My short story ‘Junkyard Redemption’ is featured in the anthology ’13 Postcards From Hell’. The link is below, and it was an honour to be featured alongside some great writers.
My short story ‘Junkyard Redemption’ is featured in the anthology ’13 Postcards From Hell’. The link is below, and it was an honour to be featured alongside some great writers.
As I’m now a creator, more of my time is spent developing projects and executing them. This takes time and attention away from the more immediate work which forms part of the blog content. So I’m not interacting as before, due to a desire to write better books.
Project Laughing Boy is waiting for an it and cover then will be out before the end of the year. Ideal for Christmas.
Project Asra is 20 pages longhand and some behind the scenes workshopping so it’s consistent, in the background and also plausible.
Project Crash in longhand is waiting for a second draft. Another research and some fleshing out but notes for second book are growing.
If you don’t know, my book Until She Sings is out now in paperback and ebook.
My Mailing List for announcements and news with a free short story as a thank you.
(I have always enjoyed the family holiday from hell story and always wanted to try it. The odd touch with Jackie finding an odd nobility in the close was a nice surprise. If you like this one, please share and comment)
The inside of the car was clammy. It made Joss’ parents, Pete and Shirley, listless and irritable. Joss had insisted on playing Kansas’ Greatest Hits. A headache crawled inside my skull like a thousand tiny spiders. A holiday with the in-laws and my husband. Hopes of conception, which was something they kept mentioning in the belief my reluctance was a matter of will.
We were passing through a bleached stretch of desert, having spent a few days in Arizona. Shirley had given Joss unsolicited advice on his driving whilst Pete pretended to be asleep. My attention was focused on the stark, harsh world around me.
They were lean, shirtless and tanned to the same colour as the dirt beneath their feet. Three of them, with bows slung across their backs and knives at their hips. They chased a fourth boy, stocky and shiny with sweat where he had been running away. Joss flinched when my hand rested on his shoulder.
‘Stop the car.’
Joss chuckled and asked me what was wrong. He sounded grateful for a chance to deny his inadequacies through action.
‘They’re chasing that boy. They’ve got bows and knives.’
‘Out here, if he’s running, he’s deserved it. We want to make it back on time, don’t we?’
Shirley sucked on her teeth and tutted.
‘Stop making out Jackie’s a flake, will you? If she’s seen something, that boy might need our help.’
Joss gave me a pointed look. His pout verged on a sneer and the waddle of flesh that his beard had stopped being able to hide shook with his efforts to remain calm. He stopped the car.
‘So?’ he said.
Irritation jolted me into a rigid posture, tight across my chest and thighs as we glared at each other. I squeezed my eyes shut and unbuckled my seatbelt.
Opening the car door invited a solid bank of dry heat that slapped me with its intensity.
I got out and waved, shouting to them with the fitful desire to do good, to care.
He turned and stared at me in disbelief.
The arrow punched through his throat. He coughed a spray of blood and a gout of blood spat down the front of his t-shirt as he buckled at the knees and fell onto his front.
Staggering backwards, scrabbling for the door to remain upright. Joss stared through the glass with his eyes were wide with shock.
I heaved the door open and jumped inside.
There was another crack of glass A wet punching sound. The sudden, thick sweet stink of wet pennies
Shirley screamed in instalments as she looked at where Pete sat with the arrow through the side of his head.
I gripped the front of Joss’ shirt and screamed for him to drive.
I looked over my shoulder and saw that two of them were coming to us. The third straddled their prey, bringing his knife down in a two-handed grip and stabbing it down, raising his head to the sky and grinning with joy.
An arrow punched into Shirley’s throat. She flopped to her left against Pete. It would have been touching, but the arrow stopped her short and she lurched forward as much as the seatbelt would allow. Joss gave a guttural cry as he jammed his foot down on the accelerator.
He grunted. The arrow penetrated the headrest and the back of his skull with awful ease. His eyes rolled up in their sockets as he bucked, gripping the steering wheel as he died.
I opened the door and threw myself out.
The hot asphalt took flesh from my shoulder and thigh, engulfing me with bright, hot agony as I rolled away.
The car ran off the road with an ugly crumpling thump. I got to my feet but I could not look at it. It would have broken me to do that.
The third man ran towards us. They had the look of boys mutated by deprivation, but up close their mutations were obvious.
