Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Self Publishing, Writing

Blind (Etheree)

By Scott Bailey © 2013

We
are blind
to the truth
Everyday
Suffering goes on
And we deny it all
Unable to find a way
Through the maze of our modern lives
To a place where we can be ourselves
And hold out that hand that helps our neighbour

Instead, we clench our hand in a tight fist
Holding tight onto what we have gained
Not seeing what we are losing
What slips away from our grasp
Diminishing our souls
Focused on our goals
With such passion
That we are
simply
Blind

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

In response to the daily prompt Focused

#DailyPrompt #iamwriting

An Etheree

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Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Self Publishing, Writing

The Planets

By Scott Bailey © 1999

The scarlet of fire
from a barrel
of a gun.
The scarlet of heat
from the blast
of a bomb.
The scarlet of rockets
arcing through
the air.
The scarlet of eyes
shot through
with fear.
The scarlet of fields
and memories of those
buried there.
The scarlet of blood
spilt without care
on brow and cheek.
This scarlet deep
so precious and deep
is of Mars.

The green of the forest
where animals play
without bounds.
The green of summer
and nature bursting
to be alive.
The green of shoots
born by birds
in clear skies.
The green of reeds
by river banks where
we sleep and dream.
The green of the sea
surrounding with safety
our precious land.
The green of fields
where people walk together
hand in hand.
This green so verdant
so desired and calm
is of Venus.

The silver of stars
darting here and there
with lightening speed.
The silver of water
tumbling in the sun
from land to land.
The silver of salt
crusted on the sails
bringing people close.
The silver of an aeroplane
shining in the air
letters written there.
The silver from the earth
delicately stretched and turned
wires spreading far.
The silver of a firework
broadcasting sparks of joy
to gathered friends.
This silver bright
wondrous and bright
is of Mercury.

The orange of sunrise
mighty and full of heart
bringing praise in singing.
The orange of a marigold
around which children dance
and parents’ hearts leap.
The orange of a drink
splashed down laughing throats
a thirst to quench.
The orange of a car
painted by a child
all wobbly and bright.
The orange of a paper
wrapped around a gift
unexpected surprise.
The orange of a mandarin
hanging in the tinsel
succulent and ripe.
This orange happy
bright and full of joy
is of Jupiter.

The yellow of an eye
weary, deep and wise,
heavy with rheum.
The yellow of a page
of a leather-bound book
heavy ancient tome.
The yellow of a contract
signed in years gone by
fulfilled with honour.
The yellow of a poster
faded in the sun
promises long forgotten.
The yellow of a leaf
discarded by the road
crumpled and dry.
The yellow of grass
scorched in the summer sun
toughened by the trial.
This yellow old
filled with wisdom and pain
is of Saturn.

The purple of a cloak
whose owner dazzles all
leaving them perplexed.
The purple of a cloth
on a table still
with artefacts old.
The purple of a box
with secrets held inside
only he may know.
The purple of a book
engraved with secret signs
full of ancient rites.
The purple of a smoke
that grants your heart’s desires
with forbidden fires.
The purple of time
between day and night
where fairies play.
This purple, magical
drenched with ancient lore
is of Uranus.

The blue of an evening sky
and strange signs in the air
for those who look.
The blue of pools
deep unchartered waters
with creatures strange.
The blue of visions
and misty wandering ghosts
speaking from the grave.
The blue of eyes
that hypnotise and gaze
into pasts unveiled.
The blue of lights
shining in the north
reflected in the ice.
The blue of sparks
floating in the air
in the woods.
this blue so mystical
beautifully unexplained
is of Neptune.

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

In response to the daily prompt Planet

#DailyPrompt #iamwriting

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Work, Writing

Bruised

By Scott Bailey © 2013

 

He would never see his son again.

Unless…

Unless he went made it through today. Found the strength from somewhere. Put aside his pain.

The trauma his son had suffered had not been at his hands. Logically there was no responsibility for it on his shoulders.

Logic was a weak fence against raw emotion. Emotion that told him that he had failed as a father, that the protection he was supposed to give had been lacking, just that once.

Nobody agreed with him.

That made no difference.

So, he would not compound failure with failure. This was his last chance. He would take it.

He had tried all other avenues. Therapy, prayer, medication. Nothing worked, Yet what it had done was show him the way. It had made clear the path he needed to tread.

So he took a deep breath and rose from his seat. He nodded to the doctor signaling his readiness. The doctor frowned but kept his piece. He opened the door and let him enter his son’s room.

The room was sparse, clinical. His son lay curled on top of the bed sheets, motionless. Awake but unresponsive. He did not look up or acknowledge his father’s entrance.

There was a small bedside table to the left of the bed on which sat a plastic beaker of water. The bed was positioned by the window. Sunlight tried to make an impression on the coldness of the room but failed. The only other furniture was a white chest of drawers and some empty white bookshelves.

Then there were the books.

The books, many many books, that should have rested on the shelves or strewn on the floor. An impressive collection for one so young.

They hung impossibly in the air.

He sighed. He knew what came next. It had all become familiar to him. This time though he did not avoid it. He did not flinch or try to defend himself. This time he smiled at his son.

The books flew at him. As if thrown by immense strength and anger. The hard spines whacked into his flesh like dull nails. Again and again and again. Raining pain upon his body. The books that hit him fell to the ground limply, twitched like dying flies, then were suddenly whisked up and flung again.

There was no let-up.

He could feel his body being pummelled into a bloody bruised mess. But he took it. Stood calmly, raised his arms towards his son and kept smiling. Gave all he had left to him – gave him his unconditional love. Took the punishment not meant for him.

