Father Xavier Murphy pulled his habit tight around his tall emaciated frame. It provided scant protection from the biting wind. Welcoming lights from the small Welsh town two miles away shimmered in the dusty atmosphere. The priest looked in vain for his promised transport, shrugged and started walking, thinking of the stiff whisky and warm bed at journey’s end. Looking skywards into thick scudding clouds lit by a full Moon, he felt closer to God and cheered in his lonely mission. Continue reading “Carbon Capture and the Priest – by Steve Luckham”
Fan Lit – With thanks to Isaac Asimov.
‘It’s just wonderful,’ Jim exclaimed as he hugged Jocasta, ‘but it needs a lot of work. Not many amenities.’
‘It’s perfect,’ smiled Jocasta. ‘Our little haven in the sun; away from it all.’
She looked at Jim’s smiling profile, his deep tan contrasting with grey hair, and noticed how weeks of travelling had sharpened his features. They had both lost weight and were fitter since Jim’s two-year sabbatical had started. Breathing fresh evening air flavoured with mountain ozone and the tang of organics from nearby Lago di Alserio, she walked towards the farmhouse door. It would be the perfect place from which to explore the mountains and lakes. Continue reading “Away From it All – by Steve Luckham”
“Do you think she’s dead?”
“The girl across the hall?”
“Oh fuck you!”
Laura lay on the bed, an ashtray balancing between her sagging breasts.
Laura said nothing as she lit a cigarette from the stub of the one she had just finished, crushing out the latter’s remnants.
Bradley surveys the tray. Three cigarettes with a disposable lighter, a carton of chocolate milk and a small bowl of jelly beans. This is luxury, or least as luxurious as things have been for some time. The weak light from the late winter, afternoon sun tries to penetrate the grime on the room’s solitary window. Bradley can barely see the clock on the other side of the room. He knows that the performance is due to start though and all he has to do is sit back and await his cue.
On Saturday, several people had seen the young sweethearts in a secluded corner of the local McDonalds. Seen, but not really noticed. The boy and girl sat in their own little world, making plans and sharing salty kisses between mouthfuls of chicken McNugget.
By Wednesday night, the first of their plans had come to fruition. Afterwards, they built a den on the living room floor and binged on ice-cream and Netflix. It was not until the following Saturday that the police kicked the door in. The young couple had gone AWOL before, and concerns had been raised about their recent disappearance. But until this moment, these hadn’t been the people the police were looking for. Continue reading “Teenage Kicks – by Rachel Hogg”
‘It’s the way you pour it,’ June exasperated. What a mess. The teacup was swimming in a pool of milk, the saucer full to the brim, and the surrounding tablecloth soaked. Fred could be such an embarrassment at times. He was getting worse in his old age, June was sure. They were in a teashop in York, all hushed voices and tinkling teaspoons, celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary.
‘Though how we’ve ever made it this far, I’ll never know’, June had half joked to Angela, oblivious to the wry smile Fred and Angela had shared. Continue reading “The Broken Teapot – by Rachel Hogg”
It had been some months since Inspector G__ had paid us a visit at our rooms in Fauborg St. Germain and I was becoming increasingly worried about my friend, C. Auguste Dupin. His fame had increased in Paris upon being responsible for solving a number of high profile murders and other cases and I knew this sat uncomfortably on his shoulders. These events meant that Dupin had not set foot outside our door for the last two months. He was a man who required stimulation. His most remarkable feature was his mental character. I would forever marvel at his ability to solve enigma and conundrum but, alas, I feared for his health. During the previous months Dupin had rarely moved from his chair and ate very little. Everything I tried had but no affect.
Another night slips away. I’m not ashamed of what I did but I am afraid of what is coming. The stiffness of new bedsheets pins me still. A bluish haze tinges the dark in the room, occasional sounds from machines pierce the silence.
The car horn sounds, again. This time I look, parting the slats of the blind at the window of my tenth floor office. There he is waiting in the parking lot. His long, thin legs are tightly sheathed in denim, ending in black pointed boots. The white shirt is open at the neck and the double cuffs hang loose. Smoke from a cigarette swirls around his neatly drawn beard and his hair is teased into a loose quiff. He stands in his usual louche fashion. I’m getting hard just watching him. He knows I am at the window and he knows what is happening to me.
Continue reading “The Cuckoo’s Call – by Ian A.”
‘It was testicular’, Denise says. ‘They caught it too late. Well, he caught it too late. I’m telling you, lads – check yourselves. It’s important. Promise me?’
Half promises are mumbled into half-drunk pints. We try not to make eye contact. Wakes are funny things. Familiar people dressed in unfamiliar clothes. Familiar surroundings infiltrated by unfamiliar people. I can’t remember the last time I saw Denise in the King’s. I’ve certainly never seen Mrs Morgan in here. She sits, silently, at the end of the table, a tiny sherry glass pinched between her meaty fingers. The black widow. She’s sitting in Danny’s usual seat, so he’s squashed in next to me by the window. Ned’s sitting in Roddy’s chair, which just looks wrong. We sit. No-one speaks. I wonder if I should stick summat on the jukebox. Continue reading “After the Funeral – by Rachel Hogg”