new fiction

The Devil’s Heir-Chapter 17

CHAPTER 17: THE MIRROR ROOM

The kitchen was cramped as the nine temporals and one half-angel gathered around the table to plan their next move.

What do we know about this man Darrach?” Carlos asked.

From what Donal’s told us he’s a Sí.” said Kathy.

Fine, what do we know about this woman, Darrach?” Carlos asked.

No. He’s a . The Sí are a race of angels who were expelled to earth because they refused to take sides in the war between heaven and hell. They live amongst humans now. This Darrach is apparently a genius at combining divine power with human technology. So if, for example, you wanted a bomb that could destroy the human soul…”

He’d be the guy to talk to.” Eamonn nodded.

Right.” said Kathy “So we’re going to go and have a talk with him.”

Just a talk.” Donal growled “The Sí are under my protection and from what I see you don’t have any proof against him yet. You’ll need to convince me before I’ll hand him over to you.”

Fair enough.” said Kathy, pointedly ignoring the growl that emanated from the direction of Junko Imai.

Magnus gently shouldered his way through Eloi and Carlos and set a tea-tray on the table and began to quietly pour cups for everyone.

Is this going to be dangerous?” Baako asked, and instantly felt like a coward for saying it.

Good question.” said Kathy “We’re hoping (I’ll take coffee, Magnus, thanks) that he won’t be expecting us. It depends how much he knows. Mabus might just have showed up, asked for the bomb, took it and went. But if Darrach knows that his bomb was used to kill Temporals, he might have taken precautions.”

Let him.” said Junko hoaresly.

So, just so we know, what are we expecting? (two sugars, thanks) Booby traps?” Eamonn asked.

Probably not.” Mariana said “I can’t imagine someone booby trapping their own home (yes, a little milk, Magnus, thank you kindly) on the off chance that we showed up. But he might have a safe room. A hidden passge, an escape route. Something like that.”

Maybe it would…thanks…” Aoife took a mug of tea off Magnus and took a swig “Maybe it would be a good idea if I went and scouted around first? Get the lay of the land?”

A silence descended on the table. Aoife realised that everyone was looking at her.

Yes.” said Mariana, very quietly “I think that’s a very good idea.”

Well.” said Aoife, suddenly feeling very nervous “I guess…I’ll go do that. Then.”

Black.

Aoife collapsed on the table with a thud, spilling her tea.

(more…)

The Devil’s Heir-Chapter 16

CHAPTER 16: A DARK SPOT

“So you’ve come to kill me at last? I can’t say much for your punctuality.”

Isabella froze. The chamber behind Nyquist’s altar was pitch black, and she could not even see five inches in front of her. But she knew the voice was Joriel’s and she felt a little sugar rush of joy. We’ve found him. At last.

“No, no. I’ve not come to kill you Joriel.”

Cold fear washed over Isabella. That voice talking with Joriel. She knew it, as anyone in New Gomorrah would have.

“I will not go back to Groethuis and his knives and poisons, Mabus. Nor will I trade one cage for another.” said Joriel.

“My, it’s dark in here.” Mabus mused, as if he hadn’t heard him “Shall we have some light?”

“I can see perfectly.” said Joriel “But by all means, if you wish. There’s a lamp on the table to your left.”

Un-oh, thought Isabella.

She heard Mabus’s hand press a switch and a small lamp flicked on, bathing a corner of the room in muted yellow light and casting shadows over everything.

Isabella looked around and breathed out in relief. The room was divided by a thick black curtain, which she was standing behind. Inside the curtain, invisible to her, Joriel and Mabus continued talking.

“Oh dear.” said Mabus sympathetically “They have not been treating you well, have they?”

“This is not their doing.” said Joriel, and Isabella realised the angel’s voice sounded so much older than when she had last heard it “Apart from keeping me here in chains, they treat me well enough.”

“I assume they found you after the battle outside my chamber?”

“Yes. I retreated to the sewers. I was badly injured.”

“Shot off a helicopter, I believe?”

“Yes.”

“I am sorry. I hope you know that there was never any malice in my imprisoning you. I needed to be sure my New Matter weaponry would work. I needed to test it on someone. I just hope you don’t think it was personal.”

“I don’t see how it could have been.” said Joriel “You stole my wife, after all. Not the other way around.”

“Well. Ancient history.” said Mabus “Quite literally.”

(more…)

anthology

Soooo…this happened.

Over the weekend UCD Dramsoc, the drama society where I spent some of my happiest days and avoided some of my must important college lectures, published an anthology of plays that were originally written and performed there. The plays are A Certain Romance by Stephen Jones, Sluts by Caitriona Daly, Stoop by Gillian Greer and The Hole by…

"Yo."

“Yo.”

