new fiction

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!

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…)

The Hangman’s Daughter Chapter 43

CHAPTER 43: SCORPIO AND LEO ASCENDENT

 

There was fifty of them all told. Cole thought to himself. Cossacks, Vikings, few pirates what have you. Tough too. This is the best that Thomas has to offer. Any one of these could give me trouble on their own, Cole thought. Not much trouble. But still, trouble. All this went through his head as he arced though the air, spinning and turning to avoid enemy fire. Sometimes Cole thought he was a Temporal. Time was gliding around him, like a swan on a lake. If you could have seen his face under the mask, it would have been as serene as a marble saint. In his mind: odds, strategies, possible outcomes ticked over and over like some wondrous mechanical beehive. And even before his first toe, of his first foot touched the ground for the first time, he knew what he had to do.

 

They won’t try any fancy stuff.

No pretty moves, no posturing.

They are fifty big, burly men armed to the teeth with axes, swords and whatnot.

They’ll crowd me and hack me to bits.

Got to keep moving.

He was on the ground, on his knees, braced, arms crossed, ready for the spring.

 

First to die: Thin, lanky character with long blonde hair. No uniform but he’s carrying a Valaska, a light, elegant axe which means he’s probably a Slovak.

He’s wiry, the weapon’s light, he’s not wearing any armour so he gets to Cole first.

Lucky him.

He’s smiling wild.

Thinks Cole’s unarmed.

Cole releases the clasp and two jagged blades shoot from his wrists.

Blondie stops smiling.

Scorpion doesn’t sting ‘till he’s ready.

(more…)

Twilight in Marketropolis (A Foodfight Tale)

Cursing under his breath, Dex Dogtective clutched his bleeding side and ran limping through the darkened streets of Marketropolis.
It was night. It was always night now.
The avenues of Marketroplis had once been filled to bursting with light and colour, the sounds of singing and laughter and the wholesome smell of high-quality brand name products. Now the city was cloaked in perpetual shadow and silence. It was a desperate kind of silence, stretched taut to breaking point. The kind of silence that comes just before the scream.
Dex tried to put the thought out of his mind and focused on the pain under his paw, a red-hot spider’s web of agony that flared with every breath. He wanted to stop running but he couldn’t. Not here. Still too close to Mouse territory.
Dex’s lip curled back in a snarl of impotent rage. Mouse territory. As if the whole damn city wasn’t his territory. As if he hadn’t already won.
Halfway down the cereal aisle the pain finally became too much and Dex almost passed out. Keep it together, he told himself. Go to sleep here and you might not wake up again. Gotta keep going, boy. Gotta keep going. Who’s a good boy? You are. You are. Yes you are.

(more…)

The Hangman’s Daughter Chapter 41

CHAPTER 41: BROKEN SCORPION

Where am I? Cole wondered as he woke up. He couldn’t see.

Something was weighing down on him, covering his face and chest.

He tried to move his right arm to push it off.

When he came to again, he made a mental note that he was not to move his right arm. It felt like a dislocated shoulder (or at least, it had in that split second before his brain had shut down from the agony.)

Left arm.

He pushed the weight off and very slowly got to his feet.

He looked around (carefully, as it felt as if he’d sprained his neck).

Darkness, walls, garbage.

An alleyway.

The thing that had been lying on him had been a body. It was not, as he gazed around, the only one in evidence. In fact, the alleyway only needed a layer of earth over it to qualify as a mass grave.

Did I kill them? he wondered groggily, did I do this?

He took a step.

When he came to again, he made a mental note that his left shin had been broken and that he wasn’t to walk on it.

(more…)

The Hangman’s Daughter Chapter 40

CHAPTER 40: THE HUNT

 

She ran.

She didn’t think. She didn’t stop. She didn’t let her mind wander.

She ran.

“Oh come on. Let’s at least make this interesting.” said a voice in her ear.

She screamed and he was right there beside her, leaning over her shoulder as she ran. And then in an instant he was gone, flitted away leaving only the burning brand of a skull on her retinas.

Now he was standing by the side of the road.

The fleshless skull grinned unflinchingly at her as she ran past.

He was toying with her.

And when he grew bored, he would drag her back to the house and she would forget everything.

So she would have to make sure he didn’t get bored.

