Tag Archives: Flash Fiction

Good Morning – Prologue to ? erm – not sure yet what to call it.

Stickiness was the first hint that something was amiss.  Her hand, between her fingers, felt gluey and oddly crunchy as she bent them.  Flora cracked open her lids and squinted in the harsh light, she tried to read the numbers on the flashing digital clock but her brain refused to make sense of the blur. She reached for her spectacles.  The curtains hadn’t been closed, that was odd, very odd, the watery light showed smears and stains on the skin of her hand and arm, what the heck?

Her head pounded, a dull heaviness, her stomach contracted and acid threatened her throat.  She tried to remember. Exactly how much had they drunk last night? Fighting the nausea she acknowledged instead misery that hovered at the edges of her heart.  They’d had another row, another blazing, painful confrontation.  Tears formed and overflowed, yet more tears.  She had to get out, this relationship was no good, it was toxic, destroying them both, going nowhere.

She pushed back the duvet and glanced down.

Panic threw her from the bed, she backed towards the wardrobe her gaze fixed on the devastation of stained sheets and ruby splattered pillows.  A knife lay on his side of the bed, Trevor’s side.  What the hell was he doing with a knife, a knife in bed?  She peered down at her shaking body.

Her nightdress was smeared and streaked, there were cuts and slashes in the fine fabric and the tiny lace frill around the hem hung in ribbons around her knees.  Her legs let her go and she flopped in a quivering heap to the carpet.

She couldn’t find the wound, her arms, legs, her belly; all seemed undamaged, whole and pain free.  She stretched a hand behind her and stroked it across her back – nothing.  Where was it from, the blood, she wasn’t hurt yet she was covered in it, the bed was a turmoil of gore there were marks on the carpet, the wall near the light switch.  The more she looked the more she found.  It was everywhere.

“Trevor?” she heard herself whisper, it came from far away, feeble and quavering, “Trev?” There was no answer.  There was no sound of the shower, no flush of the toilet, no clatter of pots and dishes from the kitchen.  The house was silent, dead and silent.

“Trevor?”

She pushed to her feet, there were drips of red on her slippers, she couldn’t bear to push her toes into them.

“Trevor?”  She recalled them screaming at each other the night before. Her, screeching his name in fury, both of them drunk and unreasonable, railing and tearing in their anger.

“Trevor?”  She made her way down the hallway, no sound.  The red smears on the wall accused her now, her stomach turned and roiled, the door to the kitchen was slightly ajar, she reached out.  Her blood stained hand touched the cream paint, she pushed at the wood.

“Trevor?”

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Flash Challenge

So,  was complaining about a lack of inspiration. A face book friend gave me this challenge. Thanks Polly.

“It was midnight and yet another walrus was making its way down Main Street. A trail of water sizzled behind it and the town band followed in its wake, weeping quietly…”

I changed it very slightly and came up with this:

*************************

‘It was midnight and yet another walrus was making its way down Main Street. A trail of water sizzled behind it and the town band followed in its wake, it was weeping quietly…

The sky was purple, yellow and green clouds scudded before a diamond studded wind.

Charlotte tied her dragon to the hitching post. She wrapped her cloak around her and strode into the middle of the road. She held up her hand, she waited. Nothing happened. The crowd were singing Yellow Submarine, the trees swayed in time and the birds danced a Pavanne along the verges.

She had to stop them. She had to let them know. It wasn’t for her. She knew that she could climb aboard Stenflo and be away in moments, away to the rainbow mountains where the danger couldn’t reach her. But here, here on Main Street the laughing children, clutching cotton candy sticks and sucking on lollipops were in mortal danger. The happy teens, hand holding, hip touching, heart hoping teens were in danger and the elders, mostly her fear was for the elders.

Their silvered heads, their wisdom lined faces and their overknuckled work worn hands, they would make them prey. When it came it came mainly for them, for the years of knowing, the decades of learning and the centuries of loving that they carried in their hearts. It needed all of that. The Walrus knew, the mermaid on the corniche knew. Though unlike her marine brother she didn’t try to tell them. She smirked and tossed her sea green curls and with nary a final glance she dove into the harbour and Charlotte caught just the edge of her laugh as she lost herself in the waves.