The books whirled faster as the rage grew. Like a tornado of leather and card, they descended on him, pounded him. The pain passed over what was bearable to no longer being processable – so he no longer felt it. He knew he would not last much longer – if this continued his body would fail him. Darkness crept inwards along the edges of his eyes. He kept smiling, locked his legs and stood, arms out.

The whirl became a darkness that was trying to beat his flesh from his bones. He felt like the bones themselves were splintering beneath.

Then it stopped.

Suddenly all the books fell to the floor. Sunlight sprang into the room as is a lock had burst.

His son looked up and held out his arms for his father.

#amwriting

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

 

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Self Publishing, Writing

Onshore

By Scott Bailey ⓒ 2006

 

What lies within that deep dark world?
That immensity of green threat
Where lies the leviathan of doom
In that swelling encompassing brine
Where plankton swirl through tentacles
That writhe and sway and curl and wave
And small fish dart discreet?
The leviathan’s milky domain!
Filled with cries of beasts the creature eats
Where crescendos rise and pull the heart with sighs.
The leviathan shifts with a thrashing fit
A rumble excites the waves.
And gulls drop and chop their prey and hop
from surf to spray to cloud to rock.
The whole sea moves with a great heart’s beat
Where will its great thoughts lead?
Will it be content to nibble and gnaw
Or rise with a tumultuous roar?
A great green wall with weight of stone
While here, nearby, and all alone
I
Stand
On the sand
Unsure

 

In response to the daily prompt Crescendo

#DailyPrompt #iamwriting

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Self Publishing, Short Stories, Writing

Anticipate

By Scott Bailey ⓒ 2017

 

I anticipate
The dissipation
Of the all
The scattering
Of goals
The rise of dreams
To ride
Upon the mists
To be blown
Upon the winds
To reside
In clouds
And hide
In trees
To sleep
In earth
Drink water
Sup sunlight
Weep rain
And sigh

 

In response to the daily prompt Anticipate

#DailyPrompt #iamwriting

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Music, Poetry, Self Publishing, Writing

Elevation – My Sweet Lord

When I say today’s daily prompt ~ Elevate all I could think of was Daleks!

“Elevate! Elevate!”

I couldn’t get that episode out of my head – so I didn’t think I would end up writing anything. In a way that’s still true – I am just waffling here.

But the tenuous link is the kind of elevation that can be experienced when listening to a particularly good piece of music. Tonight a good piece has been returned to my consciousness courtesy – of all things – to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2!

Now it has many good tunes some of which are on my regular playlists already.  But watching it tonight one jumped out at me – that I haven’t heard for a long, long time. It grabbed me and lifted me and I didn’t even wait for the film to finish before I was on the phone downloading it! (Og the wonder of the internet!)

Yep – My Sweet Lord by George Harrison. What a simple but beautiful song. Perfection. Elevating!

 

In response to the daily prompt Elevate

#DailyPrompt #iamwriting

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Fiction, Self Publishing, Short Stories, Thirteen Tales, Writing

Playground Laughter – Thirteen Tales

Playground Laughter

A group of youths – exploring freedom and each other – find old fears of school creeping up on them. One is left questioning what he saw – and what he did?

Featured Image -- 7657

Thirteen Tales of Ghosts

By Scott Bailey

A collection of short stories concerning ghosts. Some are traditional ghost stories in the tradition of M.R. James and Edgar Allan Poe. Other are not. Some scare, some are fun. Some play with the concept of a ghost. There are ghosts who are out for revenge and the living avenging the spirits that curse them.

Ideal for sitting around a campfire and late at night under the covers. Or maybe not if the stories themselves are any guide.

Check it out at Amazon and Smashwords and other online e-book retailers.

paperback version is now available for those who prefer the feel of the paper while huddling by the fire – on your own – in the dark – with that noise behind you……

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

In response to the daily prompt Educate

#DailyPrompt #iamwriting

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Self Publishing, Writing

Exist

By Scott Bailey ⓒ 1999

If I
Cease to exist
Will my
heart and soul dissolve in the air?
If I
Breathe my last breath
Will my
Golden thoughts shine anywhere?
If I
unbind from this earth
And
Sail the sun
right out to the stars.
Will I
Find my way back?
Or
Roam forever that celestial park?

 

If I
Cease to exist
Will my
Precious dreams chase after my soul?
If I
breathe my last breath
Will my
Endless hopes continue to roll?
If I
Fly up from the earth
And
Spiral up to the bright dancing stars
Will I
Find my way back
Or
Make my home where galaxies are?

 

Hard to exist
Back to back to the hammer of flesh.
Gasping for breath
Tried escape from this strangling mesh.
Tied hard to the earth
Brought to ground by invisible hands.
If I
Find my way back
Will I
Find my house fallen in sands?

 

Shout to exist
Drink the sun and swallow the air!
Savour the breath
Turn the corner and take up the dare!
Stand firm on the earth
And
Walk the roads under the stars.
We’ll find our way back
While our dreams fly where galaxies are.

In response to the daily prompt Continue

#DailyPrompt #iamwriting

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Self Publishing, Short Stories, Writing

Sublime

By Scott Bailey ⓒ 2016

“Have we reached full coverage?”

“Not quite yet but we will very soon, the momentum has built and it will hit critical mass in a few days. It needs no further intervention on my part.”

“We have all the channels covered?”

“Everything! From the popular to the obscure. From hard copy books to online articles. From political diatribes to twitter. From old newspapers to blogs and click-bait articles.”

“And we have hooked everyone in – no matter their passion, no matter their inclinations?”