Distended foreheads and acromegalic jaws. Their black, thirsty eyes and the rows of needle sharp teeth set into black, infected gums. The pair who had pursued us stood with their bows up, arrows cocked to take another shot.
The third one spoke to the others in a language that sounded like the screams of small animals.
They lowered their bows and set them on the ground. Unsheathed their knives and set them down next to them.
He nodded with satisfaction and unsheathed the knife on his belt.
He tossed it in my direction and it clattered against the ground. Through my tears, I picked it up and turned it over in my hand.
Chipped from black stone, worked into a perfect study of brutal economy and the handle wrapped in strips of leather, turned white from endless hours spent learning to use it.
I met their eyes, allowed the knife to feel good in my hand and stared back at them.
My headache had gone.
My book Until She Sings is out now.Ebook:https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07XJRDND8IfPaperback: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1692105566/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_4akEDb3FTWNKRMy Mailing List for announcements and news with a free short story as a thank you.https://tinyletter.com/mbblissett
I love the poetry of science and some of the concepts lend themselves well to story ideas. Here was what started as a series of puns then some amusement in imagining a cinematic experience in a world dominated by women. The idea of cruelty being solely a male province does a disservice to everyone.
Heaths obsession and the lengths he goes to fulfilling it are part of pop culture and always good story material.
If you’ve enjoyed my writing then please like and share or leave a comment.
The wig made his scalp itch like an addiction, and the lipstick tasted of something extracted from a marine life form, but Heath looked up at the gold statuette with its mother-goddess curves and blank face and bit back a shudder of vulgar joy. He would get away with this, he thought, as he followed the media people down into the auditorium.
He had practiced with heels, but they had delivered their punishment by instalments. Walking the length of the laboratory had been one thing, but hours spent waiting to get in whilst the nominees and celebrities stood for photos and interviews with the press. He wouldn’t risk talking to one of them although it would be quite something to ask Melissa McCarthy about playing Winifred Churchill in Her Darkest Hour or Mercedes Carrera as Connie The Barbarian.
Heath loved the cinema of this world the way God loves: from afar.
Security ushered them to their seats. Heath sat down in a way which appeared feminine but he felt awkward, already sweating under his arms and at the small of his back. There are whoops and cries from the audience, a hubbub of chatter which swells like an orchestra before the lights fall down and the presenter comes out. Something pinched the back of his ankle and he cursed the shoes he had chosen but he wanted to fit in with the beautiful people.
It was controversial this year because a man was hosting, which made Heath chortle when he read about it, but as Michael Gyllenhaal walked towards the microphone, Heath felt a foreboding bubble in the pit of his stomach.
They were the only men in the building. He wished there weren’t restrictions on sharing his work. The department guidelines on contact and interaction were enforced with a rigour which verged on the pathological. A Latin woman, in a black suit walked down the aisle, shot Heath a look which raised gooseflesh before she moved down the aisle. Michael made a few jokes about men, and the audience cackled with a fierce glee. He was playing to the crowd, Heath thought, and good on him. Men had it tough in this parallel universe, but the politics didn’t interest him because he was here for the culture, which was always upriver of politics, anyway. His throat was dry and he rubbed his tongue against the roof of his mouth to generate saliva.
The first guest hosts were the stars of Bitch, Where’s My Car?, stunning despite the goofy smiles and snapback hats, heavy bracelets and midriffs carved from wood, scarred with tattoos which made Heath stir in his seat. He had taped everything back and had to take a deep breath to control his reaction. When they announced the winner as a supporting actress in Thora Gump, Heath tutted and shook his head. An elderly woman shoot him a look, and when Heath uncrossed his legs, she scowled with a cautious suspicion before she returned her attention to the show. His mouth was like the skin of a baked potato and he had a headache building at his temples.
Thora Gump was awful. Heath suspected Zemeckis knew enough story structure to adapt the best parts of the book, and Hanks was subtle enough to avoid going full retard, which he’d been saying long before Tropic Thunder came out, but here Jodie Foster had suffered under Nora Ephron’s affectations to create a saccharine clown show which felt like a cheap satire of the original.
Heath loved the cinema of this world. For every Thora Gump, there was a Saving Private Rachel. Joan Allen was amazing as the determined school teacher and Greta Gerwig as Rachel provided an intense, but brief introduction in the final act. Their failures and successes held the same allure for Heath, but here he was indulging his appetite for novelty and risking his life to do it.
