Darkly Drinking (With a Badger)

One of the best things about being a nowned author (that’s what you have to bechloe hammond, darkly dreaming before you’re renowned, right?) is that you get to play with other authors you like and admire.  As you probably already know from my review of Darkly Dreaming, I think Chloe Hammond is a brilliant writer, so I was chuffed to bits when she agreed to help out with the launch of Everything Is Better With a Cape, and even more so when she agreed we could write some live cross over fiction for the party! It was great fun, and I have tidied it up below.  With cameos from E.M. Swift-Hook and L.N. Denison, this was really good fun to write, and hopefully you’ll have fun reading it!

Our scene opens in a very traditional British pub, right on the edge of the area where the recent apocalypse trial was held. In the furthest, darkest corner are two vampires.
They don’t look like vampires though, or at least not how we have been led to believe vampires look by myth and legend. Instead, they look like oversized, very beautiful marble statues, that someone has scribbled on with magic marker. No-one pays them any attention. It’s that sort of pub. They are leaning together across their table, unsipped vodka and cokes clutched in their long taloned grip. They are whispering…

‘I still don’t see how this will work?’ Layla muttered, scanning the crowd in the pub.
‘This girl, Kerry,’ Rae sighed, tired of explaining. ‘Survived and exposed the apocalypse with her friends, we saw it in the paper. With everything in the news at the moment about nuclear weapons, artificial intelligence, and reanimating the dead, I think we can pretty safely say we are going to have an apocalypse of one description or another pretty soon. Yes?’ She leaned back, raised her drink to her lips and then placed it down again without actually drinking.
‘Well, yes,’ Layla spoke uncertainly. ‘But, why would that worry you? We don’t need a human to show us how to survive, none of these things will affect a vampire.’
‘Only their food source?’ Rae rolled her eyes.
‘We don’t eat human.’ Layla spoke firmly.
‘Not usually, no, but Georgette needs human to Heal doesn’t she? And vampires get pretty cantankerous if they get no human at all don’t they? So what do you think is going to happen to the occasional human who manages to survive the end of days?’
‘Ah, yes.’ Realisation slowly dawned on Layla.  ‘They’ll get guzzled. So what are you planning to do? Turn Kerry?’
‘That would rather defeat the object.’ Rae frowned. ‘I’m going to persuade her to help us gather up her friends, and then we’ll take them somewhere very remote and safe, with some breeding pairs of animals and we’ll all be safe for the future.’
Layla looked as aghast as a scribbled on statue can look. ‘A farm? You’re going to farm them?’
‘No!’ Rae sounded appalled at the idea, before lowering her tone. ‘Well, not as such. Now shush, they’ve just walked in. Look human.’
‘I‘ve got my disguise on haven’t I?’ Layla defensively pointed to the black felt tip round her eyes and mouth. ‘I look like a proper Goth.’ When Rae didn’t respond she added, ‘are you ignoring me?’
‘Oh for feck’s sake.’ Rae snapped. ‘I’m Compelling them. It’s difficult trying to affect only them, don’t want all the other riffraff descending on us. We want quality stock for this breeding programme.’

