Banner showing three books

Brick in a Wall – Published in New Realm

Brick in a Wall coverTick. A second is one sixtieth of a minute, a minute one sixtieth of an hour.

Tock. I am a good man.

Tick. The day is divided into hours because the Egyptians had a love for the number twelve.

Tock. Breathe, Justin. Calm. Good men don’t die for no reason.

Tick. A clock pendulum makes the same sound as a rifle cock. Click.

My hands have stopped shaking, I think. I don’t dare to check. The room is small, the walls are of red brick and the bars of steel. The cot has a thin blanket on it. The blanket is of cotton, there are blue stripes on it and between the stripes are the words “Caluga County Sheriff’s Department”. The cell is covered with the words. They are stamped into each brick, carved into the planks that make up the cot, painted on the bars. Caluga County Sheriff’s Department, over and over and over again. The cell knows it is part of the sheriff’s department, it knows it as surely as if it was human. It will not change.

My hands shake. I can feel it and I bring them around and look at them. Good, solid, brown hands. Trustworthy hands. Not field hands, not a loan shark’s hands or rum runner’s. Not a murderer’s hands.

Purchase and read in New Realm Magazine, vol 04, no 03 (Sadly, the magazine has folded and you can no longer buy this one. Maybe I’ll bring it back in a collection some day.)


I’m a self-confessed pantser. I write best when I’ve got an image and a problem, or more often a tone, in my head. That’s all I need.

Yeah, sometimes it comes out flawed. Sometimes it gets stuck midway. Sometimes it works like a charm, and this was one of those stories where it worked like a charm. I love the world, even though I don’t world build until I need it, and I’ll probably reuse it again, or at least the idea of “self-identity magic”.

Hope you like it, too.

Dreams of Futures Past Book Cover

Leave the first comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.