This-stopia

I have an Instagram account (@freyathewriter). Instagram is an amazing place to be for writers – the community is great. Readers, writers and others that find themselves caught up in the web of the community are having a great, supportive time over there. I bought a book only 11 days ago that was an independent writer’s first publication – and it was excellent. If I hadn’t joined Instagram, I’d likely never have read it. Congratulations to Nicholas Crivac for getting Apotheosis to print. Take a look at his website if you want to know more!

Anyway, I digress. On my Instagram account I got involved in a conversation about how the way the world is at the moment means that any ideas us dystopian writers might develop seem to have been stolen by, or been the inspiration for, various regimes around the world (looking at you, governments of the UK and USA!). It means we have to push our plots further and harder so that they don’t just end up being non-fiction tomes. Having said that, in my experience what it has meant is that the tiny news articles that slip through when we are all being supposedly distracted by the latest scandal (which seem to focus very much on the Royal Family these days) have been the jumping off point for some quite interesting and unexpected plot twists. I can’t decide whether to be pleased or horrified at my schadenfreude. It just goes to show, we are all a messy mix of light and shade.

This takes me to my next point (I did have a plan for this blog post, honest). I’m so focused on my burgeoning novel that other writing is taking a back seat. I’m in the throes of my first edit of my book. It’s both challenging and revealing and I find that I edit best with a cup of coffee, under the duvet, in bed (who knew?). I wonder if it’s because it reminds me of when I was a law student and the only way I could have access to all the law books I needed when writing and studying (it was before the internet!) was by spreading them out on my bed? Anyway, once I’ve made some more editing progress my flash fiction and poetry brain cells will kick back in. I do have a list of ideas, inspirations and whatnot, I just don’t want and can’t get too distracted by them for now. I used to contribute a lot to DVerse and I want to get back into that, definitely. It too is a fun place to be.

Which takes me to my final point, which is a bit of a shout out to Helena Hann-Basquiat. She too has been off the radar for a bit (I think the youth across the pond are still saying ‘a hot minute’), but I am reliably informed because I follow her and comment on her blog posts (not stalkery at all), that she is also getting back into the writing gig. I’m so pleased because (a) she’s a brilliant writer and (b) because I reaaaaaally enjoyed being part of the Jessica collaboration back in 2014. it appears that the final book in the trilogy is in the works. All being well I can unleash my really dark side on a bloody slice of this final book, if she still intends to go down the collab route with it. I have a dark dystopian soul and an even darker horror soul. And then there’s my fantasy soul too which is really quite a doozy. Anyway, all hail Helena. I’m looking forward to working with you, if you’ll have me.

There. I think I’ve written all I wanted to for now. I intend to be here on a weekly basis, every weekend, all being well. I’ll be in my dressing gown and PJs, allthough you won’t see that – or will you? Who knows who is watching and by what method?

We are in This-stopia after all…

 

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Altered state

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Eddie wasn’t happy. She had fought for the last piece of cornbread and it had turned out to be dry, hard and mouldy all at the same time. It was black mould and she had a vague memory of being told that it was the dangerous type – but what was more dangerous than dying? She sighed, sitting in the ground, still shocked at how they could all have fallen so far.

A few weeks ago she had been safe in her house, even though there had been holes in the roof, none of the doors would shut properly and most of the windows were broken. It had still been hers, her haven. Now it was buried under an avalanche of scree, the detritus of the mountain above dumped on them all. She was now homeless and the sheer horror of it, the death, the destruction, was incongruous with the looming monstrosity that now reared above them, Pythagorean in its order, for the mountain was now glass-like, a pyramid, perfect in its horrific proportions. No houses, trees, people or animals blotted its smooth features. The weather had also turned, the water that had destroyed the mountain in torrents a mere memory these days. The sun burned down on them incessantly, relentless in its ferocity.

Where would she find water now? At the very least, she needed to moisten the cornbread in order to be able to chew and swallow it. The stream had dried up, the puddles had hardened to smooth, oily, sunken eyes. There was nothing for it. She lifted up her skirts and released the bright yellow stream of piss. She stared at the soggy bread lying limp on the ground and just as she was about to pick it up and force it into her mouth, she heard a twig snap behind her.

“Whatchoo got there?”

“Gemini'” sighed Eddie, trying to conceal the fear in her voice. “Where’s your sister?”

He waved nonchalantly, loose-limbed as ever. “Oh, back there.”

Eddie assumed that he was referring to beyond the shadowy trees, back to where the mercy truck had deposited its spoils. “But there’s nothing left, all the food has gone.”

“Well, not quite all. Driver’s dead,” said Gemini, his eyes cutting into her like blades. He grinned, menacing.

“Oh.” What else could she say? All she knew was that she needed to keep him talking, otherwise he would start thinking. Thinking was bad these days, but even more so for Gemini, he who constantly whittled away at pieces of wood with a wicked, curved blade.

“So why aren’t you with them?” she asked.

“S’boring there. They’re still hoovering the ground with their eyes, fighting over the last scraps.” Gemini tossed a pebble up and down, eyeing up Eddie meditatively. Sex was on his mind, even now, even in this world. He was terrifyingly calm, nonchalant.

His hand reached out like a striking serpent. He gripped Eddie’s wrist, yanked her towards him. She could smell his rancid breath, wanted to recoil, knew she shouldn’t.

“We need to repopulate the village. You and me, we are the ones,” he said. Strands of livid flesh shivered wetly between his incisors as he spoke. An image flashed before her eyes, of him sinking his teeth into the dead mercy truck driver’s leg, tearing, glorying in the horror of it all. He grasped her between the legs, pinching hard. “Let’s do it.”

Or maybe the driver hadn’t been dead, screaming for his own mercy as Gemini wrought his mad version of justice. Maybe, he hadn’t been dead.

“Yes, Gemini. We are the ones.”