“We have everything – we have erotica, geological patterns in the earth’s crust, astronomy, astrology. We have Game of Thrones and Star Trek. We have novels from established authors and fan fiction. Hell, we have fan fiction erotica stories about the Star Wars characters crash landing in Narnia! There’s no angle we haven’t covered.

His boss laughed.

“Ok, Ok. I get the idea.”

He paused

“And the subliminal messages?”

“So subtle not one has been detected.”

“They are taking effect?”

“They have done their job. The population is yours to command – or will be in a few more days. I would say probably enough to make no difference already.”

“Good. And no one else knows?”

“Just me and you.”

His boss smiled. A warm smile – full of sunshine and hope that he rarely graced on anyone. It made him feel pride in a job well done.

“Good,” his boss repeated, “now, just step through this door.”

In response to the daily prompt Critical

#DailyPrompt #iamwriting

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Short Stories, Writing

The Man in the Meadow

By Scott Bailey 2017

She had brought it on a whim at a garage sale. The woman who sold it had practically thrown it at her when she enquired, took only 50p. With bloodshot eyes, she spat the tale.

“She must have brought it for him! I have never seen before.”

She, it turned out, was some mysterious floozy who had apparently stolen her husband. He had disappeared one night leaving everything behind. His wife had found the picture hanging in his study. She assumed it was from her.

Now it hung in Suzanne’s hall. As she looked at it in greater detail it did not seem a likely love gift.

It was a simple landscape.  A green field of swaying grass and in the distance a lonely figure. A man she thought but there was no telling why.

A simple image but compelling. The nuances of the colour were subtle and life like. She could almost feel the grass swaying. She wondered where the man was walking to. He seemed to be disappearing into the horizon.

A simple picture that had drawn her eye from the moment she saw it.

And so it continued to. As she went about her daily business she kept passing by and stopping to appreciate her new find.

In fact, she realised that she was finding the least excuse to pass that way more and more often. She laughed at herself. What a silly obsession!

But she did not stop.

Finally, she went to bed.

She could not sleep. The picture played on her mind. There was something about it. Something she was not seeing. There must be some subliminal symbol or hidden message that was trying to call out to her.

She tried to ignore it and get to sleep.

She could not.

There was something about the picture!

Something wrong.

She got out of bed. Went back down to the hall and stared at it.

It was mesmerising. The brush strokes were so fantastically real.  Had she stumbled on some forgotten or lost masterpiece? The grass almost seemed to be moving, rippling like water in the wind.

No! It was moving! And the figure, the man. He was closer! Holding out his hand in invitation….


He had not noticed the picture in the catalogue. But now, here in the auction room, it drew him. The fact that it was from the house clearance of a mysteriously missing woman somehow added to his desire for it. It seemed to have no worth. It was described simply as “Man and Woman in Grassy Meadow”. Artist unknown.

He had to have it!

He would pay dearly for it!

 

In response to the daily prompt Nuance

 

#DailyPrompt

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Writing

Push and Pull

By Scott Bailey © 2017

Memorise
All the sighs
Every loving glance
And long slow dance
Hold them tight
As we approach the night

Sanitise
Then fill with lies
Squeeze out the dreams
With mindless streams
Of celebs and fear
Until no one is here

Realise
And cherish the wise
Thoughts that flow
Before they go
Into the night
So hold them tight

Characterise
Categorise
Into a box
And cattle stocks
To milk and drain
To strike the brain

Live your dreams
For our revenue streams
Complete the bucket list
No source to be missed
Hold on to the light
For our gold so bright

 

In response to the daily prompt Memorize

#DailyPrompt #iamwriting

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Writing

Sound Box

By Scott Bailey 2013

There are empty spaces
left as people move on,
of the spaces of places long gone,
of times gone by

There is a link between present and past
an energy, a potential,
strung between the memories gone
and the living yet to roll on

The link hums with the tension
and the empty spaces echo back the thrum
deep rich reverberation
layered on the past, the present, the future

Such is the music of life.

 

In response to the daily prompt Symphony

#DailyPrompt

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Work, Writing

The Name is..

By Scott Bailey © 2015

Death and lust
Entwined in one
Both without
A thought
Both with
Expert care
Sheer red satin
Ripped to shreds
Blood red
Pale skin
Gun metal grey
In cold blue eyes
And a name
That beats hearts
Passion and fear
And steel
And lead
Death and lust
And a name
The name is…..

 

In response to the daily prompt Lust

#DailyPrompt, #amwriting

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

 

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Work, Writing

Rising Tide

By Scott Bailey © 2013

From the shallows to the icy deep
Where dolphins dance and starfish sleep
Through swaying kale and shifting sand
Feel the touch of an oily hand

Where lights speed by in total dark
Where rest many a sunken ark
Where through the kale fish do slip
Feel a cold and choking grip

Where bubbles rise and currents surge
Where waters from the heavens merge
Where weight does crush both bones and rock
Feel the iron fingers lock

And here my heart it swells and roars
From roiling dark to shattered shores
And I will rise with fury’s might
And crush the hand that picks this fight

So fear the shark with jaws that rend
And the mighty swell that shall bend
Every fence and dam and wall
And drown the rumble of cliffs that fall

And when the hand has done its deed
You will curse your dirty seed
And then, at last, you will see
How small you are beside the sea

 

In response to the daily prompt Shallow

#DailyPrompt, #amwriting

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

 

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Short Stories, Writing

The Man in the Meadow

By Scott Bailey 2017

She had brought it on a whim at a garage sale. The woman who sold it had practically thrown it at her when she enquired, took only 50p. With bloodshot eyes, she spat the tale.

“She must have brought it for him! I have never seen before.”

She, it turned out, was some mysterious floozy who had apparently stolen her husband. He had disappeared one night leaving everything behind. His wife had found the picture hanging in his study. She assumed it was from her.

