Posted in flash fiction

Sailing The Eighth Sea – Cabinet Of Heed

Dear Readers

In the deflating days of rejection that every writer must endure, I hope you don’t mind the following piece of shameless celebrating, cough, self-promotion.

The following lovely email arrived last night and made my day.

Take Care.

Keep persevering (no, not preserving, Mr SpellChecker).

Kelvin.


Dear Kelvin

Thank you for feeding The Cabinet Of Heed! The Cabinet is very excited to accept your excellent story “Sailing The Eighth Sea.” It will be displayed proudly and sensitively within the body of The Cabinet forevermore.

Your story will appear inside its own drawer in Issue Eighteen which is scheduled to be online mid-March. You will receive an email notifying you when the issue is live. Your photograph, also credited to you, will appear with your story.

The Cabinet Of Heed only exists because of the efforts of excellent writers like you! It will do Its best to continue to promote this work via social media. Every post to help share The Cabinet Of Heed to a wider audience is greatly appreciated.

Continued best wishes for you and your writing! We would love you to consider submitting to The Cabinet Of Heed again sometime soon.

Meanwhile, congratulations… do celebrate!

Simon Webster

(Chief Polisher)


P.S.

Dear Readers

If you can, do go and check out the Cabinet Of Heed, and enjoy the variety of stories on offer. It is quite a lovely place. Says he who used to holiday in libraries as a child!

Posted in flash fiction

Elephant in a Snowstorm – February’s Speculative Fiction Writing Prompt

The following five hundred and fifty-five word story is my response to February’s speculative fiction writing prompt over on Diane Wallace-Peach’s excellent blog.


ELEPHANT IN A SNOWSTORM

by

Kelvin M. Knight

Please, let me rest here a while.

I’m so tired.

Let me rest my weary head here, please.

I’m asleep on my feet.

Please, please, I promise I won’t be any bother.

You don’t bother me, no. Yes, I know, I’m meant to be frightened of you but I’m too tired for fear. Fear is for the strong and I am so very weak. Weaker than a newborn kitten.

I apologise profusely. I know you’re afraid of them. Please forgive me.

I just need to rest my head here against your comfortable tree. Don’t be mad at me, I beg you. Those men get mad at me when they fall behind schedule. They whip me to get ahead. Tell me you’re not going to whip me?

Thank you, mice, thank you.

Mice are nice.

That’s what Mammy Matriarch used to trumpet. Dear old Mammy Matriarch, she died from this cold. This snow is hideously cold. And these bones of mine feel so very old. All this pushing trees over with my head. All this lifting trees with my trunk. Slogging, slogging through this never-ending snow. Everything has taken its toll.

Talking of which, you won’t charge me for resting here a while, will you my dear nice mice? And when I fall asleep, promise you won’t tickle me with your whiskers, or those tiny tiny pink feet of yours. I have nightmares of mice scurrying up and down my trunk, tickling me to death. I do. Sincerely I do. I have nightmares about this snow, too.

This snow isn’t natural. There shouldn’t be snow here. Not now. Not ever. There’s something desperately wrong, and I am at a loss to know what!

I’m fidgeting? I beg your forgiveness. I know, I  know, I won’t push your tree over. Cross my trunk and hope to fly.

Thank you for being so understanding, so accommodating. For listening to me. It means the world to me, honestly. And thank you for sharing your home. You know you’ve chosen a fantastic spot to build your home. And what a delightful blue house, far far away from the hustle and bustle, the bump and grind. You must be so warm in there, snug like bugs all in a rug.

Please let me join you inside. I guarantee I won’t be a nuisance.

What do you mean I won’t fit? How dare you insinuate I’m too fat! I’m just big boned! You… You… You have trampled all over my feelings, mice, and squashed me, squished me. Is this how friends treat each other? Is it, hmm? Is this how I am rewarded for all my sensitivity!

Crunch.

Crash.

Smash.

Oh dear, I’m sorry. Truly I am. I didn’t mean to get agitated. I didn’t mean to dislodge your house. Sorry. Sorry. It’s still such a lovely house. The most beautifulest shade of blue. And you are all so pretty too, with your ears like cute little ribbons.

Please stop squeaking hysterically at me. Please don’t send me away. Pretty please. It’s bitterly cold tonight and this snowstorm is getting worse. And I have the Matriarch of all headaches. Honestly I do.

Don’t banish me. I’ll die if you banish me. And you’ll never be able to live with yourself. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about; us elephants never forget.

(555 words)


Screenshot 2019-02-27 at 09.56.40.jpg

Click here to see all the comments on my reblogged story.

