Saturday, 2 April 2011


A small indulgence. Talkback - the online forum for the UK's Writers' News and Writing Magazine - runs a monthly 'One Word Challenge'. They give you one word (funnily enough) as a theme and you can write 200 words of fiction and/or 40 lines of poetry.

Last month's word was the delicious 'Ink'. My fiction entry didn't get short-listed but I have to say I really, really enjoyed writing it. I may have to expand on the idea...

Do let me know what you think. Thank you.


It’s an obscene stretch of vellum that extends to touch the walls of his cell. Thin to the point of transparency the gift of skin lies flaccid beneath his clumsy fingers. Yet as soon as his quill is dipped into ink – a turgid shade squeezed from oak cankers – a new world evolves.

Liquid towers strut across still rivers, defined and desired by the hungry pen. Humble houses open onto bacchanalian gardens; fresh water springing from fertile wells. The canvas rambles in the wake of his caress. He flicks the surface – welts raise as troubled mountains.

Plucking with the nib he labours at molehills, he pokes at craters until – no more. The drying brown powder refuses to emulsify with his pitiful spittle.

With darkness comes familiar blindness. The light has abandoned the skies, no longer seething through the single hole above his head. For this night only the prisoner wraps his art around his naked flesh and sleeps in its caress, soaking in the dreams he has made.

In the morning she will come to release him from the wondrous cloak. And he will wait as long as last time – maybe less, maybe more – for her next bequest.
Lily Childs is a writer of horror, esoteric, mystery and chilling fiction.

If you see her dancing outside in a thunder storm - don't try to bring her in. She's safe.