Now it hung in Suzanne’s hall. As she looked at it in greater detail it did not seem a likely love gift.

It was a simple landscape.  A green field of swaying grass and in the distance a lonely figure. A man she thought but there was no telling why.

A simple image but compelling. The nuances of the colour were subtle and life like. She could almost feel the grass swaying. She wondered where the man was walking to. He seemed to be disappearing into the horizon.

A simple picture that had drawn her eye from the moment she saw it.

And so it continued to. As she went about her daily business she kept passing by and stopping to appreciate her new find.

In fact, she realised that she was finding the least excuse to pass that way more and more often. She laughed at herself. What a silly obsession!

But she did not stop.

Finally, she went to bed.

She could not sleep. The picture played on her mind. There was something about it. Something she was not seeing. There must be some subliminal symbol or hidden message that was trying to call out to her.

She tried to ignore it and get to sleep.

She could not.

There was something about the picture!

Something wrong.

She got out of bed. Went back down to the hall and stared at it.

It was mesmerising. The brush strokes were so fantastically real.  Had she stumbled on some forgotten or lost masterpiece? The grass almost seemed to be moving, rippling like water in the wind.

No! It was moving! And the figure, the man. He was closer! Holding out his hand in invitation….


He had not noticed the picture in the catalogue. But now, here in the auction room, it drew him. The fact that it was from the house clearance of a mysteriously missing woman somehow added to his desire for it. It seemed to have no worth. It was described simply as “Man and Woman in Grassy Meadow”. Artist unknown.

He had to have it!

He would pay dearly for it!

 

In response to the daily prompt Nuance

 

#DailyPrompt

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Writing

Tradition (an older one)

By Scott Bailey 2015

Tradition is the echo of oppression
The long shadow of old power
The dark night of the poor
A back drop for wealth’s fireworks
Yet its the poor who cling
Fast to slow-moving tradition
As the controllers far above
Play their fears like violin strings

In response to the daily prompt Traditional

#DailyPrompt, #amwriting

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

Posted in Daily Prompt, Poetry, Writing

Blues Bars

By Scott Bailey 2015

It sits right down
Sits all the way down
Then flies above the clouds
Soars high above the clouds
And I
I can’t get there
Can’t weave that
Magic weave

The harmony of the heart
The harmony of dreams and thought
With the making in the world
The making of the day
I crave
Crave that path
Sweet blue path
Of blues bars

In response to the daily prompt Harmonize

#DailyPrompt, #amwriting

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Science Fiction, Short Stories, Technology, Writing

Confined

By Scott Bailey © 2015

 

Space. It stretched out before him – endless, dark, enticing. The stars were faint and blurry through the thick glass view port, moving in a slow arc across his vision.

He could feel the endless nothing all around, calling to his soul, a siren’s whisper.

Float with us. Float with us forever! Float and forget.

The dark song was as endless as dreams.

He shook his head, fighting off the draining sensation.

He needed to concentrate.

He turned away to look out the only other viewport.

This one was dominated by the dark shadow of the dead ship. It was only visible against the deeper blackness due to the fading embers of molten metal fragments of its destruction.

They too fade from sight to and die.

Like everyone inside.

He shivered.

Looking out that viewport was hurting his neck. He faced forward again. He was too cramped. He could only move his head left and right and his arms enough to use the control by his hands and the keyboards before him.

He was stuck.

Daydreams had led him here – he couldn’t let them end him here.

A beep from the computer brought his senses back to proper alertness.

It had started. The attacks were coming.

He had anticipated it, though not so quickly and not all at once.

Float….

Concentrate!

“Update”, he commanded.

The computer’s calm voice responded.

“Interceptors are on the way they will arrive in precisely 623 seconds.”

“They must be responding to the distress call from the prison,” he muttered.

“That would seem a high probability.”

Dammit! He hadn’t been able to cut that off in time.

The computer went on.

“We should send our own distress call, they will be equipped to rescue you.”

“Do not!” he commanded. “Keep radio silence!”

“Affirmative.”

They were not only equipped for rescue. They were heavily armed. Once they learned the truth – and very soon they would – weapons would their first response.

“And our firewall?” he queried.

“The outer defence has been breached but the systems have not yet been compromised.”

That wouldn’t last much longer. The authorities were suspicious already –  the presence of such a strong firewall did not to allay those suspicions – so they were hitting the firewall with the best they had.

“And my program?”

“Approximately 800 seconds to completion.”

Not enough time!

He swallowed hard and took a deep breath. There was too much at stake here to fail.

He needed more time.

“Instigate firewall program 42!”

The computer complied and ran the program for him.  That would keep the cyber attacks at bay for a little longer.

He shook his head. He had the nagging feeling that this was all just too fantastic!

Only a year ago the only thing he did on a computer was check social media and chat! Spaceships were a thing of science-fiction! Now here he was a master programmer and a fugitive from the authorities flying in space. It all seemed too unreal.

It was the stress of the situation he told himself and he could not afford to be distracted by it.

Besides he wasn’t actually flying a spaceship right now. He was drifting in what was little more than an escape pod.

But the ship he had escaped from was real. As were those bearing down on him. And these were not the only truths he had discovered lately.

He looked at the countdown on the program he was running.

“OK,” he told the computer, “prepare a distress call. But inject the virus I prepared.”

“That is against regulations,” the computer informed him. He barked an override code at it and it proceeded to prepare the distress call.

It was amazing what you could learn in prison. Hacking, override codes. The truth about the universe out there.

Putting him in prison had been their mistake.