She ran to the bandstand and tore up the shallow steps, she tried to take the microphone but the town Cryer was in full flow and snatched it back and pushed her roughly aside.

She ran to the wind section who by now had formed a semi circle around the percussionists. She chose the smallest musician, a small girl child and she snatched the gleaming instrument. Raising it to her lips she blew as hard as she could blow, she called on the north wind, the tempest and the hurricane. She implored help from the whirlwind itself and she blew and the note that she made left the end of the bugle and it flew into the air, a purple storm of sound, swirling and whirling upwards ever upwards until it met the feet of heaven and rebounded and cascaded back to the town as the sound of a million weeping angels.

The people gasped, they screamed, they clutched and grasped at each other. They cowered in the corners and they ran down the alleys into darkness. Only the old ones didn’t run, they didn’t flee. They knew that it was coming for them. The eons passed had foretold this moment and they knew that the only thing they could do was to wait, and to hold onto each other and speak words of love because letting it take them was the only way to save the young.

As she remounted her dragon and swept into the sky Charlotte took one last look at Main Street, at the elders, at the wise ones. They had turned to the west, their eyes were open, their faces were calm and as it came and they gave themselves to it she heard them. They were singing.

 

 

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Good Morning

A piece of Flash – just because.

*************************

Stickiness was the first hint that something was amiss.  Her hand, between her fingers, felt gluey and oddly crunchy as she bent them.  Flora cracked open her lids and squinted in the harsh light, she tried to read the numbers on the flashing digital clock but her brain refused to make sense of the blur. She reached for her spectacles.  The curtains hadn’t been closed, that was odd, very odd, the watery light showed smears and stains on the skin of her hand and arm, what the heck?

Her head pounded, a dull heaviness, her stomach contracted and acid threatened her throat.  She tried to remember. Exactly how much had they drunk last night? Fighting the nausea she acknowledged the misery that hovered at the edges of her heart.  They’d had another row, another blazing, painful confrontation.  Tears formed and overflowed, yet more tears.  She had to get out, this relationship was no good, it was toxic, destroying them both, going nowhere.

She pushed back the duvet and glanced down.

Panic threw her from the bed, she backed towards the wardrobe her gaze fixed on the devastation of stained sheets and ruby splattered pillows.  The knife lay on his side of the bed, Trevor’s side.  What the hell was he doing with a knife, a knife in bed?  She peered now at her shaking body.

Her nightdress was smeared and streaked, there were cuts and slashes in the fine fabric and the tiny lace frill around the hem hung in ribbons around her knees.  Her legs let her go and she flopped in a quivering heap to the carpet.

She couldn’t find the wound, her arms, legs, her belly; all seemed undamaged, whole and pain free.  She stretched a hand behind her and stroked it across her back – nothing.  Where was it from, the blood, she wasn’t hurt yet she was covered in it, the bed was a turmoil of gore there were marks on the carpet, the wall near the light switch.  The more she looked the more she found.  It was everywhere.

“Trevor?” she heard her whisper, it came from far away, feeble and quavering, “Trev?” There was no answer.  There was no sound of the shower, no flush of the toilet, no clatter of pots and dishes from the kitchen.  The house was silent, dead and silent.

“Trevor?”

She pushed to her feet, there were drips of red on her slippers, she couldn’t bear to push her toes into them.

“Trevor?”  She remembered that they had screamed at each other the night before. Her, screeching his name in fury, both of them drunk and unreasonable, railing and tearing in their anger.

“Trevor?”  She made her way down the hallway, no sound.  The red smears on the wall accused her now, her stomach turned and roiled, the door to the kitchen was slightly ajar, she reached out.  Her blood stained hand touched the cream paint, she pushed at the wood.

“Trevor?”

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Through My Eyes I See It

I came across this recently in a bit of a tidy up I was doing and thought it could have another outing:-

Through My Eyes I See It.

The trees in the park are glorious. Like a magnificent pavan they unroll as far as these old eyes can see, their ball gown finery, gold and russet and crimson billowing and tumbling in the breeze. The pain is good this morning. It is there prowling like a great bear around the battlements but for now at least the drugs repel it. Soon though the other assaults will begin, first on my physical self and then, and what is far worse, on my poor addled brain.

