Friday

Do or Die by Terry Edwards (493 Words)


They say your life flashes before your eyes moments before it comes to its end .I've often thought why this is so and that perhaps the experience is similar to the tunnel of white light that supposedly accompanies the final journey
To be honest though I didn't believe it and even if it was true it would be impossible to convince others.

A year ago to the today I realised that the phenomenon is indeed real and I'd like to put forward my own theory for its existence.

The sweat dripping down my forehead into my eyes on a cold February day was the first sign that something was terribly wrong, my eyes began to twitch involuntarily and my mouth became desert dry
My legs soon began to lose their solidity and my heart began to beat like a badly made timepiece and then it happened.
Images started to appear in my head, like old faded photo's I hadn't seen for a long time but they were definitely of me, hazy scenes of early childhood, pre-school friends that I had forgotten about, summer afternoons by the seaside and my mother holding me in her arms
Image replaced image, scenes dissolved into others like a demented photo album being flicked in front of my eyes.

The scenes were becoming clearer now, I wasn't just a witness to them, I was there ,I could touch my surroundings and all my senses were alive in these moments but they were still haphazard and I had difficulty focusing for any length of time before moving on to another event. The winds of my history were blowing through me, tornados of thoughts, hurricanes of visions but all suddenly became still and a single clear episode remained.

I was suddenly re-experiencing an episode from my early twenties when I collapsed in the High-street, crowds gathered and watched my motionless body and I watched them dumbfounded, unable to mutter simple words that would save my life. A kind old lady with within the throng of onlookers realised what was wrong, ‘you’ve had an allergic reaction haven’t you, do you have a epinephrine shot with you'.

'I do, I do' were the words I managed to mutter and these were the words that saved my life.

'I do, I do were the words I found myself uttering again and with them I awoke from my visions to a packed church, the vicar standing in front of me and my wife to be beside me nervously waiting my answer.

The silent church gasped in relief and I placed a gentle kiss upon my wife's cheek.

You see at a life threatening moment your mind and soul revisits the stories of your life to find an appropriate solution to save your life and 'I do' were the words I needed again to save me from the hands of my dear wife and her family.

Thursday

Weapons Of Mass Distraction (458 Words)



Tony beams his trademark smug grin at Dave and says "See I told you nothing would happen."

Dave shakes his head in amazement, "I can't believe it, I honestly can't believe it."

"Well the data doesn't lie Dave, can I call you Dave?"

"Well most people call me Prime Minister but as it's you  . . . "

"Thanks Dave, the one piece of advice I give to people like you is don't give them what they want. Give them what they think they want and never, NEVER, give them what they need."

Confusion furrows the prime ministers brow.

Letting out a sigh, the perma-tanned peace envoy starts again. "Look it's all very simple. Do you really think it is just a coincidence that when I was in power reality TV took hold?"

"Ummm yes?  I mean no?"

Tony rolls his eyes, sighs and continues in his odd trans-Atlantic drawl.  " We distracted them with inanity while we pissed the country up the wall. Sure they were almost onto us when it came to the war but then X-factor started and it was all but forgotten about. You need to do the same Dave."

"The voice has just ended!" The Prime Minister blurts out excitedly, "We snuck the G8 conference in while the semi-finals were going on."

"Good job Dave! And what did you do during the finals?"

"Well I voted for Leah, can we look into why she didn't win? Only I had a bet with Cleggers who said the speccy girl would win and now I have to pass some of his ridiculous policy."

Tony rubs at the bridge of his nose trying to ease the stress that is piling up on him. "David, Davey, Dave you really don't get this do you? What you have done there is yeah, you've distracted yourself. It's easily done but you really should have this down pat by now."

"I'm sorry; I'm really not very good at this. We never expected to win but the whole Gordon thing just sort of swept us up."

"Ah yes Gordon, the less said about him the better. But, and this is important Dave so pay attention. Gordon was my scapegoat just like Gideon or Nick can be yours. All you have to do is chose who you want to take the fall for you"

"I thought I was going to win the next one as well?"

Tony' smug grin slides for a second and is replaced by something far more sinister, "They haven't decided yet Dave and that is why I am here today."

He flicks open his briefcase, pulls out a folder and tosses it across the desk to the Prime Minister. "This is what you're going to do about Syria."



Wednesday

Derailed by @NeilSehmbhy (494 Words)


 All day I spent looking for you just yesterday and the day before. Deep beneath the bustle of the train station, I retraced our steps along platforms and tunnels, travelling the route we shared together. If I look closely I can see the mark your shoulder made against the freshly painted wall. I remember how you found time to curse, even as you told me it was over. Leaning over the railing  I scan the crowds, hopeful for a flash of red, a glimpse of your Korn t shirt, or the clack of your heeled boots on the tiled floor. Victoria station where I first saw you, months before I mustered enough courage to speak to you. Once we sat next to each other drinking coffee, knees touching under the table, silent. I told people about the woman on the train, way before we spoke, as if our future was predetermined. For the first time in my life I was grounded, calm. I understood my destination and who I'd be travelling with. One evening you were late, I panicked, almost leaving the train. But then you were there, squeezing in beside me. The spike of your heel stabbed my foot, but as you apologised, our eyes met and the rest was easy. We discovered we lived two streets from each other. That evening as we emerged into the bright sunshine, the world was bright, not grey. My heart raced and my hands trembled as I hared up the stairs to my flat.

