The Broken Teapot – 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”

Elémentaire – by Ian A.

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.

Continue reading “Elémentaire – by Ian A.”

The Cuckoo’s Call – by Ian A.

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.”

After the Funeral – by Rachel Hogg

‘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”

The Gamble – by Steve Luckham

Arthur C Clarke’s third law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Captain Rackham woke at five-thirty sweating and with his heart racing. It was going to be another very hot day aboard the Jasmijn. The Sun was just below the horizon and the captain sensed good speed from the familiar creaks of the timbers and the sound of cracking sails of his fluyt. Continue reading “The Gamble – by Steve Luckham”

Sheeran’s Surprise – by Steve Luckham

It’s always embarrassing when dad comes to pick me up from rugby practice. I’d like to tell him to wait a few streets away so my posh friends don’t have to see the car. Nobody seems to take any notice but I can see it in their eyes, in their demeanour. The patronising pity or, even worse, the fake friendliness making them feel so good at having accepted the boy from the council estate. Continue reading “Sheeran’s Surprise – by Steve Luckham”