His money was on The Running Woman, Karyn Kusama had done an amazing job on the direction and Saoirse Ronan had proven a ballistic and credible lead. He had friends back home, who would have rated Frances McDormand’s role as Killian the equal of Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight but he couldn’t share it with them. He shook with pain as his mouth cracked and bled with thirst.
The speeches. The tearful calls for action to the faithful. He needed the bathroom but his legs had gone numb and his calves were hot coals grafted to his bones as he struggled to his feet. The old woman scowled at him and he avoided her piercing gaze as he staggered from his seat. The Latin woman looked at him with frank interest as she walked towards him.
His leg shook and he remembered the pinch on his ankle. A subtle display of tradecraft as good as anyone in the department. Culture was upriver of politics, but as he pitched forwards onto his knees and watched the Latin security guard walk towards him, he marvelled how his story had turned out.
Small but capable hands lifted him to his feet.
He knew where he was going. A room outside any jurisdiction where he would be asked questions. He hadn’t come to watch The Olivias as his work, but his passion. As he focused on the blank, beautiful faces, his knees bumped against the step as they loaded him onto the van and shut the door. He wanted to tell him how much he loved this world, its achievements and tragedies, how terrible and beautiful a world of women was, but they lowered the hood over his face and someone thrust a fist into his trachea before throwing him to the floor of the van as it sped away from the auditorium.
I wanted to share it with you. More to come, but my hope is, you’ll buy and enjoy the story.
His hair was thin, laying odd where he had taken his hat off upon coming into the bank. He had dyed it at some point, trading the recognisable golden-blonde halo for a dull, tobacco brown. It was more honest, like the man had been a useful shell, something to discard when the need arose. What lived inside that man was one person in front of her.
There was a livid white headed pimple visible above the collar of his shirt with a circle of inflamed skin around it. He carried the packed sour musk of poor hygiene. He had tried to make an effort with his clothes but he looked fragile. He had walked around as a god in a crisp white polo shirt and shorts, the silver whistle dangling between the cleft of his pectorals as he shouted out plays from the dugout.
He used to smell of nautical aftershave, a clean bold smell to him that reminded her of limes and now made her mouth fill up with vomit if she ever caught a whiff of it. She could not see his hands. She remembered how they would rest on the line of her neck.
He looked shorter than she remembered. The years had whittled him down whilst hers had been building a body that she considered hers again.
She leaned out and saw the harassed teller struggle to remain polite with the elderly gentleman, his balding head shining and fragile in the afternoon light as he tried to remember his account number.
This was the second day of following him, but the first that she did not have to rely on guessing where he might have been. She had watched him stop at the store and pick up a copy of a magazine he kept rolled up and inside a plastic bag that he brought with him. His chest would rise from excitement and look both ways as he left the store to return home.
She had walked in and shoplifted three magazines, took them back under her coat to her hotel room and took them apart. She removed the staples with needle nose pliers and replaced them with wire transmitters that fed to an app on her phone. All ordered over the internet which he probably was banned from going on. Hence the need for analogue release, which was a slick, distasteful thing to consider and she spat it away.
Returning the magazines was more difficult than stealing them had been. She did it in five trips, losing her nerve on the third and fourth. She watched him go back to the store.
She watched him go to the store, return home with milk, bread and another magazine. Her phone beeped with a connection. He did not have a cellphone which was almost an atavism these days, but she could follow him.
She looked different too. She had become a woman which would not interest him anymore.
She had never picked up a baseball bat again and had switched to judo. After getting her black belt in that and competing at a state level, she had begun to study Brazilian ju-jitsu and even got into muay thai kickboxing. Her hair was still long, tucked up beneath a ball cap. Her complexion was soft, hints of peach and milky coffee. She wore a long green sweater with sleeves that hung over her hands and black leggings with unlaced boots. The clothes softened her, hid the cast of her shoulders and the raw, callused strength in her hands from all the years gripping the thick white material of the ghi. She had no intention of fighting him because it would be too quick, too awkward.
In the queue he turned and glanced at her, gave a distant but sickly smile then turned away.
It stung that he did not recognise her.
She kept her eyes on him, feeding her hate for him to keep her alert.
It became his turn to conduct business with the teller.
He was closing his account, which warranted one of the bank’s officers coming over to speak with him. She stood there, looking straight ahead as close as she had been since the trail. Her heart pounded in her chest and her limbs shook with the need to strike out at him.
