The Hunt: Part 3.

https://johnrsermon.com/2020/01/27/the-hunt-part-1/

https://johnrsermon.com/2020/01/30/the-hunt-part-2/

The hunters scaled the car wall and onto the road. Their target moved at high speed down the middle as cars calmly drove to the sides. Sam and John smiled as they received cheers from the crowd. The lizard screeched back at them before jumping down from the road and into trees nearby losing the helicopters in the process. The hunters warned off the people with their cameras on the ground from following them as they kept chase.

“You talk to me about putting the public in danger? Oh, my days! Your aim is all over the place, and you fire bullets like they’re going out of fashion.” Said Sam.

“I’m firing the bullets to keep the target in my sights. It keeps feigning to go up a tree, and I keep stopping it. Unlike you and your archaic bow and arrow. Your arrows aren’t even sticking into the trees.” Replied John. Sam elbow barged John out of the way and smiled as he fell to the ground. John glared at Sam as he ran off. The lizard had now climbed a nearby tree and was moving quickly between the branches to stop Sam from getting a clear shot. Sam withdrew an arrow, but before he was able to fire, John speared him in the back with his shoulder and knocked the arrow out of his hand. Sam rose quickly and flew at John with carefully placed punches and kicks, which John was able to parry, but when he tried to retaliate each attack did not land and was pushed away. Each hunter was equal to the other, and as they fought, the lizard slowed down and stopped still in his tree and watched for a while. It slowly descended and continued to watch from the forest floor with its head twitching in different directions before stopping still again and calmly watching the fighting hunters.

“You really are predictable.” Said John as he kicked at Sam’s head only to miss as Sam spun on the ground and tried to land his kick, which John swiped away with a stiff forearm.

“How can you say that? The same person trained us. That makes no sense.” Sam said as he pushed John away and jumped into the air to try and land a punch from above. He missed as John took two steps backwards. “You are basically a blonde version of me.”

“You wish. You’re a brunette version of me.” John said. “And I didn’t say anything.”

“Don’t you lie to me.” Sam said.

“He’s not lying.” Said a smooth voice from next to them. They stopped fighting and watched open-mouthed as the lizard morphed into a twelve-foot-tall man-lizard and stood on its back legs.

“Did you know they could do that?” Said Sam.

“No. Not at all.” Said John.

The man-lizard grabbed both men by the back of their heads and smashed them together. He recoiled and squinted as the crunching sound filled the trees and scattered some nearby birds. He then grabbed Sam’s hands and closed his eyes. Two huge black and green limbs changed into human arms and hands matching Sam’s. He carefully grabbed Sam’s bow and an arrow and fired one through John’s eye. He then took John’s hands and waited for the change to happen again. Once complete, he grabbed one of John’s guns and shot Sam through an eye. He placed the relevant weapons in Sam and John’s hands before looking carefully in John’s bag. The man-lizard found John’s spare bullets before searching Sam and locating all of his remaining arrows.

“Thanks for the chase and the fun, gentleman. And for the ammunition.” He said nodding in appreciation to the prizes he had just collected. With both eyes closed, he changed back into a lizard and disappeared into the night.

The Hunt: Part 2.

https://johnrsermon.com/2020/01/27/the-hunt-part-1/

The lizard’s arms and legs flailed up and down as it struggled to run away, knocking people into the road and to the ground as it tried to flee. Cars screeched around it and ploughed into signposts and buildings and people. John bounded over the vehicles and quickly helped as many people as he could. He bounced across the vehicle roofs with some people cheering him on as he did so. John stopped for a moment and removed and launched a dagger. He punched the air and gestured to the growing crowd as the blade grazed the side and split some of the scaly skin from the lizard’s tail. The lizard threw up its head and howled as it kept moving.

“Stop showing off. It’s making its way to the tunnel. You know it can escape to the sewers that way, right?” Said Sam as he finished moving down the building and jumped onto the pavement.

“Really? I did not know that. Thank you so much, big Sam, for pointing out the most obvious thing known to any hunter worth anything at all.” John said as he continued and jumped on top of a recently crashed car. The lizard moved fast now, hitting its stride between people and vehicles and towards the tunnel.

Both hunters pushed their way through the panicked or mesmerised crowd and made sure to thank those who actively moved out of their way. The helicopters above followed them with spotlights. Cameras big and small followed them on the ground. Some more heroic passers-by tried to slow their target down but were dealt with efficiently by a powerful lizard limb. The tunnel approached, and Sam stopped on top of a post box. John looked back and groaned through his teeth. Sam took off his coat and aimed his arrow carefully.

