A Character Evolves

I've been hanging out with one of my characters for a while; he's rapidly growing from a short story character to something a lot more meatier.  He's popped up on several flash stories of late, and I think I need to invest some serious effort into making him a fully fledged character worthy of his dastardly deeds.  He is, after all, a psycho, and his name is Hackett.  He's evolving before my very eyes.

For those who like a little gristle in their horror, I've included two flash stories involving Hackett: Confluence and Palette.



A billowing violet flourish, a fanfare. The sound of the opera in the background transcended the stink of fear and drowned out the man’s screams.

The high-pitched wailing grated on Hackett’s nerves.

The first slice cut through the larynx and instantly silenced; followed by a deeper cut which carved through sinew and muscles and slowly, deliberately, separated head from the neck.

The eyes fascinated Hackett; the tongue had become slack, but the terror bloomed in the man’s expression. Pain, death. Last moments captured.

Nerves made the man’s mouth twitch madly in a silent scream.

It was time for dinner.


The soothing sound seeped through the hallway; ambient musical strings floated like granules of dust caught in a beam of light.


Hackett eased back in his chair, smoked his cigarette. Cool cerulean tendrils stroked his face as he listened to Rachmaninov’s dulcet concerto No 2.

His finished artwork hypnotised him; deathly indulgent and deep velvety red. She was beautiful now he’d skinned her, peeled and pruned and...


Weeping strange colours and glistening beneath the dull light, she was tremulous, drowning in her fear and pain.

Her palette fascinated him. He exhaled; carved a path through the smoke.


A matter of confidence

Confidence in writing comes with the territory.  Being a writer is a bit like standing in the middle of a firing range - some bullets will miss, some will hit, some will hurt and some won't even cause a ripple.  Confidence is so fragile - you think you're full of it, but the reality is that it only takes one tiny thing to break it.

Sometimes what we write works, sometimes it doesn't.  Sometimes people get it, sometimes they don't. I wrote a recent piece for a competition, called Love Letter, and it didn't appeal to the judge.  I don't like writing weak stories - I invest as much time in a poem or flash fiction as I can.  Quality is important, not quantity, but also technical application matters too, so the old confidence went astray after my dalliance on the firing range.  I couldn't dodge those bullets!  Thankfully my writing mojo came back like a dog returning to its master.

There's a lot packed into these 200 words.  See what you think.

Love Letter

A dusty remnant lay on the kitchen table. A fragment of her life, shadowed for a lifetime, found buried in the attic of a house somewhere in the lush green hills of northern England, it now gleaned the light.

Celine Pierremont glanced at the sturdy oak in the courtyard. A love heart and initials - carved into the bark almost seventy years ago - had darkened but had not diminished. Nor had her love for the salient figure that had vanished from her life so long ago, snatched from the street by German soldiers looking for English spies.

Their love had been secretive and clouded by war, yet unchained by the guilt that it brought, and she remembered the feeling of her love, like silk ribbons and velvet over softened, supple skin; lost like time itself.

She looked to the letter on the table. Her lover had died in a concentration camp in 1942, a year after they had met and fallen in love, just before the letter was written. Celine had never known the truth, believing that their love was doomed.

Until now.

The letter brimmed with words of love, from the most beautiful women Celine had ever known.