Tag Archives: fantasy


It started in darkness!

In the darkness of the study, the silence was broken by the ‘kapoof’ of the monitor turning on. Its soft, fluorescent blue light eerily lit the desk and surrounding area. There followed a soft ‘buzz/scatch’, then a fanfare of music as the hard-drive sprung into action, its small green light flashing as the system booted up. On the screen, a logo lit up for a second, then the desktop appeared, and started to load the shortcut icons, and the system tray. The mouse moved silently over a blue ‘Save the Whales’ mouse pad. On the screen, the pointer moved quickly, with obvious purpose, to the ‘START” menu, and clicked. The menu opened, displaying the program names, and highlighted the ‘INVID’ video program. The program booted, to show a cyber-punk-skinned media player. The pointer moved to the ‘PLAY’ button on the player, and in the darkness, a man’s smiling, handsome face appeared. One click on the maximise button, and the face filled the screen. The smile broadened!

Out in the hallway, an over-active six-year-old played on the landing with an Action Man figure, placing a huge studded plastic ball-on-a-chain into the figures right hand, and stretching it back over its shoulder. When he let the arm go, the ball sprung over the Action Man’s shoulder, and shot off down the hall, ricocheting off the study door. The ball made a loud THUD as it hit the door, then fell to the floor and rolled back about one foot. Young Christopher cheered. ‘I’ve killed you, Spiderman!’ he yelled at the top of his voice, crawling forward to collect the ball for a second onslaught.

Down below the stairway, in a small alcove, Karen Peters was about to make a phone call. She smiled as she looked up the stairs at her son. It was good to hear him yell. He was getting over his father’s death at last. And not before time, either! It had been nearly twelve months since he had died, and though she didn’t really miss her husband – it had never been a love match, let’s face it – Christopher did, and she thought, not for the first time since the accident, that he was never going to stabilise. If she had known how long things were going to take to return to normal, she would never have involved herself in Paul’s plan to get rid of Andrew. Divorce would have been easier, but Andrew would fight to the very end. His family, running a long established marketing company, had amassed millions over the generations, and Andrew had access to it so she faced losing Christopher in a custody battle. Especially if details of her infidelity happened to come to light! That was a risk she wasn’t willing to take! She loved her son, and knew that Andrew did as well. He would deny her a divorce just to give Christopher a fully parented growing-up.
She had met Paul during a major opening at her gallery, just after Christopher’s birth. They had been having the affair almost from that point. She was sure Andrew knew, as there was certainly no fucking in the marital bed these days. If he did know, he wasn’t saying anything. She didn’t know if he was fucking anyone or not – though she did suspect one of her closest friends – and she really didn’t care. Let’s be realistic, she thought to herself. If he was screwing someone else, he was leaving her alone.
It didn’t take much convincing on Paul’s part to talk her into putting a slow leak into one of the car tyres. It was winter, and the roads were icy, so accidents did happen. Andrew did have a reputation for not looking after anything mechanical he owned. A few crocodile tears when the police showed up at the door; some kind words and a comforting hug to her mother and father-in-law; regular trips to the cemetery. She was pretty sure nobody suspected anything.

The coroner had judged it a misadventure, and that, frankly, had been that! Though Paul was keen to move in, she felt that would be a bad move. She had told him to hold off for a year, until a ‘normal’ amount of time – as deemed reasonable by their parent’s and friends – had passed, and people would be expecting her to be getting her life back on track.

Christopher’s perchance for fantasy toys however, she hadn’t counted on.

Upstairs in the hallway, Action Man was about to launch his second assault. He had bought in reinforcements in the guise of rocket-roller-blades Action Man, clutching a long, hard-plastic lance, which he was rolling down the hallway towards Spidermen. Muscles bulging, his lance poised in front of him like a knight of old, Christopher pushed the lance-bearing figure a bit harder than he intended.The figure shot straight past Spiderman, and through the banister rungs at the edges of the landing. Christopher cheered at his accuracy. As he moved towards the edge of the stairs to climb down and collect the errant figure, the study door creaked open. In the darkness beyond the door, he saw a soft blue glow. He was momentarily distracted by a scream f issuing up from the lower floor, but curiosity got the better of him, and he headed towards the partially open study door. Pushing it open, he broke into a beaming smile.
‘Daddy!’ he yelled, as he entered the room.

