Friday 27 December 2013

#FridayFlash - Stage Fright

A hand shoves the small of my back and I stumble forwards. The boards feel rough beneath my bare feet. I look down at the stage lights. Flames once blazed in those fittings; now it's just energy-efficient bulbs. A single spotlight snaps on, drowning out their weak glow. I shield my eyes against the glare, unable to forget what waits in the darkness beyond the stage.

I stand in the spotlight, legs shaking with fear. I know what they want, I know what they came for, and yet I am paralysed.

A low groan erupts from the audience. It starts a ripple of moaning that rolls around the darkened auditorium. Beneath the moans I hear snarls, and between them both I sense the hunger. The anticipation. Someone hisses something at me from stage left; I cannot make out the words but I get the gist. I am to dance.

Creaky calliope music blares into life from the shadows at stage left. The undulating melody sounds eerie as it echoes around the cavernous theatre, and it takes me a moment to find the rhythm. I start slowly, aware that my movements are jerky and awkward. I never used to be. The snarls die down, overtaken by groans. They like what they see. A fleeting spark of satisfaction flicks through my mind, until I realise that it is ultimately for nothing.

I speed up in time with the music. The knot of fear curled in my stomach relaxes with the certain knowledge that this will all soon be over. I close my eyes as I fall to the floor with the end of the song. I hear scrabbling from the stalls, rotting nails clawing at the wood as they clamber onto the stage. The groans become snarls, and I imagine I hear applause as they fall upon me.

This story was published by Twisted Dreams magazine back in June 2011! Image by Weatherbox, edits by me.

Wednesday 25 December 2013

#Craftblogclub Secret Santa

Earlier this year, I took part in two challenges as part of the #craftblogclub community on Twitter. In September I knitted a notebook cover, and in October I made a Halloween lantern. For Christmas we had a Secret Santa challenge, and we were tasked to craft something for a named recipient!

I chose to hand knit a cowl, or scarflette depending on your chosen terminology. Using two strands of DK yarn (King Cole Merino Blend DK and Sirdar Softspun DK) and 6mm needles, I created this little wonder using rice stitch.

The pattern itself is pretty easy. Holding the two strands, simply cast on 53 stitches.

On row 1, P1, *K1 tbl, p1; rep from * to end .

On row 2, knit all stitches, and repeat these two rows until the work is long enough to wrap around your neck!

Near the end, I created buttonholes by casting off two stitches in three evenly-spaced places on a right side row, and then casting on two stitches in the corresponding places on the wrong side.

Knit six more rows of rice stitch and bind off. Choose three buttons to fit the holes and sew into place!

I really enjoyed making it and I know from Twitter that Denise received it safe and sound, so I wish her all the best with her cosy new cowl! Scarflettes like these are really cool because they don't get in the way like full-length scarves can, and they keep your neck nice and warm. They're also a quick knit!

We were also supposed to post pictures of what we'd received, and this is what I got on Monday! It's a truly beautiful gift and is now happily hanging on my tree with my metallic stars and Venetian masks. The colour scheme matches my usual palette perfectly, and I love the fact that it is personalised! My secret Santa has been very secret indeed so if you made this beautiful item, let me know so I can thank you properly!