"Guess who I spoke to today?" I gasped.

My flat mate, Jenny, rolled her eyes.
"Don't tell me, the girl on the train?"

My phone beeped as I nodded.Jenny winked. "That'll be her now."

Checking my message, you'd text "Hello you! xxx."

We fit together seamlessly, and met each others family and friends. It was amazing. Jenny moved out and you moved in, 'our place' we called it.

I never realised, anything had changed until you told me. I didn't notice the late nights or believed there was someone else, but the signs were there, even if I ignored them. I marvelled at how beautiful you were even as you spelled it out for me, my back against the wall, your eyes distant.
You were leaving.Out of town. With him.

Even then, I didn't want believe it.That was the last time I saw you.

I keep coming here, expecting you to walk straight past me. I imagine you, unchanged. Unlike me. I sit on the bench nearest the tunnel, the same as I have everyday beneath the map of the underground. A loose corner of the poster on the wall opposite flaps in a rush of stale air as the tannoy sings out the approach of the next train.

Without hesitation, I rise and jump onto the line. Just as I did before. One day I'll find you and take you with me. Together,  forever like we should be.

Tuesday

O'Hannigan's Downfall (492 Words)



I was walking back to my office after waking up in the gutter and breakfast at Kats, I had the eggs and a vat of coffee. The night before had been a heavy one, I couldn't really remember, but my empty wallet told me it must have been good. 

Some bum with a brown paper bag full of hopes and dreams asked me if I had any spare change. I told him I needed a driver and offered him the job; all we had to do first was find my wheels. He laughed as if I was joking; I tossed him the keys, told him hurry up.

Three blocks and half a bottle later we're best friends, we found my car in an even bigger mess than when I left it. It's hard to say it was set on fire or filled lead first, either way I was just glad I wasn't in it. I told my friend his services weren't needed after all, so with a shrug he headed off back to wherever it is bums go. I watched as he rounded the corner already missing him, when some yahoo leaned on his horn and shouted that I can't park there.

Everyone in this town is a freaking comedian, and I let him know how funny I thought he was by flipping him the bird. The car screeched to a halt and the funny man got out. He was a lot bigger than me so I reached inside my jacket, made like I'm going for my piece. He didn't know I wasn't packing, thought better of it and got back in his car.

Counting my blessings I headed back across town wondering if the day could get any worse, it was a rhetorical question that God answered by sending a thunder storm my way, the lousy rat bastard. 

By the time I get back to the office I'm  a drowned rat, the door had been kicked in but I was past caring, I just wanted to get some shut eye and a warm drink. I've got a bottle of scotch in my desk, it's the only thing I keep there to be honest. It's a bad neighbourhood, but the rent is cheap. 

I breezed past the broad sat on the couch I was hoping to use a bed for a few hours got myself a drink and told her she owed me for a new door.

She told me she didn't owe me a damn thing and that after last nights performance I owed her and her partners. I told her to watch her mouth and how I didn't really remember a lot about last night.

She rolled her eyes, fished around in her pockets and threw a wedge of cash at me. "Twelve hours O'Hannigan, Twelve hours and I want the chief of police dead and buried. Then you'll get the rest."

This day just kept getting better and better.

Monday

The Plasterer by @UncleSpong (357 words)



Working alone was Cole's raison d'être. The silence was uplifting and inspiring, a field of green pasture for his thoughts to wander and graze unencumbered.  No orders barked from the client, no workshy colleagues regularly slipping away for a crafty Lambert & Butler and, most appealing of all, no Radio One. If there was one thing he'd learnt in his 18 years in the trade, it was that no matter who presents the breakfast show, it can only appeal to those whose brains are in the last stages of atrophy.

Cole had never been a popular colleague. He refused to laugh at the sexist jokes, tore down the page 3 clippings in the cab of the van and winced at the industrial language which was the norm among his fellow craftsmen. He'd seen off many an apprentice. A week or two in his company and, without fail, they wouldn't bother turning up the following Monday.

He scratched his bum cleavage, dolloped another lump of plaster onto his hawk and picked up his float trowel. He'd almost finished the final skim. Solitary working was the key to expediency. He'd be done by 3pm, the van would be back at the yard by 3.08pm and he'd be in the Red Lion – at his regular stool by the end of the bar – by 3.11pm. Clockwork.

His knew his boss, Bywater, would be pleased. Another job finished ahead of schedule, on budget and with a tidy profit. Bywater had given up snagging Cole's work. It was pointless. His work was always exemplary. Never a callback and never a complaint. The holidaying client would be yet another satisfied customer.

He picked up his mixing bath, filled now with his cleaned-up tools, and took them outside to the filthy, rusting van and dumped the rubble sacks in the skip on the street. Cole re-entered the house, ran the palm of his hand along the damp, arrow-straight wall and admired a job well done.

And without a second thought about the now feint tapping of his bound apprentice frantically gasping for air on the other side of the wall, he pulled the door shut.

