The Strain of Writing

The strain was beginning to tell on Marcie. She had gone through dry spells before; every author did. This was different, though. It had been nine weeks and four days since the flashing cursor on her laptop screen had edged eastwards.

Marcie had tried every time-honoured, hippie-blessed, sing-in-a-circle-kum-bye-ah cure that internet search engines could be sent to fetch. Nothing had worked. Continue reading “The Strain of Writing”

Needled

Late afternoon sun would glint off the sewing needles as they darted in and out of embroidery. Low staccato chatter reverberated around the circle, the sound of court ladies who didn’t need to concentrate on what their quick hands were doing. An idle listener might mistake what they heard for tittle-tattle, harmless enough even in Puritan England. Nevertheless, for those in the sewing circle there were tales within tales, patterns in the stitches for those careful enough to look. Scandal could be conferred with a raised eyebrow and gossip smothered with a press of lips. Continue reading “Needled”

A Part of the Family

Sometimes I wonder if I’m in the right family, I really do. I’ll sit here in the evenings with everyone around me, eager to shoot the breeze, keen to discuss the day’s goings on. Not for them, though. They’ll sit there, mouths hanging open, guts spilling over the sides of sofas, expressions glaikit as they chew their way through a Chinese or an Indian or a fish supper. Continue reading “A Part of the Family”

Better Safe…

The nearer Jacob gets to his home, the longer the streets seem. Every day after work, he powerwalks the pavements, hugging the building lines, all the while envisioning the interior of his one bedroom flat. Over the ridge at Mimosa Avenue he catches sight of the indistinct facings and closed blinds of his apartment. Safe. Secure. Shut away.

Jacob doesn’t even look around him as he dives into the darkness of the common close. He feels the lock click into place behind him and strides up the stone stairs one step at a time. One more door, two more locks, and he is in the cool hallway of his flat, the bustle and traffic and chaos left behind. Jacob sighs and lets his shoulders sag as he leans against the inside of his front door. Continue reading “Better Safe…”

Out of Sight…

First down was the family goldfish. Flaccid and limp-finned, it had been surreptitiously slipped down the plughole as Sean’s daughter slept, shortly to be replaced by Goldie Mark II. Sean was aware that protocol demanded that the long-serving Goldie Mark I be flushed down the toilet with full military honours, but the en-suite was a chemical toilet and dissolving a family pet in what was essentially a pit of bleach felt a bit…premeditated.

When it came to the disposal, there was remarkably little fuss. Goldie did a couple of laps of the sink before finding his eternal rest and…was it Sean’s tired eyes playing tricks on him, or had the plughole widened ever so slightly in anticipation of its feast? Pulling the light chord, he went back to bed. Continue reading “Out of Sight…”