I check the clock. 12:45. That only leaves us 15 minutes. I should not have come. I didn’t want to. I shift in the plastic chair in the interview room. I know I’m supposed to care. I am his lawyer, after all. But he just…makes my blood turn to ice. There’s no logic to it. But he has some sort of malevolent presence I can’t seem to shake off.
I never had a doubt he was guilty of killing that priest. It makes me shudder just to thank of what that poor man suffered. To die like that… The truth is Michael never stood a chance.
That’s why I came. His last request was me. He probably wants to lambaste me for failing him. The door swings open, and they bring Michael in. He is all muscles and tattoos bulging out of the prison issue orange. Eyes like burning black marbles, he stares at me. It is a glare of pure hatred – like he can see right into my very soul. It is laid bare with every misdeed, every wicked thought, a lifetime of guilt.
I shiver. The clock reads 12:50.
‘You asked for me, Mr Blessed?’ I say cautiously.
Michael says nothing. His eyes sear into me, terrible and full of unavoidable truth. The clock reads 12:52.
‘Mr Blessed?’
‘The guilty,’ he growls. ‘I smite them in his honor. Once and for ever the Kingdom of Heaven is pure.’
‘Mr Blessed? Do you require a priest? Do you wish to make a confession?’
Perhaps there is hope yet! The cogs in my head begin to whir and I am hastily making a mental list of those I need to call to save this man’s life. All I need is his confession, and I could have his sentence commuted. I’m not sure why he has decided now is the time. He had been stoically silent thought his trial and imprisonment.
The clock strikes one. We are out of time.
‘I go to my Father now.’
‘Mr Blessed!’ I cry as his guards haul him out of his hair.
His clothes are crumpled, and his shirt has hitched up at the back as they lead him towards the execution chamber down the hall. As the door swings shut behind him, I almost catch a glimpse of a pair of tattooed angel wings on his back.

S J Menary



Everyone knows me as Jane. Sometimes, if I gaze out of the train window at the fields of gold-swept wheat, I believe I’m Jane too. I can almost convince myself that it had never happened.

But sometimes, when the rain sobs down the train windows, I catch a glimpse of my own reflection. My own guilty skin. Eyes that cannot be replaced, bones that mark me for life.

At home, when I lie in bed at night staring out into the dark, images of credit cards fluttering through the air return to haunt me. Before I know it, I am back on that bridge in the dark recesses of my mind once again. I can feel the wet steel beneath my fingers, and hear the rushing howl of the traffic behind me.

A wallet, swallowed whole by the undulating murk of the river below. A mobile phone, once shiny, piercing the surface and lost forever. A memory of a broken life whipped away by the wind.

After a nightmare like that, I’ll hold my keys in my hand just a moment too long in the morning. I hear their jangling stilled. Remember the feel of the ones I left in the scratched ignition that day.

And as I walk down the street to work, I recall the moment the weight slipped from my shoulders forever. The day I walked away.

My name is Jane Harrison. But it wasn’t always.

S J Menary


I rest here
Rusting, bleeding into the stones
Gazing up
At slate skies
Mirror melt-water
My looking glass

These are my depths
Where I was thrown
All those years past

I watch the black claw
Grasping for Heaven

I see them come and go
Tin mines gouging
The innards of the mountain
Spewing dark entrails
Surrounding my crusted edges

This is where the climber fell
And the one the year before
Where bare stone ripped
Grass green hair from bone white skull
Where cloud meets earth
And flies through fingers

The soul of the mountain
Clouds, roiling
Growling over the knife edge
Desperate for victims
In their consuming violence

They whisper my name
An ancient pagan prayer
To long dead Gods
In dust and memory

I will rest
I will wait
Until the day
That I am needed once again.

S J Menary


Book Review

Awakening the Fire (book 2 of Inferno Unleashed duology)

Awakening Fire by Jake Bonsignore is the vibrant sequel to his colorful and violent Empyrean Illusions. The second installment follows Breena’s continuing struggles in the terrifying wastelands, as she encounters beasts and creatures more formidable than her previous battles. Bonsignoire creates un-winnable scenarios, where the reader is certain that doom awaits. However, I won’t spoil the crescendo! The pace is fast and action packed, and leaves the reader on the edge of their seat.
The wonderful character of Galbrecht the haunted doctor is explored further, and the realities of his dark and sordid world illustrate the parallels wonderfully between Breena’s dream-like world and the horrors of reality. If you loved the first book, you’ll love the second installment!


You can buy Awakening the Fire at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Awakening-Fire-Inferno-Unleashed-Book-ebook/dp/B00EU9SSLU

Book Review

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud (book one of the Lockwood & Co series)

The Screaming Staircase is a great first installment to this thrilling new young adult series. But do not be fooled by its young adult target audience. This book is scary!

The novel is set in an alternate London, where ghosts roam at will. Unable to see these creatures of the night, adults are forced to rely on children, who can still see them until they turn 16. The ghosts are kept at bay with ‘ghost lamps’, but even the slightest contact with the spectral entities causes catatonia.

Anthony Lockwood, an independently wealthy teen with a tragic past, is the head of the ghost dispersal service, Lockwood & Co. He and his partner in crime, George, hire the young protagonist of this story Lucy to assist them.

Lucy herself has her own secrets in a world where childhood is a thing of the past. Together, they find themselves lured into spending the night in the most haunted house in England. Where no one ever emerges the next morning…

If you love slightly off-beat fiction with a hint of steam punk about it, then you will adore The Screaming Staircase. Vividly described, with attention to detail and believable characterization, Stroud envelopes his readers in a cold cloak of suspense and dread. You won’t be able to tear your eyes off the page as you find yourself entering the terrors that await in the dark.

You can buy The Screaming Staircase here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lockwood-Co-Screaming-Staircase-Book/dp/0857532014


You can also buy the sequel, The Whispering Skull, at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0857532650/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_1?pf_rd_p=479289247&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0857532014&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_r=11W1C5TRTVSPMP0AMBMN