Sounds of war and peace

The local boys are toying with their guns down at the shooting range, their pot shots echoing like whip cracks off the hills around. They’ve been let out for the first time since the pandemic had them rushing for cover. Overcome by an urge to celebrate, they’re firing off a round or ten.

Above, the Swiss Army are performing loop-the-loops over the town, the sinister drone of their jets reminding us that war is only a click away.… (read more)

The forgetful man’s…

Yes. He had some interesting tales to tell, but not once did I get to hear the entirety of any of them. It was so frustrating, weird even. He never managed to finish. I learnt later he had some little-known affliction. Absences, frequent absences. There were moments when he simply wasn’t there. I know. It’s difficult to imagine. His eyes would go blank, he’d stare off into the distance and no amount of shaking or calling his name would bring him back.… (read more)

The Black Sheep

Reaching the end of my walk, I breasted the hill on my way home. The sun had set some while ago and the sky was heavy with clouds. The temperature had fallen since sunset and rain was in the air. I peered over the low stone wall in search of the two sheep that grazed in what had once been a vineyard but was now a tangled mess of weeds. The shy one was a delicious motley brown, like chocolate and cream.… (read more)

Ghost train

ghost train

This dystopian flash fiction was written while out walking, alone, miles from anywhere during the CoVid19 outbreak.

Yes. I hear it. A distant rumbling rising above the clamour of insects. Birds used to keep them at bay, but birds got gobbled up soon after the disaster. Pets and wild animals didn’t fare much better. Disaster? Anger has long since sunk to a dull despair. We were all so blind. Who would have thought a common cold could wreak such destruction?… (read more)

Doctored

Three short steps up, a wooden door slightly ajar and beyond a glimpse of a narrow corridor painted white. Rachel Pritty, doctor, the plaque reads. I ring and enter. The corridor, which extends the length of the building, is deserted. No chairs, no posters, no flowers. Just a series of doors, left and right. Closed. To my left, a waiting room, visible through a glass pane that stretches from floor to ceiling.… (read more)

Broken

Broken

No matter which way Mat swung the craft, his pursuers followed, their sirens wailing.

For God’s sake. Stop that racket! 

Why don’t you cease your babbling, mother! Mat shoved the joystick sideways, bouncing the craft off an advertising hoarding before plunging ten floors. 

There! Quick.

You’re nuts. That’s far too narrow. 

Do it!

Holding his breath, he inched the craft into the subterranean parking place, stilled the motor and cut the power.… (read more)

The Journey Home

The Journey Home

The voice of the boy soloist’s rose above the choir, soaring to the heights of the nave, “…with love in your heart as the only song…” The boy glanced from the score to the choirmaster. Caught in the light of candles that lined the choir stalls, his face was aglow, transported by the music, by the sheer joy of singing. “Rise up. Follow me. I will lead you home.”

Shroud in shadow, an old man leant against a pillar, a hand cupped behind his ear to better hear.… (read more)

Broken bonds

Broken bonds

Martha raked her face with her fingers, struggling to stem the flow of sweat. No matter which way she swung the craft, she couldn’t shake the pursuit. The constant wailing of sirens was addling her brain. For God’s sake. Stop the racket! In desperation, she shoved the joystick sideways flinging the hovercraft into an alley, narrowly missing an advertising hoarding, then let it plunge ten floors causing her stomach to lurch threateningly towards her mouth.… (read more)

A lasting bond

A lasting bond

The tin cans trailing behind the car made such a racket that after several miles on the main road Martine couldn’t stand it any longer. The pandemonium was enough to raise the dead. Letting out an explosive breath that did little to ease her annoyance, she pulled into a lay-by, cut the engine and climbed out. 

The ‘Just Married’ sign had come unhitched from the bumper and had caught in the cans.… (read more)

Goldilocks

The three bears
Photo: Iannis McCluskey

She thrust the golden locks from her eyes, not trusting herself to reply. His question made sense. Why ever would a person risk forcing his way into the cottage, yet steal nothing? It was bitterly cold out. Surely the freshly cooked porridge must have been tempting. Or the warm blankets on their beds. Even when she figured out what must have happened, it still didn’t add up.

The officer pushed aside the untouched bowl of porridge and leaned across the table towards her.… (read more)