She shifted through space, re-emerging around thirty yards off the road to her left. Without even pausing for breath she ran into the forest.

(more…)

The Hangman’s Daughter Chapter 37

    CHAPTER 37: SCORPIONS UNDER EVERY STONE

 

As a single body, they dropped to their knees and buried their faces in the floor. Thomas did as well, except he was doing it as camouflage, not compliance. Leonard was hiding behind the bar, bathing in his own sweat. The Red Scorpions prowled menacingly through the prostrate figures. Apart from the colour their armour was identical to Cole’s, right down to the embossed scorpion emblem on the chest.. One of them came to the body of the dead Viking. He kicked it idly.

“Here’s the stiff, boss.”

“What’s it look like?”

“Looks like a dead Viking.”

“My God, you’re an idiot. Why is he dead?”

“I dunno, I think he was shot.”

“You think he was shot?”

“Well he’s got a bullet hole in his forehead.”

(more…)

The Hangman’s Daughter Chapter 36

CHAPTER 36: A MAN WALKS INTO A BAR

Picture it now.

Above, the great dome of the stone sky.

Beneath; tents, shanties, caravans and the like stretching like an ocean as far as the eye can see. Closer to the centre they harden, tents become huts, huts become inns and cabins, which become tenement buildings.

This is his army.

To the west, the medical tower, a jagged stone nightmare clawing upwards like a demon’s paw. That is Groethuis’ kingdom, where he patched up Thomas and countless others like him.

To the east, the combat tower, a perfectly rectangular slab; two thousand stories of arenas, armories, sparring rings, training rooms and shooting ranges. Where every brick stinks of sweat and blood. This is where Mabus’ army trains every day. This is where they keep their brutal skills at their peak, ready for the day Mabus will call on them to be used.

To the south, Xanadu, the pleasure dome. Like nothing so much as the great shell of a turtle a mile across, this is where the troops go to unwind. Pretty much any entertainment you can think of is provided for here.

And the elegant black needle in the very centre. It is known as the Chamber. And the soldiers do not speak of it in hushed tones. They simply do not speak of it at all. This is where Mabus floats in his emerald pool. It is where any soldier who has displeased him is taken. It is not spoken of.

Picture it now. Mabus’ great army, the medical tower, the combat tower, the pleasure dome and the Chamber. The great stone sky and the endless tenements, tents and huts.

This is his kingdom.

This is New Gomorrah.

(more…)

The Hangman’s Daughter- Chapter 33

CHAPTER 33: LION IN A CAGE

 

He lay in the cell, naked except for a lattice of cuts and scabs that covered his flesh like old dry paint.

His ribs strained at his taught skin, and his eyes had sunk deep into their sockets. He lay in the corner, curled up in his stick thin arms and legs.

 

Thomas and Groethuis watched him through the glass.

“What did he do?” Thomas asked.

“Nothing.” said Groethuis “He’s not being punished.”

(more…)

The Hangman’s Daughter- Chapter 32

CHAPTER 32: BETRAYAL

 

She stood there for a few seconds, and then fell to the floor like an avalanche.

No!!”

He was by her side in a second.

“Jeda? Jeda!”

“Please, no dramatics.” Mabus snorted “She’s not dead.”

It was then that Virgil noticed the dart sticking out of her head.

“What did you shoot her with?” he hissed at Mabus.

“You know, I remember you being taller?”

“What was in the dart?!”

“Did it hurt?”

“What?”

“Becoming a Time Ghost?”

“I am not a time ghost!”

“I know! Isn’t it bizarre? It’s just, I considered becoming one for a time, you see.”

“Good. Go do that.”

“Oh no, my dear boy. I’ve come up with something much better.”

“What did you do to her?!”

“…Virgil?”

She was looking at him, her voice was weak.

“Jeda? Jeda, you’re alright!”

“Yeah. About that. Why is there a dart sticking out of my head?”

“He shot you.”

“He didn’t!”

“Yeah. He did.”

“Well.” she said “I’m just going to have to kick his…oof…”

She tried to get to her feet, but her arms gave out from under her. With some difficulty she managed to grab a hold of the dart and pull it out.

“Ow!”

There was very little blood, but a single bead of red swelled in the centre of her forehead like a bindi.

(more…)