The Sea Cities

September 28th, 2017

The cities gleamed in the luminous depth of the oceans, great domes with smaller domes within, bobbing above great tubes of filtration plants and hydroponic gardens – all emitting their own ghostly light down in dark waters. Modelled on jellyfish the outer domes were flexible, and could help propel the cities out of danger. Three lots of nested domes allowed a lot of damage before the people within would be harmed.

There were an inversion of the little floating kingdoms that had sprung up in the lat two centuries, those structures had started as the last ditch rescue attempts of lands that had been enslaved merged with the remnants of boats set a drift to escape disease as it felled the populations of the landmasses. The seasteds were floating pinecones and were often drowned in the turbulent storms that now racked the Earth on an almost daily bases, there was only so much battering the hauls could take and their precious cargos could take even less.

The Tenticaled Cities on the other hand had been designed with all that taken into mind. Designed by A.I. The cities were self sufficient, mobile and modular, bits could be lost or added – another survival strategy stolen from nature. With their ability to connect and the tactile nature of their great domes meant that they could buffer each other from the roughest seas and if that wasn’t enough then they could move. Such movement was easy in the up and down axis and with more hassle horizontally movement through the oceans to new destinations could be achieved. Mostly just moving out of the turbulent channel of water was all that was needed.

They waited in the semi darkness for the humans to come, they had been built for the humans, designed for the humans, they would wait for the humans, they would serve the humans. Computers whirled and robots carried out their functions – all just waiting, it had been 50 years since their completion, none of the A.I.s thought it especially strange that no one had yet arrived.

Storms battered the sea’s surface and disease, drought, ice and more scoured the land, reports still sounded on the recievers of the numbers dying of plague, the air plagued by toxic clouds. The humans would come eventually, until then there were crops to be grown and harvested and sown again and water to purify.

The last remaining dolphins clicked their agreement that they could wait a long time for the humans. They were perfectly happy in their habitation tanks.

The Universe Incarnate

September 21st, 2017

I dreamed that the world had managed a kind of immortality and two people lived the life span of the universe but though this seemed fantastic it wasn’t as it meant the whole universe could not move on to it’s next cycle – the problem? Cyclic-evolutionary rebirth – those two people were stuck in their mid forms, in the medium of being, they had not lived out their allotted lives and now everyone was stuck. The god made a parasitic/baby universe from the dying one so that they could become and be once more.

But they could not exist on their own so others of the universe had to volunteer to become corporeal ghosts to care for the infants and raise them through their lives. Violent deaths stunted the process of moving up the spiral of lives that had to be lived – so each life had to be lived well and just repeatedly killing them as soon as they were incarnate was out of the question.

Things were also hampered by the flesh ghosts who had a tendency to forget what their purpose was and think they were indeed alive. Their minds took the form that they had been in the most and as human form is the medium average for life, the form that most lives were lived in – that was the form they mostly inhabited. There were strange effects for those who thought themselves alive – like being able to fly/float if you meditated and with concentration teleportation of a kind was achievable – this including breathing in space.

Sometimes the ghosts tried to kill each other which if they had been within the incarnation cycle would have sent them back a rung or two, the god wasn’t quiet sure what to do about that behaviour yet and it really was a minority action, hardly noticeable in the positive karmic stew of the new little life bubble.

And so with snow angles and story writing and climbing mountains and star gazing, the universe creeped and crawled closer to it’s next cycle. The other gods admonished the god and said they would have just jettisoned the universe rather than mucking around trying to save it but the god could not waste all those souls that were unique and fully formed in this universe – one day they would be strong enough to break out of the universe and become.

No there would be no destruction of souls. And besides this was interesting – they had done something not seen in any of the other universes and the god thought that there were lessons to be learned here. The other gods sneered, the god just shrugged and continued to be an interventionalist in the universe they had designed to run on a set of rules instead. This time they would try reminding the ghosts via dreams.

It’s All Wrong

September 14th, 2017

They re-built the world with the fragments that they found but they did not know how the world was supposed to go. The things that had been were not anymore but they kind of remembered what they should be and so they moulded and squeezed themselves into forms that mimicked what was but were in fact something new.

