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

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December 2015 – the end – Untitled by John Pilling

Untitled

by John Pilling

We were sitting at our usual table in the back of Benny’s coffee shop when Charlie looked around then leaning forward pulled a copy of our local free newspaper out of his breast pocket and passed it to me.

“Have a look at that mate “he said quietly.

“What am I looking at?” I said.

“Inside the front page…down at the bottom.” Inside the paper there were two articles, one a puff for our local garage and the other showing a happy looking family mother, father and two children standing by a pile of suitcases on some sort of dock with a huge ship behind them. The caption read “local family takes world cruise.” Continue reading

April 2015 – lucky number – Toffee Crisp by Simon Evans

Toffee Crisp

by Simon Evans

I still shudder whenever I think of the Toffee Crisp incident. The mental scars are still very much with me, even though the horrid, beastly, terrifying incident took place many moons ago. So, sit back, relax and let me tell you the tale of an event so terrible it turned by ginger hair white.

I had just finished my A levels and my friend Dennis was flush for cash as his lucky number had come up in the lottery bonus ball sweep stake at the Sheep’s Head Inn.

A celebration was in order, so Dennis and I decided on a weekend of revelry at a holiday cottage at Badgers’ Cove, near Pixford, on the Oldenbury coast. Continue reading

January 2015 – left alone – The Hill by Martin Bolton

The Hill

by Martin Bolton

I was raised by things I cannot see. Nourished by a faceless presence.

Here in the dark, where I was left alone as an infant to die, I have lingered. Those who left me must have seen something in me, something inhuman. Something diabolical.

I remember clearly the night I was abandoned, the dank odour of decay, the darkness and the bitter cold as I lay in the undergrowth, gazing at the distant stars. I remember the increasingly fevered, excited whispers, snickers and sibilant chattering all around me, as if the trees themselves had come alive. I remember, too, the feeling that I was home, that I belonged in that cursed place where the tortured branches and the oozing, creeping weeds are but an abhorrent mockery of nature. Where the gnarled grey trees curl away from the light of the sun, as if it burns them, and keep all beneath them in perpetual shadow. Nothing natural exists on the hill where I dwell. Only mangled apparitions. Continue reading

December 2014 – closed door – The Reunion by Simon Evans

The Reunion

by Simon Evans

Pretty much exactly two months after the birth of our first child my wife fell ill and died within nine weeks. During her short but devastating illness she experienced periods of intense pain. I will never forget the night when I awoke to find her gripping my arm and whispering the words ‘Kill me’ with intense urgency. I didn’t kill her, I could never do that. The illness took that particular task off my hands. At other times her pain would ebb and linger in the wings of her dying days. On these occasions we would lie in bed, cradling our son, as the warm spring breeze billowed the curtains. We both had an unerring belief in the afterlife, the spiritual world beyond mere physical existence. We would talk with certainty about how we wouldn’t be apart, not ever. “I will come back to you my love,” she would say. Continue reading

January 2014 – “ever after” – Ever After by Martin Bolton

Ever After

by Martin Bolton

Be still, child, hear my voice
These words will save your soul.
I have a tale I must recite
And you must keep it whole,
For he who scorns this ghoul’s advice
Shall pay a heavy toll.
1.
One winter’s night, alone I sat,
In the shadows of my lair,
Dreaming of a time when life,
was fresh and bright and fair.
The twilight of my many years,
A burden mine to bear. Continue reading

January 2014 – “ever after” – Obsidian Heart by Paul Evans

Obsidian Heart

By Paul Evans

Chin raised, the princess drank her visage from the looking glass. She beheld hair of tied golden flax that released calculated curls, framing her sculpted features. Ruby lips parted around straight teeth of whitest ivory; and a petite nose nestled beneath intense eyes of emerald green.

Beautiful,” she exhaled.

Her enchantment was broken by the entrance of a serf into the chamber, preceded by a cursory knock.

You’re late,” he announced with unguarded ire, and departed as quickly as he had arrived. Continue reading