Thursday, 19 July 2012

Wednesday Blog Hop - Drawn to Peace

Here is this weeks interpretation for the Wednesday Blog Hop.  The photo and five words to be included this time are:


For the full rules of the Blog Hop head on over to The World of My Imagination, where you'll also find  plenty of other excellent shorts inspired by these prompts.

Drawn to Peace

Brenda opened her eyes and allowed them to adjust to the dark. She eased her head from the pillow and glanced over to the door, the reassuring light still creeping through the gap at the bottom. Resting her head back again she was just about to close her eyes when a noise drifted in to her room. It was fairly muffled to begin with as it seeped in around the edges between door and frame, but with a soft click the door was opened. It was as though the sound itself had pushed it open, and now it filled the room around her.
She was wide awake now, trembling a little waiting for someone to walk through. She wondered if it were the nurse on her rounds. But nobody came, and the music played on. She realised now what it was, not just noise but music.
Slowly she climbed out of bed, reaching for her cardigan draped over the chair. Pulling it close around her she edged towards the light in the corridor. She was concentrating hard on what may be outside, and jumped out of her own skin when she caught a flash in front of her. Steadying herself against the wall she realised her brooch had caught the light in the mirror. Inwardly she cursed herself for being so silly.
She made it out into the corridor and shuffled along in her slippers, passing familiar doors of the other residents as she went. She seemed to be the only one that heard the haunting music. It was drawing her towards itself now, she was caught in some kind of trance she couldn't free herself from.
She headed down the stairs under its spell, helpless to stop herself and not knowing where it was taking her. It drew her around the corner at the bottom of the stairs and she realised it was taking her to the recreation room. As she entered she could now see where the music was coming from. In the corner, standing on its own behind a large purple sofa was a large music box. It had been there for as long as she could remember, its once bright colours now fading with each passing year. She had never known so much as a peep to come from it, but now it played in all its glory, haunting the empty room with it accordian and drumbeats.
With her attention on the music she didn't notice the figure enter the room, one so familiar to her she knew it even in this dim light. Peter, her husband of fifty years, stood before her smiling. He was a shadow of his former self, skin almost peeling from his face, a cockroach crawling from inside his shirt.
He gazed at her with pride and then she knew. She knew it was her time to go, to finally be at peace with her husband.

Word count: 485

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Wednesday Blog Hop - Escape

So, I've come across a little weekly challenge called the Wednesday Blog Hop, hosted by a blog I follow called The World of My Imagination

Each Wednesday a writing prompt is given in the form of a picture and five random words.  The challenge is to come up with a short story, maximum of 500 words, which contains all of these elements.  You then have a week to go over to the hosts blog and post the link to your story.

Here is the photo for this week:

The five words are:   north, gutter, padlock, herald, sky

Here is my interpretation of these elements.  Enjoy!!!


Marina sat on her bed, awaiting the arrival of her father. He would be here soon with the car, ready to take her to the church. She stood up and looked at herself in the full-length mirror. The dress he'd chosen was pretty she supposed. She wouldn't have picked it herself but she was never allowed to make these decisions anyway; it wouldn't have mattered either way what she'd wanted. The simple white cotton dress clung to her body as she swung this way and that, flowing around her feet. She had to arrange her hair herself, a single flower pinning it up on one side, away from her face. She hoped it met with their approval.
She turned to the window now, wondering how things would be different if she'd managed her escape. No way to know now, the padlock and bars made sure she wasn't going anywhere.
She heard her father's footsteps on the stairs, across the landing and then they paused outside her room. The key turned in the lock and the door swung open gently. 'Ready my dear?'
Marina didn't bother with a reply, it would be a futile effort. She took his arm and let him lead her down the stairs and out the front door. The sun shone high in the sky making her squint, too long she'd been cooped up in the house.
In the car she watched the houses go by, shops filled with people, the park where the children played. Nobody cared that this was her special day. She doubted anyone even knew. It was to herald a new phase in her life, father said. A new chapter filled with excitement. At least it was for him. This marriage would seal the biggest deal in his career, a solid link with the most powerful family in the country. She'd never even met her groom. She guessed he may be handsome. She needed a good match, father said, to look after her and keep her from the gutter.
She looked at the church as they approached, it's grey walls uninviting. There were no crowds awaiting them, no family and friends to celebrate with. Just her groom, his father, her father and the vicar. Was it really only her that noticed the oddness in that?
The ceremony would be short, she was told. A quick blessing afterward and then they were to head north, to their new home. She had no idea where, but wondered if she could get lost somewhere on the way. There had to be plenty of places to escape to, or from. She lived in hope.