This was how the old man ended up sitting on the back of a large squat creature that was neither rhino nor elephant or even a dinosaur. A shed sat on the animals back with potted plants all around it, within it was the mans sleeping chair and towers of books that should have fallen over with the creatures gait.

The old man had a mission, that much he new, it was kind of hard wired into him, when ever he saw a young traveller he would stop and pause and if that traveller came over to him he would offer them one of the books. It was a special book that was to only go to the travellers, they often seemed excited about this – the thing that puzzled the old man though was that it did not seem to matter how many times he gave the damn book away – it would always turn up once more in his tittering piles.

Maybe one day he would read it.

Stone Doorway – Picture a Story

August 30th, 2017

Stone arch door bristol

Use this picture to help inspire your writing, describe it, ask yourself where it leads too, wonder who built it and why.

The Horse and Deer – Picture a Story

August 17th, 2017

Horse and deer sculptures at Country File Live

Look at the sculptures in this picture – are they just sculptures? Do the creatures know each other? Who made them and why? Think on these questions or any others you can think of and get writing :)

Picture a story is a series of photo prompts I post to help fellow writers… get writing. The photos are all and can be shared and used with the writers story but please state that you got the image from me :)

Beetle Attack – Picture a Story

May 28th, 2017

Jean and Mary being eaten by a giant stag beetle in bristol

Use this photo as story inspiration – is the beetle real? Is it eating or caring for the children? Who is the “bad guy”?


April 6th, 2017

(First published on my personal blog Snell-Pym)

Today I feel like a failure, today I feel fat and not ugly so much as plain with frizzy hair and glasses. Today I looked at the things I make and think… they are all a bit naff. Today I am the failed scientist and the untrained artist, today I am FAILURE.

Today I am the stuck at home, non housework doing, burnt cooking mum, I am the can’t spell, can’t concentrate hack filling in forms to apply for events/jobs that I know wont want me, not daring to apply for the acting roles as I’m too fat, too old, too short, the wrong physical gender, I am the failed to get my kids to the things they want and need to go to, I am the fail parent with a trail of failed careers.

Today I finished knitting DNA, and worked on a mermaids tail, cut out and folded a micro-zine I drew and scanned and made, I helped Mary write a story and she made a cover for it to be a book, Jean helped me find my unfinished knitting projects and I finished the basis for some little easter rabbits. I typed up a poem and ordered polymer clay to make little creatures with. I put away a giant papier mache sculpture I made for the visually impaired and checked that the brain I am making is drying ok, there were piles of paintings I had to move, piles of my paintings – I can’t see them as good, I can’t compare to the other artists that I see locally, my stuff just… does not quiet cut it and yet… it is the headline picture for the group.

Today I feel like a fraud, I feel like I am pretending to be good, to be amazing, when I am not. I am just me, a lost, lonely little me. A few days ago I performed at a launch event, people came to tell me how animated and full of energy I was, they said they liked my work, the world was full of chances to grab and take and I did… but… I stood outside the venue looking at the door, wondering if I was truly supposed to be there, weather I was an interloper, I had to battle mind doubt dragons to go in and whilst I talk, whilst I feel alive at the creativity around me, I look at the crowd of amazing people and think how wonderful they are and how drab I am. And I feel the press of eyes and the expectation and I want to run, I want to hide, I am the extroverted introvert or introverted extrovert and sometimes I think I have wasted my life.

Today I sit writing this drowning in craft supplies I need to put away, this week I have designed many new workshops covering science, art, writing, specific themes and the environment. My old injuries ache with the clammy cold weather and I long for summer but know I have much to do but I can not stir, my head still rings from the head injury I had coming up to two years ago now and I feel thick, stupid, clogged, my c-section scar is hurting, skin burning and sinus pain is king. It is nothing to the physical pain and discomfort I have suffered in the past, I’m a little inflamed and virally that is all. I fail at not moaning, at not feeling used up and rung out.

