Invasion – Part Six – Short Story

Over the next few days there were fewer and fewer messages from Melony until they stopped completely, even though he could see that she was online. After two days of no replies to his messages, Lukas decided it was time to go to Melony’s house and make sure she was okay. The day dragged on slowly towards the end. Gloopy moved around Lukas’s feet as he worked, rolling over them, time and time again.

As soon as the workday came to a close Lukas picked up his friend and put him in his bag and headed for the door. His mind had been distracted all day, and he was sure that he was going to get another invite to the office to discuss productivity, but that didn’t really matter to him. He opened the door to the hallway and found Tony leaning against the far wall, pale and spaced out. He was almost on the floor, his face covered in sweat.

“Dude, are you okay?”

“Fine. Just resting.”

“Do you want some help, getting to bed?” Lukas asked, hoping that Tony would decline the offer so he wouldn’t need to get close to him.

“No, no. I’m going to the toilet. I’ll be alright. You go now. Don’t want you to get ill as well.”

Lukas hesitated, but made his way down the corridor before turning around to see that Tony had started walking again. Each step was heavy and clumsy. His back was arched over as he stepped forward. Lukas wasn’t even sure if Tony was aware he was in the hallway with him. There was an absentness in Tony’s eyes as he took each step.

“I’ll get you some more medicine,” Lukas said. “I’ll be back home in an hour or so. Make sure you get some rest.”

Tony didn’t react to his words at all. After waiting for Tony to make it to the bathroom, Lukas left the house. He only needed to see that Melony was okay, and then he could come back to Tony and make sure that he didn’t hurt himself by accident. With every step Lukas could feel Gloopy moving around in the bag, almost excitedly. Up to that point he was sure that it couldn’t even remember Gwendoline or Melony. Not once had it shown any sign of missing them or missing going outside while they were bundled up in his bedroom, but in that bag it was moving around more than Lukas had ever known it to before.

They reached Melony’s house, and Lukas felt reassured that everything looked in place from the outside. Her car was still in the driveway, the street looked calm, and nothing was out of place. His heart was racing as he walked up towards Melony’s front door. He pressed the doorbell and held his breath as he waited to hear something from inside the house.

It took a few moments for Lukas to hear sound coming from within the house and through the blurry window he could see a figure coming towards him. He took a step back as Melony opened the door and looked at him. Her face was completely neutral.

“Hi Melony, how are you feeling?”

“Hi. I’m fine. Thank you.”

“What’s been going on?”


“What do you mean nothing?”

“Everything is as expected.”

“What?” Where’s Gwendoline?”

“Gwendoline has disappeared.”

“Really? I’m so sorry. When did you last see her? I can help you look for her again.”

“I do not wish to look for her. I am sorry. I have work to catch up on. Goodbye.”

Melony closed the door, leaving Lukas standing in the cold. In his bag he could feel that Gloopy had all but stopped moving. He wondered if his friend was disappointed.

None of it made any sense to him, as he walked back home through the cold streets. She acted so strangely, but what could he do? Something was definitely wrong. Lukas spent the walk home worrying about Melony. He’d completely forgotten about Tony, but as soon as he turned his key to open the front door, he remembered how fragile his friend had looked.

Lukas found Tony on the sofa; half slumped to the floor. His skin a pale grey colour, and his mouth open. His skin was thin and crinkled, attached to his skeleton like shrink-wrap. His lips cracked. Eyes empty and lifeless. Lukas had never seen a dead body before then. He moved closer to his friend, not noticing how his footsteps echoed around the room. Tony’s arms were spread out, hanging loosely. They looked incredibly thin and fragile, like they could be snapped by the slightest movement. Lukas got closer and started to shake, tears forming in his eyes. He sat next to Tony and placed his hand on his friend’s arm. It was cold.

“This isn’t right,” he said and stood back up.

None of it made no sense. He’d been gone for thirty minutes, tops, and there was no way that this could have happened in that time. Tony looked ill earlier, but this couldn’t have been natural. He pulled out his phone.

