December 2015 – the end – Four Shreddings and a Numeral by Martin Bolton

Four Shreddings and a Numeral

by Martin Bolton

The waiter at the Swindon Travelodge was strangely nervous. Sweat glistened on his twitching brow.

“I’ll have the lasagne,” said Simon.

“The… the lasagne,” the waiter tugged at his collar with one bony finger and gave a maniacal, high-pitched cackle. “You’re… you’re absolutely sure you want the lasagne.”

“Yes please.”

“I recommend the fish and chips,” argued the waiter. Perspiration poured freely down his face.

“The lasagne please.” Continue reading

November 2015 – inside out – The Eyes of Mork Tyran by Martin Bolton

The Eyes of Mork Tyran

by Martin Bolton

The prisoner stirred as an icy gust of wind caressed him, finding its way through his tattered rags and and probing at his thinly covered bones. The furs that hung in the cavern entrance were thrust aside. He counted the foot steps and could tell that a single man had entered.

A pregnant pause reigned as the heat from the cavern’s lava pit chased away the insurgent chill. The hiss of the newcomer’s sword sliding from its scabbard broke the silence. This was followed by a metallic clink as the warrior placed the sword’s tip on the stone floor.

“Who appears before the twin druids?” Continue reading

September 2015 – close shave – Spineless by Martin Bolton

Spineless

by Martin Bolton

Ralph Quail ran as fast as his scrawny legs would carry him.

Ralph was afraid of everything. He was afraid of heights. He was afraid of making a fool of himself in the company of girls. He was afraid of unseen hands smothering him when he switched off the light at night. He was afraid when he went to sleep he would be tugged into a chaotic, suffocating dream world never to return. But most of all he was afraid of Nigel Harris, the depraved school bully who took a great deal of pleasure in tormenting him, and who now pursued him. Continue reading

August 2015 – climate change – Brian’s War by Martin Bolton

Brian’s War

by Martin Bolton

Brian was no ordinary man.

He could see things other people could not see. From a very young age he had been aware of the signs that passed others by every day. He saw them in the street, at work, on the news, even in the media – sitcoms, soap operas, magazines, reality TV. You name it, they were there.

The subtle nuances existed in every aspect of society. Everywhere he went he saw them. At the bus stop, the corner shop, the pub, the polling station, even in the council office when he went to get his garden waste sacks. Clues everywhere. Plain for him to see but seemingly hidden to those around him. Continue reading

July 2015 – broken bones – Maledictæ Puer Persistit by Martin Bolton

Maledictæ Puer Persistit

By Martin Bolton

I was five years old when I experienced my first insidious impulse to murder.

I can still see my reflection; a chubby-cheeked pup, his vast, ocean-blue eyes gazing back at me as they undulated on the rippling bath water. Innocent, crystal clear pools of aquamarine. One moment uncorrupted by darkness, incapable of malice, untouched by the storm. The next, devoid of remorse or pity.

Something spawned in the depths.

My mother had called me into the bathroom and I ventured forth into the tranquil steam where she lay soaking in a hot bath. For the first time I noticed her distended belly.
Continue reading

June 2015 – funeral pyre – The Ashes of Orik by Martin Bolton

The Ashes of Orik

by Martin Bolton

He had never seen a funeral pyre burn so high. The flames soared upwards, and their fierce glow seemed to dim the light of even the brightest stars. It was as if the raging spirit of Orik’s father, for so long captive in his dying flesh, reached with undiminished fury for the sky. As he was in life, thought Orik, so he was in death.

Orik closed his eyes and felt the intense heat of the pyre on his face. As he did so his short life passed through his mind. He remembered every act of anger, compassion, jealousy, courage and cowardice he had ever committed. And with every memory he measured himself against his father. He realised he knew nothing that his father hadn’t told him. Continue reading

May 2015 – hedge bottom – Bog Standards by Martin Bolton

Bog Standards

by Martin Bolton

Dusk marched from the east. It looked annoyed about something.

The retreating sun lingered long enough for me to glimpse the flashes of stubby white tails as the last remaining rabbits darted beneath the hedge bottom, on their way to sleep secure beneath several feet of earth, away from the confusion and the madness of the world. I wondered if they dreamed. I wondered if I dreamed.

I had woken under an apple tree with a vile hangover, covered in bird droppings. Newton’s law conspired with a ripe apple and the resulting assault on my temple had stirred me from my booze-addled slumber. Sitting up, gingerly cradling my cranium, I was drawn to the main house, a hundred yards away, by the sound of a man bellowing. I groggily made my way towards the source of this obnoxious hooting. Continue reading