Ghost Writing

Wow, it’s been almost a month since we unlocked the doors of Ravens Retreat *gets tangled in cobwebs* We’ve been trying to think of something to blog about for a fortnight, but we had nothing to say, so rather than ramble on, we kept quiet. We’re of the opinion, if you have nothing to say, don’t say anything. Boring everyone for the sake of banishing silence is a bad thing. The reason for the silence is the damn ghost stories.  We’d hoped to release the collection, Deadly Reflections this month. We started the bloody thing in March and 8 of the 13 were already written. We even printed out the stories double spaced for their final error check. We were so close to the end, we could smell the freshly bound book. Then we hit a snag:

The stories weren’t good enough.

And we were sick of reading them. There are a couple of stories in there that were written years ago. One is from 2008 and it’s even been published. But we weren’t happy with the ending, so we rewrote it. Some of the stories we were fairly happy with, but the others were really stressing us out. The darkshines were encroaching and we were this close to throwing the whole collection into the nearest fiery lake.

So in order to save what little remains of our sanities, we’ve decided not to release the collection this month. In fact, it’s not going to be released until October. We’d originally planned October for Scott the Zombie’s release, but that novel needs major reconstructive surgery to get it even halfway decent. October will be a nice tie-in with Halloween – perfect for ghost stories. So we took a two week break and wrote a new story then redrafted two of our favourite stories, which are yet to be published. And during that break, the darkshines descended with horrific force, leaving us in a state of unbearable depression for 7 days that was so bad even the endorphins from exercise couldn’t help us, and hiding in our imaginary worlds couldn’t shake off our demons.

Then yesterday, Cat had a third operation on her knee. Luckily it was only a debridement, where they removed dead tissue, but it means she’ll be on crutches for a few weeks before beginning yet another recovery period. She was more upset at having to give up zumba and squash, but at least we’ll have more time to work on the collection. Half the stories have been redrafted again and we think they’re ready. It’s just the second half that’s causing us problems. Nothing we do to them seems to work. We will never be happy with them, they’re just not good enough. We can’t face writing several new ones, we’ve run out of ideas for ghost stories. Even after a 2 week break, the thought of editing those ones is putting us off working. It’s felt like running on a treadmill – you’re doing all the hard work and getting nowhere but the timer’s counting down and you can’t get off.

It’s the creative person’s worst enemies – doubt and fear. Creative people are always critical of themselves, their work, it doesn’t matter how many times people tell them it’s good, they only remember it when it was bad. Then there’s the fear it will never be good, that what you release will never be as good as your previous work, even though you secretly believed your previous work was also crap. We never read our work once it’s been published, mostly because we can’t bear to, in case it’s as bad as we remember it being during the redrafting stages. Or in case we spot mistakes.

We haven’t set a date in October yet, but it will definitely be that month. If it isn’t, you’ll know the collection is sinking into a fiery lake somewhere.

2.8 Hours Later

2.8 Hours Later Asylum

Zoe, Neen & Lynx ready to do battle

Last night the Zombie Apocalypse hit Cardiff. A group of survivors gathered in the NCP car park on Dumfries Place and out of these survivors, a crack team was formed – horror writers C L Raven, Tiger Bay Brawlers Neen and Zoe Wilder, Gimpic medallist Hannah Hunter, Superman’s alter-ego, Rich Bundy, zombie enthusiast Mike Morton and zombie bait, Ryan Ashcroft. Little did the boys know, they were purely there to be sacrificed. Especially after Ryan realised he had left his bag of supplies in the car. And they thought we’d invited them along for the company.

The city was the second safest in the UK. Survival rates in Newport were only 2 %, but nobody goes to Newport anyway. We were sanitised, given maps and told to head to the Welfare Office by St. Andrews Church. Our nerves were strung tighter than guitar strings, our senses on high alert as we slipped out of the car park and headed for St. Andrews. Every car, wall or bin was a potential zombie hiding place. We gave paranoia a bad name. We hadn’t even left our first road when Rich was hobbled by a stone in his shoe. We had our first dilemma – wait and protect him or leave him for the zombies. The group went ahead. We stayed back, Lynx filming, Cat wielding her crutch like a club. We all survived. We reached the Welfare Office didn’t encounter a single zombie, but we hit a snag. We didn’t have the required documents to enter the city.

2.8 Hours Later Asylum

our map

We were now illegals.

2.8 Hours Later Asylum

Cardiff Castle

And we had to make it to the castle. This fell in with our plan, as we’ve always said that when the ZomPoc hits, we will take over Cardiff Castle. This was our chance. We were a bit suspicious when we queued with other survivors on the bridge. This was starting to feel like an ambush, that they were using our queuing mentality against us. After a while, we were at the front of the slaughter queue. We hurried up the stairs to the long passage. Having been here on Halloween events, we knew there were alcoves, where hungry zombies could hide. We crept along the passage, seeking the zombies. We met a doctor outside the air raid tunnels, who told us we had to find Major Ray to get our documents. As we passed her, the patients on the beds groaned. We fled.