Yeah. So. Published writer. How are you? And if you’re interested in checking out some early work by the absolute cream of young Irish playwriting talent right now (and me), the book is available on Amazon and is actually kinda gorgeous.

The Devil’s Heir- Chapter 10

Kathy wondered if she was going mad. It was a common enough condition for people like her, she knew that. When simple, basic facts like what year it was or what country you were standing on could change purely on your own whim, it wasn’t really conducive to a stable sense of reality.

No, she reassured herself. Im not mad. Im in shock, traumatised, psychologically scarred, neurotic and constantly on the verge of a panic attack but I am most definitely not mad.

Well. Thank goodness for that.

To be perfectly honest, in the aftermath of the bombing, she had been plagued with a horrible feeling that she was coping too well. It was almost as if there was a giant cartoon anvil of utter grief hanging overhead, to which she was totally oblivious. Only when she chanced to look up, it would come crashing down on her, crushing her with the memory of everyone she had lost.

Milo was gone. There was no way that had struck home yet. When she finally acccepted that, when she finally realised he had gone…

Or maybe she wouldnt. Maybe this was all there was. Maybe this was all the grief that she could actually muster, and she just felt guilty because it seemed such a pitiful offering for such a terrible loss.

Maybe she was just some kind of souless machine.

Maybe she was a sociopath and didnt know it.

Maybe she was going mad.

Maybe she was exhausted, stressed and needed some sleep.

Maybe that was it.

Sure you dont want me to come in with you? Eamonn asked.

They were standing outside the door to Marianas home.

Kathy shook her head wearily.

Less is more. she said Ill go.

Scream if you need me.

Okay. Dont let anyone see you.

But Im so pretty. How can I deny them?

Be cruel.

(more…)

The Devil’s Heir- Chapter 7

CHAPTER 7: THE CUSTOMERS

She was awake and she was screaming.

In the darkness she tried to marshal her thoughts. Why was she screaming?

Not a dream, she didn’t have those anymore.

She felt like hot lead was being poured on her chest.

The pain had gotten worse while she had been sleeping.

It had gotten steadily more painful since her arrival in the City, and that had been four days ago. Now, it felt like it was killing her. Whimpering, she stumbled out of bed and felt her way down the corridor. Through a skylight over her head she could see the sky. It was early morning judging by the slightly lighter shade of grey. She did not know what made day or night pass in this place. It had been a long time since she had seen a sun.

The pain was now so bad it almost felt like her feet weren’t touching the ground, like she was being suspended in the air by a swarm of stinging hornets. Angela will know what to do, she has to.

There was a ball of fire in her chest.

She struggled on down the corridor, and came to the top of the stairs.

Her legs gave out and she tripped, rolling down the stair way, bruising her stomach and back on the hard wooden steps one after the other until she came to rest on the grey stone floor.

She lay there in the pale morning half-light, limp as a rag doll, unable even to move.

“Do not turn your back to the guilt. Do not push it away. Do not try to protect yourself from it. Guilt is the pain of the soul. It is the bleeding scar tissue left by your sin. It wants to hurt you. “

Angela’s clipped voice could be heard in the furthest corner of the hall, it cut into the last dusty grey nook in the rafters.

“Let it.” she said simply.

(more…)

The Devil’s Heir- Chapter 6

CHAPTER 6: THE STOOP-BACKED CITY

They drove for what felt like miles until finally the city began to shade the horizon, slowly becoming darker and more solid.

“Who built this place?” Marie whispered, and you had to whisper.

“No one knows.” said Angela “It was always here.”

And it looked like it had always been there. The houses looked like ruins in the jungle look, as if they are part of the trees and the vines, as if they too are of the forest and not made by man. They looked as if they had been grown, as if the bricks and mud and mortar had slowly pushed their way out of the ground and come to rest. No two were alike, some leaned left and some right. As they drove through the streets she saw that there were quite a number of people out, but they looked fewer, because everyone kept their distance from each other. Nobody walked in pairs, and everyone walked hunched and with their eyes downward cast, stark against the pale walls of the silent, grave-like houses.

Marie felt a shudder pass through her, and the walls on either side of the street seemed to cave in a little closer. She sat back in her seat and closed her eyes, and felt for her comb.

If you could, for a moment, be whisked away from home and stand in any street of the city, you would at first be struck by the horrible, unbreakable greyness of the place. The buildings were as grey as the sand which was as grey as the people which was as grey as the sky which was as grey as the buildings…and on and on it went in a never ending cycle of dullness and despair. But after a few minutes you would begin to feel a horrible sensation that you had been here before. Those grim, rainy Thursdays. Those winter vigils at inner city bus stops with the sky hanging like an iron dome overhead. For purgatory is little more than life played again, a repeat of the main feature. Only now the jokes have been done to death, the twists can be seen a mile off, the characters irritate through familiarity and anything that once was new has now been seen a million times before.