Here she comes now the “care assistant” who in truth needs some assistance to care. Bright and brittle in lavender and body odour. Brace for the first wave of attack “Oh Amy what are you doing sitting here all on your own? Let’s pop you with the others so that you can watch something more interesting, it’s no good you just staring out of the window at nothing all day.” Staring at nothing, the billow and wisp of cloud, the glorious, glorious trees and the oceanic swells of winter wheat rushing before the wind. “Staring at nothing.” And she will take me and “pop” me before that abomination the television. She will line me up with the others ogling in aquatic dumbness at the flashing colours. How I hate it, the joyless laughter, the high priestesses with their pregnant pauses and their pregnant bellies and the ignoramus hoi polloi giggling and flirting, leaping into mutual degradation all for their fifteen minutes and a free holiday.

Don’t “pop” me anywhere you lavender suited storm trooper. Leave me in peace with the song of the birds and the glitter of the frost where it lays encrusting spider webs beneath the hedge. Treacherous vocal chords gurgle and splutter. Outraged obscenities transmute into meaningless drivel and so I am duly “popped”. The second invasion approaches, there is nothing in my arsenal with which to repel. “Hello Amy, it’s Thursday.”

Good God Mrs Wilkins you don’t say, a revelation beyond all expectations.

“My Gerry comes today, he comes every Thursday without fail. He’s such a good boy.”

First of all you overblown dollop he is not your Gerry. He is Gerry who belongs to the world, he has a wife, a life and a reason to be. He can wash himself, shave his flabby fat chops and presumably grope ineffectively at his wife in the dark to produce his disgusting progeny. He is not a good boy he is an avaricious little shit who comes every Thursday in the hope that you will have expired on Wednesday night and the home haven’t had a chance to tell him. He comes so that he can pack up your feeble belongings and once and for all put this whole miserable responsibility behind him.

“It is a shame that you never had any children Amy, they are such a comfort.”

Comfort my arse you silly old fool. A cushion is a comfort. Haemorrhoid cream is a comfort Gerry is a cretin.

Now, it comes, the deepest torture. Another careless carer her mind on bus stop gropes with spotty youths and illicit fags in darkened corners will spoon pap into my gullet. Bang the spoon on my teeth again you moron and I swear I’ll somehow find the wherewithal to bite your hand. Oysters fresh from the sea in the South of France. Tender pasta robed in piquant sauce bejewelled with fiery peppers and bread still warm from the boulangerie. Drooling peaches and sun-filled melon with a Bacchanalian of sparkling white Bourgogne sipped from crystal goblets as the heat of the day bleaches the hills and diamonds sparkle in the bay. I can’t bear it, not another minute, not another mouthful, jelly and juice and plastic oh god.

The outsiders approach. The floral tributes, chocolates, pictures of grandchildren. The hugs and kisses, grinning rictus and off set embraces. No don’t come over here, please don’t. “Hello Amy, how are you today. You’re in the best place there’s a nasty wind out there and you’re lovely and snug.” A force seven gale off the ocean, lifting my hair glueing the clothes to my legs and startling tears from my eyes. His hair lifting and flicking as he smiles down at me, the two of us thrown together by the force of nature external and internal. His arms a harbour his broad chest my haven and the warmth of his body welding us together in the blasted sunshine. The sudden silence behind a hedge and the glory of daytime lovemaking. His tears, my tears the ghastly separation as he leaves for the airbase and the violence of waiting for his return. The devastation, the emptiness and the total loss of reason when he is gone and then the wretched years of decline becoming this traitorous slug of a body slumped in a dung heap home waiting for release.

He is here, he has come, it is time, thank God it is time.

“Nurse, excuse me nurse, can you come quickly and look at Amy I think there’s something wrong.”

Ah no for the first time in decades something is wonderfully right.

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Bye Bye Blackbird

Its half past now, I think I’ve done everything.  I tidied round, silly yes but, well that’s me.  John always used to say, when we were going on holiday, “Why are you dusting?  Are you making it clean for the burglars?”  But when we came home and it was all tidy I knew it had been worth it.

Of course there’s no coming back this time is there.  Hm, my tummy does back flips when I think of it.  Strange, when I made the appointment, called the number last week I was very, very calm almost dead inside.  Well you know I was numb.  It was the day after the funeral and I couldn’t feel anything, a grey plastic film over everything.  It’s still there now, but I focused on today and this and it has helped, it really has.