2.8 Hours Later Asylum

the air raid tunnels

Major Ray was apparently holed up in Knox Road car park by the jail. We headed down Queen Street. Mike ran on ahead, not to scout for zombies, but to visit Burger King. He soon returned with dreadful news – the zombies were outside Burger King. And Queen Street was full of shoppers. We spied the first zombie on the left and darted right – towards another zombie. The team separated as we all tried avoiding the zombies and shoppers. We might all have been friends but as soon as the threat of zombies hit, it was every person for themselves. Think we all surprised ourselves with how willing we were to let each other be mauled. Lynx was able to use shoppers as cover and we all made it through unscathed. The shoppers stopped and stared as zombies lurched towards us and we ran through town’s busiest shopping street yelling “zombies!” Not once did we create mass panic.

We made it to Knox car park where Cat had her crutches confiscated. They must have taken one look at her crazed zombie-killing eyes and decided that leaving her with potential weapons was not a safe thing to do. Cat pointed to her strapped up knee and Lynx explained about her operation but health and safety intervened. Her only hope was adrenaline would mask the pain. In the car park, three zombies shuffled around, guarding supplies and the task was to grab the supplies. We sent the boys in. Being so tall, they were much quicker than the short arsed females in the team and we did say we would sacrifice them. They did us proud, grabbed the supplies and avoided getting bitten. Our strategy was working.

We headed off, passing a hotel which had a lot of pillars outside. Cat and Zoe headed right, discussing the possibility of zombies hiding amongst the pillars. Then Zoe leapt out, snarling. Ryan screamed and back peddalled, nearly trampling Lynx. Then it was on to John Street, where Major Ray was being detained by police officers and anyone caught associating with him would be quarantined. But we were illegals and obeying the police was not on our agenda. Major Ray escaped and gave us the co-ordinates to a van that would ferry us away. We got to the van to find the driver lying beside it with his guts spilling out. We told him he was on his own, but he had the co-ordinates to the next location. We had to help him. He needed his pills, which were in the back of the van. Guarded by zombies. But his guts were hanging out. He was beyond the help of Ibuprofen.

2.8 Hours Later Asylum

the van driver

None of the pills were in reaching distance of us short armed lot so again the boys were sent to fulfil the task, which they did. With the van out of action we had to make it to the asylum on foot, and found ourselves in a gated off area in the back streets. We had to squeeze through gates guarded by zombies then collect supplies whilst being chased by much quicker zombies.

Then we reached the Kill Zone.

Some people ran left, behind a wall. Rich, Ryan and Zoe ran right, behind parked cars. We realised this too late and ran straight down the middle of the road. Into a horde of zombies. Cat tried dodging an exceptionally fast male zombie but he cornered her by a van and marked her. Lynx saw her being grabbed and ran to save her, realising her mistake too late. He marked her too. Neen was marked by a female zombie and Hannah was cornered by 3 of them and mauled. We dodged the others and reached the asylum, to be told we needed to fetch medical supplies. Another group sent their infected back out. We sent the survivors out. Lynx went along to film and walked right through the zombies. Mike was marked during the hunt for medical supplies. They found the supplies and returned.

2.8 Hours Later Asylum


Then it on to the contamination tents. The survivors were herded into a fenced off area and those who’d been marked were scanned for infection. Mike was clean so joined the survivors. Us, Neen and Hannah were stamped as INFECTED. We were then taken into another tent and made into zombies. We had one request – “Lots of blood please.”

We moved into a warehouse for the zombie disco and got to pose for a photo. Us zombified ones stood behind our survivors, pretending to maul them. Zoe’s screaming, Mike is in Rich’s arms, and Ryan didn’t realise what was happening so is sitting front centre, beaming and showing off his SURVIVOR stamp. We still can’t believe he survived. 😀

We asked one of the workers for Cat’s crutches as she was now paying the price for running. The guy phoned someone and said they’d arrive in half an hour then he said to Cat “Apparently you have some really cool dinosaur stickers.” Cat “Yes I have.” 🙂 She’d decorated her crutches with Halloween and dinosaur stickers. The crutches eventually arrived about 11:30 so we all left. We must’ve looked a right sight – a zombie with a video camera, another zombie on crutches. But we made it home without anyone else getting bitten.

One word of advice – if the zombie apocalypse hits Cardiff for real, do not form allegiance with our group. We will sacrifice you to save ourselves. This trial run has shown us how ruthless we all are. We may all be lovely, fun people, but we are also programmed to survive, and if that means tossing you into a zombie’s path, last night proved we will do it. But the effects of being zombies seems to have worn off.

Except we now have a sudden urge to chase down screaming pedestrians…

2.8 Hours Later Asylum

Zombie apocalypse