Karen had just lifted the phone to her ear. She looked up just in time to see the Action Man figure hurtling toward her through space. If she had time to comprehend what was happening, she would have laughed at the incongruous sight of the figure taking flight, but it was time that was denied her. It hit her full in the face, it’s spear entering her left eye, and piercing right through to her brain. She didn’t even have time to hear Christopher cry “Daddy”, as if she would have believed what he cried out anyway.

In the study, two figures embraced on the screen of the monitor. They both peered out, as the pointer moved to the ‘SHUT DOWN’ command.

It ended in darkness!

Tim Alderman
Copyright 2002©.


The Troll Affair

This was a comic story I started when writing at UTS. It is an ongoing story and obviously not finished.

‘Bloody trolls!’ Cadfel muttered, slamming the front door behind him and entering the small dining room.
‘What are they up to now?’ Fingel asked, putting the morning edition of ‘Gnome News’ on the table, glancing at Cadfel as he plonked himself into a chair opposite.
‘They’s got the bleedin’ Fairies up in arms, they has,’ he said, thumping the table, making the teapot, cups and saucers jump several inches. ‘Tryin’ to take over the garden fountain, filthy creatures that they is!’ he yelled, thumping the table again. The teapot moved precariously towards the edge of the table. ‘Fairies ain’t happy at all. You know how they feel about the fountain, especially after all the wand tapping and sprite spells they’ve used to get it right.’ He folded his hands on the table and peered at Fingel over the top of his glasses. ‘They’s talking about a strike! They want the trolls out, and I can’t says I blame them. Where goin’ to have to talk this out with them.’ He tapped his fingers on the table, suddenly giving it another thump. This was too much for the teapot. It teetered for a second, then crashed to the floor. Steam emanated from its remains, tea leaves splattering the table legs, and the shoes of the gnomes seated at the table.
Fingel jumped, a look of exasperation crossing his wrinkled face. ‘Please Cadfel, not another meeting. You know trolls and fairies can’t be in the same room together. Shit, can’t we find some other way to negotiate? Bloody trolls will stink the place out! They only want the fountain out of spite. You know that!’
‘Yeah, I knows,’ Cadfel answered, bending down and starting to collect the pieces of broken china scattered over the floor. ‘Bloody rotters never wash, so I don’t know what they ’s wantin’ with the bleedin’ fountain. Probably just want to muck it up, just to give them fairies the shites.’
‘Reckon you’re right’ Fingel replied. ‘Best we go and see the fairies and try to sort this out right now. I don’t want a meeting if I can help it. Bloody fairies flitting all around the room, tapping their bloody wands on everything, and making out they’re so bloody high and mighty.’ He rolled his eyes. ‘Then the trolls humping and grumping everywhere, shaking their fleas over the fairies just to give them the shits, scratching and moulting everywhere. Hell, Cadfel, we have to sort this out without a meeting.’ He headed towards the door.
‘Come on, let’s go and see if we can calm Pookie and her lot down a bit!’
Cadfel dropped the pieces of the broken pot in the garbage tin, and followed Fingel out, slamming the door behind him.
The cup and saucer crashed to the floor.