An attractive blonde woman walked in, flanked by a badger. A few drinkers glanced at the animal and blinked, but most just assumed it was a strange looking dog and carried on.
‘Why do we have to sit outside?’ the badger grumbled. ‘It’s cold and dark!’
‘Because,’ the woman muttered through gritted teeth. ‘They won’t let a badger in the pub.’ She looked like a poor attempt at a ventriloquist.
‘How do you know?’ the badger persisted. ‘There isn’t a sign!’
‘Because I just know, OK?’ she continued to clench her jaw as she spoke.
‘Why are you talking like that?’ the creature sniffed her leg. ‘You look ridiculous!’
‘I’d look more ridiculous talking to a badger!’ she shouted, before looking embarrassed and sitting down.
‘Hiiiiii Kerry,’ Rae gushed. ‘So lovely to meet you at last. I’ve read so much about you’
‘Lick arse,’ Layla muttered
 In a voice lower than humans can here Rae whispered, ‘do you want to eat in the future?’
 The woman was far to preoccupied with disguising her embarrassment over her outburst at the badger to notice anyone was talking to her.
‘She seems to be ignoring you,’ Layla observed drily.
 ‘I think I over did the compelling.’ Rae said defensively. ‘Go and get her a drink.’
 ‘Oh, it’s OK,’ Rae sounded relived. ‘She’s just chatting to the badger. She’s fine.’
A handsome, toned man in skinny jeans, shiny shoes and a fitted shirt walked confidently into the bar and kissed Kerry on the cheek. ‘Hey, babe.’ he greeted her. ‘What’s up?’
Gazing in distraction at the vampires Kerry managed to say, ‘Hi Tyrone.’
‘Whatcha looking at?’ he followed her gaze
‘Those women,’ she continued to stare at them.  ‘They’re… fascinating…’
‘Go and say ‘ello!’ he sounded enthusiastic. ‘They gotta be better for you than wasserface. She ain’t even turned up, AGAIN!”I can’t do that, Tyrone!’ she looked mortified.’
‘Who’s that?’ Layla demanded.
‘Oh excellent, breeding pair!’ Rae grinned.
‘We’re taking both?’ Layla sounded confused but quickly jumped on board with her friend’s plan. ‘Shall we nab them now?’
‘No, Layla,’ Rae began.
‘Me?’ a random drinker looked across at them. ‘Kidding,’ she added sheepishly when they both looked at her. ‘I know you don’t mean me.’
‘Goddammit Layla, that woman’s got the same name as you! She thinks I’m talking to her. Argh. I think the compelling might have affected her’ Rae scratched the table with her long claws.’

I don’t trust them,’ the badger said, looking up sharply. ‘They don’t smell right.’

‘Shit, that badger’ s giving me one hell of a glare!’ Layla was disconcerted.
Standing up confidently and brushing himself down Tyrone spoke. ‘Don’t worry, babe, I got this.’
‘Tyrone, don’t!’ Kerry was panic stricken.
‘Keep your pet away from them!’ the badger spoke urgently from beneath the table.
‘What am I supposed to do?’ Kerry sounded helpless.
‘Look,’ Rae snapped. ‘This isn’t going to work out long term if we can’t persuade them to join us voluntarily. Go get them a drink.’
Tyrone strutted over to the table of vampires. ‘Ladies…’ he gave a wink.
‘Ooo the stud’s coming over.’ Layla purred. ‘HELLO HANDSOME, HOW LOVELY TO MEET YOU’

David,’ Rae coughed before acknowledging the new arrival. ‘Hi Tyrone, why don’t you and you friends come and join us? Layla was just going to get drinks. What would you like?’

‘Alright, babe?’ Tyrone seemed unfazed by the fact that she knew his name. ‘What you up to?’

Licking her lips seductively, Layla simpered, ‘I’m just getting a round in, want to help me carry them back? Call your mates over. Maybe not the badger though. What’s wrong with that thing?’
Rae coughed louder. ‘DAVID!’

Tyrone turned and waved, beckoning Kerry, who looked like she was about to crawl under the table and die. ‘Come and join us, Kerry.’
‘I don’t like it,’ the badger said firmly. ‘I say we run.’
‘We can’t exactly leave him… can we?’ Kerry sounded uncertain as she awkwardly rose to her feet.
‘Why are you saying we?’ the badger grumbled. ‘I’d leave him in a heartbeat, you know that.’
‘Alright, well, I’ll make sure it’s OK, then we’ll go, alright?’ she made her way slowly towards their table.
‘He’s probably already told them that you’re desperate and single and looking to form a love coven…’ the badger observed matter-of-factly.
‘Oh god!’ Kerry’s cheeks drained of any colour. ‘Yes… that is exactly what he’s done!’ A blush began to appear as she drew nearer. ‘Erm… hi… I’d like to start by saying, please, for the love of god, ignore my friend!’

 
‘Who?’ Rae asked, looking up at her. ‘Tyrone or that badger? He’s gone to get the drinks in with Layla.’ She nodded towards the bar. ‘Why is your badger glaring over like that? I didn’t know badgers could glare.’ When Kerry blinked dumbly at her she continued. ‘Did I hear something about a love coven?’

They can hear me?’ the badger bristled. ‘This is not good, at all. I say we make a break for it.’

Kerry’s face was now beetroot. ‘Erm… no…. erm… I… Really need to be going, actually. Probably shouldn’t have come in the first place… wow… your skin is so smooth…’

‘Tell your badger,’ Rae raised an eyebrow at the creature. ‘That yes, I can hear him, and there’s no need to be so rude! And there’s no need for you to rush off either. I’d love a chat. You are the girl that survived that apocalypse thing aren’t you?’
Kerry was becoming mesmerised by Rae and slowly sat down. ‘Well, it wasn’t really an apocalypse, after all.’