I didn’t think it would be like this.  We had a pact you see, John and me, we agreed years ago.  When the time came we would get some pills, pour some champagne.  Have some lovely music and candlelight.  We had it planned so well, we would eat as well as we were able, and then when we were ready go off together, with the sunset and the blackbird singing.  John had even found out what pills were best and where to get them.

We thought there would be time, possibly some illness yes, but time, to prepare, we never thought it would be like this.

When the police came to the door, no, no, I can’t talk about it.  People have said it will fade with time, I will accept and learn to handle it but I don’t want to you see, I just don’t want to.  I know, oh yes I do know it’s selfish of me but I don’t care, for once in my life I don’t care.

I never would have thought there would be people willing to do this, it’s very brave of them.  When I Googled it, I never thought for a moment there would be so many.  It’s a strange and awful world in some ways but just for me now a blessing.

I’ve tidied round, I’ve taken the cat to Mrs Barraclough, she said she understood and that if I ever wanted her back to just say but I know that she’ll be happy.  I’ve done a note for James, I hope he won’t hate me for this.  I’ve tried to explain but he looked so bereft the other day, so much sorrow and I hate to add to it but he has his life, the children, he’ll be okay.  I hope he’ll forgive me.

I wonder if I should have changed the bed, I didn’t because I didn’t want to leave dirty linen in the basket.  Mind you I’m not going to be in bed, I want it to be here, in the living room looking out on the garden, I want it to be where we were happy.  Oh don’t misunderstand, we had fun in the bedroom, hehe, oh yes, even in the last few years but the living room was where we talked and planned and were together in the lovely evenings.  Just the two of us, close and calm just the way it should be.  I want to sit here and watch the sun go down on the garden and go down with it.

The woman said she’d come at seven, just before sunset, she understood, about the garden and the blackbird song and drifting away with the day.  It’s ten to seven, the money is on the table, and the glass of wine.  I’m nervous, of course I am but a bit excited too, is that strange?  No, no not strange at all.  It’s as if John just went on ahead and now I’m going to meet him.

There’s a car drawing up now, there’s a clause, you sign a second paper, saying that no matter what you won’t back out.  I understand that as well but it was a bit profound signing that.  Oh there she is, oh she’s quite young, pretty.  Used to be a nurse according to the site.  Oh my knees are knocking.  Still here we go, let’s get on with it.  I am looking forward to seeing John again, it’s only been a few days but it’s been lonely doing this on my own.  Still soon be back together.

“Oh hello, dear, hello.  Come on in, just in time, there’s the blackbird now just starting to sing.”

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Janet and John Go to the Bank

Janet and John go to the Bank.

It’s a lovely morning.  See John scratch his belly.

See Janet sigh.  Can you scratch your belly children?  Can you sigh – Janet can.

John takes spot the dog for a walk.  Spot does his business on the lawn next door, see John leave it.  Naughty John – See Janet sigh.  Do you leave your dog’s doo doo on next door’s lawn – John does.

Janet and John are going to the bank.  They are getting dressed.  John puts on his brown jacket and his blue trousers.  See Janet sigh.

John puts on his suit.  Can you get changed as quickly as John can?

Now Janet and John are in the car, John crunches the gears.  See Janet sigh. Can you tut and sigh at the same time? – Janet can.

Now they are in the town.  John can’t find a parking space.  See Janet sigh and look at her watch.  Can you make your face go red like a tomato – Janet can.

Here is Mr Knobhead.  Mr Knobhead is the Bank Manager.  Can you smile and stick a knife in someone at the same time – Mr Knobhead can.

Janet and John need to tell Mr Knobhead that they haven’t got any money.  Have you got any money children.  Mr Knobhead has lots of money.

Mr Knobhead uses a big word – he says foreclosure – can you say foreclosure, John can’t.  All John can say is devastating, that’s a big word, can you say devastating.  Janet can’t, Janet can’t speak.  See Janet cry.

Mr Knobhead tells John that he can’t let him have any more money and will take away Janet and John’s pretty house.

See John tip over his chair and grab Mr Knobhead by the throat. Mr Knobhead’s face is very red now and his tongue is poking out.  It is very rude to poke out your tongue.  Maybe that is why John is so cross.