Friday

Stalker by @JaneBennett65 (499 Words)


Having securely locked her front door, she put away her key and fussed over her bag in the pretence of looking for something that was lost.  She was in fact looking for him. With her head lowered and right hand rummaging about in the depth of her handbag, she peered up through her fringe and surveyed her surroundings.  Neatly mowed lawn, two terracotta flower pots and a concrete path that led to a black painted gate. Uncluttered and minimal. Nothing planted.  Planting meant digging, and digging in the dirt was not something she was inclined to do.
The familiar prickling at the back of her neck started.  She couldn’t see him, but she knew.  She knew that as soon as she stepped through the gate and started walking he would be there.  It had been going on for months now.  The stalking.  At first she had thought she was imagining it, that it was all in her head, and even toyed with the thought that she might be ill or slightly disturbed.  Well actually, she was disturbed.  Disturbed by the fact that every time she left her house she was followed.  
She hardly ever saw him.   It was peripheral glimpses as she turned to cross a road, stopped to chat to a friend, or a flash image in a shop window.  She had discussed what was happening with her friends one night over a meal, and to be honest she was not sure how seriously they had taken her.  Fuelled by alcohol she had had the confidence to share her discomfort and was duly informed that it was not such a big deal, and that she should perhaps be flattered by the attention.  They had mocked her in good humour, but their insensitivity had hurt her and as time went by she was disinclined to confide further. She had instead taken to wearing flat shoes, as heels compromised her speed; and she had concluded that the day might come when running was her only option.  She wanted to be prepared.
Pulling her coat close to her body, and clutching her bag to her side, she walked briskly down the avenue and turned onto the main road.  She passed the co-op advertising its 5 a day and stopped outside the tatty newsagents.  She glanced nervously around her.  Everyone and everything looked suspicious.  She knew he was there. Watching.  Waiting.  Following.  Tears sprung to her eyes and she fought the urge to wail in public.  She had had enough.  She was going to confront him and put an end to it.  Scare him off if she could.  No- one was going to do it for her.
She moved on down the road, slowing her pace, all her senses alert and on edge.  She knew he was close, could feel him behind her.  She would let him catch up, let him think he was safe and she was unaware of his presence.
Furiously she turned and screeched ‘GO HOME YOU STUPID CAT’.

Thursday

The Greatest Show On Earth (360 Words)



Lanterns line the path that runs from the farmhouse and on down through the wood,  showing the excited party the way forward. 

Since his big win and after the messy and very public legal battles with his estranged family were dealt with, Carl became a recluse. He bought the farm of his dreams and buried himself in the work. There were rumours of nervous breakdowns, tramp beards and midlife crises so when the invitations arrived people were pleasantly surprised.

On they walk enjoying the warm summers evening wondering what lies ahead for them. Guesses are made some closer than others, but no one expects the sight that meets them as they reach the clearing in the forest.

At a modest forty foot across Big Top is maybe a slight exaggeration but it is the best description for the yellow and red candy striped tent that greets them. 

Noticing his guests arrival Carl emerges from within and beckons them with a cheery "If you think this is impressive you should see inside!" 

Sofas and beanbags surround a small dancefloor that butts onto an equally modest stage. "Make yourselves comfortable and help yourselves to drinks." Says Carl gesturing to the numerous fridges dotted along the walls. 

Always uncomfortable in the spotlight Carl flits from group to group making sure everyone has drinks until enough has flown that the guests, his friends, finally started to help themselves. 

With a reasonable amount of Dutch courage in him Carl takes to the stage and taps the microphone like he has seen in the movies. The audience falls to a hush and wait for their host to speak, " Thank you all for coming, hopefully this will be a bit of a regular thing. As you all know I love my music, it's how most of us came to be friends. Anyway I'm rambling so I'll just say ladies and gentlemen it gives me great pleasure to introduce Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band!" 

A few people in the crowd clap as the trio take to the stage, Carl hops off and finds himself a seat, the lights now thankfully lowered, hiding the grin plastered across his face. 

Wednesday

Taxus baccata by @UncleSpong (426 words)


She unzipped her skirt, a pencil thin number in grey and black dogtooth check with a split to the rear, dropped her knickers and squeezed out every last drop. It wasn't exactly the sexual afterglow she had fantasised about when imagining her first time.

Her colleagues had forewarned her. Jane had been with the company for two years longer than her, and her predication had been spookily accurate. This morning she had been handed a typewritten note by a man she had never laid eyes on before, requesting – nay, demanding – her presence at his city centre office on the fourth floor of a grey, Portland stone building overlooking the civic square.

Hey, she wasn't deluded and she wasn't naïve. She knew it was all about the sex, not an opportunity to get a pen pal or find a soul mate. It was only ever going to be about rough touches, frenzied grappling, the snapping of bra straps and her manicured digits fumbling in his y-fronts for his hairy, circumcised member.  Romance was not on the menu. How could it be? She'd never understood the combover and pencil moustache combination and it didn't do it for her at all. It was a transaction; he would shoot his hot seed into her and she would gladly accept, whether it gave her pleasure or not. If she wanted to make progress with the television broadcasting company and escape the bottom rung of the ladder, she knew this much was the minimum expected of her.

The encounter had been, euphemistically, an experience. As the cold reality of the last hour was replaying in her mind, she began to wonder whether it had all really happened. The folded note, the bus journey across town, knowing glances from the receptionist when she announced her arrival in the entrance lobby. The last vestiges of lube on her labia and the tangible ache in her taut calves were testimony to the reality that this had indeed just taken place. Did she enjoy it? Sort of. Did she regret it? That could only be answered in the fullness of time.