‘They aren’t human!’ the badger said urgently. ‘Get up, come on, get up you useless woman!’

‘Shush, Badger,’ Kerry gazed at Rae. ‘We’re talking.’
‘That one might not have been real,’ Rae observed.  ‘But I’m sure you can see from the news there’s going to be a real one any day now. And you did so well. You were so brave.’ She batted her eyelashes seductively.

Kerry stared at the table awkwardly. ‘Oh, well, it wasn’t just me, you know…’

‘I don’t need to watch this,’ the badger snorted and wandered off. At that point a random drunk burst into a rendition of Danny boy from the corner of the bar.

‘ LAYLA!’ Rae almost shrieked. ‘Put the drunk down, you don’t know where they’ve been!’

A man walks in and heads to the bar. He is tall, with a beard and a scar down the left side of his face. His entire demeanour screams military. He perused the drinks list before ordering and leaning on the bar. Tyrone was temporarily distracted by the well muscled man and started to puff out his chest and posture.

 

lipping Layla,’ Rae said exasperatedly. ‘She’s gone and started that drunk off singing! Anyway,’ she attempted to regain control of the situation. ‘As we were just saying… Oh, yes, that apocalypse. Feels like it was just a taste of things to come. Don’t you think?’

The drunk began another rendition, louder than the first.

‘Well, it was the bloody government, wasn’t it?’ Kerry had to almost shout above the noise of the pub. ‘I mean, corrupt bastards… When’s the next election anyway? Feels like it’s been years, doesn’t it?’

Badger re-enters, followed by Sam. The approach the table.  There is a definite bulge under Sam’s jacket, which is either a gun or, well, since she’s female it’s almost certainly a gun.
‘Well,’ she raised her eyebrows at the scene before her. ‘At first I thought that little Timmy might be stuck down the well,’ she nodded toward the badger, who was sitting triumphantly at her feet. ‘But now I see you’re being seduced by a vampire, honestly, I can’t leave you alone for a minute.’

Unperturbed, Rae shouted over the drunk Layla had brought to the table, who is serenading them loudly. ‘I just think it’s all been a sign of things to come, with everything that’s been going on. I was going to suggest maybe you and your friends might like to come away with Layla and I? Find somewhere safe. We could look after you…’ She looked to Layla for support, but both she and Tyrone were far too preoccupied by the newest arrival to notice. ‘This is not going to plan,’ she muttered. ‘How come this has ended up being the party table? Who the hell is this Marcus guy? Damn Sam for turning up right now…’

‘I can look after everyone, but thanks.’ Sam placed her hand strategically on the handle of her weapon. ‘And there had better not be any deaths by blood loss in the area, I know where you’re staying.’
‘Bloody Layla,’ Rae muttered, feeling the hint of failure. ‘Got to turn everything into a party. Feck it. I tried. I’m going home before that badger bites me or Sam does something other than just flash that blade at me.’
And you can find more from Rae and Layla in Darkly Dreaming.

And more from Kerry and the Badger in I Wore Heels to the Apocalypse

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The Poo That Broke The Internet

Last week, a woman on a Tinder date in Bristol hit the headlines for an unusual reason.  She became stuck, upside-down in a bathroom window after climbing in to try and fish out a lump of poo.

The self proclaimed “Shirehampton Sh*t Slinger” had been on a date to the most romantic of retreats, Nandos, and had returned to the House on Poo Corner, as the interns have dubbed it, to finish the romantic evening with a bottle of wine and a documentary on Scientology. What could be better?  Perhaps she ordered too much side salad, perhaps there was too much caffeine in the after dinner coffee, perhaps wine just gets her that way, the truth is, we may never know the true cause of the incident, but, at some point during the evening, the woman in question had to excuse herself to the bathroom.

Under any other circumstances, the egg she laid would have impressive. We are clearly talking Guinness World Record sized turd, because try as she might, it would not flush away.  Rather than getting a bucket of water, or covering the offending article with tissue, poo panic set in, and poo panic logic dictated that the best course of action would be too fish said faeces out of the bowl, and fling it out of the window… one can only presume with the hope of blaming a passing horse…  Unfortunately, the plan went awry went the sash window turned out to have a second pane of glass behind the first, trapping the offending turd in the gap.  Not to be defeated by mere glass, our intrepid hero then climbs up and reaches in to retrieve the offending specimen, only to get stuck, see picture below…

    The fire brigade had to be called to retrieve her.  The adventure has a happy ending, however, as according to The Metro, not only are the couple going to see each other again, but the window has been fixed for free, and the money raised through crowd funding originally designated to fix the window is going to charity.