See Mr Knobhead go to sleep and slide down the wall. Waken up Mr Knobhead, the police are here.

Now Janet and John are going for a ride in a police car and Mr Knobhead is going to the hospital.  What an exciting day they have all had.

Now Janet and John are packing all their things in boxes and going to live at Mrs Brown’s house.  John is very sad, see John sigh.  Would you like to go and live with your mummy when you are forty?  John doesn’t want to.  See Janet sigh.

It is a year later.  Janet and John have been to the court to see the judge.  They don’t live in their nice house any more.  Nobody lives in the pretty house now, see the boarded windows.  See the For Sale sign.  Can you say travesty, lots of people can.

Janet lives with her mummy now. Janet and John have had a divorce and they are very sad.  Have your mummy and daddy had a divorce, I’ll bet they have.

See Mr Knobhead, he has bought a new yacht.  Mr Knobhead is very happy, he is going on holiday.  Lucky Mr Knobhead.

 

 

Banner – Courtesy of Pixabay free images

 

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The Flat Share

Desperate times call for desperate measures. A flat share could solve Charlotte's problems. She should have vetted the applicant more closely.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. A flat share could solve Charlotte’s problems. She should have vetted the applicant more closely.

Chapter 9

“So, Samantha.  Charlie said that you work at the hospital yeah?”

“Yes, in the admin department, not very glamorous but the pay’s not bad and I get subsidised meals and stuff.  What do you do Joanie?”

“Oh, similar, I’m a PA, boring but it pays the bills.  You from round here are you?”

“No, not really, further north, up near Newcastle.”

“Oh, you don’t have a Geordie accent.”

“No, well I’m not from Newcastle proper and we moved around a lot.  When I was a kid.

“You said you lived with your Aunties and your Granny ?.”

“And my mum on and off.  Loads of different places and then I’ve been down here for a couple of years.  I think I’m one of those people whopick up local accents really quickly you know.”

“No brothers or sisters then?”

“No, just me all on my lonesome.  Listen girls I really have had a hell of a couple of days, would you think I was a real drag if I just went up and had a quick shower and crashed?”

“Oh, no that’s fine.  Have you got everything you want?”

“Yeah, oh by the way I called in earlier today with some bits and pieces, popped them in your freezer.  You two finish the bubbly, I can’t keep my eyes open.”

“Wow, thanks. Oh can you let me have your mobile number, just in case I need to get in touch or anything?”

“Oh, of course.  I can never remember it though, who can eh?”

“Well just ring through to mine, you’ve got the number from the card at the shop and then I can store it.  Yours was hidden when you rang last time, that’s really sensible, isn’t it Joanie?  I really must do it to mine.”

“Oh, thing is my phone’s as flat as a pancake right now, mad couple of days as I said. I can’t find the bloody charger, still soon as it’s back on I’ll send the number.  Night girls.”

“There y’are you see, she came in today and so she must have unpacked the boxes and thrown them away.”

“D’ya reckon?  I’m sorry Charlie there’s something not right.  If she’s from Newcastle so’s my left buttock.  You don’t lose an accent that completely, not unless you try really hard.”

“Oh, stop it; you just don’t want to like her because I didn’t tell you about her.”

“No, no it’s not that.  I admit I think you were a bit sneaky and I feel a bit put out but that’s not it, I just get a funny feeling about her.  All that about her ‘phone as well, who bothers to hide their number? – oooh that’s so clever isn’t it, I’ll have to do that – when have you ever thought that was a good idea? Who do you know that can be arsed?”

“Well, maybe there’s a good reason.”

“And then she can’t remember it and the ‘phones dead and she can’t find the charger.  Twaddle.”

“Oh, shut up here have some more bubbly and let’s go and see what she put in the freezer.

***

Oh, look ready meals, pizza, loadsa stuff.”

“But, isn’t it odd Charlie, you said she’s never been here and yet she goes and buys all this and a bottle of Moet.  I don’t know, there’s something funny about her.”

“Okay, I admit I have felt a bit odd about it all. Tell you what I’ll tell her that it’s not working out for me, give her a month and then let her have her deposit back and you can tell that girl at work that there might be a place.  Okay?”