Posted in flash fiction

ICEMAN – January’s #WritingPrompt

The following one thousand word story is my response to January’s Photo Prompt challenge over on Diane Wallace-Peach’s excellent blog.


 

ICEMAN

by

Kelvin M. Knight

This ice in me, this ice in me, how I love this ice in me. It makes me strong. It makes me a survivor. Out here where the desolation and isolation would crush a weaker soul, ice boosts my strength until I feel the spirit of ten men, no, one hundred men, coursing through me. Yet, I am no man, even if I am subconsciously choosing the mightiest of their frail shapes.

There is nothing frail about ice. I revel in its sharpness. I admire its lightness. I cannot get enough of its untamed form: water, dear water, ever-changing, ever on the go, like a tidal wave inside me. One that creates these shapes flowing out of me. One which washes this beast out of me. See, here it is rising to devour me. This beast I willingly battle. This shapeless fury taken form, see how easily I crush its skull with one hand while stifling a yawn. Not that I am tired. I never tire. This ice in me ensures I am always alert, always observant, always aware… of anything… of everything.

Nothing can surprise me. Certainly not that moon attempting to sneak up behind me, so it might flop its bloated fulness on me, try and splinter my shoulders and back with its hollow craters. I could punch it away. I could knock it out into another orbit. I should.

This strength in me, this strength in me, oh how I love this strength in me. If there were any mountains in this never-ending sea of ice, my strength would move them, one at a time, all at a time. In fact, now that I think properly, my strength has already moved them, every last one of them, from here to nowhere. Nowhere is safe from me. Such is the never-ending coldness in this ice. Such is this eternal power inside me.

Power enough to create anything I desire, whenever I want. All I need do is spread my arms wide and ripples of me reform this stark landscape.

There, see, that city. Look at the magnificent sweep of those spires, glistening as they reach for that moon, turning a brilliant blue as they poke those hollow craters, those beady-eyed craters, into blackness. Hundreds of black eyes gawping at the corpulent domes beneath those spires, and these fat walls, rising and falling like breath, rising and thinning into finely sculptured walls which create glittering houses and gleaming palaces and sparkling marketplaces. There is such opulence in this city. There is harmony here, too, a symphony of life contained by one almighty wall. This city is their sanctuary, their slice of heaven on earth.

This city is mine.

This ice is mine.

This ice makes me rise. This ice makes my breath blast, my chest heave. This ice charges me. Dropping my arms, I charge forward. My boat-sized feet make no imprints in the ice, yet send cracks spiralling outwards. Cracks which rock their city. Cracks which cause horns to blow and gongs to echo. Now their symphony sounds discordant. Now I roar, louder than a pit full of monsters, prouder than an army of monster hunters. Armies of leather-clad feet thunder to my wall. I crash through it, through them and their feeble weaponry. My knuckles are red-hot brands pushing through shivering flesh. My fingers are swords slicing muscles and splintering bones. My feet become crushing machines. My swinging arms become engines of annihilation. Everything I touch is destroyed. Wall after wall of their aesthetic pleasure. House after house of their political artifice, their stooping statues, their blossoming fountains nothing is safe from the strength of my anger

I leave shattered ice and shattered lives in my wake as I head for the first palace, whose grandiose columns I swat away like a troublesome fly. The next palace I sit on, bounce on, until the walls resemble a tortured ice dragon’s tears. At the third and highest palace, I bend over and kiss the rooftops, one after another, and delight in watching them drip, drip, drip into lethal spears of ice. Trapped inside, white-skinned slaves are wailing while nut-skinned masters are whimpering.

Stop whimpering, I bellow, bowling them over, be men, be brave and fearless, be honest and true!

Sniggering, I kiss several more palace roofs and continue my rampage until I reach this detached building with a peculiarly decorated wall. Snorting, I glare at images covering this brickwork. There are no majestic flourishes and artistic splendour, here the colours are simple and faded, yet surprisingly effective. Rainbows are erupting from this giant purple bird whose golden beak flashes and whose crest of scintillating silver shines like a mirror. Under this bird’s outstretched wings fields of verdant grass are bound by white-leafed forests; trees whose branches are entwined like the humans do when they wail in fear or wail with the joy of reproducing themselves.

Lowering to one knee, I reach out to touch this mural, then pause as if expecting something to happen. When nothing does happen, I rip the roof off this building and peer inside. The internal brickwork is scabbed and pock-marked, and craters mar the floor. Despite this, everything else inside is pure-white and brilliantly bright – except for the small creature huddled in the corner. Its clothes and skin are streaked with excrement while its straw-coloured hair resembles an exploding haystack. With its back to me, it whimpers pathetically and rocks itself while its frail arms tremble. Everything about this pathetic creature screams petrified.

