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Tom Harris

Writer of edgy Middle Grade & Young Adult Fiction

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#RISE

#RISE EP6: ‘J’

24 hours is all I have. Happy Birthday, Anderson.

Not heard from the others for a few hours now.

No contact. It’s like Crowley and his hackers have stopped the feed.

Broken our connection.

Whilst I can still get word out, I will. Thought I’d get a message back before now, but sad to say I was wrong.

I’ve bolted my door with ten locks. Dad got them off the shed door after Mum attacked him. She’s already started to gnaw at her own chains, but it’s doing nothing but break her teeth.

Yeah, it’s come to that. Dad has her chained up now, but I’m not naïve enough to know he had no choice.

I know she’s gone. She never really came back. That was just politics. To get our vote.

I’m locked in my room. Dad is in his, with just an adjoining door between us…and Mum, well Mum is chained up in front of the telly, like she’d want to be. Dad still puts the soaps on for her…Some family, huh?

Crowley would be proud of us. He’s still everywhere. On the news. On every channel at least once a day. No-one sees the PM now. Crowley speaks on her behalf. We won’t see her again, that’s certain.

There’s a flicker on my screen. Incoming. A sign of life…but I’m distracted by the bumps and thumps at my window.

Syd from next door. Her face plastered against the glass. Her smile says come out and play. Her eyes say I want to eat you! I get up and draw the curtain. She’s not herself.

When I return to the screen, there’s a message. Life.

Hello. I’m J.

The cursor flashes slowly at me, with fingers hovering over the keys I type…

Hello.

Who is this? 

Anderson.

You’re a disciple.

It’s not a question

The others. Crowley has them.

I pause. Can’t move. I knew it would come to this, but not without a final showdown. The disciples v’s Crowley, that was how it would end, but now…They are gone and I am alone. I know there’s Dad, but he’s not as alive as he used to be…

The cursor flashes. A new message…

Did you hear me, Anderson?

What do I say? Thanks for the update…?

As my fingers rest upon the keys, choice is taken from me…

They’re here. Got to go. J.

The screen goes blank. I rush my fingers over the keys and break the connection.

Still going. Still fighting…and that’s when I hear three taps on my window.

I get up. Know I shouldn’t. I hover at the curtains. Draw them back.

Syd and Mum. Mum unchained.

She’s gnawed through her own arm to get out, but it’s much worse than that…there’s a third person with them.

‘Dad?’ I whimper, and his cheeks stain with tears to see me, as our eyes meet for the last time…

 

#RISE

#MARIGOLDS

#RISE EP5: “Get the Chains”

The signal is breaking. Links unsecured. We have to meet.

My message is simple. It has taken little thought.

It is a consequence of where we are at. Nothing left for us to do.

I wait. The replies come soon enough.

Thomas. Michaela and Petra send emoji’s of agreement.

smiley-thumbs-up-emoji

Thumbs sticking up, nodding dog heads, pair of hands clapping, that sort of thing.

I wait for more. They come in bursts. James. Simone. Phillipa. Bart.

Then Matty, Johnny, Judy and Thaddia. We’re all in agreement. The time has come. It’s not safe. Crowley’s damned hackers are closing in…

Thomas comes back with

Where?

Judy says

The Field. 4.

I know. We all know what that means.

In 4 hours we meet at the Field.

The field of Marigolds. It’s been on TV every day. The location a secret to many…but we know how to find it.

So this is it. It’s time to meet those I’ve never met.

A rush of dread and expectation flies through me. For a selfish moment I wonder what Judy looks like. I always like what she has to say…

It’s Bart…

They are here…

His message sends shock waves through my body.

Then for ages there’s nothing.

I scramble to log off. Alone again.

A scream from outside. From next door maybe. I push back off my chair. I sit panting in the corner of my room. Then there’s another. Only this one is inside the house.

Courage finds me. I flee to the door, swing it open.

“Dad!” One of them’s attacking him!

I reach for my cricket bat. I race into the room and with all my might I swing hard.

Mum’s head turns sideways. Her neck cracks. Would have broken if she wasn’t already dead.

Dad lies there panting, looking up at me. His eyes are thankful, if not a little shocked, his face splattered with his wife’s blood.

“Get the chains, son,” he says, as Mum lies twitching on the carpet…

 

#RISE

#MARIGOLDS

 

#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

 

#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

#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

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