I’m happy to be taking part in The Violent Fae Blog Tour to celebrate the upcoming release the closing chapter of the Ordshaw series’ The Sunken City Trilogy. If you are not familiar with it yet, no worries, Phil got you covered, as the first book, Under Ordshaw is on sale for 0.99p on Kindle US and UK until tomorrow.
During this tour Phil Williams is sharing 12 short stories from the city of Ordshaw. The Ordshaw Vignettes are tiny insights into the UK’s worst-behaved city, each with a self-contained mystery.
Phil Williams is an author of contemporary fantasy and dystopian fiction, including the Ordshaw urban fantasy thrillers and the post-apocalyptic Estalia series. He also writes reference books to help foreign learners master the nuances of English, two of which are regular best-sellers on Kindle.
Phil lives with his wife by the coast in Sussex, UK, and spends a great deal of time walking his impossibly fluffy dog, Herbert.
About Ordshaw and The Violent Fae
The Ordshaw series are urban fantasy thrillers set in a modern UK city with more than a few terrible secrets. The Violent Fae completes a story that began with Under Ordshaw and its sequel Blue Angel – following poker player Pax Kuranes’ journey into the Ordshaw underworld. Over the space of one week, Pax unravels mysteries that warp reality and threaten the entire city.
Everyone gathered around the extended kitchen table, five siblings, their mother, the eldest’s girlfriend, and Rod, ready to resolve this at last. Two months since moving to Whitebeam Lane, an awful lot of trickery needed explaining, and mature discussion was the answer. Rod began, “Let’s start with the bath tub. Who was around for that?”
“Billy, definitely,” Lorna said. “Scarlet and Mum. I was in the park.”
Scarlet said, “Then how do you know I was home, Lorna?”
“Mum was screaming at you when I came back!”
“Not at me, she was –”
“Breathe,” Rod mediated. “No anger here, we are simply collecting facts. Carla?”
“Yes,” Mum confirmed. “Billy and Scarlet were home. Lorna came in later.”
“So if it was one of that lot,” Ryan snapped, “why’re me and Janet even here? Billy’s the one spilt paint on the landing, too, he’s always making mess.”
“Billy wasn’t in when the window was smashed.”
“Or when the clock fell off the mantel!” Billy chirped.
“Scarlet, then –”
“I was at school,” Scarlet cut in, “when someone put that dead bird in dad’s shoe. You were the only one in then, Ryan.”
“No accusations,” Rod sighed. “I’m writing this down, okay. I was home for the bird, too. Paulie, weren’t you around?”
“On the PlayStation in the attic.”
“Typical Paulie,” Ryan sneered, “weren’t gonna own up to that?”
“Paulie was at football camp half of June,” Mum reminded him.
“Sure, it’s never Paulie. Such an angel, butter wouldn’t melt –”
“Enough, Ryan,” Rod said. “Obviously, we’re not looking at one troublemaker. Now – for the power cut and the scraping chair, everyone was here, even Janet.”
“And right creepy those were,” Janet said quickly. “I know you don’t want to hear it, but this house –”
“Bog off, Janet!” Lorna said. “Why’d you invite her, Dad, she always –”
“Lorna!” Mum said. “Janet is a guest in this house, you show some respect.”
“She was the only one upstairs when the mirror broke,” Billy said helpfully.
“Billy, what did I say –”
“It’s true,” Janet said. “I was, that’s how I know this place is creepy. I don’t believe it was any of you that did these things. And I’m sorry you don’t like me Lorna but I am impartial. I don’t believe it was you, either, that spread soil over –”
“Of course it wasn’t me, I don’t need your approval – go home Janet!”
Ryan growled. “I swear I’m gonna slap you in a second!”
“Ryan! You watch your –”
“No, Mum, she needs to –”
“Ryan pushed me off a swing last week!”
“That was a bloody accident, Billy!”
Their voices rose in a tempest. So much for mature. Rod banged the table and commanded, “That’s enough. Can we behave like adults, please?”
From young to old, shame crossed the children’s faces.
“None of these breakages happened on their own, nor, apparently was it just one of you. But seeing as we can’t pick one case from another, I’ll set a mandate. Next time anything like this happens, you will all be grounded. And” – the children protested with shouts, united at last – “and that will be the last of it. Understand?”
He met chill silence and hateful stares.
“Now, we –”
A scrape cut Rod off. The angry, heavy scratch of ceramic on wood.
Everyone looked at the cupboard above the sink. The dinner plates. Another painful screech followed, the door shunting open from the inside. Janet covered her mouth. “It’s them.”
A third scrape and the stack of ten plates peeked out, wobbling. Perched on the edge. Rod stood as the final scrape came. The plates rattled from the cupboard and half the room gasped – the other screamed. The stack toppled out over the tile floor, the children diving for cover. Rod got a hand up, fingers splayed in impotent denial. Plates exploded across the floor, and their shattering crash sparked a new barrage of shouts.
“Right!” Rod roared, voice shaking the room quiet. He pointed sharply at the empty cupboard. “Which one of you little bastards did that!”
They were all against the opposite wall, then, their shock finally directed at him.
Surrounded by ceramic shards, Rod did not move. Was it him, after all?
Had he bought a haunted bloody house?
If you’d like to get in contact with Phil Williams, you can find him on social media:
For more Ordshaw shorts, you can check out yesterday’s story, The Artist on Out of This World SFF Reviews. The next story will The Composer, available on Jon Auerbach’s blog from November 1st. You can find all details of the tour and all the Vignettes on Phil’s blog.