Surface – An Original Novel

Book cover with name

Tuesday, September 13th 2022.

It was the day the city of Johannesburg descended into chaos.

Reports of a virus had surfaced—a virus that had apparently come from nowhere and was now spreading like wildfire through the neglected and dirt poor townships of Southern Africa. At first, these reports were nothing but banners on the evening news— lines of scrolling text barely noticeable against the garish colors of the news room or blurred lines running beneath the visage of the heavily made up lady reporter as she stared through the camera lens and read meaningless news reports.

It was not until the virus made an untimely appearance in one of the wealthier suburbs that people started to pay attention. Two young girls contracted the new sickness, putting schools into lockdown and citizens into a paranoid suspicion of anyone that so much as coughed.

A week later, the looting started. People fought each other like rabid dogs for the last few remnants of canned goods and bottled water. Riots blazed through the streets, causing smoke, death and destruction. Laws and common decency were ignored in place of every man, woman and child for themselves. Anarchy reigned. A man’s home became his fortress, and if they were unlucky, their graves.

News of the virus were eventually taken seriously by the world at large, the powers that be, and borders and shipping yards were closed. Skies were classed as no-fly zones. Around the world, curfews were enforced. Martial law became the only law. Reports of the disease spreading in Cairo, Somalia and Dubai came to light. Then it was the United Kingdom’s turn to suffer, followed by , China and South America.

The world was in chaos.

Two and a half months later the planet was a dark, lifeless place, inhabited only by those select few who were immune to the disease— and the ever- lasting cockroaches that scuttled among the dead and the barely living.

According to news reports, the virus was attributed to the operations of one organization. CURE. A large military medical facility that had risen to power in 2011. Its leaders had boasted to the world about a new vaccine being developed in the early twenty first century. simply named: Genesis. It was supposed to be a miracle cure for malaria; a vaccine deemed impossible by the scientific community.

It was not until the vaccine was first administered that the symptoms of the virus started to appear. The unfortunate recipients were suddenly struck down with violent coughing fits, vomiting, loss of sight and sudden acts of aggression. Not only did it affect them, but everyone in the vicinity. Like the Bubonic Plague, the disease ran rampant through cities and towns. No one, not even CURE’s esteemed scientists, made the connection between the new virus and the new vaccine, until it was too late. By then, half the world’s population had either died or gone completely insane.

As in every catastrophe, there are always survivors. Those lucky enough to be immune to the effects of the virus. Those lone survivors, desperate to get away from the violence and the stench of death, found their weary way into a new safe haven, a place they would be welcomed providing they met the stringent tests of being allowed entry.

This place was called Catacomb.

It was located deep within South Africa’s largest gold mine. Its tunnels stretched for miles extending through the slums of Soweto and meandered under what used to be the busy streets of Johannesburg, now nothing more than funeral pyres and habitation for rats.

Life on the surface was traded for a safer, if more controlled life underground. The world above was now dead and harsh, overrun by the stench of death and destruction.

Catacomb was now home, and, people feared, would remain so, for now, and for always.

Click here for more and tell me what you think.

The Salmon Bagel and The Dragon Lady

She stands impatiently at the end of the bar. Her pink claw like fingers tapping on the hard marble surface. I try desperately to avoid her gaze. Maybe if I don’t make eye contact…she won’t see me. I hear the bagel slowly heating in the oven, the slight hum of the machine seeming to anger the lady that stands before me, tall and thin, Her face reminiscent of an old crone from a fairy-tale…or a troll.

Finally, I finish her drink, sliding her soy, no foam latte towards her, jumping back as her skeletal fingers reach for the cup and snatch it away. Now that she sees movement, her purple powdered eyes focus on me, narrowing as her fat painted lips form a snarl; more lipstick clinging to her yellowing fangs that jut from her gums than to her actual lips. She makes a sound resembling a hiss as her bagel continues to cook. It’s been a whole thirty seconds.

“I ordered food as well!” She roars, her dull eyes narrowing as her already orange skin begins to take on a shade of red. I feel myself start to shake, fear clawing at my chest as she raises her chin, stray bits of hair falling from the tight bun atop her head. A bun so tight, it pulls the sagging skin tauter against her withered cheekbones. Reminiscent of a woman seeming to cling to a youth that was lost decades ago, a fact known to everyone but herself.

“It’s coming ma’am.” I say, her eyes narrow even more and a low grumble resonates from her chest. I believe she wants to eat me. Before she can ponce, the shrill beeping of the oven distracts her and suddenly, my saviour appears. A hero in the form of a small Porto-Rican woman. She holds out a bag containing the woman’s food and the woman snatches it away, fleeing to a corner of the room to feed.

I let the breath I didn’t know I was holding go. My heart-rate slowing down to an acceptable level.

The beast had been sated.

For now

 

The End is Nigh

Frappuccino families. They have existed since the beginning of time, much longer than my short twenty something years spent on this earth.