She grabbed a handful Izal Medicated – the very same toilet paper that ensured no schoolchild ever visited a toilet unless they were suffering some sort of rectal apocalypse – smeared away the evidence, then washed her hands and reassembled herself. She stared into the mirror, composing herself, before applying her lipstick, blotting and then whispering to herself:

"My name is April Conroy, and one day I will be extort that philandering bastard for all he's worth."


Tuesday

Martin McVeigh Labour MP (500 Words)


With a cry of "for god's sake!" Martin throws his copy of the Telegraph across the table in disgust.

"What's the matter now dear?" ask his wife with the practised air of sounding like she cares.

"The prime minister has announced plans to outlaw magic in public places because of that bloody McIntosh child's latest outburst!"

"Well he did demolish most of a school dear …"

"Yes I know, but this was meant to be MY idea, MY big plan and now I have got to argue against it"  

"You could always agree dear, it is for the good of the country after all."

"Mary my love, we have been over this time and time again. I am the leader of the opposition I can't just go agreeing with the Prime Minister on matters like this. I need to offer an alternative or at the very least just say I wouldn't do it if I was in power. It's how politics works."

"So what are you going to do?"

"God knows."  Martin lets out a sigh, pushes his half eaten breakfast to one side, rests his head in his hands and mumbles "come on Marty think think think"

Mary smiles lovingly at the top of her husband's head and starts to clear the table. "You could always blame the bullies dear."

Martin sits bolt upright, a beaming smile plastered across his egg yolk stained face. "The culture of bullying at Ballyforth comp is to blame for this debacle! The very school I went to has descended into gang violence under this shambles of a government. A once proud school, no no. A once proud establishment! Has been reduced to rubble because of one poor boys treatment."

"See dear, I knew you would think of something … you've got egg on your face."

"Well so will the Prime Minster by the time I've finished with him!" Roars Martin, the political fire in his belly now fully stoked.

"No you really have, just there in the corner of your mouth. " Pulling a handkerchief from the pocket of her apron, Mary spits on it and rubs the yolk off her husband's face.

"Right, shit, shower, shave and then I'm calling a press conference … ooh I could do it at the school! Mary, where is my hard hat and hi-vis vest?"

"Under the stairs dear, do you want your wellies as well?"

"Good idea but they are a tad muddy, last time I wore them was the countryside alliance march … I don't suppose you could give them the once over could you?

"Of course I can dear, don't wear a tie they look silly with hi-vis."

Martin kisses his wife on the cheek and dashes upstairs to get ready. Mary smiles and walks over to the cupboard, pulls out a filthy pair of green wellington boots. "Oh this won't do at all!" she says to herself.

Holding the boots at arm's length she whispers "fläckfritt" at them and the grime dissapears.


Monday

The Early Days Of Spring by @JamaaLlama (318 Words)



Spring was coming, I could smell it on the wind.. that slightly sweet hint of new life emerging from the bleakness of another harsh winter. I blinked and stretched, the feeling slowly returning to my limbs, stiff from inactivity.

My eyes slowly adjusted to the daylight, and life came into focus. Around me the noises of the world starting up ~ the rising sun pulling people from their beds, strangely eager to start their day.

“It looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day” I thought, and started humming cheerfully as I went about my daily routine. Today was the day to kick into gear and get on with jobs.

Ablutions finished, I moved quickly on to tidying the house, amazed by how dusty things looked in the sunlight ~ I tutted, this just wouldn’t do, I liked things to be orderly, just so, “I might have a spot of that OCD” I chuckled to myself as I worked.

Jobs finished I decided to get out of the house and see what was to be done outside. The sun welcomed me and my Circadian rhythms urged me on ~ “Things to do, places to go, people to annoy” I announced gleefully and scooted out.

I saw the new family that had moved in to next door and thought now would be the time to go and welcome them properly, winter had made me unsociable I realised, I needed to rectify this straight away. “I’ll buzz over now and say Hello” I thought, “No time like the present”.

As I reached their front door I decided to announce myself properly.. “Hello, Hello” I called out ~ and that’s when it hit me, God knows what it was, but it’s the last thing I remember.....

Jim put the rolled up paper in the bin and walked indoors “Bloody wasps” he remarked to his wife “Just killed another one”.

Friday

Countdown Conundrum by @UncleSpong (478 words)


The toxicology results were already lying on his desk when DI Jepson entered his windowless office. As the energy saving bulb laboured towards full brightness he held the one page printout closer to his eyes, squinting to see the eight point font.

"Need a sodding microscope to read these reports," he muttered to himself.

Name: Michael John Leader
Cause of death: multiple organ failure.
Toxins: Tetramethylene disulfotetramine (Tetramine)

"Tetramine? Is this 1973? Who uses rat poison to bump someone off these days?" Jepson rose from his chair, simultaneously pushing it backwards with his thighs until it thumped against the radiator behind him. He needed to consult Borowicz, his number two. Borowicz had conducted the interview with Whiteley, their prime suspect. She'd already coughed for the crime and given a hint about the bizarre motivation. But it was only now that they were discovering how she'd carried it out.

"Go through it again please," asked Jepson, his hand searching in his pocket for a Smint.

"Sir, she claims she tired of his jokes and the constant jibes from her colleagues," Borowicz began. He gave a précis of Whiteley's statement:

She'd started at Bentley's butchers around six months ago. Leader was the first customer she'd served. He'd seen her name badge – Carol – and had queried what her surname was.