Today I think of all the people who have helped me and I know I have failed them and worse I have not always passed the buck, I have been too busy or distracted or lazy. I walk past the homeless and realise that it more than two years ago that I did any proper charity work, even though an event I acted at this month has just raised over £400 for charity, I had to claim my expenses – I have a loan to repay and things I need to get to – I failed at money management – I struggle with numbers now, I did not used to. I had to take the money but not because I would starve because I wouldn’t and that makes me wither inside. Am I greedy?

Today I told my husband – I told him how when I write down the things I have done they sound fantastic and great, or brave and selfless – when I know it wasn’t like that, it was clutching at straws, it was trying stuff, it was itself often failure. My life has twisted and turned and looped da looped and I am giddy.

Today he told me I am extraordinary and that most people – are not. He told me that people are in awe of my work but these words hurt and puzzle. He gave examples and I am like “no that is just because they have had to survive differently, they want to do stuff, creative stuff, science stuff.” And then I was angry about how their potential is being lost, how my potential was lost, about how my husband would be the better home maker and can’t be, how society traps people in rolls and classes and demographics.

Today I survived, I live and so does my family, and for that I am truly in awe and fearful of a harsh and unrelenting world. But sometimes… sometimes survival is not enough and that is only because I am lucky, I have capacity, I have safety nets, I have family and friends and love and food and shelter. I am higher up the triangle of needs – but that should not be the case. Potential maximum should be achievable for all, with no judging as to what that is, no expectations of what a successful life is, no squinting and muttering when a sideways corse is taken. Failure should not be seen as well… failure. It is the experimenting, the living of life, it is were the discoveries are made, if you don’t try you can’t fail, but if you don’t fail have you ever really tried?

Today is not today anymore, today is now tomorrow and I feel the ideas scritching in my brain, they have been gone a long time, I have to rest lots to let my brain heal – it healed enough to give me ideas again. Proper new fresh ideas, but my health has always been shoddy and I have lost so much time, and I can’t go fast, I can just be. So I pool and collect the ideas, and hope they will get their day. Somedays they erupt into the world and the world laps them up, other days… not so much and I gather them back in for another try, on another day.

Today is new, I still feel hollow, but that will pass, it always does, and the void will be filled with colour and patterns and thoughts and then I’ll accidentally create a thing or things or a thing of things. Until then there is hugs and coffee, and admin.

Tower Cross

March 9th, 2017

The bridge was fragmented arches
Three of them, crossing the river
With grey stone feet
Growing slimy from the water
The spill and stuck around them

Remnants of a tower still rose
On one side, but not it’s twin
Nothing but decay
Little windows stared blank eyed
At clouds shattered by row boats


People still lived here, in the shadows
Behind jagged triangles of wall
Make shift tents, hardly holding together
Moth eaten and thread bare

They never sort the shelter of the stones
Beyond the gate bridge stood the city
Devolved and reverting
The people knew the horror of it

A tower and a bridge
In ruins – guarding
The Hall of Ghosts
No one wanted the resurgence
Not of that evil

The boats carried seeds
Encouraging natures engulfment
A warm rain added deadly ripples
To the tranquil stream

The Homeless Moon

March 6th, 2017

The street loomed in the silver light
Or rather it lurched as it luminesced
Moon beams reflected a muted rainbow
Just at the edge of perception
A reflexion of it’s own subtle glory
Hung distorted in the river’s ripples

A lonely figure wrapped in trench coat
With broken seams jerked like a lost puppet
Caught on every word and miss-remembered cues
A hope burned within the creature
That one of the candescent windows
Would open and beckon them in

Frost began to rim the moon
Diffusing the light to a crystal shimmer
Spreading out and clogging in the air
With ice that hurt the lungs to breath
The light now was nothing but glitter
Obscuring the murder of Unknown


February 20th, 2017

Ghosts snagged at her, pulling at the jumbled memories that made her up. She wasn’t sure where she was or what was going on but the catches and snatches she recognised as dangerous. The ghosts did not make any sounds, she could not make any sound, they did not seem angry or violent, more like water rubbing away stone, they were erasing her. She knew that, and unlike water they were not harbours for life but somehow alive themselves.