They skulk through the door, their mad eyes searching the room before resting on me, I sigh. Once they have your scent, that’s it. You’re fucked.

In an instant, they’re standing in front of me, their litter of younglings fixated on my every movement. I try not to make eye contact.

The adults make noises in my general direction, a series of whimpers and grunts as they point bony fingers towards the brightly coloured boards. It takes me a while to realise they are trying to communicate. I feverishly type their demands into the ancient computer in front of me, a computer that holds the last living remains of a long forgotten era. Windows XP.

If I get it wrong, there will be hell to pay.

After a while, they seem to lose interest, their eyes drawn across the bar towards my comrade. I shiver slightly as they slowly skulk towards them. I can’t help but think ‘better them than me.’

I survive another day.

Yoga Pants

“Excuse me” I hear the shrill voice call from behind me. I turn from cleaning the bar for what seems like the hundredth time that day, coming face to face with a woman with a sour expression. Her lips are fat…too fat for her leathery thin face. Her eyes are slanted in my direction as she approaches me, a half empty cup held in her hands. Her nails are long and jagged, like the painted pink nails of some long forgotten creature.

“Do you think someone could clean my table…it’s filthy.” She says, pointing to the table in the corner, I noticed the minute stains of a coffee mug. Her voice is so high it hurts my ears. I sigh as she slams the paper cup down on the bar, white droplets of milk escaping from the vessel and onto the surface I had just cleaned. I feel myself die a little more inside. “And this coffee is cold.” She continues. “I want another.”

I remember her from the morning rush, I would remember the bright pink yoga pants and tight pony tail anywhere. In fact, her ponytail is so tight, the skin around her forehead seems moments away from ripping away from her skull. I force a smile, willing my eye to stop twitching.

“I will make you another Ma’am”

She doesn’t even look at me as I turn and head towards the bar.

I give her decaf.

How to be a better person (by not being a dick) part two

I have decided that working in retail and hospitality does nothing to improve your view on the parasites that make up the human race. In fact, before I started working for the evil corporation, I actually quite liked people—okay, that’s a lie, I tolerated them—but there comes a time when you start to have enough of the annoying fleshy meat-bags walking in  forgetting the most basic form of human decency.

Before I continue with my rant (as I’m sure it will offend some people), I would  like to say that I got a lot of hate from a lot of uninteresting people about my previous article. I have been thinking about a way to say sorry to these poor, hard-done people who obviously took such offence to my article.

So, I decided to write another one!

Here are five more ways to be a better person (by not being a dick!)

Oh, and for those of you who are offended by big bad words—there are big bad words to follow so click off this page and go do something you find exciting— like watching paint dry.

The customer is always right.

Whoever came up with that pile of garbage should be thrown feet first into a giant blender filled with lemon juice, because this phrase just gives the already egotistical soul suckers (also known as customers) even more of a superiority complex.

Not to say all customers are soul suckers. I actually have one or two that seem to be decent, well-functioning human beings. They come in, they order what they want and they fuck off. Just the way it should be.

Are you ‘really ‘sold out of that?

If the board says that we are sold out of a particular item, then yes, we are in fact, sold out. We are not lying to you about not having that certain food or drink in stock. We do not have secret meetings after work to come up with new ideas just to slightly inconvenience you and we do not spend our free time discussing the best ways we can think of just to piss you off. Okay…that was a lie. We love to live our lives slightly inconveniencing you so you will throw a fit in the store, cause a delay in service, and call me a worthless waste of human skin because you can’t have your fucking carrot cake.

Pointers

The pointers…that reclusive breed of people that seem to think getting their greasy fingerprints all over the pastry case I just cleaned is a good idea. The people who seem to forget their words and think pointing in the general direction of what they want is the correct course of action, only to completely confuse themselves and me, stare at me unblinking for a few seconds and then actually say the name of the food they want.

Why didn’t you just do that in the first place, Helen?

Am I a fucking psychic?

We as a human species developed the ability to talk so we could avoid awkward situations like this.  Or do you just enjoy infuriating me with your lack of ability to be a well-functioning human being.

The line complainers

I understand when you complain about bad customer service, the music being too loud or that fact that you found a half dead roach in your sandwich, (sucks to be you on that last one) but if you come into my place of work at a weekend, during lunch hours and see that the line is out the door- don’t wait and complain about the line moving to slow. Firstly, you are holding up the line yourself and I am probably going to have to deal with another one of your kind shortly after, therefor continuing the vicious cycle of slow moving lines. Secondly I can only move as fast as the customers, because most of the time I am waiting for people to figure out what they want. For some reason, while they were waiting in the aforementioned ‘slow line’, it didn’t actually occur to them to make a decision before they got to the freaking till. Either that or I am waiting ever so patiently for the poor old dear I am serving to count out her pennies on the counter only to forget what she was doing and start all over again. I can’t exactly tell her to ‘hurry the fuck up’ because that’s someone’s grandma. I have one of my own and she’d kick my arse if I swore at a grandma. Or a Grandpa.

