Saturday, 20 July 2013

Spring Locusts

I was sitting on my stoop, my back drenched with sweat caused by the unseasonal hot spring weather. I was swinging in my rocking chair, a cool glass of lemonade on the parched wood beside my seat. I was in a good mood, I remember, as I looked out at my flourishing crop of grain, thinking about the money it would fetch me at harvest.

That was when it happened.

I rubbed my wrinkled eyes, not being able to believe what I was seeing. A thick, black cloud came looming towards me. I sat, stunned, before my brain snapped and I jumped to my feet, knocking my glass of lemonade over in my haste to retreat to the safety of my house. I rushed to a nearby window, pulling back the curtain that was closed against the withering heat. I pressed my nose up against the glass, watching with a sinking heart as the black cloud descended upon my beloved crop. Day turned instantly to night as the cloud blocked the sun, impairing my vision. I could see nothing in the pitch black, and a mad crackling sound from outside nearly drove me insane.

The cloud lifted as suddenly as it came, and my throat choked up when I saw the devastation left behind. My crops looked as if a giant had stomped upon the plants in a fit of rage. Not so much as a kernel was left, an entire year of back-breaking work destroyed by a swarm of hungry locusts in a matter of moments.

It was the worst day of my life.

- Written by Ash Oldfield 2013

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Week 8: And I was on holiday...

I would just like to apologise for not having written a story this week. I have been away on holiday so didn't get around to even thinking of a story.

The writing prompts for this week are 'Spring' and 'Locusts'. I am going to go write a story for it RIGHT NOW so I don't miss out a second week in a row.

Don't forget to share your stories on Twitter using the hashtag #AshWriteTime.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Week 7: Behind the White Curtain a Waterfall Cascades

Behind the white curtain a waterfall cascades, shimmering as if struck by sunshine, hidden from the prying eyes of those who do not understand such things. Beyond the torrent of water that rushes forth to cleanse the soul, a chamber awaits. Within this chamber, it is said, a most valuable treasure lies. Do not attempt to take this treasure, for a powerful curse taints it, protecting it from any who cannot prove themselves worthy. The legend speaks of souls doomed for all eternity, stone grotesques that haunt the cavern for all of time, horror etched upon their withered faces...

Elfrida tiptoed through the enchanted castle, frightened that her movements would awaken that something that she could feel was hiding within the unnatural stillness. Hanging from her side was an ancient sword with runes etched along its length in a language no longer understood. A present from her father upon his death bed, along with a half-whispered tale of enchanted castles and ancient treasure.

Elfrida's feet felt numb and frozen upon the flagstone floor, but they made no sound. Her steel-capped boots would have clattered upon the ground, making noises she could ill afford. So instead she went barefoot, ignoring the cold and discomfort. Elfrida crept along a narrow corridor, one hand resting on the hilt of her sword, the other clutching at her throat. In front of her stood a white curtain that stretched from ceiling to floor. It fluttered as if moved by a gentle breeze, an impossibility within the depths of a castle. With a trembling hand Elfrida pulled aside the curtain, uncovering a raging waterfall, the sudden noise of it deafening. She abruptly let the curtain fall and drew in ragged breath upon ragged breath, the sudden silence making her ears ring. So it was true! The legend was true! Perhaps she would encounter a treasure after all.

Taking a deep breath to steady herself, Elfrida drew back the curtain a second time, prepared now for the noise and magnitude of the waterfall. It ran along the entire length of the wall, allowing Elfrida no chance to slip around the side of it to get into the cavern she felt was sure lay behind it. Gathering all of her courage, Elfrida broke into a run, slamming headfirst into the wall of water. She opened her eyes and stood, gaping at the large room she was standing in. She could feel the trickle of water down her back as if it were another world away. She couldn't believe her eyes as she scanned the cavern, from the frozen stone statues of would-be robbers, to the jewel-encrusted walls. She took a handful of tentative steps towards the centre of the room where a glass orb stood upon a granite plinth. Elfrida reached out a hand to touch it, before snatching it back. She didn't want to touch anything that she didn't understand.

