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Tom Harris

Writer of edgy Middle Grade & Young Adult Fiction

#RISE: Ep 4: APOSTLE DAY

The dead have been with us for almost a year now.

Crowley says there are big plans to celebrate the anniversary.

The rebirth of New Britain.

But I won’t be celebrating. I will be fighting. And I’m not alone.

There are others like me.

We post this stuff on what’s left of the internet. Just in case someone’s listening.

There are twelve of us. We call ourselves The Apostles, but none of us are religious.

How could we be after what has happened.

Most have given up. But we haven’t.

The fate of the world is in the hands of a bunch of kids – lol!

Even Syd next door has stopped saying hello.

Like the adults, she’s glazed over; become a ceramic version of herself.

I like that line and the image of it, even though I heard it from Crowley on TV, maybe he’s slowly infecting me…

Syd was fine until she turned 14, but now she too is infected with death.

Thirteen seems to be the lucky number for us all. But we won’t be thirteen forever.

13

I don’t have long.

I’ll be fourteen on All Hallow’s Eve – the 31st day of October.

The anniversary of the return of the dead.

Today is October the 30th. In the future we hope it will be known as Apostles Day.

The day when the twelve first met.

We have twenty four hours before the next rising.

Things are bad now, but when they come again…the dead will inherit the earth.

The dead are taking over the world. They are infecting the living.

I live in a world where the living are lifeless.

My name is Anderson. I am one of the twelve apostles of the living and I’m calling on you all now.

Anyone who’s left. Who’s out there, watching and waiting…

It’s up to us to stop Crowley.

It is time to take back our lives.

It is time for the living to rise.

END TRANSMISSION…

#RISE

#MARIGOLDS

#RISE EP3: The Disease of the Dead

The skies have been black all summer. Only the rain is the same.

Since the dead have been back, I’ve been feeling tired.

I do less than before although Dad says it’s difficult to do less than nothing.

It’s like the dead have bought back a disease. And it’s catching.

I’m sure I have the disease of the dead.

That is why I write. Why I must spread what I know as far and wide as I am able.

That is why I never stop.

If I did, my brain would stop working. I know it would. I would just sit around like the others. No telly. No books. No games.

Dad. He just sits there and grumbles and then he’ll get hungry or thirsty.

Only then does he get up and go out.

He comes back with tins from the corner shop most of the time.

But one day the shop will close. A lot of them already have.

shop

Children run the big supermarket round the block and the local chippy.

They even run the local newspaper and the radio station…

Adults have…stopped…working.

Shops, offices, doctors, dentists, restaurants, pubs, all deserted.

I should be at school, but all the schools are closed.

Dad leaves the door wide open now. Everyone does. No-one locks anything.

He also wanders into things…He’s just fallen over a chair in the dining room.

His face is scratched and cut and Mum is sniffing around him because the wound is fresh.

It gives me the creeps when she does that.

It’s why I carry my knife.

green-zombie-woman

Ever vigilant in this new world among the dead.

It’s how we all must be.

It’s why I must go.

But…it’s also why I must return, to share what I know, to find a way through…

It’s not too late for us…we can rise.

We can defeat The Party of the Dead together.

END TRANSMISSION…

#RISE

#MARIGOLDS

 

Brain Feeding: Stranger Things

There’s conspiracy theories, monsters and magic, geeks galore, teenage angst and Winona Ryder acting like her life depended on it! Genius Casting!

Tom Harris, November 2016

Netflix – I’ve heard strange things about it; some bad, mostly good – and so when someone told me that there was this epic new series called ‘Stranger Things’ excusive to the online giant, I of course budgeted £7 a month by cancelling all my charity donation direct debits [Sometimes it’s good to be selfish] and I’ve been rewarded with this superb piece of nostalgic, creative genius from the Duffer Brothers.

Is it A: The Goonies meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind? Is it B: ET meets Dark Angel? Or is it C: The Wonder Years meets Alien…? The answer is D: All of the above.

abcd

What it definitely is though is utterly brilliant! It has a great soundtrack, especially in the earlier episodes, featuring The Clash, Peter Gabriel’s atmospheric cover of ‘Heroes’ &  The Bangles’ hugely underrated version of ‘Hazy Shade of Winter,’ that plays out Episode 2 in a moment of exhilarating genius that makes you yearn for Episode 3.

bangles-lyrics

There’s conspiracy theories, monsters and magic, jump-scares (see end of episode 7, still recovering) geeks galore, teenage angst and Winona Ryder acting like her life depended on it! Genius Casting!