The Toilet Ninja’s

There is a ‘cleaning in progress sign’ right outside the toilet door, as well as a barricade of tables and chairs blocking any arseho- (ahem) I mean customer from entering the bathroom. Instead of taking the hint that the bathroom is indeed locked for the night (like any mildly intelligent person would) these people take the carefully placed blockade as a challenge and decide to treat it as a fucking obstacle course, vaulting over furniture and climbing over chairs like some parkour champion wannabe, only to find that the bathrooms, are indeed, closed

But it’s too late. The chain reaction has already started and there is already a horde of people waiting to use the bathroom…a horde that I could have sworn was not there before.

It gets to the point where you start to believe that people are indeed morons and that they were put on this earth to simply piss me off.    

5 ways to being a better person (by not being a dick)

Most of us have had a job that has required us to actually talk to people, I am afraid that in this day and age, people are an integral part of society and contact with them is usually unavoidable.

There are many types of people of many different cultures that are kind, loving and generally pleasant to be around. I often find myself enjoying the company of certain humans I have taken to calling my friends, but where there is good, there is always bad, and these bad people usually come in the form we workers in retail and hospitality like to call dickhea- ahem, I mean- customers.

I know it must be stressful to have the weekends off, with all that shopping and relaxing you have to do before even more shopping and relaxing. I understand how hard it is to be able to walk out into the town and be able to buy just about anything one would need, so I have come up with a helpful little list to help you, help me, help you.

Here are five ways to be a better person by not being a dick.  

Don’t talk on the phone while I serve you.   

Don’t talk on the phone when I am serving you. Just don’t do it. If you are on the phone, finish your conversation before you bother me. Simple as that. I did not come in to work at an ungodly time in the morning just to watch you have a conversation about who slept with who or what, how drunk you got last night or where you are going to on holiday in the next week. I don’t care, no one cares. Not even the person you’re talking to cares.

Don’t just order a coffee and expect me to know wtf you want

I work in a coffee shop. Don’t come in and order just a coffee – there are lots of coffees. Don’t order and just expect me to know exactly what you want like some mind reading magician. I don’t walk into a restaurant and just order ‘food.’

“Oh hello Mr Waiter, I will have the food please.”

Also, don’t get pissy with me when I suggest something because you obviously don’t know what the hell you want. If you order ‘just’ a coffee, I am going to give you an Americano -without milk, you don’t deserve milk. You’re a pain in the arse.  

Don’t order everything at once.

Tell me something…when you order five drinks in a row, each one of them being extremely complicated and annoying, much like your personality, do you really expect me to remember every stupid detail of your soy, half shot, extra hot, semi-dry, decaf, two pump vanilla, child soul caramel macchiato?

Have you seen me put it in the till yet, have you even seen me pick up a cup? No? Then why are you still talking? If you could order at a normal human pace, maybe we could both get through this with minimal bloodshed.

Don’t throw money on the table

If you see me outstretching my hand to take your payment, don’t put your money on the table and expect me to both pick it up and count it. A) It shows what an absolute dick you are and b) it makes me want to punch you in the face. Just put the money in my hand, go pick up your drink and go away.       

Wait until I ask you to pay

When I put your drink in the system and I have not asked you to pay yet, please…for the love of god, do not attack the card machine with your visa or special pay app. It just fucks up the system and in turn, fucks up my day. I don’t know what it is about people thinking I can put the information in the till, set up the cup and make the coffee all in a blink of an eye. So please, for my sanity, refrain from molesting the card reader until I tell you otherwise.   

So there you have it, those are just five ways that make normal, everyday people, absolute arseholes. Also, if you are reading this on your computer, your tablet or your mobile phone and you are wondering just what is so terrible about all these things, congratulations, you’re the fucking arsehole.

Have a nice day.

Comic Con 2015 – FemShep Renegade Armour.

London Comic Con – 24th October – Femshep

After many hours of building and creating, I finally did it, my first ever Cosplay attempt for the London Comic Con!

Apart from my shoes falling to pieces at the end of the day due to massive downpour, I think I did a pretty good job. Pretty proud of it!

For those of you who have not been following this blog, I attempted to make my very own N7 armour out of EVA foam. You can see my progress and attempt it yourself by using the basic guide in my previous posts.

The Con was great, I was so happy with the amount of people that came up to me asking if they could have a picture with me. You can see a few of the photos below, although, there were many more, I was sadly unable to get any of the other pictures.

Cosplay 2015 October 24th London - Femshep and Drago


Cosplay 2015 October 24th London - Femshep renegade,Femshep Paragon and KasumiCosplay 2015 October 24th London- Femshep and Spartan