Leaving the gum tree, they waddled down the path towards the dell. Elves, now resident in the plots of Kangaroo Paw that had been planted in groupings down the path edge, peered out at them as they passed, tittering to each other in elf-talk. Pretending that nobody could see them was one of their favourite games, though Cadfel occasionally ventured the opinion that is was pretty stupid pretending no one could see you when they were looking straight at you. Still, that was elves, and like everything else they did, none of it made sense.
Continuing down the path, a group of six fairies floated toward them – you could tell they were fairies from the gossamer wings on their backs – bearing placards with ‘GIVE US BACK OUR FOUNTAIN’, ‘DOWN WITH TROLLS’ and ‘FAIRY POWER’, rounding a bend that led around to the wishing well. Pookie, the lead fairy, was in a tizz, buzzing backward and forward through the group, yelling rousing chants and trying hard to get the group agitated. They halted when Cadfel and Fingel approached, grouping tighter together to form a barrier across the pathway.
‘Okay Pooks! What’s going on?’ Fingel asked, ducking his head to avoid a shower of fairy dust aimed straight at him. ‘Can we try to keep this civilised. We don’t want any trouble from you lot.’
‘Don’t talk to us about trouble,’ Pookie warbled, swooping over his head, swishing her wand and sending out another shower of dust. ‘It’s those awful trolls. It’s not enough that they go around stinking up the garden. They’re now leaving tide marks in the fountain, splashing around in it like they owned it. The waters polluted, Fingel! Polluted, I tell you!’ she grabbed a ‘TROLLS LEAVE TIDE LINES’ placard off the fairy closest to her, and shook it in their faces. ‘No more favours from the fairies, boys! We’re on strike! No pleasant dreams, no magic mushroom rings, and no fairy bread, fairy floss or fairy cakes until we get our fountain back!’ She thrust the placard back at the fairy she had grabbed it from, and with a heave-ho of her tiny hand, ushered the hovering, glittery group straight through the middle of the two gnomes.
‘Shite!’ said Cadfel, watching them as they vanished up the path, thrusting the placards at the elves as they passed by, as if the elves would care! Too bloody busy pretending nobody could see them, as usual. ‘What we gunna do now, Fingel?’ Cadfel asked, turning back to his friend.
‘Guess we’d better go and see what the trolls are up to,’ Fingel replied. ‘Let’s go and see what damage they’ve done, and try to negotiate a peace.’ He started to work his way down the path, ‘Shit Cadfel, they threatened no fairy bread. We can’t have this! We can’t go without fairy bread!’
Cadfel sighed, following him towards the wishing well.

They continued on down the path, kicking up fairy dust litter as they went. Turning a bend just past a bed of Aster daisies, the tiny-pitched roof of a wishing well came into view. A light plume of steam rose from behind the well, then suddenly a small dragon appeared, nipping at their heels and singeing their shoelaces with tiny licks of fire emitting from its mouth.
‘Calm down, Scales,’ A tiny water sprite appeared from the bucket suspended over the opening to the well. ‘It’s only the gnomes! Don’t carry on so. I’m sorry guys,’ the tiny figure replied, climbing out of the bucket and standing on the edge of the well. ‘Scales is still a baby, and a bit on the naughty side. You know what these Australasian dragons are like. They either say bugger-all, or you can’t shut them up!’
‘What’s ya doin’ in the well?’ Cadfel inquired, peeking over the edge.
‘Hiding from the bleeding fairies. Cor, ain’t they on the warpath,’ the sprite replied, grabbing the dragons lead, and attempting to bring it to heel, without much luck. A small shrub near the edge of the path went up in flames, causing Fingal to jump.
‘Well, trolls will be trolls,’ Fingal said, blowing on the small fire in an attempt to put it out. He gave up, turning back to the sprite, who was walking back from the well with a pail of water in his tiny hand. He threw it over the flames.
‘Bad boy!’ he shouted at the dragon, shaking a finger. The dragon ignored him, singeing a patch of grass as he snuffled around.
‘The fairies are a bit upset, losing their fountain and all. We’re on our way to negotiate with the trolls. We’ll try to broker some sort of agreement. Want to join us, Gaddy?’
‘Naw, don’t think so, Fingal. Got my hands full with Scales at the moment. Anyway, never have liked that Pookie. A bit high and mighty for my liking,’ he replied, finding himself being dragged back towards the well by Scales. ‘Good luck, all the same. It’s time those trolls were put in their place. Always causing trouble.’
The dragon was on its back, and Gaddy was rubbing its belly. Steam puffed out the dragon’s mouth as it rolled around, obviously enjoying the attention.
‘Yeah, we understand. Cute dragon!’ Fingal said, starting to move back down the path. A sudden whoosh caused them to look back. Gaddy was stamping his feet, a puff of smoke rising up from his shoes.
‘Can we gets a dragon?’ Cadfel asked. ‘They sure looks like fun!’