Daydreams and curiosity had led him to that prison. he asked too many questions and that had got him into trouble at work and with the Government. That alone would probably not have condemned him but he had also an inventive streak. And a paranoid one.

When they hauled him for questioning he had snuck in a crude listening device.

It had not worked very well but he had caught snippets of conversation.

“He seems immune..”

“Is he any harm though?”

“ … control …    inherited or just a ….. “

“He is a dreamer, not a revolutionary.”

“There we go then. We make him a believer…”

Unfortunately, the listening device was discovered – and that sealed his fate. He was shipped off to a deep space prison ship.

A deep space prison ship! One day he was in a world where the space shuttle was the most sophisticated space vehicle man had created and smartphones where the best man seemed to be able to achieve – the next he was in a world of spaceships – and space police!

It was a culture shock, to say the least.

He was dumped into prison and forgotten.

And that was the strangest thing of all. In prison, he flourished.

On earth – in his old life he had been Mr Average Joe to a T. Prison should have broken him. Yet he found that he had more freedom stuck on this ship than ever before.

He learned the truth for one thing.

There existed on earth (and space) a super élite far above anything anyone even suspected existed. They had science and wealth beyond the imagination of most people.

The rests of the population were kept in drug-induced ignorance. Cattle whose sole purpose was to provide this élite with their lifestyle.

Knowledge seemed to flow freely in prison and he absorbed it all. He learnt to program and how to hack computers.

He had vowed to expose the truth and free the world.

So he had concocted his escape. It had cost him the lives of everyone on that ship – and probably his own life too but he didn’t care.

He was filled with fury. He wanted to free the enslaved population of the human race for sure. What he wanted more though was to see the smug bastards who ruled them get their just deserts.

“Distress call is ready to send.”

He nodded, he was about to tell the computer to send it when it preempted him.

“New contacts.”

“What?”

“There are two more ships, coming in from the direction of Saturn.”

“More interceptors?”

“No. They bear all the signs of space pirates?”

Space pirates? Pirates? How could pirates exist? That would imply ….

He shook his head. There were too many questions threatening to distract him. He had to concentrate.

“Program completion has been suspended.” the computer announced.

What!?

He flung his fingers at the keyboard and dove into code. They had not yet got full control but they managed to stop his program.

Which implied they knew or guessed what he was doing.

He glanced at the other screen. The pirates would get here quicker than the interceptors! And they would shoot first!

He didn’t hesitate now. He called up his virus and made a few changes, then he told the computer to prepare it again and send it.

Then he dove back in and started a counterattack against the hackers. He managed to regain control and get his program running again. He then spent the next few minutes  both fighting the hackers off and keeping his exit channels open.

While he did this he also watched as his virus took hold of the interceptors and turned them towards the pirates. They would be forced to fight each other for a bit.

The program was also done. The hackers came on in full force. He struggled to hold them back.

A fireball briefly bloomed in space. All the pirate ships and interceptors signals went dead. They had destroyed each other.

Almost there.

Now the hackers could see the program running even if they couldn’t stop it yet.

A signal flickered back to life on the screen

One interceptor had survived.

It was closing in, weapons charged.

Almost.

“Program completed!” the computer announced.

“Run it!” he shouted.

He watched the screen as the truth – all the truth – was sent out to every single person on earth.

The lies were exposed.

Come now, float with us…

No!

The interceptor would be in range soon.

He breathed easier.

He had done as much as he could for the world. Now he had to look to his own survival.

He was stranded in space, with limited resources and little time. Air and supplies running out and no hope of rescue.

After the years and years of confinement, he welcomed the challenge – relished it.

“Now this,” he said, with an almost feral grin, “is living!”

 

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Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Writing

Distant Clattering

A tenuous link today but …

By Scott Bailey 2014

A white wedge
Spotted in the corner
Of a run-down shop
Off the track
Joyful memories swell
And from the past
I hear the clattering
Of a metal bowl
Filling with a quarter pound
Of sherbet lemons

IMG_2054
Photo by Scott Bailey

 

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or hardback

from Amazon

or CreateSpace

 

 

 

 

 

In response to the daily prompt Lollipop

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Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Science Fiction, Work, Writing

Tailor Made

By Scott Bailey © 2017

Tailor made suits
Tailor made holidays
Tailor made experiences
Tailor made careers
Tailor made relationships
Tailor made friends
Tailor made lives

You know
No matter the tailor
Clothes just don’t fit me well
Consider me
The scruff
And happy to be

In response to the daily prompt Tailor

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Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Science Fiction, Work, Writing

Bumbling

By Scott Bailey © 2017

We bumble along
In this universe
Buzzing with trivia and angst
While the sun roars
Black holes yaw
And starlight races by

Life bubbles up
Here and there
Obsessed with itself
As it is wont to be
The vacuum does not care

Maybe one day
While bumbling
Life will stumble
On the correct change

In response to the daily prompt Bumble

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Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Science Fiction, Work, Writing

Buried

By Scott Bailey © 2017

In the few idle moments of the day
The few
The very few
I think
I dream
Big plans
And small
How I can achieve my goals
How I will relax tonight
A film?
A beer?
Finish my masterpiece
Find fame and fortune
And then the moment’s gone
Reality bites
Decisions are taken away
And I am the whim of everyone else again
Maybe
I should stop thinking
Stop dreaming
So my dreams
Are no longer buried
In disappointment

In response to the daily prompt Bury

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Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Science Fiction, Work, Writing

Cross

By Scott Bailey © 2000

Rapists come and go
like bills
grit your teeth
bear it
pay

Carry a dagger
close
no guarantee
a talisman
a cross

Hide in the woods
crunching leaves
above
beneath them
a thousand bones

Click, click
Bang, bang
You make it a film!
a song.
a hero’s theme

Click, click
Bang, bang
My mother didn’t pay
didn’t bear her cross
didn’t carry her cross
now lays beneath hers

My best suit
stained by the passing
the violent end
of my daughter
in my arms

Now you tell me
in your yellow coat
shining stripe
proud nation
Go back whence you came!

