Bar Creep | Short Story

The girl had been pleasant enough, but only just enough. She had returned Stewie’s attempts at conversation with disinterest, doubtless cataloguing his harmless chatter as just another sleazy old man’s attempt to chat up a student.

Stewie had patter; he had stories that would make the girl and her friends’ university pranks seem small time, but the teenager’s body language spoke louder than her clipped words. Stewie returned to the warm dregs of his pint as the girl took a call on her mobile. Jackie, the barmaid, was in the back, slapping the top of the CCTV monitor in an attempt to force it into showing a picture before the night’s rush began. As he watched her increasingly violent efforts, it occurred to Stewie to wonder what the pictures would show.

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The Son I Raised | Short Story

‘Your first responsibility is here, Charlie.’

Piece of toast in his mouth, Charlie snapped his toolbox shut and reached for his coat. Evelyn stood with their infant son in her arms and a challenge on her face. She waited whilst her husband filled a thermos from the kettle, clingfilmed his sandwiches, and finished chewing.

‘You’re doing just fine with him,’ he answered eventually. ‘Mum’s getting on a bit; she can’t look after herself so well.’

‘She can look after herself a lot better than she makes out.’

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Grace Notes | Book Review

Grace Notes

Bernard Maclaverty

Vintage

£8.99

 

‘Catherine had never been in a church this late. The place was dim – a quarter lit to save electricity. One bulb in four. Sounds were magnified – a candle dropped, high heels on marble, the swing doors whumpfing closed. Coughing, with echoes. And old women whispering prayers full of esses. A coin dropped into the box of a candelabra – from the noise it was possible to tell how full it was – clink for full, clunk for empty. The sacristy lamp burned steadily in its red glass container – symbol of the real presence of the tabernacle. Jesus in flesh and blood.’ Continue reading “Grace Notes | Book Review”

A Sense of Perspective

I can smell bullshit a mile off. A person can do all the reading and all of the Youtubing they want – some things can’t be faked. Journalists will write about the history of the Great Pyramid of Khufu, but I can tell that they’ve not been inside, that they haven’t felt the sweat of tourists run down its four and a half thousand-year-old walls. Nor is such fakery limited to sunburnt tourists and more-money-than-sense septuagenarians. I’ve lost count of the number of lithe young things ironically wearing Beatles or Rolling Stones t-shirts. Scream all you want at Summerfest – in the seventies I was close enough to smell the sweat from Mick’s vest and to see the gleam of his back teeth as he attacked the microphone. Back then us ladies knew how to swoon. Continue reading “A Sense of Perspective”

Thankyou

Dear sir,

Now that I’m able to sit up they have given me a pen. This is so that I can write what I am feeling, or rather what their psychological textbooks suggest that I should be feeling. After the doctors have finished shining their torches into the backs of my eyes they search my face, their foreheads furrowed. I know what they are looking for – a flicker of madness, some trace of the rage bubbling up inside of me.

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Over the Edge

Don’t leave an ankle dangling over. Not even a toe. That was the rule. If you did, the monster under the bed would seize you as you slept. Ragged, blackened fingernails would trace their way up your calf before digging cruelly into your flesh. Veins would pop out from the unforgiving muscles of the creature’s forearm as his hand crushed ligament and bone. You would be dragged underneath your bed and down into the depths. Continue reading “Over the Edge”