Shadows: A Free Short Story

I wrote Shadows over a year before I made it freely available. Much of that time was spent adjusting small details that no-one will ever notice.

I liked this story very much, and I think that’s part of the reason why it was so hard to let go. The audience are a collective Medusa. Once they set their eyes on a piece of your work, it turns to stone, and can never be changed. With some stories, that can be a hard step to take.

Shadows is exclusive to members of my free mailing list. If you are not yet a member, you can join it by clicking here.

Synopsis: Amber’s husband returns from the war without his shadow. She soon discovers that this is not the only thing he has lost, and must come to terms with the man he has become.

I’m interested in how readers would describe what William lost with his shadow. Let me know below.

Review: Sisyphus

Sisyphus is a Korean science fiction drama exclusively available on Netflix. It follows a successful tech entrepreneur called Han Tae-Sul and Gang Seo-Hae, a woman who travels back from the future to save him from assassination, and by extension, save South Korea from a nuclear attack.

How and why this is all supposed to work is a little hazy for most of the series, because the protagonists themselves, while convinced that their actions have the potential to save millions, do not entirely understand the mechanism by which this is going to happen. This is because they’re trying to change a future that they have only limited knowledge about.

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Vaccinations and Expectations

I live in the UK, and as a resident of this Northern Isle, I have the stupendous privilege, for reasons that are a source of great international discontent, of having access to the Coronavirus vaccine now, rather than later.

I took advantage of this privilege yesterday morning, visiting a slick yet friendly operation in Central London to receive my “jab”, as the Prime Minister insists on calling it.

My Covid Vaccination Card

I walked away on a cloud, my mood lifted by the thought that I had, today, taken a meaningful and irrevocable step towards being free of the collective waking dream that we’ve all been living for the past 15 months.

I felt strong, fit, and healthy. At the school gate, I told other parents that I’d had the vaccine. Refusing to use the word “jab” is a satisfying little act of rebellion that has far more importance in the echo chamber of my mind than outside it.

That evening, around six, I felt a little more tired than usual. Perhaps a little out of sorts. A little later, around eight perhaps, during a phone call with a relative, I started to shake uncontrollably. Shivering is what it’s called, but the movements my body insisted on making were far wilder than the word suggests. I suddenly, abruptly, felt profoundly unwell. (spot the explosion of adverbs, I’m clearly not myself).

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The Making of “Shadows” – From Story Prompt to Finished Product

Back at the beginning of lockdown – that’s over a year ago now – I went to the countryside for a few months with my family, accompanied by a writing prompt I’d come up with.

This prompt had been kicking around in my head for a while now. I had an idea of how to tackle it.

The Emancipation of Shadows

Story prompt

One afternoon, I isolated myself in a room and ploughed through the first couple of thousand words of what I thought was a pretty good idea.

Then I struggled with it for 24 hours.

Then I threw it away and started again.

What went wrong?

This is the story of a story, that took far too long , and took far too much effort to write, but which turned out fairly well in the end. I guess that’s what they’re all like in the rear-view.

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