A Land Rover coming through the tunnel suddenly started to swerve as the driver let the fear overcome him as the giant lizard hissed closer. Sam aimed and fired an arrow into one of the car wheels that burst and the car jolted and flipped over in front of the tunnel entrance. The crash caused several other vehicles to crash, and in no time, they began to pile up and block the tunnel.

“Dam, you Sam. Don’t put the public in danger like that.” Said John as he watched the lizard scale the cars and scurry up and onto the road running over the top of the tunnel.

“It stopped the demon going through the tunnel did it not?” Sam shouted back. He put his bow away and grabbed his coat before joining John again on the chase.

The hunters scaled the car wall and onto the road. Their target moved at high speed down the middle as cars calmly drove to the sides. Sam and John smiled as they received cheers from the crowd. The lizard screeched back at them before jumping down from the road and into trees nearby losing the helicopters in the process. The hunters warned off the people with their cameras on the ground from following them as they kept chase.

The Hunt: Part 1.

The monster slithered up the side of the building. One hunter climbed after, and another pursued on the ground. As it moved swiftly between the windows and ledges, the grounded hunter fired his gun, shattering concrete and glass around the target. The climbing hunter stopped and fired arrows from a balcony but did no better and shook his head as the monster disappeared onto the top of the roof.

“Watch your aim, Sam. Stick to the roof and push it towards me. I’m going to try and gain some distance on the target from the ground and catch it as it comes down. Keep it in your sights.” Shouted the grounded hunter.

“Oh, well done. Tell me to run across the roofs instead of on the ground. The harder option and one better for you, John, so you get all the attention. As usual. And keep it in my sights? Such a hard task to do, given that the target is twelve feet long and half that wide.” Bellowed Sam as he planted his feet on the roof and caught sight of the lizard. He quickly fired an arrow, which shaved the side of its head. The lizard stopped on the edge of the rooftop and hissed down at the ground below. Its head bent right around, and it roared at the hunter before leaping across to the next building and landing awkwardly.

“Wind your neck in, Sam. You know I’m not much of a jumper. You excel at such things. We need to catch him.”

“Him? IT more like. And wind my…wind your neck in Johnny boy. And get rid of that smegging bag. It only slows you down.”

“I’ll get you for that Sam. Or should I say, Samwise.” John shouted as he disappeared from Sam’s view. Sam gritted his teeth, and one hand moved naturally onto his stomach. When he realised, he removed it and extended his spear. After five significant steps, he vaulted across to continue the pursuit.

The wind began to make his eyes water as Sam moved between the various obstacles on top of the building. A head followed by a long, greenish-black tail whipped up and down not far in front of him. The lizard slipped and favoured his back-right leg, and Sam saw his chance. He vaulted forward and as he landed the tail of the beast flew across his face, narrowly missing his nose but catching his spear and snapping it in half. Sam was now within a few feet and leapt to grab hold of the creature’s tail, which whip-like smacked him on the head. The lizard spun around and head-butted him in the chest, sending Sam thudding down onto his back. The lizard hesitated for a moment before moving towards the edge of the roof. Sam dragged himself across and watched as it scurried down the side of the building and weaved between ledges and windows. Debris started to fly in all directions and began to rain down onto the people below who rapidly started to scream and run. He glanced to the side to see John running to keep the chase alive.

PODCAST shout out: DUST: Horizons.

Hello,

Following years of half-baked attempts to find new music to enlighten my ears and mind, I decided to sign up to Spotify. Within a few weeks, I was given many top-quality suggestions for new music to listen to, and along with this, I looked into the other things Spotify has to offer, which includes Podcasts. There are so many I didn’t know where to start. Then, I remembered something that happened a few years ago.

….a few years ago I stumbled upon a Sci-Fi short films channel on YouTube called ‘DUST’ I watched one video, about a man who while photocopying documents finds a big Black Hole on an A3 piece of paper that allows him to use it as a portal into anything. As in, he sticks the piece of paper to the wall, walks through the black hole to the other side of the wall), and was instantly hooked. I watched a few more, but then somehow, I became unhooked and didn’t watch anymore. I decided to search for this on Spotify and found ‘DUST: Horzions’. This is the same DUST I found on YouTube but they are now presenting classic short stories from authors such as Philip K Dick and Ray Bradbury and new authors of Sci-Fi.

DUST

There are eight stories so far, with the longest being 45 mins, that range in darkness but are all really interesting. Each is unique and very compelling, with some having drops of humour along the way. As I listened to each one, they provided me with time to take in new Sci-Fi (Obviously) and reflect on my own work and how I could change some elements of the endings to my stories. Each ‘Dust:Horizons’ story has a logical end and, although it seems surprising and maybe shocking, makes sense when the story is looked at as a whole. Not one of the stories seemed to be throwing a twist in for no real reason. For impact rather than as part of the overall story, which is always good. Everything tied together at the end, in a sense, and then there were also numerous things to mull over afterwards. And I mulled — a lot.

