It was big enough for a grizzly but not the right shape. Too wide for a deer and not well enough defined to be a cougar. There was no frosting on the mud – whatever had made the tracks was close. Travis blew into his hands and shouldered his shotgun. Only a pale grey glow was left lingering above the treeline, the remnant of a sun long-set. He began to trudge up the forest trail again, breath clouding over his shoulder in the cold air. Continue reading “Alone Amongst the Beasts”
‘Is there a problem?’
The surreptitious closing of the door suggested that there was.
‘I’m sorry to inform you,’ began the official in a nasal voice. ‘That under section 27(a) of the Substance Abuse and Doping Act 2016…’
‘No,’ mouthed Ian, his eyes wide. ‘No.’ Continue reading “Performance Enhanced”
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”
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”
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…”
‘You don’t belong here,’ mumbled one.
Cold rain spattered against them as they sat. Nothing was said for a while. Nothing much ever was.
‘Not sure you’re suited to this kind of climate,’ muttered another.
She remained impassive, as usual. The moon peeked out from between scudding rainclouds and revealed an epitaph on her flank – ‘Sussex, 2018’. Continue reading “Hard Right”
I was one of those kids that put batteries in their mouths. I used to like the big 9V bad boys. The ones that give you just a hint of a tingle, going right to the root of your tongue. That’s how it started.
It was the choking hazard rather than the electricity that concerned my parents. Didn’t bother me, though. Every time they would extricate a saliva-covered Duracell from around my gums, I would wait until they left the room before slipping it back in again. Buzzzzzzzzzz. Eventually, once they could safely disregard my swallowing the battery, they let me be. It was just a phase, and better a little sulfuric acid than LSD, right? Continue reading “Building up Resistance”