No, I howl. This is my creation, my city! Fear does not exist here, only strength. No pathetic weaknesses just pure passionate strength!

I headbutt the walls into icy rubble then prod and poke this creature until it yelps like a whipped dog and turns around. Now I see it is actually a human boy, an insignificant little thing whose frozen facial features are identical to mine.

(1000 words)

Posted in flash fiction, my books

FAITH in a FLASH – my first collection of flash fiction stories

My first collection of flash fiction stories – FAITH in a FLASH – is now available in Kindle format.

Here’s what readers are already saying:

I do not think there is anything else like this anthology. Varied and wide-ranging stories and characters yet all drawn together by faith.

The author has poured his heart and soul into these glimpses of faith.

I love it! [Joyfulness: These Bells and Shadows: Those Bells] So very true, the two sides to the Christian faith and church goers. Both are apt and totally believable! Nicely done giving us two stories for the price of one.

If your (character’s) camera snapped a photo of your prose, it would need no airbrushing to be beautiful. [Flagstones: My Camera Never Lies]

I never tire of reading this [Hope: The Bread of Life] and recalling the randomness of its inspiration.

‘Empty of ego yet full of grace.’ and ‘Gone is flesh. Gone is bone. These lights lead the way home.’ What poetic and memorable phrases! [Flagstones: Cloistering]

I do think this story is excellent – this story in 100 words about oneness, which got me thinking that after we die we cease to be separate individuals, and we are happier when alive if we try not to be separate. [Soulfulness: A Snowflake’s Moment]

Posted in flash fiction, my books

FAITH in a FLASH – To err is human

Happy New Year everyone!

Hope this year is filled with all you want and need to grow and flourish. And remember, “It’s all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it’s not the end!”


The first thing I did upon sitting down at my computer this morning was check to see if the Kindle edition of my first collection of flash fiction was available on Amazon – when I submitted it yesterday I was told there could be up to a 72 hour wait.

Hooray – there my ebook was!

Unfortunately, despite copious checks yesterday using Kindle Previewer 3 on my Mac, selecting all possible devices and orientation and fonts and font sizes – where everything looked tickety boo without a glimmer of a mistake in the formatting anywhere… when I checked the ‘LOOK INSIDE’ feature this morning nearly a dozen ugly formatting issues glared at me.


Copyright – red not black, and 2016 indented where it wasn’t in the source file Introduction – red not black

Dedication – red not black, and first line indented where it wasn’t in the source file

Quotation – line indented where it was previously central

FLAGSTONES chapter heading – lost its formatting entirely – but it is black not red!

The Funeral – end of story is no longer centred but has been indent where it wasn’t in source file

Old Pews – White space has appeared between the second and third paragraphs

Cloistering – White space has appeared between the second and third paragraph.


I do apologise if these formatting issues in the “Kindle sample” continue in to the book proper that you have purchased and spoil your enjoyment of my stories. I am industriously working to resolve these right now. The only thing I can think is wrong is I used an Apple Generated EPUB file as the starting point into the Kindle Create process, rather than the desired .doc or .docx document, even though the Kindle Previewer (offline) looked fine.

Processing…


UPDATE: As of 20:30 GMT 01/01/19 – I have removed the above mentioned blemishes and any others that might have crept in by reducing my source file to raw text then building the book from scratch using preset styles in Pages before again exporting to EPUB and checking through Kindle Previewer V3.28.1 then downloading the resultant MOBI from Amazon and checking again. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Kelvin M. Knight

Edition 2 of my Kindle eBook should be ready tomorrow.

Posted in flash fiction, my books

FAITH in a FLASH – my first collection of flash fiction stories – Books version

My first collection of flash fiction stories – FAITH in a FLASH – was published yesterday on Books (formally iBooks).

Here’s what readers are already saying:

I do not think there is anything else like this anthology. Varied and wide-ranging stories and characters yet all drawn together by faith.

The author has poured his heart and soul into these glimpses of faith.

I love it! [Joyfulness: These Bells and Shadows: Those Bells] So very true, the two sides to the Christian faith and church goers. Both are apt and totally believable! Nicely done giving us two stories for the price of one.

If your (character’s) camera snapped a photo of your prose, it would need no airbrushing to be beautiful. [Flagstones: My Camera Never Lies]

I never tire of reading this [Hope: The Bread of Life] and recalling the randomness of its inspiration.

