Jason froze mid swig. “What was that?”

“What was what?” Guy countered.

“That noise. Like a scratching noise. Coming from the walls, I think.”

Guy leant forward to rest his ear against the wall beneath the decrepit staircase. In hindsight, the condemned old slaughterhouse probably wasn’t the nicest place to spend the night gettin’ wasted, but it was one of the few places their parents would not think to look for them.

…scratch scratch scratch…

Yeah, there was something in there all right.

“Probably rats,” he said. Apprehension blossomed on Jason’s face. “Don’t worry. They’re just vermin. We’ll be fine.”

It’s week two of March’s 12 Months of Writing! The topic for March is ‘Animals‘, and last week I went with the pig. I decided to continue the zodiac theme for this drabble, and since it’s currently the year of the rat, here we have a whole slaughterhouse full of them.

In case you were curious, Jason and Guy were not fine.

But that’s a story for another time!

If you’ve written an animal-themed drabble, do the link thing or ping back here.

Photo Credit.


Snuffles and truffles
found wallowing in the mud
noble little pig

Since last year roughly corresponded to the Year of the Pig, I decided to write an ode to the pig (albeit in the form of a haiku) for my 12 Months of Writing challenge.

The pig is a very under-appreciated animal. Not many know this, but pigs are the actual masterminds behind the fakenews campaign that dolphins are our secret overlords. It’s all smoke and mirrors with the pigs.

If you have written an animal-related haiku, drop a link into the comments below and it shall be duly read. Then join me next week for an animal-themed drabble!

Welcome back to 12 Months of Writing!

I survived February. I feel like I need that on a t-shirt, or a rosette. I successfully (mostly…) wrote a haiku, a drabble, a poem and a flash fiction and got some great constructive feedback (thank you, Anonymole!)

But despite my initial enthusiasm, my heart wasn’t really in it. I’ve been suffering the after-effects of a cold for the past 2 weeks, and bad things are afoot at work. Changes with a capital C, none of which I approve of.

So, naturally, I decided the sensible thing to do is to quit my job, strike out on my own and start up my own business.

Enter panic mode.

Don’t worry, I haven’t done it yet. I’m still waiting to hear about time frames and legalities and such. But most of my energy since mid-February, when not succumbing to a mild seasonal cold like a gigantic baby, has been invested in prepping myself for becoming self employed. All the boring stuff, like working out insurance and service agreements, and all the exciting stuff like designing my website and business cards.

Writing has been kind of an after-thought.

It could be six months before I take the plunge and leave gainful employment for the highs and lows of financial uncertainty. Or it could be six weeks. But until then, I’m going to continue with 12 Months of Writing. Which brings us to our BRAND NEW TOPIC!

Which is………..


Why animals?

There is a saying about March: In like a lion, out like a lamb. And it’s true, at least here, that the period between February and April is normally worse, weather-wise, than December. We often see a lot of storms in March. We normally get our yearly dumping of snow. The March Hares come out and lots of lambs get born and the migratory birds start appearing again.

So I’m dedicating March to our animal friends. Even the cockroaches.

The format will be the same as February. This Friday, a haiku. Next Friday, a drabble. Followed after that by a poem, and finally a flash fiction. I encourage all five of my readers to get involved by writing something of their own.

And if you’d like to support me financially while I slowly transition from Poor to Poorer, please feel free to send food, land deeds, coffee, stocks, shares, items of jewelry, bitcoins or just plain old cash of any currency and any denomination. Nothing will be turned away!

ToBe shuffled down the corridor, passing from the 22nd Century to the 21st. Soft harp music played over the loudspeakers, a tune of his own devising. It was a mathematically brilliant piece… but he wasn’t sure if it was actually any good. It had been a long time since there’d been someone he could talk to about these things. Such a very long time.

He reached the first exhibit and stopped to greet it.

“Good morning,” he said.

The stuffed animal had been a mystery, at first. Why would anyone want to stuff a dead creature? It had taken him years to discover the knowledge of taxonomy. The scruffy brown animal wasn’t very appealing, but somebody must have loved it greatly, once upon a time. The tiny plaque screwed to the plinth said, “Our Beloved Companion, Patches.” This creature, ToBe had discovered, was called ‘dog.’ Dogs had been one of the first to go extinct after the Incident.

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Guardian [poem] – #12MoW

The ship went sailing from the bay
with countless treasures in its hold.
The waves roiled on that windy day,
though tamed by sailors brave and bold

With countless treasures in its hold,
they sailed the ship t’wards their home land.
Though tamed by sailors brave and bold,
they did not see the shifting sand.

They sailed the ship t’wards their home land,
the ocean’s might did give them pauseβ€”
they did not see the shifting sand
as crashing waves gave way to claws

The ocean’s might did give them pause
when wind grew still and air grew cold.
As crashing waves gave way to claws;
an ancient guardian of ancestral gold

When wind grew still and air grew cold
the sailors stared up at their deaths.
An ancient guardian of ancestral gold
sent ship and crew to murky depths.

The sailors stared up at their deaths
as hull and mast were ripped apart
sent ship and crew to murky depths
and last it took the captain’s heart

As hull and mast were ripped apart
their bodies sank to worlds below
and last it took the captain’s heart
it dealt the crew a mortal blow

Their bodies sank to worlds below,
descending slow with pilfered treasure
It dealt the crew a mortal blow;
A curse to stay ‘neath waves forever

Descending slow with pilfered treasure,
the ship went sailing from the bay
A curse to stay ‘neath waves forever,
the waves roiled on that windy day.