The sound of splashing water and raucous laughter reached them before the fountain even came into view. As the gnomes came out from behind a poinsettia tree, a stream of water hit them, knocking them to the ground. They stood, wiping water from their faces. A grizzled figure stood a short distance from them, watching the shenanigans going on in the fountain. Five trolls jumped and splashed about in the murky water.
‘Your boys enjoying themselves, Wiggat?’ Fingel asked. The troll towered over him.
‘And what can we do for you nosey gnomes,’ Wiggat replied, guffawing as one of the swimmers did a double somersault, knocking a concrete frog off the edge of the fountain. The frog smashed, green concrete spraying in all directions.
‘This is Pooky’s territory,’ Fingel said, bending down and picking up some shards of concrete that had skittered as far as his feet. ‘She’s not happy about you boys dirtying up her fountain, and I can’t say that I blame her. Just look at it! It’s a right disgrace.’
The usually blue fountain water was dark grey, a scum mark noticeable where the water had retreated to, as the trolls frolicked about.

To be continued…


The Disappearance

I originally wrote a set of five fantasy stories as my final assessment assignment at UTS in 2003. This was one of the stories. The tutor liked it, but felt it needed more detail and backstory regarding who “they” were. I didn’t agree then, and I still don’t. It is an open-ended story, in a similar style to Stephen King. The reader can let the story rest there, or create their own story on the mystery of the disappearance. In fact, if the mood took me – or takes me, for that matter – I could write a story that goes right back to the beginning. But I don’t like to rob a reader of their own imagination, their own ability to place themselves within the story. I don’t believe a writer always has to tell the complete story!

Andrew Terence Lonegan disappeared at approximately 7.18am, on that very ordinary Saturday morning. Newspapers had been delivered – some made their destination near the front door; yet others hid in garden beds, behind trees or wherever Matt Driver threw them as he made his rounds on his bicycle. You could imagine the scowls of the supposed recipients already as they searched them out to read, over their morning coffee. The milkman had been and gone, in a clank of bottles and a plume of backfired smoke from his old delivery van. With the chill now gone from the morning air, it was indeed a very ordinary Saturday.

We can be fairly sure it was about that time because Joe Dickson, out walking his dog Jackson as usual in the morning, passed by at 7.15am, and saw Andy doing a morning stretch on the verandah of their Ivy Street home. Joe was sure it was 7.15. He had taken a look at his watch, somewhat surprised that Andy, a notorious late-riser, was out and about at such an early hour.
We know that he was still there at 7.16, when Joanna, his mother (and a habitual watcher of the digital clock in their neat, laminex dominated kitchen) had called to him from the hallway, asking if he wanted a cup of tea. He had answered in the affirmative, and she had returned to the kitchen to place the kettle on the stove. At 7.19am, Steve Dobson, a local deliveryman, had been delivering an express package to the Sheens, who lived adjacent to the Lonegans. He had written the time on his delivery docket, and glancing across the road as he came back out the gate, he was sure he would have noticed if anyone stood on the verandah. It was empty!
At 7.20am, Joanna carried a cup and saucer, with a Twinings tea bag label draped neatly onto the saucer, onto the verandah. Andy loved a morning cup of ‘Russian Caravan’. As she carefully pushed her way around the squeaky screen door, she noticed that he wasn’t there.

Nor was he about to return!