- Written by Ash Oldfield 2013

My apologies, ladies and gentlemen. This is as far as I got for my short story this week. I hope you enjoy it so far. I ummmed and ahhhed about posting it incomplete, but on a whim decided it was better to post something than nothing at all. Time permitting I would like to complete this story, although I am spending so much time on my novel of late that I am not sure if I will manage it. Don't forget to share your stories on Twitter using the hash tag #AshWriteTime

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Week 6: Championship Circus

Commentator 1: "And, will you just look at that, ladies and gents, BoBo seems determined to pull a rabbit out of the hat."
Commentator 2: "Quite literally."
Commentator 1: "Well he certainly needs something special, if he is to win this year's Circus Championship, Clown division." 
Commentator 2: "What's this? BoBo's leaning forwards, beckoning to an audience member. You don' think he will...?"
Commentator 1: "Surely not. That would be a huge risk."
Commentator 2: "But he has! The old 'squirt with a flower trick'. The judge does not look pleased."
Commentator 1: "No he does not, and who could blame him? A rookie mistake by BoBo the clown there. The judge seems to be saying something. BoBo looks angry."
Commentator 2: "I believe he's just been disqualified. What a way to end his Championship career. I really thought he had more in him than that."
Commentator 1: "Certainly a disappointment for the veteran. Yes, look, he's been sent off. He's climbing into his tiny car now. I always wonder how they fit. And there he goes, ladies and gentleman. What an end to the day!"
Commentator 2: "And that's the last we'll see of this clown, of that we can be certain. It looks like the championship will go to Mr. Wobbles now."
Commentator 1: "Only BoBo seemed to have the skills to stop him. And with that, we'll take a quick break. We'll be right back after these short advertisements."

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Week 5: Feline Frenzy Freedom FIghter

Robert dropped to his knees, wincing slightly as he landed heavily on some prickly branches. He crouched low behind a bush and pulled out his weapon. He cast a skilful eye over it, ensuring it was fully loaded and in perfect working order. Robert peered out from behind the bush, squinting so that he could see through the gloom. Spotting his quarry, Robert raised his weapon. With his hand slightly shaking he took aim as the beast slithered towards him. He held his breath and pulled the trigger. His aim was superb. The beast let out a blood-curdling cry before fleeing into the darkness.

One enemy down. God knows how many left to go.

Robert reassessed the ammunition level in his Thunderstorm Super Soaker. There was plenty of water left in it for now. Robert’s Crazy Cat Lady neighbour kept bringing home more and more stray cats, feeding them and then letting them roam wherever they wished. Unfortunately for Robert, the damn creatures seemed to think that his front lawn made for the perfect litter tray. Well, he’d be damned if he was going to put up with it! So he went out and bought himself the best water pistol money could buy, and had spent the last week camping out in the front yard and squirting each cat as it started to squat to do its business. He liked to think of himself as the Feline Frenzy Freedom Fighter. So far the cats had the upper hand due to sheer numbers, but Robert was determined. He settled in for another long night on the battlefield.

Robert awoke the next day bleary eyed and battle weary. By the time he had downed three morning coffees, he decided he just could not go on like this,  but defeat was not an option. It was time he enlisted further troops. He went online and found the answer he was looking for.

A few evenings later, Robert rolled over contentedly in his bed, each shriek of disgruntled cat like music to his ears. He couldn’t be more pleased he passed the mantle of Feline Frenzy Freedom Fighter on to his brand new motion sensor sprinkler. He may have retired from the battle, but that didn’t mean that he couldn’t win this war.

- Written by Ash Oldfield 2013

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Week 4: Alien Cupcakes

Billy sniffed at the sweet sensations that were wafting through the air. His mother was baking cupcakes again; his favourite. Not that Billy would be getting so much as a bite of cupcake though. Oh no, there’s to be no cupcakes for poor little Billy. You see, his mother had a perverse habit of baking cupcakes, but not giving her young son any of them. No matter how good they smelled; No matter how much Billy’s mouth watered or his tummy rumbled. “They’re for work, now put your nose back in your face,” his mother would snap should Billy ever whine about the lack of cupcakes that were going into his mouth.

Eventually it became more than Billy could take. Who could blame him? What six-year-old boy could handle being denied scrumptious baked goods that were within his tender grasp on a regular basis? So one night, after his mother had been baking, Billy snuck downstairs and into the kitchen. He looked in the pantry. There they were! In a box on the top shelf. Just as Billy was stretching up on his tippy toes, as high as he could go, he heard a noise coming from the other room. In a flash, Billy hid. From his position beside the fridge, Billy watched with wide eyes as he saw his mother go into the pantry and take out the box of cupcakes. Maybe she had heard Billy and was going to count the cakes? Billy hadn’t thought of that. But, no, his mother didn’t even try to open the lid. She simply turned on her heel and left the kitchen. Trying his best to be silent, Billy crept after his mother. To his surprise his mother headed out the front door and into the dark of the night. Billy quickly followed, wishing he had thought to put on a dressing gown. He followed closely behind his mother down the street, turning the corner and entering the local playground. Billy hid behind a bush while his mother placed the box of cupcakes on the ground. For the first time Billy noticed that his mother was carrying a heavy shovel. Surely she wasn’t going to bury the cupcakes, was she? Billy had never considered the idea that his mother could be insane before. During the day she seemed perfectly normal to him. But this was a new side he was seeing of her, and Billy wasn’t sure that he liked it. Billy watched as his mother stood with her legs spread wide, gripping the shovel like it was a sword. She stood like that for minutes, or was it hours? Billy lost track of time as he waited, holding his breath, to see what his mother would do next.