“I think that’s best, I really do…”

“Night love, see you Friday, give me a ring when you leave the office and I’ll see you in the pub.”

“Yeah, night love…”

***

Hunh, what’s that, God what time is it, half two, what the hell’s that noise.

“Oh, Sammy, it’s you, I wondered what was going on.”

“Sorry Charlie, I’m really sorry, I tripped.”

“What’re you doin?”

“Eh, oh just bringing in a couple of boxes, my mates brought em round, I know it’s late but she’s been away and she had these round her place.  Then I tripped.  You go back to bed, this is the last one.  Sorry I woke you.”

“But, what’s in the boxes Sammy?”

“Oh just stuff, you know bits and pieces.”

“I thought you didn’t have much stuff.”

“God I know, amazing how much we collect and then when it’s all in one place it’s so much more than you thought isn’t it?  It’s alright isn’t it me having it here? If it’s not, well – oh well my mate’s gone now but I could get her to come back tomorrow.”

“Oh god no, don’t do that, no, no course not.  If you need extra space you know I’ll clear out a cupboard or something, no, no it’s fine.”

“Great, see you tomorrow then eh.  Night night.”

“Yeah, night.”

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Good Morning – a very brief flash fiction piece

Stickiness was the first hint that something was amiss.  Her hand, between her fingers, felt gluey and oddly crunchy as she bent them.  Flora cracked open her lids and squinted in the harsh light, she tried to read the numbers on the flashing digital clock but her brain refused to make sense of the blur. She reached for her spectacles.  The curtains hadn’t been closed, that was odd, very odd, the watery light showed smears and stains on the skin of her hand and arm, what the heck?

Her head pounded, a dull heaviness, her stomach contracted and acid threatened her throat.  She tried to remember. Exactly how much had they drunk last night? Fighting the nausea she acknowledged the misery that hovered at the edges of her heart.  They’d had another row, another blazing, painful confrontation.  Tears formed and overflowed, yet more tears.  She had to get out, this relationship was no good, it was toxic, destroying them both, going nowhere.

She pushed back the duvet and glanced down.

Panic threw her from the bed, she backed towards the wardrobe her gaze fixed on the devastation of stained sheets and ruby splattered pillows.  The knife lay on his side of the bed, Trevor’s side.  What the hell was he doing with a knife, a knife in bed?  She peered now at her shaking body.

Her nightdress was smeared and streaked, there were cuts and slashes in the fine fabric and the tiny lace frill around the hem hung in ribbons around her knees.  Her legs let her go and she flopped in a quivering heap to the carpet.

She couldn’t find the wound, her arms, legs, her belly; all seemed undamaged, whole and pain free.  She stretched a hand behind her and stroked it across her back – nothing.  Where was it from, the blood, she wasn’t hurt yet she was covered in it, the bed was a turmoil of gore there were marks on the carpet, the wall near the light switch.  The more she looked the more she found.  It was everywhere.

“Trevor?” she heard her whisper, it came from far away, feeble and quavering, “Trev?” There was no answer.  There was no sound of the shower, no flush of the toilet, no clatter of pots and dishes from the kitchen.  The house was silent, dead and silent.

“Trevor?”

She pushed to her feet, there were drips of red on her slippers, she couldn’t bear to push her toes into them.

“Trevor?”  She remembered that they had screamed at each other the night before. Her, screeching his name in fury, both of them drunk and unreasonable, railing and tearing in their anger.

“Trevor?”  She made her way down the hallway, no sound.  The red smears on the wall accused her now, her stomach turned and roiled, the door to the kitchen was slightly ajar, she reached out.  Her blood stained hand touched the cream paint, she pushed at the wood.

“Trevor?”

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Say Cheese

“Morning Mary, what can I do for you today?”

“Cheese.”

“Right, what sort?”

“Red.”

“Okay dokey, how much?”

“What?”

“How much?”

“Don’t you know?”

“What?”

“You should know.”

“How the hell can I know unless you tell me?”

“I can’t tell you.  I don’t know.  You should know, and anyway you shouldn’t blaspheme.”

“No, no quite right sorry but.  You’ll have to tell me.”

“I can’t.  How can I.”

“Oh now come on, don’t get upset.  Don’t start crying.  Just tell me now.  What do you want to do with it?”

“Eat it.”