Every heavy bag bore his face that she threw knees and elbows into.
She turned around and walked away. She was desperate for some fresh air.
She stood three people behind him in the post office as he filled out some forms to have his mail forwarded to him.
She stood outside the travel agents as he spoke to the travel agent, shook hands with her but failed to see the speed with which she reached for the hand sanitizer when he had left.
She did not follow him into the coffee shop. She had followed him for long enough, now it was time to hunt him.
He let himself into his apartment and shut the door behind him. He stood against it and exhaled deeply as he stretched out his lower back. He switched the light on and stood the bag of groceries on the table. He reached into his coat and pulled out a pouch of rolling tobacco, made himself a cigarette and sat underneath the blinking fluorescent light, smoked it and stared out at nothing.
He shut his eyes and felt a vein in his temple throb with the beginnings of a headache.
He finished the cigarette and stubbed it out before putting the groceries away. He was too exhausted to eat; he had planned to jerk off and go to sleep. Tomorrow would be a new day for him, he told himself, one more day and he could go somewhere else, start again.
He unbuttoned his shirt in the doorway of his bedroom when he heard the creak of a floorboard behind him and started to turn.
The knee in the small of his back pushed the air from his lungs and he went to fall forward until he felt a pair of hands clamp onto his shoulders and pulled him back into the hallway. He tried to turn around, but the hands pulled him up.
He tried to speak, but he would be punished with another punch or a knee. He kept trying to move into the bedroom, but she used his shirt as a rein. He probably still thought it was a man beating him up.
He threw his arm up to shove her away, which she took in the shoulder and returned with a crisp jab to his nose that spread it across his face in a wet crack. Agony bolted through his head, splitting his brain in two with its bright fury.
He covered his face in his hands and she watched blood trickling between his fingers.
‘Get up, Coach.’ she said.
He pulled his hands away, the lower half of his face dark and shining with blood. His teeth were small and dull in his mouth, and his eyes welled up with tears.
‘No, please. I’ve been on a program. I can’t even talk to children anymore.’ he said.
She shook her head and took her cap off, stepped forward into the light.
‘You’re talking to one right now. ‘
Her eyes were dry and cold.
‘I was just going to scare you at first. I wanted you to know what that felt like.’
He put his hands up in front of him and shook his head.
‘Please, I’m a good person, I wasn’t but I’m trying to be.’
She stepped forwards and stared into his eyes.
‘I’ve followed you, Coach, what you were doing weren’t the actions of a good man.’
She ran her tongue across her lips.
‘None of them were, not ever.’
Her voice regressed and she was ten years old again, looking into his eyes and knowing what the sun would like if it had a face.
Before it scorched something inside her, made it charred and dead.
It was the little girl who made her run forward.
The choke went in quick and deep. Between her crossed thighs, his face turned purple and swollen, his eyes turning red from where blood vessels haemorrhaged as she constricted his blood supply to his brain.
She kept his arm straight and held between her hands until it went slack, then stayed on until her abdomen and thighs started to cramp. She crawled off him, fighting the burn of lactic acid from the effort of keeping the choke held in.
The air had begun to smell damp around him and she got away.
She slipped out of the room, then the building and pulled her hood up then jammed her hands in her pockets.
The queue for the Greyhound wasn’t long, but she kept looking ahead, waiting for the wail of sirens and it was when she got on and looked out of the window that she started to cry again. She curled her knees up to her chest and hugged herself.
She thought of home, and for the first time, did not feel sick.
I am looking for beta readers for this project.
UNTIL SHE SINGS
M B BLISSETT
You cannot stay silent if you want to be heard.
Caitlin Ross, a young singer-songwriter, makes her debut at an open mic night playing and singing her own songs for the first time. Struggling in her relationship with her once, nearly famous boyfriend Luke, Caitlin’s performance lends a new spotlight for him to pirate. But Caitlin has grown weary of life in Luke’s shadow.
When a handsome stranger, Daniel, introduces himself after her set, the attraction is immediate and all consuming. His pursuit quickly throws Luke’s failings as a partner into stark relief. And she quickly finds herself caught between the past and the future, chained to the former by her guilt over Luke’s dependence upon her.
I am looking for beta readers, so please get in touch if you are interested in providing me with feedback on the book.