"Let me guess," Leader had joked, putting his fingers to his temples and closing his eyes as if to summon an unworldly source, "Your surname is Vorderman?"

She'd heard it countless times before. Same joke, different face, same reaction. She'd rolled her eyes, feigned a smile and responded: "No, it's Whiteley."

"Get away," Leader had spluttered, unable to conceal his excitement. "Really? Oh my…"

Leader always turned up on Thursdays and her heart would sink. His five-day chin stubble, grey trousers stained from rubbing chip fat off his hands while watching television, a plum jumper with cigarette burns concealing a white shirt which he'd done up by misaligning the buttons and button holes. She'd wait for the joke. A play on words about his conundrum; something about gluten playing havoc with his vowels; a mumbled anecdote about a consonant threat to his reputation. He thought he was hilarious. But she'd found it tiresome. It became the 'in' joke among the staff, and they'd all run for cover when they saw his profile shuffle past the shop window, hiding behind the multi-coloured fly-screen door, stifling giggles. When he'd gone, the lewd suggestions were bandied about. That's when she'd begun to plot.

On his final visit he'd joked: "I'll have two large ones and four from anywhere else." Six sausages, one of them laced with tetramine. Russian roulette in a sausage.

"Don't you see, Sir? That's the link," whispered Borowicz, embarrassed for his DI that he'd still not joined the dots. "Tetramine. That's it. Nine letters. Anagram of terminate. The joke's on Leader."

Thursday

The Monkey On The Chip On My Shoulder (311 Words)



Living with this, living like this, isn't easy. 

You never really know how the day is going to go, sure sometimes you can open your eyes and feel the sun, and you just know today is going to be a good day.

But sometimes you open you eyes and feel only darkness, feel it weighing you down right to the depths of your very being. 

Those aren't good days.

Other days you get up feeling fine and things just go to shit.

"Better kill yourself," says the voice in your head.

These intrusions come like bolts out of the fucking blue.

"Why are you writing this shit? No one cares."

Delete.

Delete.

Delete.

"Fucking pussy, grow some balls."


Sure there are days you feel that impending doom and things pan out alright.

Maybe you hear a song you really like, or the way the sun comes through the trees makes you smile. Maybe you see a little girl dressed as a bee skipping on her way to school.

You've got to appreciate the little things, find the love that is out there. Block out the bad, stop reading the papers, watching the news, the soaps, reality tv, try and remove yourself from the never ending cycle of misery.

This is easier said than done, and it'll still be there, the voice in your head. Just waiting for things to slip enough to let him back in. Let him start chipping away at you again.

You'll never shut him up, never truly be free and to be honest it is fucking terrifying.

Once you accept that, you can start to get on with your life again. The voice won't be so loud anymore. It's still there, just not screaming in your ear.

That's what I'm trying to do these days.

Live.

This isn't a suicide note, this is a declaration of life.

Wednesday

A Magical Evening by @Neilsehmbhy (500 Words)


He had the decency to look her in the eyes at least and not stare at the top of her head. The only one that didn't treat her like a dumb dwarf. That didn't stop him from helping of course. Even though Petunia was twice as strong as him, Kevin insisted on carrying her cauldron and tomes. And he looked the other way when she launched the Elf that was bullying him out the window.  

Accordingly at his old school Ballyforth,nothing stopped him from using magic. But at Windblem's powers were only allowed in class, especially after Petunia had turned the admissions clerk into a teapot.

Kevin had a temper but if you took magic away then he was just a skinny kid with anger issues. So Petunia had become his unofficial protector. Although Kevin mouth still did get him into trouble,
Each time those piercing blue eyes locked onto hers she felt sorry for him.

It had taken him three weeks to pluck up the courage to ask her on a date. Holding him up against the lockers helped spur him along.

And so they had decided to go the cinema to watch a film.
' Y Bwytawyr'. Kevin said it was a 'Classic fairytale', but Petunia had looked it up on the wizard's net and wasn't convinced.

It had taken Petunia hours to get ready, cleaning a  mythril chain mail dress wasn't easy. Still it was gleaming when she had finished.

They had met at a eatery close to the cinema, some Scottish place that put burnt pieces of cow rump into small bread rolls. There was no roasting haunches and mead and the unseen bard played very strange music. Still Petunia had politely munched on the burgga and ignored the stares.

After they had eaten they walked over hand in hand to watch the film. Petunia only crushed his hand once, when a metal chariot nearly ran her over.

As they stood in the queue to buy tickets Petunia heard giggles and crude laughter behind her.

'Two adults to see Y Bwytawyr
please. 'Kevin asked the attendant.

'Its a 12A mate. Your birds too young.' The attendant replied lazily

'No she's an adult. ' said Kevin going red in the face.

'Look mate, she's a kid. She needs a booster. ' Petunia had turned scarlet and was clenching her fists as popcorn hit her head.

'She's a dwarf.' said Kevin through gritted teeth, mortified.

Petunia looked down at the floor missing her staff, that she had left at home.

'Dwarf mate no need to frikking tell me. Still can't see it.'

'Give me the tickets' Kevin shouted waving a £10 note.

'No!' Said the attendant

Kevin furiously bellowed 'Sharazz am mattraaa'

Kablamm. Smoke filled the cinema and when it cleared everyone had turned into Stone..immovable states standing around.