The above all leads to a question; I know I’m probably late in arriving to Sci-Fi Podcasts but can anyone recommend any? And if they are available on Spotify?

 

 

Some Kind of Monster. This monster lives.

Hello,

I take inspiration from many things. Usually, it’s during my day job (The odd comment I ‘accidentally’ overhear mostly) or when I’m out running. But mainly it comes from when I’m watching movies. I’ve always enjoyed watching sci-fi and western movies with the occasional monster movie in-between. Like everyone who enjoys films, I have watched plenty of the awesome as well as plenty of the abysmal. But I keep watching them. Even bad movies inspire me with how not to do something.

Like I said, having watched my fair share of monster movies (such as Godzilla, Clash of the Titans, Attack on Titan, and many others) I have always wanted to write a monster story of my own. But, for whatever reason, I have put it off. Until now.

Most recently, I have been focusing on a short story for a competition. I managed to get it finished before the deadline. That story is about two hunters, more concerned with getting plaudits than actually doing their job efficiently, and the giant lizard they are pursuing. When I clicked ‘submit’ and then wondered what to work on next, that lizard started to slither its way through my thoughts. But that lizard kept growing and went from twelve feet long by six feet wide (In the short story) and got a lot bigger. MUCH bigger.

UC5Ms46

Guess what influenced my story. You’ll never get it.

Anyway, in most of my other stories, I have included demons and dragons but never have I ever written a story with a big monster at its centre. I have my idea, and I’ve started to write. The beast is mid-rampage through Manchester City Centre, and I have one man who wants to get up close and see and another who is too close and has no idea what to do. I have started to write, and the story is moving along well enough. Each man is learning, and each is getting closer to the monster and who they are. However, I am beginning to wonder, should I work on the history of the monster first before starting to write a story about it? As in, should I create a full profile of the monster before I continue?

I know the origin of the monster, and I think I’m going to link it to other attacks from different countries. Or possibly keep it contained to the United Kingdom.

All this leads me to my question, have you written a monster-centric story, and how did you go about preparing for it?

Thank you and have a good day.

 

Getting into the Habit: Writing in the Morning.

Do you write in the morning and if so, how long and how are you finding it?
For many years I have wrestled with the idea of writing in the morning. I’ve read many articles from authors who get up early (3 am or 4 am) and write before the rest of the house wakes up. I considered trying this and pondered that, as it is me and my fiancé only in the house, that when the house wakes up it won’t be that loud and she won’t disrupt my writing anyway.

But at 3 am? Really?

I contemplated trying this for a trial period but realised quickly that sleep is awesome. And that getting a good night’s sleep helps me to be refreshed and more open to solid, useful ideas instead of the weird ones I get when I’m overtired. Although, maybe I should start writing those weird ones down in future? Were they weird? I can’t remember. Anyway, I endeavoured to get out of bed slightly earlier than usual (my alarm goes off at 6.45am and I snooze till 7.15 usually) and write something before I go to work (my bus is at 7.43 or 7.53 depending on how organised I am. Or 08.03 when all hell breaks loose)
This endeavour has been working so far. A bit. I rarely get up earlier than 7.15 but I am managing to get a small amount of writing done each morning. I’ve been doing this now for about 5 weeks and it has been a great habit to get into. Even though I don’t write a lot in the mornings, average 300 words, it has helped me to push along with my current WIP and it is almost finished. About another week and I should be done. Hopefully.
Getting into the habit has also allowed me to read more regularly. I read on the way to work anyway but I don’t give myself as much time as I should to read my ‘at home’ book.

Having written something in the morning I can now read in the evening knowing that I have if in only in a small way, moved my WIP along. It also allows me to watch ‘Game of Thrones’ (I only started watching it when it is finished. I’m up to season 4 now. Some people at work are jealous. I’m not sad about it.) knowing that my WIP is moving along.
I know it’s not a new concept or something revolutionary but pushing myself to change my daily routine has helped. Here’s hoping it can help me in the future.

The Meeting

Hello,

This story was meant to be my entry into a recently closed competition. A combination of fear and lack of planning found me missing the deadline. Nevermind.

So, here is the latest draft. It concerns a man who is going to meet his new girlfriend’s parents for the first time. And when I say new, she is almost brand new, and he is not sure if he should go through with it or wait a bit longer.