In response to the daily prompt Grit

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Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Science Fiction, Work, Writing

Caper

By Scott Bailey © 2017

The caper is up
The plot has escaped
From all those lords and ladies
In their ermine capes
We know their game
Time for revolution
Is that what we’ll do?
Or just carry on the same?

In response to the daily prompt Caper

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Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Music, Science Fiction, Short Stories, Work, Writing

The Execution

By Scott Bailey © 2014

“My patience is almost spent.”

“I apologise Mr. Dickens. The situation is complicated.”

“I have been hearing that for two weeks now! And have been given nothing! No answers! I don’t know where I am. I don’t know what has happened to me. Everyone talks strange and treats me like some kind of alien or freak show. And where are my fucking family!”

For a second the Doctor looked horrified. Then he quickly composed himself.

“Again I can only apologise.  But I will explain now. When I do you will understand our … reticence. ”

“About time..”, muttered Henry.The Doctor gave him a look of pity.

“Brace yourself. ”

Henry suddenly felt cold. The Doctor went on.

“Our records show that you were in a cycling accident.”

He pronounced cycling as if he didn’t know what the word meant.

“You suffered severe brain injuries. You were put into a coma to try to protect your higher brain functions. When the swelling had subsided the medical team tried to revive you. They failed. You remained in a coma.”

Henry shifted in his chair. His voice was broken as he spoke.

“How long?”

“Ten years.”

“I have been out for ten years?”

“It’s more complicated. While you were under the world around you changed. It got worse, a lot worse. Your wife… well it seems she was a sharp woman. She saw things clearer than most. For one thing she left us plenty of notes. That’s why we know so much.”

Henry felt a growing sense of dread. But he kept silent.

“Because she saw things clearly she prepared, took action.  What I am going to tell you will be hard for you to hear. But bear in mind that with the benefit of hindsight we can see that what she did was for her family. For your children. She took steps to protect them.”

“Protect them?” His heart was racing.  “Protect them from what?”

“From war.”

“There was a fucking war?” The Doctor flinched again, but he went on.

“Yes. It was a dark time.”

“World War Three?”

“Not quite. I mean that’s what people expected.  What your wife thought was coming. But it was not and all-encompassing war like that. No one side against the other. No. What transpired was a series of many many, small wars between countries.”

He shuddered and continued.

“You might think that would have been better than a world war, but it was not.  It was far worse. With just about every country in the world caught up in their own conflicts there was nobody to coordinate any kind of peace deal. No one to talk to anyway if there had have been. So the wars dragged on, for years,  decades.”

“Decades? I thought you said ..” the Doctor stilled him with a look.

“Your wife saw the dark times coming. She took steps to protect her family.  The first of which was she remarried. ”

“She… what? She..”

“She married into immense wealth. And she used the money to protect her children and you. We know she did this well as we know they survived the dark times.”

“They are alive! I can see them!”

“No. You cannot.  They are…. let me finish.”

A lump of dread was threatening to strangle him.

“She also tried to protect you. With all the resources of her great wealth she threw everything they had at the time towards reviving you. Nothing worked. Finally, when it looked darkest and there was no guarantee that anyone would survive she threw you one last desperate lifeline. An experimental treatment.”

The Doctor paused, looked him deep in the eye.

“She put you into suspended animation.”

Henry felt chilled to the bone.

“So no, you cannot see your wife and children. They have been dead for over two hundred years. We have only just been able to awaken you.”

“No. No, this can’t be. It’s some sort of sick joke isn’t it? There’s cameras in here. Well it’s not funny! I want to see my family!”

“Please Mr Dickens, please calm down. I know this is a lot to take in and I am sorry. But there is more. There is something else you need to know.”

“Calm down? Calm the fuck down? I want my family in this room! Here and now! Don’t give me any more bullshit.”

The doctor nodded very slightly, subtly, but Henry noticed.

It was too late.hands he didn’t see took a firm hold of his arms. Held him steadfastly. He felt a cold disc of metal against the skin of his neck, there was a hiss, then he fell swirling into darkness.

 


 

“You want me to what!?”

Henry looked at the panel before him, twelve men and women, with utter disbelief.

“Mr Dickens. We understand that you have a lot to take in over the last few weeks.”

“A lot!” Henry stared. How could they possibly understand. He has lost everything. His family, his love, his world. He had seen very little of this world but he had seen enough to know that it was not his. He was an alien here.

And now this.

“We understand that you have lost a lot. You have to understand that the world has lost a lot too.”

“I have heard all about your wars. Lots of people died. Yes.”

“They were not our wars, “ said the chairman of the panel, his voice calm and cold. “And I don’t think you have an appreciation of just how many people died, or what that meant.”

Henry didn’t see what any of it had to do with him. The chairman continued anyway.

“The population of the earth was cut by 75%. You have no idea what that did to us. There were very few people left to run things. Very few who knew how to keep things running. Power stations failed. Oil wells stopped pumping. Machines broke down. Nobody knew how to rule, how to respond to the disasters. All that had been wiped away in war after war.

“The times after the wars were darker than the actual wars. The world came close to slipping into barbarism. In many places it did.”

“And you came along and saved it,” said Henry sourly.

“We survived. We were not involved – because we were overlooked. We had no wealth, no strategic value. Largely we were forgotten up in the mountains.”