“Hello, yes. I need an ambulance at fifteen Parkland Close, please. I don’t know what’s happened. I think he’s dead, but it was all so quick. Just please get someone here. No, I can’t see that he’s breathing. No, I don’t think he’s been hurt. There’s no blood. I am staying calm. Please just send someone. He’s dead alright. He’s not breathing and not moving. He was ill and now he’s dead. Just send someone. Okay, thank you. Sorry I don’t mean to shout. No, I don’t need you to stay on the phone with me. I’m not in any danger. I’m not hurt. He was ill. It’s just a shock. Thank you.”

Lukas was glad to be off the phone, even though it had been brief. He was sure the voice on the other end wouldn’t understand what was happening, especially since Lukas didn’t understand it himself.

He moved closer to Tony again, struggling to believe that his friend was gone. Lukas felt the world spinning under his feet, the walls bending and moving around him. Each second stretched out into infinity and passed at rapid speed at the same time. He could see something on Tony’s arm, just under his jumper sleeve. It looked like a mark of some kind. Lukas got closer and lifted up the sleeve and found a mark, like a bruise. Bright purple, and very alive. He turned around, tears flowing down his face. In the doorway was Tony, looking normal and healthy.

“Hello, Lukas,” it said.   

To be continued…

Part Seven will be available soon!

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March 2023 Update

Hello everyone,

From today onwards my shifts have changed at work so I’ll be working in the evenings/night. They’re calling it overnights, but I finish by 2am, so I wouldn’t class it as that. It does mean that I get more time in the day, more consistent shift patterns (as there’s only 2 set weeks and not a 3 week rotation of almost random shifts), as well as less weekends. All in all, I think it’s going to be better for me like this.

I’m still going to be posting on here every day (today’s post will be 653 days in a row), and am hoping to get further ahead with posts so they’re written a bit more in advance. I’m going to be taking it a little easy over the next couple of days while I get used to the change, as I was working a 9-5 yesterday and start at 4pm today, so it’s a bit of a change.

I’m hoping to finish writing Invasion this week, which I wanted to finish in February but it ended up being a lot longer than I thought it would be. Originally, in my mind the story was around 2000 words long and only featured Lukas as a character, along with Gloopy. As I was writing, it started to take a shape of its own and it got bigger and bigger and now the story is probably going to be around 8000 words long. It’s weird how that happens with writing. Sometimes the characters take a life of their own.

So that should be finished later this week and then published in the next week or so on here. I’m also going to be writing a new short story, hopefully all in one go, to publish on the 31st March. I have a very faint idea of what it will be, and will be fleshing that out over the next couple of weeks.

So far in March I’ve read a grand total of 18 pages. I’m feeling completely better, as I was recently feeling a little ill that stopped me from reading, but I’ve been absorbed into Like a Dragon: Ishin too much. I’m very close to finishing that now. Only 1 side-quest left, and then it’s just finishing off the other stuff and that one will be completely done, so I can stop getting distracted every time I have a free moment. Once I’m finished with the game, I’m going to go overboard reading and try to catch up and not start another game for a few weeks.

That’s pretty much everything new with me recently.

Thanks for reading,


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Pearl – Film Review

Director: Ti West

Writers: Ti West and Mia Goth

Starring: Mia Goth, David Corenswet, Tandi Wright, Matthew Sunerland, Emma Jenkins-Purro, Alistair Sewell.

Rating: ★★★★★

Pearl, the prequel to X, is finally getting released in the UK on Friday, only six months after its release in America. Set in 1918 against the backdrop of the influenza pandemic and the last days of the First World War, Mia Goth (who also co-wrote the script with director Ti West) reprises her role as Pearl, who wants to leave her farm life to become a star and dance around the world. It’s a film that pays homage to the Golden Age of Hollywood, similar to a lot of films released recently, while also being a twisted horror film.   

The film opens with Pearl dancing around her bedroom, imagining that she’s a star, before her mother comes into the room and ruins her daydreams. She then carries out her daily chores around the farm, whistling yearning for something more in life. Dancing in the barn, as the animals are her greatest audience. Then, just in case you were worried that this was turning into a period drama, a goose wanders in and Pearl kills it with a pitchfork and feeds it to an alligator. From that point onwards you’re waiting for Pearl to snap again.