“Well yes, I see that.  Eat it, yes I realise you’re going to eat it.  How are you going to eat it though?”

“What?”

“The cheese.  How are you going to eat the cheese.”

“Erm, the usual way.”

“Oh, okay and what’s the usual way?”

“I put it in my mouth and chew.”

“Ha, ha – yes, course you do.  No what I meant was, are you going to cook it.  Red cheese is great for cooking.  A bit of cheese on toast you know, a Welsh Rarebit?”

““Rabbit?  I don’t eat rabbits, not little bunnies, how can you eat little bunnies?”

“No, no rabbit, there’s no rabbit it’s cheese.”

“So why is it called a rabbit?”

It’s not, it’s rarebit.  Nothing to do with rabbit, it’s cheese… oh never mind.  So what are you doing with it, the cheese?”

“I’m eating it?”

“Yes, yes but – oh okay.  Is it just for you?”

“Why.”

“What?”

“Why do you want to know?  What’s it got to do with you?”

“Well no, nothing of course it’s just that Mrs Hardcastle said that she saw that young man from the garage, the one with the big ears…”

“Big ears?”

“Well maybe not big, p’raps his hair’s a bit short or – well anyway.”

“What’s it got to do with Mrs Hardcastle anyway?”

“Well nothing, it’s just that if you were having visitors, you might need more?”

“More what?”

“Cheese.”

“Cheese?”

“Yes, how much cheese do you want, what are you doing with it?  How many people are going to eat it – you know – how much?”

“Oh, I thought you were asking me how much it would cost.”

“Well, no.  I mean how would you know?”

“I wouldn’t.”

“No, well quite.”

“Tell you what weigh me half a pound of ham.”

“Right, right.  Half of ham.  Great ham yes, ham.”

 

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Cellar

“Ten quid if you do it.”

“Shannon, aw Shannon.”

“Go on, you always say you don’t refuse a dare.”

“But the cellar, at night.”

“Fair enough.  I’ll keep the money and I’ll tell everyone you were too chicken to take the dare.  It’s fine.”

“You won’t.”

“Bloody will and I’ll tell Carla.”

“Okay, okay, okay I’ll do it.”

“Right.  One hour, at night.  No torch, no phone and nothing with luminosity.”

“Luminosity?  Did you swaller a dictionary  – Ow.  So okay, when.”

“Tomorrow.”

“Yup.”

“You’re a cow you know that.”

“No, just a big sister.  It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it.”…

It was darker than he expected, he blinked but still couldn’t decide whether his eyes were open or closed.  It was cold too, icy damp cold that had him shivering now and it had only been… Well how long had it been?  He had counted for a while, after the big door slammed and the noises of the house disappeared and all the light in the world was obliterated.  He had counted one elephant, two elephant, three elephant on and on till six hundred and his voice had sounded small and feeble in the silence and he had begun to lose count as the light had moved from midnight to grey with great black shadows looming.

He rubbed his arms and took a tentative step, sliding his feet along the invisible floor.  There used to be an old chair, a smelly old chair with ratty arms and wooden legs.  It was near the wall in the corner.  If he sat in that he could close his eyes and pretend he was somewhere else.

The great dark shape in front of him now was the cupboard, perhaps there was just the small glint from the lock.  The darker line, did that mean that the door was open. No, no don’t think of it.

The four-legged monster in the middle of the room was the table, heavy and solid.  He headed towards it. from there it was but five paces to the chair.  He reached out his hand, nearer now.  He grabbed at the corner as his feet slid on the slippery puddle.  It shouldn’t be wet, there was no wet down here.  He slid his trainer back and forth on the mess.  Grit rasped under the sole.  What?  He knelt and touched it, slimy and warm.  A glob dripped onto his head.  He startled, jumped back, heart pounding.

Holding his breath now and sliding his hand along the edge of the table he was closer to the chair.  He could see it, a dark mass crouched in the corner.  He would just sit on it, close his eyes and think good, warm thoughts.  He turned sideways began to slide his behind onto the seat and his bowels turned to liquid as arms enfolded him. The scream died in his throat as his voice was stolen by terror.

For a while he struggled, just for a while until it became impossible.  For a while he breathed until the embrace refused his lungs the space to expand.  For a while he lived.  For just a little while.

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