Kevin tugged her hand and said
'Come on Petunia. Let's watch the film.'

Petunia sighed putting her head against his side. She loved a bad boy.

Tuesday

Jumpers for Goalposts (500 Words)


It is another splendidly average day at Ballyforth comp and our hero Kevin McIntosh is in the process of being picked last for football. Dressed in the striped yellow and black kit he resembles an anaemic wasp. Wizards aren't built to wear shorts, they are meant to wear robes and pointy hats.

He doesn't blame his school chums for not wanting him on their team, he wouldn't pick him but the bartering system currently being operated is demeaning to all involved. While he isn't exactly nimble he knows in his heart of hearts he is worth more than current offer Fatty Jenkins and Wheezy Gibbs.

Eventually a deal is struck. Kevin is to play in defence, keep his hands by his sides at all times and only move when play is coming in his direction and then it is to be out of the way as quickly as possible. In return Darren Clarke gets Fatty, Wheezy and a two goal head start. Deal done Kevin trudges off to his assigned spot, the whistle is blown and the game commences.

For the first five minutes Kevin pays attention and even dutifully runs out of the way of Clarke as he blazes a trail down the wing and bags an easy goal. After that his mind starts to wander. He is thinking about how no self-respecting wizard should ever partake in sport, even if it is broom based and allegedly dangerous, when an errant ball from Speccy Tomkins's foot hits him square in the face.

"Jesus H Christ McIntosh, you can't even do nothing right can you?" Screams Mr Roberts the stereotypically unfit P.E teacher, "pick yourself up and kick the ball here, you useless wazzock."  

Mr Roberts was of the old school mind-set that the more you shouted at your pupils the more they loved you. He was of course very wrong, the kids good at sport loved him; the ones like Kevin who were less than athletically blessed, despised him. 

Kevin picks himself up off the floor, his face scarlet both from the impact and embarrassment and walks over to the ball.

"In your own time eh McIntosh, we don't mind waiting do we lads?" heckles the mean spirited teacher.

As he draws back his foot to kick the ball back to the baying mob, Roberts chimes in again "Take cover lads! Who knows where this is going to end up!" and theatrically dives for cover.

Turning an even deeper shade of red Kevin mutters "Sonic Boom" under his breath and boots the ball with all of his might.

It's hard to say if the ball catches fire as he kicks it or if it self-combusts from the speed it travels at. It is however far easier to say that the classic "drop and roll" technique of fire extinguishing is put to good use by all caught in the wake of the leather comet. Kevin knows he'll probably be expelled for this one but he is past caring anymore.


Monday

Death by @Lucy_Magnuson (496 Words)


Death picked up the 'to do list'. It had the usual combination of wasted lives, tragedy, horror and blessed release. To be honest he could have told you the make-up of it without looking. He'd been doing the job for a fucking eternity, he'd be doing it for an eternity more. To say he was bored would be an understatement.

But he was caught. The big fella had him by the metaphorical balls. He could avoid an eternity 'up' or 'down' if he agreed to gather the souls up at the end of their fleshy years.

Now this seemed like a good idea at the time. As someone who hadnt exactly been the bes behaved during his lifetime, the idea of avoiding 'down' seemed good, so he'd signed up. Then he'd learnt the truth. That actually going 'down' was actually a rather good thing.

He sighed, long since resigned to his fate as the git with the scythe, he had decided he might as well have fun. Like telling the newly dead exactly where they could go. Or prolonging the agony of those who truly deserved it. He was death. He was allowed to be vindictive.

The list. Yes. The list.

His bony finger ran down the tablet screen.

'Twat'

'Wanker'

'Idiot'

'Fucksake thats a brilliant way to die'

'Legend'

'Gutted'

'Cunt'

'Ooooooooh'

He stopped. Now there was someone he wanted to drag to the afterlife personally. Very personally. Probably by the scrotum. With a fish hook. Oooh yes this would be fun.

He tapped the names on the screen rapidly, despatching todays souls to their eternal resting places. But him. He was his.

Grabbing his scythe he skipped out his office and into the void. Death was coming to play.

…............................................................................................................................................................

The knock at the door woke him. It was late. He was tired. A long day in meetings. Too much to sort. Not enough time. And worse still these idiots weren't as pliable as the ones back home. He wanted to sleep.

Another knock.

Did they not know who HE was?

Staggering out of bed, he opened the door 'What the fuck do you want...?' his words trailing off as he saw the robed figure looking into him.

'Oh fuck'

'No thanks, I had one before I left the office' giggled Death. Honestly, he cracked himself up.

'Ready to go then? Cos I sure as hell am ready to take you'

Death cackled again. 'I have somewhere special for you, a perk of the job. The amount of innocent souls you sent me after your dossier was published....? You deserve an eternity of red hot pokers up your arse'

Panic spreading across his face, the man tried to beg, tried to plead. But it was no use. He didn't care how influential you were. How much money you had. Death was a bony bastard on a mission.

'And for fucksake don't mention chess or I'll bugger you myself and you really don't want that'



Friday

Trolls Don't Always Live Under A Bridge by @neilsehmbhy (500 words)



'You must obey your Master', interupts the percussive sound of my fingers on the keyboard. The  Darth Vader clock tells me its 9pm. Dinner should be here soon. Leaving the desk I contemplate switching off the laptop, my hand hovering for a fraction, but I leave it on and walk away.

