Archives for posts with tag: writing

It never got any easier. He only got better at dealing with it afterwards. Sonny took a deep breath in and put the point of his knife to the stranger’s cheek. Perhaps the man would wake up; some did, others didn’t. It ultimately made no difference. The message was clear either way. As plain as the nose on their faces. They would never bother him again.

None ever retaliated or reported him to the authorities, just like his brother had told him all those years past. The best defence is offence. Sometimes Sonny’d cross paths with one of them by the markets. They were always men. And their gaze would immediately fall to their feet. Sonny would pretend not to see them, ashamed of his still-visible handiwork. And they would go about their days without bothering the other.

Sonny penetrated the skin and pulled down the face in a slow wide arc, his other hand pushing the stranger’s face down and away from him. The man twitched underneath him and moved. He didn’t wake. Sonny adjusted his position to accommodate the movements, riding the chest and shoulder with his knees.

He twisted the knife and arced back to make a giant S, that bled into the man’s eye. S for Sonny.

Their eyelashes always fluttered before they opened their eyes. Sonny waited uneasily, patiently. He felt most nervous at this point. What if he’d flubbed the dosage and they just bench-pressed him clean off? The man took a long moment to register his situation: gagged and immobilized, with a blade to the face.


He made throaty sounds with his voice and his nostrils flared frantically. Sonny swapped his hands over, keeping the man’s jaw firmly faced away from himself. He lined the knife with the stranger’s eyeline.

‘You settle down and behave if you want to see to morning.’

He could feel the man’s heart beating away under his right knee. His hard breathing blew gloopy strands of red blood across the floor. But the man didn’t resist.

‘You, sir, have only yourself to blame for this predicament. You prey on the feeble and weak. Do I look weak?’ Sonny turned the man’s face to him with the flat of the knife. ‘Look at me.’

The man shook his head and tears welled in the congealing pooling of blood about his right eye.

‘I swore to my brother that I’d never be prey again. That I would choose to never be a victim ever again. And that means sending a message to predators. Would-be predators.’ Sonny slowly undid the gag on the man’s mouth.

‘I ought to take an ear or nose right now.’ Sonny stood up and pulled the man up with him. ‘There will not be a next time.’ The man was clearly in shock, dusting his patterned shirt off even as fresh blood dripped down his face. ‘Say it.’

‘There will not be a next time.’

‘Good. Now fuck off.’

Sonny waited until the stranger fucked off before tucking away his blade. He got as far as a lamp-post before he had to throw up on a tree.

It never got any easier.

Screenshot of Netflix's Punisher season 1 finale, subtitled: "When you looked at your ugly, mangled face, you're gonna remember what you did."
on that note, Punisher season 2, let’s go

The trouble with ideas are they’re a dime a dozen whilst their execution is a slow arduous process. You can come up with a grand thought in seconds and then spend years before it ever reaches fruition. And that’s if it ever get there. There’s no guarantee that it does. The real easy fun lies in the daydreaming honeymoon phase and not in making the sausage. Making the sausage is kinda fun, but you spend of a lot of time tearing your hair out too. Daydreaming is painless.

So you work, day in and day out. And all along, you keep seeing newer, tastier ideas. Shinier balls to play with. And it takes all the discipline in the world to say no, and get back to your one sausage you’ve been mucking about with for years.

But you take note, you know. “I’ll get round to you one day,” you have to say. “Until then, get in line.”

So. ‘As Worlds Bleed’ multiverse sci-fi series coming 2050

You cannot give a shit about originality. You’re not going to invent a new genre or movement any time soon. Just be authentic and enthusiastic. That is enough.

Your craft will eventually pull you through a fresh take on an old thing. You can’t replicate someone else’s shit if you tried, but why would you want to? Be confident in the knowledge that likewise others cannot replicate you.

Do your own work without putting on airs. Put the hours in, of course. But experiment. Play. Be real weird with it.

Don’t pigeonhole yourself. Get free.

TOHIDUL enters. Music is blaring from the TV. It sounds
like the sugariest pop you've ever heard but it’s foreign. 
All the furniture has been pushed aside or onto the couch 
to clear the floor space. PINKY and SHOHID are dancing along
to a K-pop music video - SHOHID terribly so.
               (still dancing)
          How was the wedding?
          Same old. Nobody at this one. Met
          that guy from Oxford near the
TOHIDUL hangs his suit jacket on the corner of the door
and sits on the table - which is precariously placed on
top of the couch.
               (also still dancing)
          Who? MINTU?
Yeah that’s his name. Not that it matters any more.
               (undoing bowtie)
          Yeah him. How do you know his
          Because he told me it.
          You’re an arsehole sometimes,
          I’m just bad with names.


CONTINUED:                                        14.
          And faces. Details.
          If you gave a shit you’d make an
The song finishes. PINKY and SHOHID take a moment to catch
their breaths.
          Did you stay for the whole thing?
          It’s only six.
          I did actually. It was just a
          very punctual wedding. Maybe
          that’s just how Leeds do.
          Not likely, baya.
SHOHID gestures towards the TV.
The next song starts playing. The two get to dancing
          Room smells salty.
          Don’t be annoying.
          I didn’t do anything yet.
          Go away if you just wanna talk.
TOHIDUL hops off the table-on-the-couch, nearly toppling
it over. He rolls up his sleeves and stands behind his two
          Slow the video down for me then
          at least.
PINKY grabs the remote and slows the playback speed down,
making a face as she does so.
          You’re so annoying.
The trio dance to the band choreography to varying degrees
of success. TOHIDUL is the worst.