There is an overwhelming sense of dread that builds throughout the first half of the film and once it reaches its peak then it doesn’t let up for the remainder of the runtime. It’s not an all-out gorefest, although there are some very bloody and gory moments, but it has an incredibly chilling atmosphere that had my heart racing for so much of the runtime. It doesn’t rely on jump-scares or cheap thrills, instead it’s all about building terror and once it has you, then it never lets up.

Mia Goth is beyond phenomenal in the title role. She gives a breathtakingly intense performance that’s absolutely spellbinding. Pearl is a very messed up and twisted character, and Goth not only makes her believable, but also makes her sympathetic. She’s childlike at points and quickly turns into someone incredibly sinister. Her performance is definitely going to go down as one of the most iconic performances in horror. There’s a long monologue towards the end of the film that’s just incredible.

The relationship between Pearl and her mother, Ruth (Tandi Wright), is one of the best bits of the film. It comes across like Ruth genuinely hates her daughter and wants to stop her from achieving anything. Their dynamic is really interesting, and there’s a big-blowout argument where everything comes out and it’s an absolute highlight of the film. Wright is brilliant, with that scene being one of the best parts of the film.

Pearl is the dark version of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, except that she never wants to go back home. It’s all incredibly stylised, that matches the time the film is set in. The opening credits, and closing credits, mimic films from the golden age of Hollywood. It’s beautiful to look at. On top of that it has a brilliant score, from Tyler Baters and Tim Williams, that feels reminiscent of the era and punctuates every scene.

X was fantastic and somehow Pearl is even better. Hopefully the upcoming Maxxxine will be make this the perfect horror trilogy.

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Invasion – Part Five – Short Story

Over the next few weeks Lukas and Melony would meet up after work, almost daily. They would go to the park or back to Melony’s house, as she didn’t live with anyone, and let Gloopy and Gwendoline play with each other. They would explore the world around them, racing each other, climbing over each other to get to higher surfaces. There was always a look of innocent wonder on their faces as they found new things to investigate.

Lukas and Melony would watch them as they played something akin to hide and seek on her bookshelves, sliding and cramming themselves into the smallest possible gaps and jumping out as the other one slid past. Whenever it came to the time to say goodbye, Lukas always thought he could see sadness in Gloopy’s eyes. They didn’t shine quite as brightly.

“I think they’re sad to see each other go,” Lukas said one day while they were watching them go down the slide at the park.

They only ever visited the park when they were sure it was empty. It was a little one in the middle of a housing estate, and they’d only ever seen people there a couple of times. Mostly they would be free to sit on the bench and watch them play. Gloopy and Gwendoline would move up the steps to the slide, climbing on top of each other as they did, almost merging into one ball of mess, and then they would take it in turns to slide down. Each time their eyes would be glowing.

“What do you mean?” Melony asked.

“I think I can see that Gloopy is sad when I take it home.”

“I don’t like that Lukas. I don’t like to think that they have complex emotions like that. I like to think that Gwendy is happy all the time and doesn’t really have much room for anything else.”

“Isn’t that how we would like everything and everyone to live?”

“Sure, but I mean until I met you I never saw any sadness in Gwendy’s eyes, but I see it in them now, same as you, whenever you have to go home. It’s as clear as day. Pure sadness. It hurts every time, but within a few minutes that emotion is gone and Gwendy is back to normal.”

“It’s the same with Gloopy. It always seems to be back to normal by the time I get home.”

“When you wake up, do you ever find Gloopy near you?”

“What? I mean I made Gloopy a little bed on my desk and sometimes I find it sleeping on my pillow instead.”

“I mean, Gwendy has been sleeping on my arm a lot recently. Look at this.”

She pulled up her arm and rolled up her sleeve to her elbow, revealing a large nasty purple mark. It almost looked like a bruise, but there was a glow to it.

“What’s that?”