There was much conjecture around town over the next couple of days as to what everyone thought had happened to Andy – and much quiet blustering from those who said they knew! Being a small white-washed country town, everyone was an expert, and had an opinion. Over at the Post Office, Joyce Mathers claimed, in her prim behind-her-hand way, that he had fallen in love, and had eloped with a lady friend. The reason for the elopement was, according to Joyce, a bid at freedom by Andy from the clutches of the very possessive Joanna. This was also the way Joyce would have liked it to have been, having her own name prefixed by a Miss, and being well past the age when she should have retired. It was a constant rebuttal to her of her inability to find a partner in a town where primness was associated with spinster. In larger places, rumours of lesbian may also have been bandied about, but Joyce would have defended herself, saying loudly to all who would listen that her very close friendship – they were almost inseparable –with her neighbour, Tilly Mason, was just that – a close friendship. If you wanted to snicker at Joyce’s defensive tirades, make sure you were well away from the Post-Office, cause she could be a mean bitch when crossed. When asked why none of the local ladies had disappeared as well, she simply threw a mysterious smile, and shrugged her thin shoulders. Could have been a young thing passing through, she ventured, but by this time, whoever she was talking to would have collected their parcel, or stamped their mail, and probably, with their eyes turned heavenward, would have quickly exited the Post Office, leaving Joyce to her romantic fancies.

George Stokes, the local mechanic, liked the idea of a kidnapping. The fact that the Lonegans didn’t have two pennies to rub together didn’t seem to come into the equation. Nor did the fact that there was no earthly reason why anyone would want to kidnap Andy, leaving his mother in the deepest despair. Besides, surely either Joe or Steve would have noticed somebody hanging around, or a strange vehicle on the street! If there had been a struggle, and everyone agreed that Andy wouldn’t have been taken quietly, then nothing had been heard. George eventually found himself talking to thin air, as no one even bothered to consider his opinion. He continued, nonetheless, to believe in his theory.

Now Greg Barnes had a theory that everyone at least listened to. In fact, most of the towns’ people thought he was closest to the mark. It didn’t matter that he propped up the local bar from opening to closing, and had been doing so for so long now that a corner if the bar held his name. Sometimes the greatest words of wisdom came from the most unlikely people, and if ever there was an unlikely philosopher in this town, then Greg fitted the mould. He reckoned that Andy had, plain and simply, run away from home. Everyone knew Joanna clung to the boy tighter than ivy tendrils, smothered him with so much motherly love and devotion that it was a wonder he could even breathe. There was no way that Joanna would ever allow any other woman near her son, as that would have been competition, the ultimate battle for possession. That she lived for Andy no one disputed, though many felt that Andy stayed more from obligation – and the fear of what Joanna would do if he left – than affection. He was at an age where freedom and a life of his own would have been foremost in his mind, and though nobody doubted that he loved her, he wouldn’t want to be spending his life in this nowhere town. He was a smart boy, and quite a good looker – as his daddy had been – and the fact that many of the local girls had their eyes on him would not have been enough to keep him confined here. Knowing this just made Joanna even more clutchy, and her devotion had become almost an obsession.

Knowing this to be the case, 13-year-old Ben McGeogh, the neighbour to the left of the Lonegans, phoned around all his friends from school and arranged to meet them in the local park. Young Ben had a story of murder and mayhem to convey, and he wanted a captive audience for his tale. When the four youngsters – Sally Jacobson, Damien Durese, Shane Tolliver and Andy Froman – gathered on a bench under a willow tree in the park, Ben was winding up for the yarn of his life. He was privy to the most intimate details, he claimed. He knew Joanna had murdered Andy, and he was sure he had heard digging in the basement of the Lonegan house the night before the disappearance. He was sure that this was Joanna digging a hole to put the body of her poor, unfortunate son into. Ben knew that Andy had been seeing Selena Jackson, the school principals daughter, and that Joanna was not happy about that arrangement. In a fit of sheer jealousy, Joanna had hit Andy over the head that morning. Had, indeed, managed to pick a split-second interval when nobody was looking. She had dragged him down the hallway, down the stairs from the kitchen to the basement, and had buried him. She then quickly returned upstairs, got a bucket of hot, soapy water and a mop, had cleaned up the gallons of blood that had poured out of poor Andy’s smashed in head, than acted as if nothing had happened. The group of four sat under the tree, bug-eyed, transfixed by this tale of blood and gore. Ben sat back, satisfied that he had impressed them greatly with his story, with the intimate details that only he knew. His request that they wait until Joanna went out to the local store, then they would all break into the house and dig up the body, was met with horrified stares. No bloody way were they going to dig up no dead body! What if he really wasn’t dead! What if he reached up his arms from the grave and grabbed them as they went to pull him out! What if he had dug himself out of the grave and was just waiting, hiding in a dark corner, for someone to come down! What if he wanted revenge! All four of Ben’s friends faced the prospect of many sleepless nights to come, and they all went out of their way to cross over the road when approaching the Lonegan house, and went out of their way to avoid running into Joanna.