Week 3 of the 12 Months of Writing challenge brings us to poetry with a theme of ‘wealth’. The form of poetry I chose was a pantoum… and I have to admit, I’m not overly happy about how this turned out. It feels awkward and clumsy in places, and it could be two or three verses shorter. However, I’ve been suffering from a cold all week, so I don’t have the energy or willpower to try to fix it or write something else 😦 I just hope someone else is going to participate with their own poem, to cheer me up and make poetry week something other than a complete wash-out!

In the meantime, I’ll be over here in my bed, fulfilling my role as the world’s foremost producer of nasal fluids/consumer of Kleenex. Biology is both fascinating and completely disgusting.

If you’d like to join in with your own poem about wealth, drop a link in the comments below or hit this page up with a pingback.

…I love an antagonist who can be simultaneously sympathetic and badass. A bad guy who isn’t so much ‘bad’ as ‘misunderstood’ and ‘kind of actually crazy’. The sort of guy you cheer on whenever he goes up against the good guys, even though you know you shouldn’t be cheering.

Time for a Spaceman’s Favourite Antagonist Checklist! See if you can guess the movie I’m talking about.

Difficult childhood? β€” Check

Grew up feeling isolated? β€” Check

Lives in darkness? β€” Check

Anger management issues? β€” Check

Possessive? β€” Check

Dresses all in black? β€” Check

Long flowing Black Cloak of Badness? β€” Check

….if you’ve got this far down the list and you’re thinking “ah-ha, it’s Alan Rickman’s Sheriff of Nottingham, from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves!” then technically you could be correct, except for the fact that everybody gets bored of that movie and nobody in their right mind cheers on Robin Hood….

Wears a mask? β€” Check

Unpredictable personality? β€” Check

Kills a bunch of people? β€” Check

Kidnaps a girl and carries her to his Secret Villain Lair? β€” Check

Talks about darkness and turning away from the light? β€” Check

….this darkness/light theme is a really big clue. A huge deal is made about it in the movie. Are you there yet?….

Gets angry when his demands aren’t met? β€” Check

Feels betrayed by those who know him? β€” Check

Sword fight in the snow? β€” Check

Gets beaten by nemesis in sword fight? β€” Check

Witnesses destruction of Secret Villain Lair? β€” Check

Escapes said destruction to live another day? β€” Check

Just wants somebody to be with him so he’s not alone? β€” Check

Ultimately finds redemption whilst simultaneously being haunted by the memory of his past crimes? β€” Check


Now, I’m not saying that the Star Wars sequels essentially took the basic character of the Phantom of the Opera, removed the singing, and gave him a different mask… but you have to admit, the similarities are there!


Kylo Ren?


But can he sing?











If you have yet to witness Gerard Butler singing, I recommend you go watch the movie, which is based on the 1986 Andrew Lloyd Webber play.

“Mr. Jones next door just bought a Bentley,” Keith told his wife.

“That’s nice, dear,” she said.

Keith went out and bought an Aston Martin.

“Mr. Jones has bought the most adorable Afghan puppy,” Keith told his wife.

She sighed. “It’s not a contest, darling.”

Keith went to the puppy breeder and bought two.

“Mr. Jones is taking his wife on a week-long cruise to the Fjords,” Keith told his wife.

He immediately booked a two-week cruise to the Bahamas.

“Great news, honey!” Keith said. “Mrs. Jones is pregnant with twins!”

But his wife was nowhere to be found.

Today is the second week of my immensely popular* “12 Months of Writing” challenge. Still on the subject of wealth, the challenge this week is to produce a drabble (up to 100 words). If you’d like to join in the fun of the challenge, post your own drabble on your blog and link back to this post. Or simply drop the URL in the comments below! I look forward to reading your contributions.

Check back next week for wealth-related POETRY!


*may or may not be a lie


Storm – #writephoto

Storm winds come, storm winds go
He slumbers in the earth below
Close your mind, close your eyes
In the darkness he will rise

Fallen King who dwelt in stone
Sleeping still in soil-clad bone
Risen soon from earthen bed
To place a crown upon his head

Ancient foes, beware, beware
Flesh and blood and bone laid bare
Sharpened steel, lightning-forged
The Fallen King picks up his sword

In the darkness he will rise
Close your mind, close your eyes
He slumbers in the earth below
Storm winds come, storm winds go

Today I made a poem. I hope you like it! This poem was written for Sue Vincent’s weekly #writephoto prompt. A somewhat sombre and moody photo prompt this week, which moved me to poetry rather than continuing the Tales from the Dome. Please check out Sue’s site for more storm-related stories and poetry.

Magpies and humans
collecting shiny baubles
crow over their wealth

Today is the first official day of 12 Months of Writing! This haiku came about when I was walking home from work one day last week and spotted a bit of silver on the pavement. Immediately I thought “ooh, what is that shiny?” It turned out to be half a button popper that must’ve fallen off somebody’s coat or bag, and for a brief moment I felt like a magpie swooping down on some valuable treasure. I like to think I’m someone who measures wealth in terms of happiness, but when it comes right down to it, I’m just as intrigued by a sparkly bit of shiny as the next hoarder of worthless trinkets.

Leave your haiku/senryu link in the comments below, or via pingback.

Sanjay grumbled to himself as he followed the path of the stream. The water echoed him in solidarity, a soft grumble of water churning stones against bedrock. Each river spoke with its own voice, and this little stream’s voice was as annoyed as Sanjay.

Every day it was the same. Sanjay, go here. Sanjay, go there. Fix this sewer outlet. Mend that drain pipe. Shore up that bank. Run the same water quality test five hundred times because the folks in the lab accidentially contaminated one of the vials.

Sometimes he felt like quitting, but what else could he do? As Tom had so often reminded him, he had no artistic flair, which meant working in Climate was out. He wasn’t qualified enough to be a Teacher, and jobs in Family Planning came up once or twice in a lifetime. Literally.

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