Here at Newsnibbles, we would like to add our own special thanks to the couple, for giving us something to write about, we feel we are truly back doing what we do best.

Do you have a similar story? Why not share it with us in the comments below?

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Monday Mystery Mime

It’s that time of the week again, where we challenge you to guess what Feathers and Toast is miming.  If you guess correctly you could be in with a chance of winning the mime of your choice being performed.

Last week’s mime was  an inflatable flamingo pool toy being deflated. No-one guessed it, why would they? Honestly?  Have a go at this one instead! We’ll announce the winner next week.

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7 Questions

This week’s 7 Questions are with author of the Shiva XIV series, Lyra Shanti.  As an animal lover, we felt it only appropriate to get her views on pet couture, as well as the perfect sandwich filling and her books…

1. You love theatre, have you ever considered writing for the stage?

Actually, my husband and creative partner, Timothy Casey, and I have already written for the stage. We started off with children’s musicals, and one was even produced at a local theatre, but we have since written a full-length musical and a play. The musical is called “#chat” and is about a group of music lovers who form intense online relationships at the turn of the millennium. We recorded a concept album for it where we played and sang everything ourselves. You can find a few songs from it on my website at lyrashanti.com. We plan on writing more musicals in the future as well!

2. What inspired you to write in sci fi, as opposed to any other genre?

I’m drawn to sci-fi and fantasy because I love being taken away to another realm. I don’t like reality much, I suppose.  Life should have more magic and dreams, in my opinion!

3. I saw somewhere that you include diverse characters in your writing. Do you think this is important in sci fi?

I think it’s important in EVERY genre. The world we live in is diverse! To represent it otherwise would be silly. In sci-fi worlds, there would be even more diversity, considering we’re dealing with various alien races from different planets. There should be every kind of colour, gender, sexual preference, and anything else possible!

4. If you could make a film of your new book, who would you cast and why?

Hmm… for The Dragon Warrior of Kri, I picture its main character and hero, Meddhi, as a very handsome, broad-shouldered semi-Asian looking man. Not easy to find! Maybe if Bruce Lee could be reanimated and brought back to life?

Meddhi’s best friend, Prince Atlar, should be blond, beautiful and very masculine. Maybe Brad Pitt?

Princess Pira should look like a mix of European and Indian. I can’t imagine who could play her, but she’d be extremely beautiful!

5. Have you ever considered writing in a different genre?

Yes. In fact, I’ve done so already. I have a biblical fiction called “The Rainbow Serpent.” It’s basically a loose re-imagining of The Garden of Eden, told from the snake’s point of view. It’s quite different than any version you’ve heard before.

I’m also very close to finishing a romantic drama called “The Artist.” It is the story of a multi-talented artist named Apollo who searches for the balance between artistic genius and madness, all while looking for true love. It’s a bit erotic and totally different from my previous novels. The Artist will be released in 2018.

Also, I write free form poetry and prose. You can find my poetry collection, Sediments, as well as The Rainbow Serpent on Amazon.com.

6. Describe your ideal sandwich.

That’s a tough one! I’m all about mood, so one day, it could be a chicken salad croissant. The next, it could be turkey and avocado! Love croissants… and crusty French bread! Pumpernickel rocks too.

7. Where do you stand on pet couture?

I didn’t even know what that meant! I had to Google! Um… I like giving my cats toys once in awhile… but they’re more likely to play with a stray milk carton cap than a toy I paid for, so… I don’t bother much. As for pet clothes, they’re cute and all, but I can’t help but pity the animals who have to wear them. Some little dogs get genuinely cold though, and they seem to love those little sweaters they wear. Who am I to judge?

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Monday Mystery Mime

It’s that time of the week again, where you have to guess what Feathers and Toast is miming. If you guess correctly then you could be in with a chance of winning the mime of your choice being performed. We will announce the winners with next week’s mime.