He paused, letting Henry take in his words. Henry said nothing so he continued.

“We don’t really know what triggered many of the wars, people say it was largely financial – but those are theories, based on times gone by. What we do know is that as things got more and more desperate the terms of the conflicts changed. They became more ideological. In many cases fiercely religious. This was why many of them could not be stopped, there came a point where reason stopped being any part of the fighting.

“It was another reason we were not drawn into it. As Buddhists we eschewed all the arguments for fighting. But we were also no threat to anyone. Those that were bent on converting the world, well – most had forgotten us, or were just leaving us to last.

“So in the end, we survived just by being the last ones standing. We were the only thing left close to being a coherent nation.

“And we were used to living frugally. We were in a unique position to fill the niche so to speak.

“So people flocked to us. They saw our way of life working. Saw it as a light in the dark, a hope.”

“And you made them all convert!” Henry spat.

“Not at first,” replied the chairman. “That was not our way, never had been. But it was a disaster. Trying to accommodate everyone’s views, conflicting ways of doing things. Trying to keep on top of all the old tensions, historical hatreds and prejudices. Well it almost tore us apart. And we were so fragile then, we still are.”

The chairman leaned forward.

“You have to understand something. The earth is damaged. It’s worn out, and depleted. It will never recover, not in the ways we would want it to. The comforts and luxuries of generations past have gone. If we are to survive we must change our ways. And some of those ways might seem extreme to you. They are – but so is our situation.”

“So I have to convert to Buddhism! No choice!”

“That is correct. and it has to be genuine. You must live by our ways.”

“What do you do check up on me? Monitor me? Give me exams every month or something.”

“We do not need to. The way our society is structured, if you do not follow our ways, it would be obvious. If your thoughts do not flow with those around you  – it will be grossly evident to all around you.”

“So I am not even allowed to think outside of your precious bloody ways.”

“As I said, the ways are extreme, and your manner does not fit – at the moment.”

Henry snorted in derision. Did they really think he was going to take this.

“And if I refuse?”

“We cannot allow the possibility of disruption to the balance. You will be executed.”

Henry stared open-mouthed.

“You are kidding! That doesn’t sound very like the Buddhism that was around in my time.”

“Maybe not – we have had to make our sacrifices too. But we are humane.”

“How can killing someone be humane?”

“You would die happy and fulfilled. We have our ways”

“Well hoo – fucking – ray!”

 


 

“Are you sure that you do not want to change your mind?” said the monk. Henry assumed it was a monk. He looked like the Buddhist monks from his own era but he just didn’t know any more.

He wasn’t sure he cared either.

“Why would I do that?”

“So you can live,” said the monk with surprise.

“What for? My life is gone. Everything I knew is gone. My life would be as a stranger in a cage of rules I don’t want and don’t understand. I can’t live like that.”

“You haven’t given it a chance. You have no idea the peace and joy of our lives. You are judging us by your primitive standards. You…

“Enough!” A voice of authority barked from a hidden source. The monk started and looked guilty and continued preparing the elaborate machine Henry was embedded into.

Joy indeed! Henry snorted to himself. Get on with it, he thought.

The monk appeared to comply. He stepped back, nodded at the back wall and left.

The machine hummed and enclosed further around Henry like some futuristic iron maiden. A needle swung into his vision, poised at his neck and then stopped.

The voice spoke again.

“It saddens us to do this friend. But our society, mankind, must survive.”

“Yes, yes. I can imagine the tears you are shedding.”

“You will not change your mind?”

“You will not let me live among you without converting?” Henry countered.

“No.”

“Not even for a limited time – say a month, to see if you can change my mind?” The sarcasm in his voice told them all he did not expect any reasonable answer to that.

“No.”

“Then get on with it!”

“Very well. Judge! Carry out the execution.”

Henry didn’t even take a breath. He’d had enough, reached his limit. He wanted it ended.

Nothing happened. He looked up, the needle stayed poised, he could almost see the poison dripping from it.

“Judge! What is happening? Carry out the execution.”

“No.” The new voice was quietly defiant.

“What? Judge, carry out your task, execute him.”

“No!” What Henry presumed was the Judge’s voice was louder and firmer this time. “I will not. He is right. We should give him time amongst us.”

“This is not acceptable, Judge, do your job!”

“What does it say about our society if we do not trust it to be good enough to sway him? If we are scared that it so weak that a single man can topple it? We need to start our own healing, and it should start with him. We will give him his time. One month. If he is still not convinced, I will carry out the sentence.”

“This is not acceptable, Judge!”

Something stirred in Henry. Suddenly, out of nowhere he wanted what the Judge was offering him. A chance. A chance to live.

“You will accept it. I am the only one in this world who can carry out this sentence and I will not.”

“Your apprentice…”

“Will not be able to carry it out. I have already locked him out of all the processes. Only I can release the locks. He will have his time.”

 


 

“Next up, we are talking to the sensation of the age. The man who was frozen in time and has awoken to join us in the future. The man who escaped death twice and who is shaking the world. The man the leaders fear, the man who asks questions.

“Well today, we hope, he will be answering some of our questions.”

The interviewer turned to Henry while the applause of the audience died down. Henry squirmed uncomfortably. Of all the damn things to survive into this century it had to be talk shows! And he was the fucking subject.

He had to remember not to swear too. He had learnt it was considered way more offensive in these times than his own.

“Mr Dickens, thank you for joining us, let us begin with the biggest question.

“OK.” said Henry.

“We have all heard your remarkable story, it has tugged at all our hearts, we all grieve for your losses. The question we have is, why did you refuse conversion when offered at first? Why, as it appears did you choose death?”