Selena Jackson was, apart from Joanna, perhaps the saddest of all the town folk, and the only one who truly missed Andy. They had been dating for 8 months now, though Andy had gone out of his way to make sure his mother never found out – or so he thought. Selena understood his reasons, though it made her doubtful of just where their relationship was going to go. Andy was a wonderful man, and Selena found him both a kind and considerate lover, and her mental equal. She knew for a fact that in a town like this, her chances of encountering that combination in anybody else was about zero. Andy had talked about getting out of the town; about going to the city and attending a university. As they lay quietly on the rumpled sheets in Selena’s bedroom, the scent of love-making still in the air, a sheen of perspiration still drying on their bodies, he planned a life far from this small town, a life of uncomplicated simplicity and peace. He wanted to be a lawyer, and though his mother knew of his ambition, she wanted him to get a job in the town, to settle down and raise a family in the area he had been raised in. Selena knew that he wanted a wider view of the world, and he had, in fact, asked her if she would go with him. Up until his disappearance, she had been seriously considering the offer. If fact, even with Andy gone, she could see the wisdom in escaping this choking place. What hope was there here for youth! She hoped Andy had just run away; had just found his mothers enveloping arms to smothering, and he had just run; run far and fast. She suspected that this was not the story. She was sure he would have at least said goodbye to her; would have spent one last night in her intimate embrace. Because he hadn’t said goodbye, Selena thought that he would probably come back, and if that was the case, she wanted to wait for him. If she had been given the gift of prophecy, she may never have made that decision.

Joanna was the only one in the town who knew what really happened. She held that truth close to her breast. It was bad enough that they had taken her husband as well, though the town scandalmongers still insisted that he had run away with that hussy who had been passing through town at the time. They had snuck in during the day, and taken her John away, the only man she had ever loved. She had been waiting for this day, just as her mother had waited, and her mother before her. It was the deal. It had been made in a time long ago, and despite crossing oceans, moving from country to country, from city to city, from town to more remote town, they always found them, always bound them back to the promise. The women were safe, but the men were doomed. A debt from ancient times was still being repaid. She didn’t know how they had got here, or even where they hid. They could be in the very garden that surrounded her home, could be in the very air she breathed. All she knew was that the debt had been paid. They would leave her alone now, as there was no longer anything left to give. She was sad that Selena would never have her son as a husband. He would have been a good husband, just as her John had been. The two of them would have had beautiful children, and then the curse would have gone on. They were an impatient lot, and this was why they had taken Andy long before his time. They were scared that he would escape, he would get away, and that they would have to continue the chase again into the future. They would not be upset that there were no men left alive to take away. They were far from their home, and had been for several generations now, and they hated it here! She didn’t know how she knew this, she just did. They hated it here, and wanted to return to their own place.

Joanna got up off the verandah chair. The cup that had held the tea on the day of Andy’s disappearance still sat here, the cold, black liquid a testament to his going. She picked up the cup, and opened the screen door. On a quick breath of wind that followed her through, she thought she heard a faint laugh, but it disappeared as quickly as it came. Perhaps it was just the spring on the door. Sighing deeply, she entered into the twilight cool of the house.

Tim Alderman
Copyright 2013