(700 words) Stanislav Kowalski replaced the cigarette between his lips, inhaling the smoke deeply. He held it in his lungs as long as he could, until dizzy from the nicotine, then exhaled slowly with pursed lips, forming smoke rings in the warm still air of the May evening. He didn’t know why he smoked, he … Continue reading Touché
(650 words) “Arabic garlic sauce, otherwise known as thoom. Freshly made.” Vernon Crowther held out a small glass bowl filled with something resembling a whiter version of mayonnaise. “It looks nice, sir,” said Jake Smeddlehurst. He was about twenty, tall and thin, with a pronounced jawline and black hair that flopped over his narrow face … Continue reading Free Money
- (1500 words) - “Arabic numerals, that’s their proper name.” Emily sat at the heavy wooden table in front of the fire, school book open, pencil poised. “Why?” “Oh, I suppose they were invented in the Middle East, or North Africa. Countries that have Arabs in them!” Emily wore her blue school blouse still. It … Continue reading Shine On
(850 words) Horncastle Suicides, a special report by Genevieve Messier for the Horncastle Times. January 2018. Horncastle, a small Roman town dating from the ninth century, and situated in the Lincolnshire Wolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, lies at the confluence of three waterways - the river Bain, the river Waring and the Horncastle … Continue reading Death by DVD
(850 words) 13th June 1952 Dearest Mama, Well, we’ve all arrived safely and the chateau is lovely! Stephan drove us from Surrey in his motor car. We took the ferry from Portsmouth and the crossing was quite choppy. I’m afraid yours truly spent much of it leaning over the handrail! Anyway, after a couple of … Continue reading Chateau Courdermaire
(600 words) To Whom It May Concern First, the good news. If you are reading this, you are still alive. Now, the bad news. In 24 hours’ time you probably won’t be! You see, you took something that didn’t belong to you. Oh yes, you likely thought, ‘I’d better take this briefcase to lost property,’ … Continue reading But Can You Hide?
(650 words) “Well, did you hear about Gary?” Nadine’s face was flushed, as if drunk. “No.” “He’s just beaten the telesales record for the year and he’s only been here a month!” It was July. “What?!” “Well, Malcolm just posted the sales on the board. Go and look!” She laughed. “Speak of the Devil!” Gary … Continue reading Here’s Looking at Your Kid
(700 words) Cooee! Over here! I’m waiting and ready for you! Look! Don’t you admire my hourglass figure? True, not as slim as some, but then again, I’m not so young any more. But I think I’m wearing pretty well, wouldn’t you say? Don’t you admire the gold bands I wear on my neck? My … Continue reading Shameless!
(1000 words) Old Man He looked across the village green to a small huddle of folks, dressed in T-shirts and shorts, mostly. They surrounded a boy, tall and skinny, his long brown hair flopping over his face. The boy, holding a long bow, reminded him of a lamppost gone wrong. Seemingly without effort, the boy … Continue reading Souls and Arrows
(900 words) “Head for the hills, ‘cos I’m looking for thrills …,” sang Hamish, his Scottish burr prolonging ‘thrills.’ “I could use some of those,” laughed Julia, a short, stocky woman in her sixties. I hoped she didn’t have me in mind. The sun was sinking, lengthening the shadows of saguaro cacti, towering here and … Continue reading The Visitation