“That’s where Gwendy sleeps most nights. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s worrying. She only started doing it after we met you two. I think she’s lonely. Does Gloop not do that?”

“No, it doesn’t. Not at all. That’s really weird. Maybe you should go to a doctor about it?”

“I don’t know what I would say if I did. They would probably think I’m crazy.”

Melony covered her arm back up and held it against her chest. She didn’t speak of it again and Lukas quickly changed the subject to try and make the air a bit more comfortable. That night as they said goodbye, he thought that Melony sounded and looked very tired.

It wasn’t a surprise the next day when he received a message on his laptop that she wasn’t feeling great and didn’t want to meet up that evening. There were still a few messages swapped between them throughout the day, but once five o’clock rolled around she hadn’t changed her mind, and he logged out with nothing to do for the first time in a few weeks. He looked around at Gloopy, who was rolling about on a little train track that Lukas had found in the attic. It was made out of wood and made a small loop with a hill at one point. The wooden train stayed at the station most of the time, but every so often Gloopy would push it from behind until it got to the hill where it would get harder and then drop back down, rolling over Gloopy and derailing onto the floor.

Lukas sat and as he watched his little friend play around, he wondered if Gloopy would know that it wouldn’t be seeing Gwendoline later that day. Did it care or was it not even a passing thought. A knock at his bedroom door brought Lukas out of his trance.

“Hey, you not heading out tonight?” Tony asked.

“No, not tonight.”

“Ah okay. I was wondering, do you have any flu medicine left from when you were ill? I think I’ve caught it.”

“I’ll have a quick look, I’m sure I do. You alright?”

“Yeah, yeah. Just not feeling the greatest and want to try and kick this as soon as possible. Can’t afford time off work.”

Lukas got off his chair and moved to his bedside table, where he was sure there was a packet of tablets sitting in the top draw. He found them and passed them through the door to Tony.

“Don’t open it too far, you don’t want to catch it again. Thanks, though.”

“Hope you feel better soon. Let me know if you need anything. I’ll probably be going out tomorrow after work if you want something picking up.”


The next day Lukas turned on his laptop and found another message from Melony saying she wasn’t feeling very well. She thought she’d caught a cold again and decided it was best to stay at home for the next few days. Lukas agreed, gave her his best wishes, and tried not to worry too much.  

To be continued…

Part Six will be available soon!

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Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves – Film Review

Directors: Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley

Writers: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, and Michael Gilio

Starring: Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, and Hugh Grant

Rating: ★★★★½

Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves is directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, and co-written by them and Michael Gilio. It follows a band of adventures, lead by Edgin Darvis (Chris Pine) as the try to rescue Edgin’s daughter, Kira (Chloe Coleman) from one of the groups former members, Forge Fitzailliam (Hugh Grant). As you’d expect, along the way they have to explore dungeons and also fight dragons.  

Honour Among Thieves is a very funny adventure from start to finish. It’s a brilliant world, with endless possibilities and so much fun to be had. It does a great job at introducing you to the world of Dungeons and Dragons, even if you have no prior knowledge about it, and making it really easy to understand. There’s a lot of weird and bizarre ideas being thrown at you, and you’re never left behind or feeling lost. The exposition flows really well into the story, so it also never feels like the action is being paused just to give you an explanation about how something works. It’s often mixed in with a few jokes as well.

Each character is great as well, and everyone will have their own favourite by the time the film ends. Chris Pine is effortlessly likeable and funny, as you’d expect, and Michelle Rodriguez as Holga Kilgore is brilliant as well. The characters are like a family and they have great chemistry together. All the way through there’s a real fun tone to everything. There are tons of laugh out loud moments and a few good running jokes. Some of the jokes you see coming, but they still get a laugh. On top of that the action is really good as well. The fights are spectacular, with great choreography and imaginative powers being used.

Honour Among Thieves is everything you could possibly want from a Dungeons & Dragons film. It’s an imaginative adventure and one of the best fantasy worlds to be shown on screen. There’s a TV series on the way, and hopefully the magic can continue.

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