Well done to anyone who said “goldfish” for last week’s mime. If you’d said it to us then you might have won, but perhaps you’re just in it for the personal satisfaction…

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Monday Mystery Mime

Yes… it’s Wednesday. Stop being so critical all the time. It’s not like any of you ever bother entering anyway, is it?

So, every week Feathers and Toast performs a mysterious mime, and, if you guess it correctly you win the chance to have the mime of your choice performed. How exciting.

And congratulations to last week’s winners, Deva Palmier, Michele Morrison, Sarah Venus and Joe Pranaitis with eclipse. Well done to you.

Can you guess what it is this week?

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Nibblets

The Scientists Made Me Do It!

Sounds like an excuse as shoddy as ‘the dog ate my homework’, doesn’t it, but in this instance it’s absolutely true!

Researchers at University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences, have developed a “minimally invasive procedure”, which allows them to electrically stimulate the neurons in the brains of mice, and control their movements! Can you say eeek? According to BGR, the research could lead to the treatment of mood disorders, and, according to our interns it could lead to a zombie slave army. The interns have a thing about zombies.

Read more on bgr.com

Beyond the Ring

NASAs Cassini Probe has been orbiting Saturn for 20 years, sending back amazing images of the giant planet and its moons. Now it is running out of fuel, so the scientists have set it on a crash course with the surface of the planet, which means it is set to send back closer surface images than ever before.  If it reveals a golf course there is every possibility that a certain orange skinned phenomenon could be persuaded to move, it’s this kind of science that saves the world. Anyway, there’s an in depth article, along with some cool pictures and artists’ impressions on sci-techunivers.com – so maybe check them out.

Super Sonic Badger Spotted

A super sonic badger and a woman in a purple mask foiled a mugging last night.  The unidentified pair swooped in, just as a couple of theatre goers were about to lose their belongings to a gang of youths in an alley behind a restaurant….

Alright, not really, but if you quite like the idea of this story, you’ll probably like Badger’s new book!  It’s available for preorder on Kindle, and you can get in touch via Facebook to order paper. Also, come to the party, you know it’ll be more fun if you’re there, and as it’s on the internet, you don’t even need to wash!

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Monday Mystery Mime

It’s that time of the week again where you have to guess what Feathers and Toast is miming. Guess it right and you could win the mime of your choice being performed. Don’t guess at all, and you win NOTHING. We don’t even know you’re there. So go on, have a go.

Congratulations to last week’s winner, Abbey L Craig with beach ball, how she got that we’ll never know. Good luck, Nibblers!

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Superheroes with Style!

From the author of I Wore Heels to the Apocalypse comes the hilarious sequel.

What is better than a sarcastic talking badger? A sarcastic talking badger with superpowers, of course!

Having survived the apocalypse, Kerry is back to being a socially awkward web developer, but when apocalypse survivors start ending up dead, with her next on the list, events begin to spiral out of control. Follow Kerry as she deals with life and fashion challenges, whilst trying to save the world in this hilarious sequel to I Wore Heels to the Apocalypse.

Be a hero, #WearTheCape

There was a really positive reaction to Heels, over all,” said Clepitt when asked about her sequel.  “People loved the badger, which was to be expected, and they were all sad when he disappeared at the end. Of course spirit guides are only around as long as you need them, and since in this new story, Kerry’s life becomes a bit of a disaster, we see the triumphant return of the badger in all its sarcastic glory.”

I think it’s really important to write diverse characters,” she added.  “The world is not purely one type of person, despite what traditional canon would have us believe and it is essential that everyone is represented.  As authors we have a responsibility to write diverse characters where we can.  It is also important to write what we know, so it is equally essential that we help and encourage diverse authors, so that all perspectives are represented within a modern canon. I also don’t think we should have to add “warning labels” to our writing, you don’t warn readers that your books contain straight people, do you? No-one’s worried that it will somehow offend people. Bigotry is not a sensibility I think we need to consider.”

Everything is Better With a Cape is due for release September 3rd. Visit chclepitt.com for more information.

And of course, there’s a party on Facebook. Click “interested” to join the fun.

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Monday Mystery Mime

It’s that time of the week again, where you have to guess what Feathers and Toast is miming. Guess it right and you are in with a chance of winning the mime of your choice being performed, so why not have a go?

Last week’s mime was a fly buzzing against a window. Congratulations if you said that, you didn’t say it to us though, so you didn’t win. Go on, use your words, it isn’t that difficult.  Just have a look at this one and have a go, eh?  Answers in the comments.

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