Ryder is incredible as the hapless and hopeless, Joyce Byers, whose son, Will, disappears into thin air. When Will’s friends, Mike, Dustin & Lucas, find a mysterious girl, Eleven – the brilliant Millie Bobby Brown – in the woods on their search for their missing buddy, things begin to get…stranger…

This series transported me right back to zooming along the mean streets of Birmingham on my Budgie, that’s the bike not a caged bird by the way.

Check it out for nostalgic, sci-fi conspiracy, monster fantasy. You will not regret it!

Season 1: Episodes 1-8 are available exclusively on Netflix

 

 

 

#RISE Ep 2: The Necromancer

My name. I didn’t tell you my name.

It’s Anderson. You don’t need anymore than that. Just Anderson.

After the Marigolds and the vote. The election results were announced.

Big Ben chimed and Mum returned as promised.

I never really knew Mum. Too young. Adults always say it, but I get it now. I mean, I still don’t know her, but at least she is here, back with us.

She walks past my door, but she doesn’t say hello. She grunts a lot and smells funny, but she is still my Mum.

We don’t seem to exist to her though or any of them. So we don’t talk to the dead…but the necromancer does.

It’s what necromancers do.

When he speaks they appear alive. It is because of this that we need Crowley.

Dad says if we ever vote against the Party of the Dead then things will change. The dead will turn on us. We could all get eaten!

The necromancer keeps us invisible. The necromancer keeps us alive.

So life is strange.

Everyone got what they wished for. They were not careful.

Everyone got their dead back. But not as they thought.

Sure, they walk around and moan, but not like before…nothing like before.

Crowley is on the telly…right now!

He says there are more dead coming.

The Prime Minister looks tired.

The Necromancer looms above her, arms raised, taking the acclaim of the public. Their banners of support are bland, none witty or worth sharing. Their messages devoid of emotion, in fact, the banners are there upon Crowley’s orders…

So are The Hackers.

They’re running another trace.

I’m compromised…but I will return.

When it’s safe.

When we can speak again…

END TRANSMISSION…

#RISE

#MARIGOLDS

30.10.16 – Day of the Dead IV – SHHHH!

Once every year around Halloween, a group of unruly reprobates gather at The Square Tower in Old Portsmouth to frighten, taunt and petrify an audience of unsuspecting Pomepy punters. This year is no different, so if you want to step out of your skin, bring along your bones and tap into your dark side, we’ll do our utmost to entertain the hell out of you!

This year, I’ll be introducing a new character of mine and reading a short story from the tales of – ‘Black’ MacTavish – Supernatural Crime Scene Cleaner.

See Press for details…or look at the poster above, the choice is yours…but make it whilst you still have time…before YOU DIE! Too much? Yeah, thought so…pop along if you fancy it…that’s a bit better isn’t it..

*This year Day of the Dead is part of Darkfest and with lots of tricks and treats crammed into a packed programme have yourself a quick peek and see which event tickles your bones…

darkfest16

 

Brain Feeding: Batman VOL 7: Endgame

Roll up, roll up, shake loose that frown, read this epic showdown ‘tween bat & clown

Tom Harris, October 2016

batmanendgame

BATMAN VOLUME 7: ENDGAME

As pulsating a graphic novel as I have encountered, as Synder and Capullo’s New52 series from the world of DC, reaches a brave, new tipping point in their brilliant evolutionary take on the darkest of all knights.

Like the promise of a darker dawn in Gotham, Endgame delivers, and leaves you feeling like you’ve just been hit by a batarang right between the eyes…and as you turn that final page and it feels like you’re somehow part of one big joke, well all I can say to that is – Ha!

If you want to follow this modern masterpiece from its nocturnal beginnings, then Batman Volume 1: The Court of Owls is where this epic journey takes flight.

*Batman Volume 7: Endgame -(collecting issues 35-40) is available to buy from Amazon

#RISE: Ep 1: The Marigold Proclamation

#RISE

EPISODE 1: THE MARIGOLD PROCLAMATION

marigolds-a

Friday on the 14th day of October in the year 2016…

I don’t have long. Don’t have time to tell it all now.