Rayne: Our countries grow weak and complacent. They sleepwalk into servitude under our alleged allies, too docile to combat the real threats that fester at the eastern border. Those creatures stand at the gate and you would welcome them in with open arms!

Sunny: Sister…

Rayne: Toxic militarism this, toxic that… these are the words of soft, small-armed men who would fight their battles against us in pencil even as we keep the howling animals at bay for them. Ingrates. Society’s new pre-occupation with gentility and civility, this so-called ‘new way’, denies too much our inherent violent nature. Man is monster. Violent. Territorial. Tribal. Animalistic. We forget or repress these truths at our own peril. Don’t you see? This is a civilisation that has grown too fat and indulgent. It is narcissistic, neurotic and BORED with itself. We teeter on the brink of collapse and beg for our enemies to conquer us.

Sunny: And you propose a war to put everything back in perspective?

Runny: If that’s what it takes.

Sunny: Sister, you would tear down everything we’ve built? All the progress-

Rayne: Progress? You call this progress? Look around you. These sickening ‘new ways’… this is a regression into depravity. Fleeting distractions at best before somebody comes to set the table anew. If someone has to pick up the gun, I won’t let it be them. Not ever again.

Sunny: … What happened to Mam and Da… it wasn’t your fault.

Rayne: Sunny…

Sunny: You’re nothing but another warlord hiding behind her white face. No different to those you would butcher in cold blood.

Rayne: You dare compare me to those animals?! Why must you always be so obstinate? You refuse to see the truth simply because it comes from my mouth.

Sunny: That was true once, perhaps. A long time ago. But here and now, sister, you have become the greatest threat to all our nations. You cannot abide living without a war to fight. You march us into mutually assured annihilation at the altar of might for its own end, calling it self-preservation. You would kill us to the last man to prove there was no other choice.

Rayne: Why can’t you just stand by my side for once? That’s all I ever wanted from you.

Sunny: And all I ever wanted was to be you.

Rayne: How disappointing we both are then.

Rayne: No matter how much you bathe, the smell of my blood will never wash from your bones. You who murder your own kin. You are the true monstrosity.

Sunny: Oh sweet sister, you should die proud then. You raised this monster after all.

Rayne: …Sunny I’m scared.

Sunny: I’m here.

Rayne: Tell me the button story.

Sunny: You really don’t remember? It was one of those nights that Da stayed out late so we both went to go sleep with Mam. It must have been during that last summer because when the three of us cuddled together it would get so unbearably hot. Do you remember those nights?

Rayne: I do.

Sunny: And we would kick the covers this way and that because we were so uncomfortable but Mam would somehow sleep through it with a smile.

Rayne: She would sleep through a storm.

Sunny: One morning we both must have woke up early because of the heat. But neither of us wanted to get up and leave yet. I was making out shapes on the ceiling and you were playing with a loose button on your dress.

Rayne: I thought you were asleep.

Sunny: I was pretending to be. So you put the button up your nose. I thought it was the funniest thing. It took everything for me to stay still and keep pretending. I just wanted to laugh so hard. You were squirming so hard.

Rayne: I couldn’t pull it out and it just kept burrowing deeper inside.

Sunny: I thought so. You stopped fidgeting after a while. I opened my eyes and you were asleep with tears dried on your face.

Rayne: I thought I was dying. I didn’t want to disturb you or Mam.

Sunny: It must’ve fell out when you relaxed.

[Sunny hands Rayne a button from her pocket. The same one we’ve seen throughout the story]

Sunny: Whenever I think back to home, that’s what I always remember. You and Mam sleeping together.



Young Rayne (to Young Sunny): There is no shame in competition. Life is a competition and you shouldn’t fear winning.

Young Rayne (to Young Sunny): Don’t kid yourself, Sunny. The world is a nasty place full of all kinds of monsters. But you are a monster too.

Lt. Sunny Stratum: Do you remember that summer we found those ruins near Delfina? When Mam and Da were still around?

V. Admiral Rayne Stratum: And you jumped from that sunken tower!

Sunny: You all did it first! Besides it didn’t look that high from the top. All I could see down below was the grass.

Rayne: The way you crumpled… I thought you were dead.

Sunny: My mouth hurt.

Rayne: Mam beat the tar out of us both when she saw your face.

Sunny: And Da wouldn’t stop kissing and hugging us for months on end. ‘My silly girls’, he’d say. ‘My stupid brave little girls.’


Sunny: Do you remember the button?

Rayne: …what?

Sunny: I always thought I was of an age with you and all the boys in town. I had to do everything you all did. I had to, or you’d all call me a baby and run away. But after what happened, you became so serious and I realised how small I really was.

Rayne: I had to be Mam to you. It was the only way I could do it.

Sunny: And when you left, I tried my best to copy you. I did everything you did, perfectly. And I couldn’t wait to show you how good a job I was doing in your stead. I felt like I’d caught up to you again finally. Do you remember your first visit back home?

Rayne: Not a thing out of place. Mam would’ve been proud.

Sunny: You were in your new uniform when you stepped off the carriage. I’d wanted to impress you so badly but I got shy the moment I saw you. You looked like a different person.

Rayne: I felt like a different person. The town looked so small.

Sunny: Oh you’d become a grown woman, to be sure. And the way you carried yourself was new. But it was your eyes that had changed most. I looked at them and I thought ‘I’ll never catch up to her’.