The truck finally shuddered to a halt and there was a silence.

(more…)

The Devil’s Heir- Chapter 1

CHAPTER 1: DRINKING FROM THE LETHE

The sand was sifting in the wind, and the iron coffin was now half buried beneath the lead-grey grains.

Slumped over the open casket was the withered, stiff body of a Shade. The wind tugged gently at it’s ragged, black garments and the hood had been blown back, revealing the creature’s pale, wrinkled features. Fluid still seeped from the wound in it’s chest, staining the grey sand.

Alive, it had been a snarling, terrifying thing. A harvester of souls and haunter of nightmares.

Dead, it was small and piteous. The face, now that the cruel mouth was slack and the golden eyes dead, looked fragile and very old.

Leading away from the casket was a small trail of prints which led off into the distance towards the huge ebony black mountains. They could be seen making their way up a huge hulking sand dune, like the wake of an ant in a bowl of sugar. And slowly, as the wind blew and the sand swept, the little footfalls drowned quietly, and were gone as if they had never been.

You could see her from a thousand miles away.

Whether against the endless grey sky and sand dunes that mirrored each other in colour like a reflection in a lake or against the great hulking range of obsidian mountains, she stood out like a flame in the night. The wind caught her great bonfire of hair and cast it back and forth so that it looked like she was burning from the head up. See her now; the collar of her dress pulled up over her nose to screen out the sand, and her eyes are a green you’ve never seen before. In her left hand she holds an old bone comb, in her right a blade with a golden handle. She is perhaps thirteen years old. No more.

Marie stopped.

The storm was getting worse, and the mountains seemed no closer than when she had set out days (weeks, months, years, hours?) ago. This place was unlike anywhere she had ever been, and she had travelled throughout much of space and time in her short life. She had seen the Moon from the inside. But this place…

The sand was grey.

The sky was grey.

The mountains were black.

And nothing more. Nothing changed apart from the wind picking up occasionally. The entire landscape seemed frozen in time. It had even infected her body. Since coming to this place she hadn’t eaten or drunk. Her body no longer made waste. And when she slept, which was rarely, she no longer dreamt.

Nonetheless, it was now getting harder to see, and the sand was getting in her eyes. She bent down and drew her head back into her dress like a turtle retreating into it’s shell. Huddled on the sand, she waited for the desert to calm, and slept.

She was woken by a stabbing pain in her chest. She gasped, and sat up, thinking that perhaps she’d rolled onto a particularly sharp stone. But no, the pain was still there. For an insane second she thought she was having a heart attack. But the pain was in the centre of her chest, between her lungs, a hard little nugget of discomfort. She breathed in slowly and gently, and the pain receded to a dull ache. She slowly got to her feet, made sure she had her comb and blade, and set off again towards the mountains.

(more…)

"FLEE, YOU CELLULOID BASTARDS!"

STATE OF THE MOUSE ADDRESS

Hi guys. So this is going to be one of those big weird posts where I update you on various unrelated pieces of news relating to the blog that I didn’t want to split up into individual posts. We all love those, right? Course we do. The news is, thankfully, pretty darn good, and I’ll be starting with the small beer before hitting you with the big exciting stuff. Let’s get started.
The Blog Awards Ireland
Huge thanks to everyone who voted. Won’t know for a while if I made the shortlist but we’ll see.
Ranking the Taoisigh
So the blog’s weird little detour into Irish political history has now wrapped up. Thanks to everyone who read, commented, and took the time to inform me that Seán Lemass was robbed. If you missed it, it was my attempt to review every Irish head of state in my usual “charming” style and you can get started here. Additionally, some have mentioned that they’d like to read through the entries chronologically to get a better sense of the historical narrative so I’m happy to oblige:
I’ve decided that I’ll be doing the “posting every two days for a month” thing next year, but on a topic a little closer to this blog’s heart. Ain’t sayin’ nothin’.
The Devil’s Heir
The sequel to the Hangman’s Daughter will start going up this Saturday with a new chapter every second Saturday afterwards. Huge thanks to my brother Eamonn for helping me with proof-reading and editing. If you want to get caught up on the first book before diving into the second so you know what the heck is going on and why all these Vikings and Cowboys are fighting demons and who the old lady kicking all the ass is, you can get started here.
What the blog is going to look like in the future
It feels like almost a year ago that I announced that I was going to start reviewing Marvel movies on this blog (what’s that? It was almost a year ago? I see). Back then I said I’d be starting in July 2015 but clearly that didn’t happen. Gallstones, crossovers, the whole BluCatt thing…mouse plans, God laughs, right? Anyway, I am now down to the last three reader requested reviews which will go up on the 15th and 29th of October and the 19th November. Then, Iron Man on the 3rd of December and we’re on our way, alternating with the winners from the first Move Deathmatch.
Wait a minute, “first”?
Yup. Okay, so there’s this new project I’m involved in that I can’t tell you about. Yet. I will be making an announcement soon. But it’s big. Potentially huge. Here’s what you need to know: We’ll be fundraising on Kickstarter and my contribution will be to run a second Movie Deathmatch here. This one is going to be a little different (for instance, for a larger donation you’ll be able to bypass the voting process and just buy a review) but for now I just need you to shout our your choices in the comments. Which movies do you want me to review? As many as you want. And as before, the twelve movies that seem to have the most support will be selected for the Deathmatch. Oh, and as well as animated features and comic book movies, this time I’m also accepting requests for animated series. Just name the series for now, we’ll figure out which episodes will actually get reviewed later.
That about does her, thanks guys!
Lion-Force