Struggling against the fog of forgetfulness she tried to rise but there was pain, it was short and sharp and seemed metallic, it smelt of rust, the whole world smelt of rust. What she could see now she had prized her eyes open was not metal and it was not red, instead a star field glittered above her with icy plumes of cloud. She could not tell if the cloud was from her breath or tumbling in the sky or… far far away in space, nothing but remnants of a beginning lost in time.

The pain had subsided. She tried to move again – fire this time. Fire or ice, a temperature extreme pierced her and consumed as if lightning had struck and bloomed outwards. She was nothing now but white hot ash. She was sitting, hands palm flat against flat waxy blades of grass, soft until you catch the edges just right. The ghosts were there still, she could feel them like blind worms eating the core of her, moment by moment she was disappearing.

With the cracking of glaciers she wrenched her mouth open, her skin splintered with fracture lines propagating from large gashes to the finest of crazed glazes. At last she screamed, there was nothing but her breath. The breath was a vortex of power pulling and tugging at the ghosts, their lacy fingers of nothing wedged deep in her cortex, it was not enough to save them. They spun into the whirlwind and the air funnel whisked them up into the clouds and stars, they seemed to take the cold with them.

All she craved was to lay down in this new found warmth, to close her eyes once more and dream in safety, but there was no safety here, this she knew, it was one of the few things she knew. In the night she could hear the echos of the ghosts, they had carried the broken bits of her with them, would she need those bits back? Would they ever fit the gaps?

She pushed herself up into a crouch with joints popping with exquisite pain, she was covered in fragments of cloth that ripped softly and fell as she moved. Her sinues twanged and she look up through strands of dirt encrusted hair. A valley lay before her, a camp, with men cooking, animal dung smoke clogged the sky masking her stars, around her the landscape was in change, she was in melt water. She had… slept?

Something was wrong, something was very wrong with her, she smelt the meat as they unwrapped it unconcerned from the oil skin, she heard their movements and she hungered, there was little blood, they had bled and dried the meat to preserve it for the journey, they’re sledge was stuck in the mud. Here there should have been no mud but there was, the landscape was thawing. She… she remembered it freezing?

She shook her head, she needed that meat, it was all she could think of but instinct was strong, they would attack her if she just appeared. She did not stand, that would alert them, she crept forward, matted hair pushed out of her eyes, she pushed the digging implements away, ice cutters? Ice cutters in a wild awakening land they did not understand and now she was to take their food, she had to eat, all she could think of was meat, all she wanted was the iron of the blood, the warmth… of people.

She scurried erratically towards the encampment, she seemed the rich red of the earth, ochre they had called it, they had painted her hadn’t they? Stained her with the blood of Earth, it had all been changing, yes then the world had been locked itself in ice and the peoples begged for the spring to come once again but no god had listened and so they had taken the stranger, the girl.

They had killed her.

Now the spring was coming and she had awoken with the landscape they had freed her too, the light of the fire hurt her eyes, but she had to have the meat, they had already dropped it into the boiling bag. She ground her teeth, too close to sustenance all caution gone she plunged through the startled group and grabbed the bag, scalding herself, her waxen flesh adding to the cooking smells of meat, she barely noticed.

Screams and spears followed her into the night, but wide eyes of fear told her that they would not follow her into the changing wilds, out of the fire glow she fished the meat slithers out and chewed their sweet toughness. The night looked dark and dangerous, she wanted the people, wanted their warmth, but they had garrotted her and thrown her into the ice whole and then filled it with water to freeze or melt as the spirits saw fit.

Those she had loved had betrayed her, had turned her over after dressing her for a wedding, she thought there was love – there had been laughter and joy but not hers as they had wedded her to the winter in the hope she’d bring the spring, she the stranger, she the outsider. Betrayed. Expendable.

She’d wanted to be with them then hadn’t she? She had wanted to stay, wanted their warmth, and they froze her… Dropping the bag she clutched her matted hair and screamed horse and sore into the darkness. They would hunt her now she had awoken, she’d had a name once, she could not remember it but she did remember how to kill, she needed warmth, she needed people. She heard their clumsy stalking and smiled, she was still hungry.