You see, they’re watching. Always watching.

It started with Marigolds in the window.

It started a year ago when #Marigolds went viral.

‘The flowers will connect you with the dead.’

Those were the first words of the government necromancer, Crowley.

Unlike other political parties, The Party of the Dead did not knock on doors.

Can we count on your vote? was simply a question they did not need to ask.

‘Put Marigold’s in your window.’

That was it.

It was new. It was a gimmick and it worked. It was a landslide.

I suppose it’s our fault…Well, not mine exactly.

I’m too young to vote, but the adults got it wrong – again!

They thought it was fun. Like voting for Jedi’s.

But they didn’t think everyone else would do it.

The Marigold Proclamation changed everything.

The promise of being reunited with loved ones that had passed on beyond the veil of life.

Crowley showed us: Live on the BBC.

Celebrities in the graveyard looked on as their dead returned from the earth.

Some fainted. Some cried. Some got a new TV series out of it…but everyone was watching.

I was watching. Dad was watching.

We looked at each other and then at the empty armchair between us.

We both said it. At the same time. ‘Mum!’

We wanted her back.

The Marigold’s went in the window. The vote cast…

Stop.

Need to stop now.

No time.

They are watching. Always watching.

But I have more to tell.

More to say.

But not now…not now.

Though I will tell you this much, my friend…

The dead are coming.

END TRANSMISSION…

 

#RISE  

#MARIGOLDS

Brain Feeding: True Detective

I must be as mad as Reggie Ledoux for not watching this again sooner…

Tom Harris – October 2016

true-detective

TRUE DETECTIVE SEASON ONE:

Insanely brilliant writing by Nic Pizzolatto, with the two leads McConaughey & Harrelson acting their proverbial socks off against the eerie, scene-stealing Bayou backdrop.

With a setting as dark and brooding as its writing and cast, this crime anthology series spans 17 years as ‘True Detectives’ Hart & Cohle wade through the murk and the filth of their own lives and others to track down an elusive predator known only in intermittent whispers as ‘The Yellow King.’

From the moment the titles roll, and the gloriously atmospheric ‘Far From Any Road’ by The Handsome Family plays you in, you will be as hooked as a Mississippi Rusty Crayfish.

I must be as mad as Reggie Ledoux for not watching this again sooner…

When the last light warms the rocks

And the rattlesnakes unfold

Mountain cats will come to drag away your bones

 The Handsome Family – ‘Far From Any Road’ from the album – ‘Singing Bones’

You can catch HBO’s remarkable True Detective Season One on SkyGo or head over to Amazon Prime.

 

#RISE – My new Blog Series

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW SERIES:

A couple of years ago I wrote a short piece for a Day of the Dead event which I performed at The Square Tower as part of the Portsmouth Bookfest programme. It was a fantasy-horror piece about a government necromancer and a band of teenage apostles who must save humanity from extinction. It was called #RISE.

It went down okay and I’ve always thought there was potential with the concept but it never really found a home or fitted in anywhere. A bit like a three-legged puppy doing twister, it was something that I knew wasn’t going anywhere fast, but I couldn’t stop going back to it, to check if it was alright.

Then, this happened…

I was out walking the streets late at night in Old Portsmouth, when I came across a mysterious woman wearing a cloak. She followed me for some time down dark alleys and through derelict building sites, her breathing ragged and heavy at my back.

alleyway-old-pompey

Finally, heart pounding and mouth drier than a shop bought Victoria sponge, I turned to face her. The old crone coughed and reached out to me. ‘You dropped this on the bus,’ she cackled. When she opened her hand I was surprised to see my dentures sitting in her palm. ‘Dank do,’ I replied, gummily and she went about her business.

Anyway, it was when I got back later that night that I decided to try out #Rise, as a Blog Series. Was the strange meeting with the old crone the reason behind this decision to blog again or was it just guilt, boredom or being constantly nagged by friends that if I don’t blog then literary agents and publishers will think I’m a lazy tosser?

I guess we’ll never really know…

#RISE – Coming Soon

October 2016

Who will you vote for?

#Rise #Marigolds

   

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