2021

short story collection: [project zed]

This year, I was fortunate to be commissioned by the Booranga Writers’ Centre to create a collection of short stories as part of their stimulus funding from Create NSW‘s initiative to support regional writers.

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Short Stories

the dusk guard

The duskhaze.

That was what they called it. The fog that rolled in from the hills some nights and sent everyone to sleep. When the sun rose, so too did the citizens of Glothe. Under the shroud of retreating mists, they picked themselves up off the street or wherever they landed and carried on with life as though it had never been so rudely interrupted. But there were some who never woke.

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Gardens of War & Wasteland

the collector’s lost things: chapter one

– 1 –

‘There was another one last night.’

Rei-Hai Shaw stirred extra honey into his lumpy porridge as Lylen and Elles leant in to hear the morning’s gossip. Norvar set down his breakfast tray and slipped into a chair before continuing his story.

‘Thirty-seventh floor,’ the dark Qhoraakese man continued, cracking open his bread roll. ‘Right into a snow drift. Heard they had to dig him out of a fifteen foot hole.’

‘Third jumper this month,’ Elles mused. She tucked her straw-yellow hair behind her ears before poking at her breakfast with a spoon. ‘Must have got a weak batch.’

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Short Stories

the forest at the edge of the world

She’d been walking for hours. The ground was a soft, fine powder of crushed crystal. Before her rose a dark stretch of unexplored forest; behind, the high walls of the Colony shrank in the distance.

Kassa pushed up her goggles and crouched in the sand, looking for tracks. Nothing. The sand was rippled and ridged by the wind but otherwise undisturbed. She wasn’t quite sure what she was supposed to do and so did what she thought she should: Kassa removed one of her gloves, collected a pinch of sand between her thumb and forefinger and rubbed the grains together. Then, she stuck out her tongue.

It tasted salty, bitter, acrid—a defective meal pod with a maladjusted palate profile. Kassa spat the sand out in a wad of saliva. She gave a cautionary glance over her shoulder—no alarms had been raised—and scooted closer to the edge of the forest.

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Short Stories

at the stroke of midnight

It smelt like every other library, though it was certainly different after dark. The perfume from the books was stronger at night, sweeter and more pungent, made all the more noticeable by the lingering whiff of coffee.

Mila stumbled behind the others, torch in hand. Andrik led their little group through the shelves, all the while whispering in Tao’s ear. Tao let out a muffled laugh and Mila scoffed; her brother wasn’t that funny.

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Short Stories

the investigator

The smell of death surprised him every time—sweet and pungent in its foulness. Rence stood over the body of Lord Harrison, regarding the pattern of his splattered blood across the slate tiles of the monastery. Beside the body was a pistol—a relatively new model by the looks of it. Pinched between his gloved thumb and forefinger, Rence lifted it from the pooled blood, the barrel cold and greasy. It was a decorative thing: a three barrelled flintlock with brass mechanism and an ornately carved ivory grip. A curious smile crept across his lips.

This was a rich man’s weapon.         

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2021, Gardens of War & Wasteland

what you need to know about gardens of war & wasteland: the ruptured sky

So I’ve finished my novel. Now what?

While I sit and wait for feedback from my beta readers, I’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the world of Whyt’hallen and everything you need to know about the upcoming Gardens of War & Wasteland Book I: The Ruptured Sky.

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Short Stories

the dreambound tree

Memories define our sense of place.  Friends and family do too.
And sometimes, perhaps, a bit of magic

.

By the time I was thirteen, I knew I was too old to be sleeping in Mum’s bed. But that didn’t stop me crawling in beside her on that two-inch thick fold-out mattress every second night when I woke slick with sweat from a nightmare.

‘Try to go back to sleep, Maddie,’ Mum’d coo and kiss my hair even though we both knew we’d lie there awake until the alarm chimed at three-thirty and it was time for her to get up for work.

 I never lived in a normal house. Well, I did—once. But I hadn’t since I was seven and we didn’t talk about it or actively remember anything of the life before we left. Since then it’s been caravans or share houses; granny flats in someone’s backyard; or a refurbished old shearer’s shed like the place where we lived now. Mum always told me to be grateful because it was the kindness of strangers and her hard work that kept me clothed and sheltered.

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Short Stories

the carpet cleaner

Robert liked his job. Well, most of the time. He didn’t like going to uni student share houses to leech booze and dried vomit off every plush surface the day before a rental inspection; and he didn’t like going to Ms McTavish’s place because she had ten cats and let them pee on the carpet until it was sodden and the house smelt like piss long after he’d shampooed and shampooed it again. He also didn’t like nursing homes, because it was too hard seeing people not that much older than he with defeated expressions on their sunken faces, confined to beds, stuck full of tubes and left to stare at the empty visitors’ chairs in their room all day. No, he didn’t like that at all. As with anything, there were good clients and bad, and the one client Robert loved, more than anything, was Mrs Lavingston. 

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