’re right.” He smiled before turning to the stunning view in front of them again. “I did forget we’ve never seen anything like this together before.”

“So, did it look exactly like this, where you come from?” Mario asked with awe in his voice.

“Not exactly. The scenery is pretty close but the colours are all wrong. I’m sure my sky was the exact same hue of blue as it was above your sand dunes. But we did have a boat and my father… He choked up as memories of all he’d lost sprang to live in his mind again. “He used to take me out on the lake and we’d cast our nets. There’s nothing quite like fresh fish cooked over a wood fire.”

“Maybe we’ll be able to do that together some day.” Mario suggested.

Together. The only good thing to come out of the whole disaster had been connecting with Mario. Josh sometimes felt guilty when he realised that if it hadn’t been for the disaster, if either of them had been unlucky enough not to be picked up, he wouldn’t have know the man he’d grown to love existed. Would he be able to give Mario up if it meant he could fix the past? Josh was grateful it wasn’t a decision he’d ever have to make.

A previously unseen flock of birds took the sky, screeching as they flew off and scattering the peace and quiet they’d been enjoying. As if on cue both Mario and Josh’s buzzers went off.

“No rest for the wicked.” Mario cupped Josh’s chin and kissed him deeply. “But, there’s no reason we can’t come back.”

“Or visit your dessert,” Josh replied before adding, “kill visuals.”

****

492 words. 

As always, more stories based on the same image can be found in the Monday Flash Fic Group on Facebook.