Taking the bait

Oh the joy of slicing through the water driven by the thrust of your legs, your arms, your back, the only sounds being the slap of waves against the hull and the rhythmic creaking of the oarlocks as you row. That he’d had to give it all up for this dingy cabin which reeked of diesel was unbearable. A horn blared for him to get out of the way as one of those slick cruise liners towered over him easing into its dedicated mooring place.… (read more)

The unanswered question

An intense buzz of conversation greeted me as I entered the hall, peopled as it was by a milling crowd. A long table covered with a white cloth had been set up across the middle. Already people were beginning to sit on one side. I shoved through the crowd to join them, not wanting to miss out. One by one people sat opposite. Some were dressed casually, most in bright colours, others had gowns slung over their shoulders like dons, all were young.… (read more)

Poisoned hopes

“This is some kind of misconception about activists, especially about climate activists that we are just negative and pessimists and we are just complaining, and we are trying to spread fear but that’s the exact opposite. We are doing this because we are hopeful, we are hopeful that we will be able to make the changes necessary.” Greta Thunberg quoted in The Guardian.

Impossible

“Can you imagine?” he said, his eyes shifting from the camera to the screen where a blurry image of his face stared back at him, gaunt and weary.… (read more)

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

Above, a recording of Ghost Train read by the author. You can follow the reading in the text below.

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.… (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)