An inside joke from the UEA CWS

Warning: some strong language; I think it’s funny when my characters swear because I so rarely do in real life.

This was the result of trying to write an urban fantasy snippet. Anyone who’s been to Norwich should hopefully recognise at least two places in this short.


She’d walked along this street – maybe about twenty, thirty times before? This wasn’t teh first time she’d felt nervous doing it, but it was definitely the first time she’d felt as if she was being followed.

She turned around.

There was a vampire coming up the street after her, direct from The Birdcage Pub.

“For fuck’s sake,” she said, pulling out her notebook; she scribbled a line, tore off the page and threw it in the vampire’s face as it lunged.

This sort of vampire clearly didn’t burn in the sunlight, or do…that other thing. But very few beings like having the equivalent of a large flood light shoved straight into their eyes without warning. As the light burst it screamed and grabbed for the page, but the words she’d written also made sure the page would stick to its face and burn for a while longer. She’d caught the backlash of the light, though, and her eyes throbbed and flashed as she ran towards the Farmer’s Market, trying blindly to write as she ran.

She dodged a taxi, leaped up onto the pavement on the far side of the road, reached the first market stall and slammed the new page into the metal wall. ‘Labyrinth’, she named the Market, and ran in.

She turned right at once, then left and left again. The writing had already worked; now, instead of a closed Market, the buildings were swiftly becoming a maze.

She heard the vampire howl. It had followed her in. Good.

She stopped to scribble a few more words. IN MARKET VAMP FOLLOWING ANYONE POET AUTHOR ANOTHER COME QUICK NOW. She threw that page up into the air, not staying to watch it turn into a bird and fly away, already running deeper into the labyrinth.


(Meanwhile, in a less serious version!)

“Okay, we’ve got it cornered in the Market,” Hattie said. “Who’s going in with Sarah?”

“I’ll maintain the border,” Kieren said, already constructing the constrained and succinct words he’d need, finishing the short story of the hopeful capture in his mind.

“I’ll stay out here and provide a distraction,” Stephen volunteered.

“Right. Rachael’ll be the force, I’ll provide close up distraction-”

“No sex poetry this time, Hattie, please,” Sarah cut in, looking up from her construction of a suitable world to banish the vampire to. “I didn’t appreciate nearly getting sexually assaulted by that werewolf last time.”

Sorry, all right? Just some gushy romantic stuff this time, I promise. Are we all ready?”

They nodded.

“Let’s roll.”

Kieren lifted the boundary for a moment and the three girls ran into the Market, Hattie holding love sonnets at the ready, Rachael keeping several sci fi battle scenes tight between her fingers, Sarah putting the finishing touches to her pocket world.

“Any sign?”


They crept between the closed stalls, Hattie and Rachael looking around constantly for signs of their target.

There was a crashing sound, the earth shook; the force field around the Market was trembling.

“It’s testing the boundary!”

“It had better hold!”

“Kieren knows what he’s doing, it’ll be fine.”

Stephen’s voice shouted from everywhere and nowhere: “i blinded it! It’s confused and running from the Town Hall. Coming straight for you!”

A roar drowned out whatever he said next; Hattie threw a poem at once. The vampire staggered under the weight of emotions she’d hit it with , then howled as Rachael threw one handful of paper scraps after another, hitting it with the equivalent of several futuristic fire fights.

“It’s weak,” she shouted, darting out of reach of swinging claws. “Now, Sarah, now!”

Sarah jabbed the last full stop onto the page. He hair began to float around her and a sudden gale ripped at their coats. “Hang on to something!!!”

She threw her page towards the vampire and then ducked back herself to grab hold of a stall wall. The wind shrieked, and so did the vampire as it was sucked into the prison world Sarah had created to hold it.

Then the wind was gone, and there was only a blackened page falling to bits as it drifted to the ground.

They looked at each other, breathing hard.

“Pub?” Sarah suggested.



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