As the kettle boils I think about what I've achieved today. 12 hours work visiting 7 blogs and 5 message boards. Peddling my own unique witticism and criticism. They call it Trolling. I call it work. It's viral marketing, stealth commerce. Guiding people to buy things by cajoling,ridiculing and bullying them. 

My ex called me a 'Manipulative bitch.' I call it influencing.

The principle is simple. People use social media to connect right?
Look hard on Forums and message boards and you can find some really messed up people. I just make them feel bad and slip the odd product into my posts.

Let me give you an example.  Adultery thread...Durex, Role play.. Ann Summers, Alcoholism. .Smirnoff. Simple.

Once people swallow a barrage of abuse they'll feel pitiful, vunerable. They click a link, and I get paid.  I'm good, I make sure I get paid.

Some call it 'Antisocial', I call it 'Pro social'. Love me or hate me when I troll its a talking point. I'm spreading the word, the gospel like Jesus.

Site hits go up, posters feel down and I get paid. I'm not a total bitch though, sometimes I'm nice. Sometimes I feel bad but it doesn't last long. People are stupid, they deserve it. It's only ever backfired once and that wasn't my fault. I was new. And  what sort of dumbass company makes some one push aspirin and scotch on a Self harming site.

That nearly stopped me trolling.I feet so guilty that I almost went back to work at McDonald's.  Only for about a week though, then I was fine.

A knock at the door tells me dinner is here so I grab my purse and anwser it.

'Pizza.' The delivery guy is cute in an Emo way, long dark black hair covering his eyes and his sleeves pulled down to hide the faint scars on his arms

Reaching into my purse I pull out a £20 note, just as I remember I'd ordered Chinese tonight. Excruciating pain blossoms from my chest.

Looking down I see a black handled knife buried deep, blood slowing seeping into my clothing and onto the floor.

Falling I reach out to grab him.
'Why?'

'Darla. My sister. She was only sixteen you bitch. Sixteen and you killed her with your poison. With your fucking stupid words.' He's crying, his tears mingle with my blood on the floor before he drops the pizza box and runs away.

The world turns black as I crawl back inside my flat, trying to reach my iPhone. Weak and bleeding out, the last thing I see is my laptop lying open on my desk.

Thursday

A New Eden (397 Words)


Orbiting Earth at a little over two hundred miles, space station nine made for an odd Garden of Eden. The sterile environment was devoid of botanical life, the air had a medical taint to it and was circulated by the ever thrumming fans and the two crew members still breathing it were the last human beings alive.

War had broken out six years previously; old grievances once again surfaced. Only this time no one backed down, no truce was agreed. Mutually assured destruction was ignored and mankind was pushed to and then beyond the brink.

In her full prime SS9 was home to a team of six astronauts picked from across the globe. The project was a relic from a peaceful time, international harmony and cooperation. they had sat and watched in dumbstruck awe as humanity had destroyed itself in a glorious nuclear firework display. 

Comm links were still live for a few months after the bombs fell as the political and rich elite hunkered down in their bunkers and desperately reached out to one another. The crew dutifully followed their mission orders until the comms finally stopped. The last one was a sorrowful plea for forgiveness from president Kornev. Avel had translated it for his companions, locked himself in the latrine and slit his wrists.

Janssen was next, no one touched her or actually went as far as openly pointing out her importance as the sole female but the mood on board changed. She went out to perform some routine maintenance and cut her tether, waving as she slowly drifted into the void.

Chaos descended soon after. Rogers stabbed Cho in the throat over an argument about toothpaste. Palmer and Koresh were rightfully terrified and in mankind's last act of survival of the fittest they made a pact. 

Together they spiked his food, bound him and loaded his sleeping body into the waste disposal. It was Koresh who pressed the compact button, who pressed the discharge button but it was Palmer who held him and watched the still twitching crushed shell of man vanish into the distance.

That was a long time ago and now their orbit is ever deteriorating, the rations are all gone. Their only hope is the untested escape craft and a return to a barren planet.

What lies ahead for them only god knows but at least they will have each other.

Wednesday

His Last Night (429 words) by @UncleSpong



The rain was coming fast now. Trickling at first, now a torrent. Warm too.

He was struggling to find a comfortable position. The unevenness of the floor was an annoyance, but that was always the risk when sleeping in the doorway of a Georgian shopfront. The canopy offered little protection from the elements but the width of the doorway was unusually generous, enough to adopt a foetal position and nod off.

But tonight felt unusual. On the face of it, everything was familiar. The cardboard boxes, pilfered from a compacting machine in Sainsbury's car park, were in sound condition. Likewise, the bubblewrap was wide and generous; only two pieces needed give him almost complete coverage. And his hat – his trusty black and burgundy beanie – was pulled over his eyebrows. God knows when it was last washed. He was immune to his stench, but he knew he couldn't smell good. The general reaction of passing shoppers told him as much. Sometimes the kids, especially the small ones, couldn't help but gush with honesty. The innocence of their statements heartened and hurt him in equal measure. A glimpse of what he once was, tempered by the reality of what he had now become.

And still he couldn't get comfortable.