‘Empty of ego yet full of grace.’ and ‘Gone is flesh. Gone is bone. These lights lead the way home.’ What poetic and memorable phrases! [Flagstones: Cloistering]

I do think this story is excellent – this story in 100 words about oneness, which got me thinking that after we die we cease to be separate individuals, and we are happier when alive if we try not to be separate. [Soulfulness: A Snowflake’s Moment]

Posted in flash fiction

FACING THE MORNING

BLOG INTRO

Last night I began reading a new short story collection, one by an author whose flash fiction I have thoroughly enjoyed this year. The seven stories from Ellie Scott’s “Merry Bloody Christmas” that I read last night before going to sleep had a profound effect on me this morning. When I woke, all the curtains upstairs were aglow. When I pulled back my sons’ bedroom curtains – they’re away at university but are coming home soon for Christmas – I saw a sunrise like no other. Quickly I snapped this with my camera phone. Then, while drinking my first cup of tea of the day (decaffeinated – doctor’s orders), I defocussed on the photograph and the following story tumbled from my fingers adhering to “Merry Bloody Christmas” theme of Christmas isn’t a happy time for everyone, or anyone so far in the seven of twenty-four stories I have read. Thanks so much for the inspiration, Ellie!


 

FACING THE MORNING

by

Kelvin M. Knight

The cloud face scowled at Martha as she opened her bedroom curtains. Statuesque, she scowled back. She knew she shouldn’t, knew she should be clinging onto that precipice of hope with all her flailing fingers, but these words kept rattling her Good morning salutations: red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning.

Where was her red sky at night? ‘Where’s my delight,’ she wanted to scream but that would take too much effort and that was in scant supply today, everyday.

Just pulling back the duvet took it out of her nowadays, let alone hauling herself out of bed. Then that gargantuan effort to open these curtains. It felt as though she’d run a marathon and slammed headfirst into that wall runners bragged about. All that energy and optimism to be rewarded with this. This. This evil-looking cloud face.

Martha glared at it for all she was worth, which wasn’t a lot these days. Her monetary worth and self worth were in recession, were plummeting towards bankruptcy.

So, she wrote with her fingertip in the dust of the mantlepiece. There was no stigma attached to bankruptcy anymore, so why did she feel like this? Like the world was about to end. Like she wanted her world to end.

She did and she didn’t.

Something deep inside her wanted to fight – in a non-aggressive way, in a peaceful and loving way, but something else leaned on this inclination and crushed it. Some giant shadow, with an abyss for each foot and black holes for hands and this demonic cloud face for its head. The way it looked at her, the way it filled her with its angry emptiness made her buckling legs feel as though they were breaking.

Martha wanted to cry but her tears had run dry. That monster’s tears were flames, burning brightly, right to the heart of her.

‘You won’t find anything there,’ she croaked despondently.

Her husband appeared joyful and triumphant, with a cup of tea in her favourite Christmas mug in one hand and a wad of Christmas post in the other.

‘Good morning, my darling.’ He pecked her cold cold cheek. ‘Look how many people love us today.’

She collapsed onto the bed. He put the cards gently in her lap. She shoved them away.

‘Do you mind if I open them beside you?’ Sitting down, he put his arm around her shoulders, then set to work, careful as ever to not rip the unfranked stamps, saving them for future re-use.

‘Aw, look at that, isn’t that cute.’ He held something glittery and sparkly and lifeless and dead before her. ‘It’s from the Clarkes – remember them? Ian and Sharon. I used to work with Ian. He and I used to proofread each other’s literary efforts all those decades ago.’

Feeling like stone, like somebody had carved her out of crumbling sandstone, Martha looked away. In the window, the demonic cloud face looked longingly at her.

‘Go away,’ she muttered. Her hand rose and lazily swatted the air as though there was a crippled fly bothering her.

Her husband headed downstairs. Festive songs leaped from the music centre in the dining room and danced around the ground floor, accompanied by her husband whistling then singing. His tones were far from dulcet. It sounded like he was stuck at the bottom of a waterless well. Imagining him down there, she watched the candlelight that was him grow dimmer and dimmer. She wanted to do something, anything, but he was too far away, and that leering, sneering face was too close by.

She stared at her watch. The thirteenth. Thursday the thirteenth of December. 

‘Things could be worse,’ her husband said merrily, arriving with her luxury chocolate advent calendar on a round metallic Santa Claus tray she had never seen before. ‘Today could be Friday the thirteenth.’

‘Worse,’ Martha wanted to rant. ‘Worse!’ She wanted to rage. Instead, she collapsed back into the cage of her bed. Hers because he didn’t sleep with her anymore. Hers because he said he couldn’t get a good night’s sleep with her anymore. Which was no real surprise as she couldn’t sleep with herself anymore.

He knelt before her, his trembling hand reaching for hers. Regarding the “Ho, ho, ho!” arcing around the tray, the twinkle in his eyes gave way to tears.

(720 words)