Henry was suddenly overwhelmed with emotions that he struggled to keep under wraps. Grieve for my losses? What could they possibly understand about his losses! The very stupidity of the question betrayed how little they could understand.

How could he answer that?

The audience did not let him. A voice shouted out.

“Why didn’t you just convert!? What’s wrong with our way of life?”

Henry couldn’t see the source of the voice. He sounded like a fanatic, a tone not uncommon in this new world he had discovered.

“I knew nothing about it, you expected I would just convert, without questioning what I was getting into.”

“What’s to question? This way of life has saved us, saved humanity.”

People clapped and cheered the questioner.

“Has it? Or has it turned you all into cattle? Sheep that blindly follow ‘the way’.”

The audience booed and jeered at him, he was a little surprised. His opinions were not exactly secret, they had been broadcast around the world for the two weeks since his stay of execution.

He was the biggest news story of the time.

Hardly surprising as very little else seemed to be happening in the world.

They had peace OK. And it was boring.

“Let him speak!” another voice rang out above the protests.

The audience quietened down, shocked that someone, one of their own appeared to be supporting him.

“Let us hear what he has to say. If our society is so perfect then what possible threat could he be?”

Henry was surprised himself to hear a small ripple of applause supporting this new stance.

He spoke.

“Sure, you have peace. Your society is a model of sustainability and balance. I admire it in many ways. But it is frozen, you are so scared to upset the balance you allow no change. You have stopped growing. You might survive for now, but when change comes – when it is thrust upon you, you won’t know how to deal with it, how to adapt.

“You are like a rose, frozen in liquid nitrogen. Beautiful, preserved for all time, but dead. And easily shattered with a single blow.”

“Why didn’t you just pretend? Just convert and be quiet?” said the original voice.

Henry stood angrily now.

“I spent the whole of my old life dreaming of being someone. Of making my mark on the world. Leaving behind a legacy beyond just my genes. But I didn’t, I was nothing. I worked, I existed, I supported my family, I loved. But nothing more than what every other person was doing around me. I always dreamed one day, one day – but that day was never to be.

“And now – you expect me to just shut up and become just another cog in the machine again. With even less freedom and liberty than before? Well fuck you all if that’s what you think.”

Savage!” a woman screamed.

“No! He is right! Why can’t we question things? Why can’t we change things?”

“Do you want war to return? Do you want our blood?”

“We can question without conflict!”

Suddenly the audience erupted. Everyone was on their feet, trying to shout down each other. Henry thought it looked evenly split but it looked messy.

The aggression was rising.

The flabbergasted host turned to his assistants.

“Get him out of here!”

Hands grabbed in and he was whisked away.

In response to the daily prompt Savage

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Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Science Fiction, Work, Writing

Keys

By Scott Bailey © 2014

Keys can lock and jangle
Hold us safe and secure
Take away liberty or open up the doors
And the doors they can open….
Silver is the primary key
That opens up our home
We do have gold but it is worn
From use and years and time
Some keys are rows of black and white
And open up our hearts
With wondrous weaving melodies
Soaring sounds from worlds apart
But the keys that give me magic
And warm my ailing heart
Dance beneath my fingertips
As dreams flow from my art

In response to the daily prompt Jangle

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Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Music, Writing

The Lyrics that Pluck at You

I enjoy revisiting old favourites. Especially music. Bands, songs, albums that have lain dormant for ages – years sometimes. Neglected and forgotten about.

For the car recently I created a new playlist – a bit more mellow that normal. Instead of picking songs I just added all the songs I have from four different artists. These were Clannad, Enya, Pink Floyd and Leonard Cohen.

As I listened there was a song that I have probably heard many many times before Leonard Cohen’s The Window. It passed me by, in the background – I liked it but didn’t really notice. This time it was different. This time it was one of those occasions when suddenly – for inexplicable reasons the lyric reached out and plucked at me, played me, struck me as beautiful, strange and haunting – just how they are sung. They were.

Oh chosen love, Oh frozen love
Oh tangle of matter and ghost
Oh darling of angels, demons and saints
And the whole broken-hearted host
Gentle this soul

I wonder why. I wonder what it is that made me hear those lyrics properly for the first time after I don’t know how many times before.

One of the mysteries and wonders of really good music.

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In response to the daily prompt Pluck

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Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Music, Poetry, Science Fiction, Work, Writing

Red Sails

A few weekends ago the family and I took a walk along the coast – through some marshes. On the way, I took this photo.

My wife loved it so much  – I think mainly because it signified a wonderful day out – (we don’t have so many of those these days) – that she wants it blown up for her birthday. So it is on its way now as a canvas print 🙂

Anyway – when I saw the boat something about it was portentous to me. Not dangerous but promising big changes or something. I don’t know why. The thing is, a few days later I was doing a google search on my name. I wasn’t being narcissistic, I was trying to see if SEO changes on y website had made any difference. As usual, one of the top results was a solicitor in the south who goes by the same name. The odd thing was though -= they had this picture on their website,

Now, not the same boat – but spooky……

Then today – the daily prompt was sail.  I already had the title Red Sails buzzing around in my head – the rest came naturally.

Red Sails

By Scott Bailey © 2017

The red sails are rising
In the grey of the dawn
The grey spume is parting
Before the forlorn

Drawing out passion
Promising dreams
To the young and the lost
Into the sea they stream

The red sails are parting
Tearing apart
Lovers and mothers
From the vein of their hearts

The red sails are gone
Over the blue
Long is the draught
Of its bitter brew

The red sails are empty
Of all that they took
The decks all wiped bare
Dreams all forsook

The red sails are cursed
My mother’s onshore
But none will set sail
To settle the score

In response to the daily prompt Sail

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