Random posts combine!

Every so often a collection of things I need to say, otherwise too bitty to put in individual posts, will combine together to form a Voltron-esque combined post. This is such a day.
Okay, first order of business…
The Hangman’s Daughter
As many of you know, I finished serialising my novel, The Hangman’s Daughter last month. Big thanks to all of you who read, commented and gave advice and encouragement. I especially want to give a shout out to Sr. Honkengoose and maxy44 who I’m pretty sure commented on every single chapter and gave me tons of good notes. Legends both. Many of you have been asking when you might be seeing more and after giving it a lot of thought I’ve decided that I’m going to start posting chapters of the second novel in the series, The Devil’s Heir.
However, there is a catch.
As I’ve already mentioned before, The Devil’s Heir is not actually finished yet. Worse, it’s still the sequel to an older draft of The Hangman’s Daughter (one where, amongst other things, Mariana was a dude). This means each chapter will have to be revised and edited so that it’s consistent with the most recent draft of HD, and I don’t have time to do that right now because my life has become an endless looping reel that goes worktoddlerblogplaycomicsleeeeeepworktoddlerblogplaycomicsleeeeeeep. So my brother Eamonn has very, very kindly agreed to edit the Devil’s Heir to get it more in line with the story so far and occasionally make changes that he feels improve the material.
“…and then they all died and the rugged, dashing, one-eyed Mouse was king of the universe. The End.”

“…and then they all died and the rugged, dashing, one-eyed Mouse was king of the universe. The End.”

So, starting soonish, there will be a new chapter of the Devil’s Heir going up every month. Yes. Month.
“Hey I gotta life too, y’know.”

“Hey I gotta life too, y’know.”

Moving on!
Age of Ultron
So Avengers 2 is being released in Europe around a week earlier than it is in the States due to…I dunno, the collapse of American hegemony or whatever. Being the massive nerds we are, my wife and I will be at the midnight screening on 23 April and I’ll be posting a review later in the day. This won’t be a full length Unshaved Mouse style review, obviously. Just a few paragraphs about my thoughts on the film and whether I thought it was any cop or not. You know…a review like actual critics do.
And lastly, revenge 
So regular readers will know that I recently learned my entire life has been a charade orchestrated by the diabolical warlock known to the world as Walter Elias Disney. You may recall I swore a blood oath of vengeance against Disney, promising to review the very, very worst movie that bears his name. And I need your help to do it. Sound off in the comments, what is the very, very, worst Disney movie that has ever been released and help me stick it to Walt but good.
See you all on the 14th of May for How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Train my Dragon. Mouse out.

The Hangman’s Daughter Chapter 45 & Epilogue

CHAPTER 45: FATHERS AND DAUGHTERS

 

Isabella seemed to not even notice him, and ran out into the field of dust. She could feel the grains of the dead on her bare feet like sand but she paid it no mind. She glanced around. Nothing.

She bit her lip so hard it almost bled.

“Bella!”

She turned.

Cole stood there, leaning against a wall and struggling to breath. She couldn’t believe it, he was half dead with exhaustion and he had actually run after her.

Then she realised that he was pointing behind her.

She turned, and her heart broke a little with happiness. Footprints, leading through the dust, away from the chamber.

“He’s fine, kid.” Cole wheezed “He made it. He probably didn’t feel like staying and chatting with Mabus. You know how awkward these reunions can be.”

“He’s alright.” Isabella whispered.

“He’ll be back.” Cole promised her “Just give some time to lick his wounds. Come one.”

He stretched out a hand to her and she took shelter under his arm as they walked back to the courtyard.

On an impulse, she gave him a hug.

He hissed like a kettle “For the love of God, please don’t do that.”

(more…)