He closed his eyes. Thoughts turned to his brother, killed when he was just six years old. And then his mother, consumed by the guilt and overtaken by anger. The stony silences, the smell of stale cider on her breath, the arguments, the beatings, the burns on his back, the decision to leave.

And still he couldn't get comfortable.

His body jolted. A pain in his arm forced a grimace and a contortion of his body he could barely believe was possible. His arched back sunk back to the uneven doorstep and he breathed shallow, gasping breaths.

The noise in the distance had grown louder. Three – perhaps four – had approached from the traffic lights. He guessed they had been drinking and wondered whether they would kick him, as had happened last night, or steal his cardboard like the night before.

Another stabbing pain in the arm forced his eyes wide. It felt like an electric shock. He closed his eyes and prayed for mercy to a God that he had never really believed in. He drifted towards what felt like comfortable sleep.

The footsteps stopped. He felt the shadow of a male envelop him and recognised the unzipping of a fly followed by an alcohol-fueled laughter. His mind slowly faded to black. And then the rain. First a trickle, then a torrent.

Tuesday

No Country For Live Men (496 words)



The shot rings out across the valley, sending the reluctant vultures scattering away from the carrion feast. In all of his days as a lawman he has never seen such carnage. Bandits, coachmen, horses and what he assumed were gentlemen passengers of the elegant four horse carriage lay dead all around him. Something bad, something very, very bad has happened here and now it was down to him to clear it up.

Shielding his eyes from the intense glare he looked out towards the horizon, he still has a good few hours of daylight on his side. You didn't want to be out here alone after dusk.

"Why kill the horses?" he mutters to himself.

The loss of human life had stopped shocking him long ago but the suffering of animals cuts him right down to his soul.

With a heavy sigh he trudges towards the nearest body, lay face down in the unforgiving sand , with the toe of a boot the lawman gives it a nudge. "Better safe than sorry" he grumbles. The body doesn't respond, so the sheriff turns it over.

What he sees haunts him for the rest of his life, he isn't sure but he thinks it was one of the McFarland boys only it's hard to be sure when the face is missing. A cold shiver ran down the sheriff's spine, warm piss down his leg. Letting out a scream he tosses the body aside, turns away and empties his stomach, splashing his breakfast across his boots.

He takes a minute or two to compose himself. Convinces himself it was the vultures, it must have been the vultures. Forcing himself to forget the boy was lay face down. Once he has got a hold of himself he checks the next body, it too is mutilated beyond all recognition. Madness descends on the lawman, he zigzags across the morbid tableau checking each defiled body only to find the same result time and time again.

Exhausted he slumps against the side of the carriage, it creaks and groans from his weight and then another, lower, drawn out moan issues from within. Curiosity gets the better of him overriding his overwhelming urge to run as far away from all of this as possible. This flaw is what has always made him so damn good at his job, he takes pride in it.

It was with this stubborn pride that he opens the carriage door and immediately regrets doing so. A nightmarish vision of beauty falls out of the carriage onto him. Half of her face has been chewed off; her remaining eye is full of bloodlust. Hands claw at him, gouging his flesh. Her lips are missing but her blood stained mouth gnashes at him desperately trying to feed from him.

The last thing the Sheriff sees is what's left of the McFarland boy crawling blindly towards him, the last thing he hears are his own deafening screams as his flesh is torn asunder.


Monday

Success by @Lucy_Magnuson (454 Words)



'They hate me. They all fucking hate me. Why the hell do I put myself through this?'

'But you wanted this my child. You said you wanted to be famous. Successful. You have it. You have it all. Don't go complaining about it now'

She looked at him. He still looked the same. After all these years. While she? Well, she'd grown up. No longer the child easily manipulated. The teenager craving a career. The girl with a talent but no lucky break.

He could give it to her he'd said. The handsome man in the well tailored suit.

The suit had changed. Well, she thought it had. Subtle changes to go with fashion, but he always had the same look to him. Untouchable. Untraceable. Yet alluring. You couldn't resist his offers. The offers that seemed to good to be true.

They usually weren't. But the cost. What about the cost?

'The cost is minimal child' He'd told her ten years previously. You get to launch your career. You will be successful. People all over the world will hear your sweet voice. You have a rare talent. It should be shared'

'No. No I cant. Not like this' her reply. She was smart as a child. Could see something not quite right about the deal.

So he waited. And returned. 2 years later. A new suit. A new look. Still handsome.

'You can have everything you want. You just have to sign'

Two years. A lot can change in two years. But not her resolve. 'No. I cant sign that over to you' so he left.
Then she tried to get a career. Get heard. Get past the AR offices. No one would take her. She wast edgy enough. Her music while good, wasnt packageable. Not marketable. She couldn't be sold to teenage girls like herself, so no. they couldn't make money from her so fuck off.

This time, the third time she signed to him. She still remember how he looked at her. How ill at ease she felt. But too late. She belonged to him.

'Come on' he said 'They're all waiting for you'

She wanted to run. To get away from the man who had made her. Promoted her. Given her everything. She didn't want this any more. Not like this.

Instead she did what she always did. Took a breath. Head held high. Walked onto the stage. Different stage. Same difference. God damn ceremonies.

No one listened to her words. Her voice. They just complained she was back. Again. Overload.

Twitter went into meltdown

'FFS Emeli Sandé  Again. She would sing at the opening of a crisp packet'

He walked away. Looking for a new soul for his collection.