Word count: 442

Friday, 13 July 2012

Film Challenge: #4 Alien

Alien is listed as number 4 on my Film Challenge list.  The list has been put together for me by friends who just couldn't believe the amount of films I've never seen.  For the complete list go to my Film Challenge tab.

WARNING:  SPOILER ALERT!  If you haven't seen this film yet and don't want to ruin the experience then please do not read any further.  I will not be offended, I'd much rather you enjoy the film properly.
If you have seen it, then do read on ...

Although I'd never seen the Alien movie in its entirety, I knew of its reputation as one of the iconic films of its era. It's always one that I'd been meaning to watch but never did, and when asked I'd always say I'd seen it. It's a bit like people admitting to reading all the 'classics' when really they've only seen the film/television adaptation. It makes you seem more knowledgeable if you've seen or read these things. The looks I'd get when I said I'd never seen Alien were incredulous.

This is the main reason why my film challenge started really, to get a bit more up to date with all these films that, supposedly, I should have seen by now.

When I finally sat down to watch this film I was full of anticipation for it being amazing right from the start. I must admit though that it took a while to get in to, I wasn't as hooked as early on as I expected to be.
It wasn't until the crew of the Nostromo landed, to investigate the 'distress' signal that had awakened them, that I really started to get interested. I think I was expecting the action to be there pretty much from the word go and the slower start was unexpected.
When John Hurt first enters the cavern where the eggs are resting I started to move towards the edge of my seat. There's some value in not knowing anything about a film, it means you really don't know what to expect at any point in the film. As he was moving closer to them, and then fell through to their level, you just know that something is going to happen to him; it's just a case of what and when. Needless to say I did jump when the alien finally leaped out at him.

I was familiar with the chest bursting scene before watching the whole thing, in fact it was the only part that I'd actually seen, so it wasn't a huge surprise to me when it happened. I always delight in watching the faces of the other actors, knowing the story behind the scene.
From then on it was a case of wondering who was going to 'get it' next. To find that Ian Holm was actually an android, in on the whole thing was a surprise. Up until that point there hadn't been any mention of their existence, as far as I could tell anyway.
I found the film more intriguing when I hadn't actually seen fully what the alien actually looked like. Once its full size and appearance was shown, with its two mouth sections for killing, I couldn't realy take it all that seriously. I blame this completely on the GELF from Red Dwarf. Having seen those episodes so many times it really ruined some of the Alien experience.

By the end of the film, the battle in the escape pod, I'd gone a long way to getting over this so I could appreciate the film as it should be. It was edge-of-the-seat stuff again seeing whether or not Ripley was going to make it.

Overall I really enjoyed the film, it had plenty of tension to keep me guessing as to the crews fate and I wasn't looking at the timer constantly to see how close to the end it was (something I always do if a film is particularly dull). When the end of the film came, I was definitely looking forward to watching the next one, which I think is a good reflection on the film as a whole.

Rating: 4/5

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Wunderful Wunderlist

I've been a bit outside the writing zone for the past week. Not too far on the outside, I can still see all of my ideas and plans floating around in there. But I can't quite push my way in through the fog to get to them.
Whenever I come close to breaking through, some distraction or other pulls me away and the writing is forgotten. Ideas are springing into my head constantly and whizz their little way off inside the 'zone', there to remain out of my reach, laughing at me while I dance a merry jig on the outside.

However, I may have just stumbled across something that will help me with my problems. The latest issue of Writers Magazine landed on the doormat at the beginning of the week and I came across an interesting letter. It actually referred to an article in the previous issue that I'd been meaning to follow up but, as usual, I got a bit sidetracked with the rest of life. The letter was a good reminder and this time I decided to act while it was still in my head.

I'm talking about an organisational tool called Wunderlist. It really has been 'wunderful' in starting to get me back on track with everything creative. There is no limit to how many lists you can have, and I have one for every aspect of my life, from household chores and shopping lists, to wedding things and OU study. I also have a list for every writing project that is floating about in my head.
Within these lists I assign various tasks to be done and set a deadline for each. You can then choose to look at all tasks for 'today' and they will all be shown together, across all lists.
I find this truly invaluable as my main problem is keeping track of all the things I want to get done on various things. This way I can see everything on one page and I can keep up to date more easily. I have also downloaded it onto my smartphone, which automatically sync's with the web version so I can keep track of things on the go too.

If you're interested in taking a look for yourself then visit

Now I've finished this post, I off to check it from my list ...