Is she looking at me? Darren thought as he waited at the bar. His hands began to shake as he straightened his shirt and watched her approach.

“You dancing?” she said.

He shook his head.

“Fair enough. Would you like a drink?” She said with a smile. They talked for a while and bought each other drinks before exchanging numbers.

“What’s your name?” Darren said.

“Lucy.” She kissed him on the cheek and his stomach jumped as he watched her leave the bar.

“That’s new.” He said.

*

Over the next six days, they met three times and texted nonstop. Every morning he woke up more alert than the last as he eagerly checked his phone.

Exactly a week later they met again on Saturday for drinks. He suggested the same bar and the quickness of her accepting text confused and excited him. After an hour he was really enjoying the night, he went to the bar and when he came back two women were sat opposite Lucy.

“This is Keeley and Lindsey.” Lucy introduced. Darren smiled and greeted them warmly. Shortly after, the two friends went to the bar.

“Don’t be angry. They’re my sisters. If you like me, you have to like them.” Lucy said. Darren noted the subtle sharp tone in her voice.

“Okay.” He said. They kissed and resumed their night out.

*

“Every time I asked them something, they dodged the question. It was weird.” Darren said as he sat down. His mate went to the bar and brought over the drinks.

“You’re over thinking it, mate. You’ve done this so many times before.”

“But Ed, they barely spoke and only did so when Lucy was there. Without her, they were pretty much just glued to their phones.”

“Just relax mate. She’s nice, right?”

“Yeah, she’s really pretty and has a great smile. I get along with her really well.”

“Your eyes just lit up.” Ed said and patted him on the shoulder. Darren looked across the pub at a couple kissing and sharing a private moment. They looked about his age and the blonde woman reminded him of Lucy and the man’s short brown hair acted like a mirror for him. He smiled and drank his beer.

*

“Will you meet my parents on Friday?” Lucy said as they held hands and walked through the park the following Monday evening. Darren looked up a tree and around the park a few times before answering.

“Okay. But, isn’t it a bit…soon?” He said. Her grip tightened on his hand.

“You can’t put a time on true love.” She replied. His stomach jumped again as she kissed him.

*

“True love?” Ed Said as they rested after their Thursday evening run.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that in real life.” Darren said. They laughed as Darren unmuted his phone and raised his eyebrows as he registered the number of texts and missed calls.

“Is that what true love looks like?” Ed said.

“Maybe.” Darren replied. He smiled as he read the messages of encouragement about his run and their upcoming meeting with her parents.

Darren spent all of Friday thinking about the meeting. That dinner time much like the others during the week he visited different shops looking for a new outfit but never bought anything. He finished work and registered that it was Friday evening. We meet tonight then. His palms became sweaty as did the back of his neck as he looked through his wardrobe. He sat on the edge of his bed and stared back and forth between his wardrobe and his phone. He flinched as a text came through.

“My parents just wanted to confirm that you were still coming tonight and are REALLY looking forward to it. What takeaway you would like? I vote for pizza. Can’t Wait! xxx”

Then, Darren’s stomach jumped.

“Sorry Lucy, I don’t think I can make it tonight. You know that food my boss brought in today as a thank you for all our hard work? It’s been doing backflips in my gut and I’ve been to the toilet more times than I would like. Could it be moved to next week? Sorry again.” He paused before hitting send. He exhaled and instantly relaxed. Later, as he got in bed, he kept checking his phone.

*

Darren awoke with his phone still in his hand. He turned it off and lay in bed until midday. She’s angry with me. He got up and then settled into his settee and turned on the TV. After a few hours of watching nothing in particular, he remembered to switch his WiFi on. As soon as he did, a few messages came through from Ed and they all mentioned Lucy and the news. He checked his news app and immediately sat up straight.

“Are you joking?!” Darren said loudly. He slowly scrolled through the article about a huge police arrest made in the early hours of the morning. “That’s Lucy’s house!” His phone rang and Ed’s face came up on the screen.

“Darren! Are you alright, mate? I’ve been trying to get hold of you all morning.”

“Yes, mate. I didn’t go to meet her parents. Got cold feet. Faked food poisoning. I’ve just read an article about it. The police received a tip-off from one of the guests at her parents’ house that a man and woman were going to be killed as part of some ritual. Apparently, the ‘sacrifice’ of the new girlfriend and boyfriend of the leaders of the ‘The Greater Good’ group was to appease their god. Lucy was a leader!” Darren could hear his heart thump faster in his ears as he spoke.

“Will you be okay?” Ed said.

“I’ll be fine. I just need…a minute.” Darren said and ended the call. He sat back and exhaled. “That was a close call.”