The Gentle Soul Taker

He moves in the silence beyond the colour and cacophony of the carnival. The floats are finished. The din diminished. The revellers retired. But the blood, the blood remains. Now, is his domain. His time. His space. Every year the same. To this gathering of exultant humanity the servant of Happiness is called. Called to bring the darkness. He weaves… Read it

Choose your Masks

“Welcome to Tragi-Comic, the world’s first fully interactive Virtual Reality theatrical experience.” The attendant hands us two masks. Cheryl takes the grinning one and exits left. I attach the purse-lipped tragedy mask firmly to my face and enter a booth on my right. Suddenly all the world’s a stage. I am assailed and jostled by robed assassins and peacock clothed… Read it

Storms Ahead

When I arrive there are crowds of early risers waiting out the countdown to cancellations of service in mute pockets of steam from polymer cups. The young guy behind the counter of Pret-a-Manger rubs his eye with the heel of his hand and asks me if I want a bag. My tongue is morning numb so I nod and try… Read it

The Eye of the Beholder

Anna ran a fingertip over the smooth quartzite cabochon in her palm.  Her reflected face looked rounder on the stone’s convex meniscus, her eyes almost protuberant. Flecks of gold, caught in streaks of river-brown, winked in the weakening Sunday afternoon sunlight.  She addressed the taciturn stallholder. “What’s your best price?” she asked, feigning mere half-interest. He surveyed her from behind darkened… Read it

Stuck

Cheryl was stuck in a lift. Alone. The date hadn’t gone well. After three years of solitude she’d signed up to a site where love was ‘only a click away!’ and began her dating adventure: starting with Tim and the Black Lion pub. The date was dull. Tim was dull. Possibly, after so much time alone, she was dull. Cheryl… Read it

The Lovers

They kissed on the platform with absolute abandon as if the rest of the world did not exist. Commuters and tourists tutted, pushed and milled around, oblivious to the arrow that had pierced the lovers. Fate. Eros. Passionate love. Their souls and bodies now forever joined; the iron arrow connected them. It gave them both a wound that would never… Read it

The Warrener’s Daughter Warns

Run, bunny, run. You’re a big buck coney with paws as fleet as windrush and blood as hot as sunshine. When my father comes with his ferrets and his net you’d best not be here, munching on tussocks between the pillow mounds, twitching your bunny nose with that devil-may-get-me flare. There’s a flash of grey on your rump that says… Read it

Blood’s Worth

Bludworth had a few decades’ amount of blood in pails around the fine doors of Mansion House. Where did it come from? The blood leaked from the boils of the plague of 1665, gathering in pails and soaking the wooden beams of the houses that were now going up in smoke. The men brought the blood to him. It sat… Read it

Sick Rose

Lancaster Gate was a quick way to Paddington, through back streets. There Rose would get a train to Reading and stand beside a grave and not cry. O Rose thou art sick, Mum used to say with her Lancashire accent. Some bit of poem she’d got from somewhere, whispering as she cuddled Rose with meaty arms and the smell of… Read it

Under the Arches

She senses him opening the front door, coming in, taking off his shoes. She listens as he removes his clothes, his belt buckle knocking, then silenced in a fist. She hears him padding up the stairs like the cat after waking. He pulls back the covers and when he’s lain back down it’s as if he never left. Every Thursday.… Read it

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