Suddenly a strange buzzing noise sounded from off in the distance. It got closer and closer, louder and louder, until Billy had to cover his ears with his hands. His mother stayed exactly where she was, seemingly oblivious to the sound. The buzzing stopped abruptly. Out of the darkness came a strangely shaped blob of green, oozing towards his mother. It was buzzing quietly. Two eyes on stalks seemed focussed on the box his mother had placed a few paces in front of her. Before Billy’s very eyes the blob changed ever so slightly, with arms protruding from the side where arms had never protruded before. It lifted up the lid of the box and took out a handful of cakes. The creature opened its mouth so wide that it could have engulfed the whole box, revealing row upon row of needle-sharp teeth. With a cry and a crack his mother sent the shovel swooshing down through the air, hitting the creature on the head with a thwack. Billy let out a cry of surprise, quickly covering his mouth with his hand. Too late, the damage was done. His mother turned her head towards his direction, letting out a startled gasp when she saw Billy cowering behind the bush. She was covered from head to toe in alien grime.

“Help me move this blob of an alien,” was all she said to Billy. And from then on Billy knew that, whenever his mother spent the afternoon baking cupcakes, some alien was destined to be clobbered.

- Written by Ash Oldfield 2013

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Week 3: Farm Fear

Jennifer threw her knapsack on the concrete floor and looked around the spacious room. From the outside the building had looked like an old barn, but the inside was panelled with wood that divided the spacious building into several  rooms. There was an upstairs area for bedrooms, whilst downstairs consisted of a bathroom, kitchen and living area. A handful of friends had decided to get away for the weekend. Michael had volunteered his parents’ farm property as it was currently untenanted. It was perfect for a weekend of drunken revelry for the young twentysomethings. It was only an hour’s drive from where they lived and, more importantly, it was far enough from the nearest town that none of the locals would be disturbed by the noise that they were bound to make. It was just the sort of break that Jennifer and her friends needed after a hectic exam period at University.

“What’s with the deco?” she asked Michael as he walked in with an armful of groceries. Michael shrugged.

“I dunno, my parents like old farming equipment, I guess. They pick most of it up from the local junk shops.”

Jennifer examined a large, rusty saw that was hanging from the wall. “Some of this shit could really hurt someone,” she said as she touched a tooth on the saw. Michael shrugged dismissively.

Jennifer turned her back on the saws, axes and shears that dotted the walls and headed upstairs to claim a bed. By the time she had set herself up the others had arrived. Bags were unpacked, groceries put away, and the group of five were ready to let their hair down. Mac took out a deck of cards and Sarah dealt them. The drinking games commenced.

As they sat on the front porch they saw the local police drive past, but they didn’t stop. The group moved the party inside just in case, wanting to avoid trouble if they could, which was for the best as, come nightfall the group had become very…merry…

At around eleven o’clock Johnno stood up abruptly. “Did you guys hear that?” he asked. Jennifer’s vision was a bit fuzzy so she just looked at him blankly, but Michael stood up.

“I heard it too,” he said, looking towards the front of the house. Michael and Johnno went to the front door and opened it. Standing on the front porch was a shady looking, wiry man who was scratching his arm vigorously.

“Youse guys got any spare drink?” he asked the boys.

“Nah, sorry mate,” said Michael.

“Can I come in anyway? S’cold out here.”

“Sorry man. Maybe try the pub in town.”

“Aw come on,” the man said, his eyes darting about wildly. He made to force his way inside, but Michael and Johnno were quick enough to block his way. They slammed the door shut in the man’s face.

“That guy was seriously creepy,” said Johnno as they sat back down.

“I’m glad you didn’t let him in,” said Jennifer with a little shiver, feeling suddenly sober. “He didn’t sound quite right, like he was on something.”

The group got back to the game, but their hearts weren’t really in it. After a while they were able to relax a bit, but they couldn’t quite shake that eerie feeling that they were being watched. About an hour later Jennifer thought she heard some noises coming from upstairs. Mac went to investigate, but came back having found nothing. As he stood in the doorway a confused expression spread across his face, followed swiftly by horror. Fear welled in Jennifer’s throat, spreading down to the pit of her stomach, as Mac fell to his knees. Her mouth opened in a silent scream as she saw, standing behind Mac, a wild-eyed stranger holding up a rusty blade.


The police arrived at around 2am to tell the group to shut their music off. When no one answered the door they broke it down. The bloody scene that greeted them stayed with the officers for a long, long time. Rusted farm equipment had been ripped from the walls and used in ways beyond imagining. Of the murderer there was no trace.

- written by Ash Oldfield 2013