Monthly Archives February 2013

‘Procreation’, a short story

The packet was 20 years old, the use-by date was before the law changed. Jessie tore the Predictor packet into pieces and flushed them down the toilet. Then she shoved the white plastic paddle to the bottom of her handbag and went back to her desk. The Predictor still worked, at least it looked like it did. She’d followed the instructions and it had done everything it said on the packet. The space in the box had turned blue: she was pregnant. Her hand shook as she reached for the computer mouse. The time monitor on her pc had noticed her five-minute absence and an e-mail in her inbox confirmed the deduction off her week’s wages. With a sigh she clicked on camera three and looked at the grid-locked traffic. A red icon flashed and she bent to her microphone. “Driver of LP3A 22B. You have not purchased authority to drive on the A1 between junctions 2 and 3 today, Wednesday August 3rd, 2031. You must pay £1,000 to City Central. After midnight tonight the fee goes up to £2,000. How would you like to pay? I can accept American Express…..” * She’d taken the Predictor from the store cupboard
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Categories: My Short Stories.

‘Useless’, a short story

The cups on the buffet trolley rattled out their accompaniment as the train’s wheels rumbled over points. Mary stumbled as the train lurched to the right and she caught a cup before it hit the sticky grey carpet. Then the train entered a tunnel and a rush of air transported the passengers into darkness, their ears tightened with pressure. Some people rubbed their earlobes, others pinched their nose with two fingers and snorted. A businessman chewed a toffee as he tapped at the keyboard of his laptop, a teenager nodded his head in time to music piped directly into the coil of his inner ear. It all added up to the combined rhythm section familiar to all train travellers. A buzzer heralded an internal train announcement: “My name is Colleen Murphy and I’m your customer services manager aboard this train today to Waverington. I hope you have an enjoyable journey. Thank you for travelling with Northern Rail.” The words faded away with a hiss. The train felt like Mary’s second home. She travelled the same route north every Friday and south again on Sunday, watching the countryside flash by at 70 mph. That was the average speed of the train,
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Categories: My Short Stories.

‘The River’, a short story*

 * with thanks to Bruce Springsteen Mary stood on tiptoes to see over the mossy stone wall of Barsteeple Bridge, watching the murky brown water speed out of sight beneath her feet, through the middle arch and away to the sea 10 miles away. Oh how she wanted to be swept up in it, swirling in its current, sped away to another world. But her feet were heavy on the ground. She rested a hand on the swell of her stomach and felt a kick inside. She turned away. Of course she couldn’t leave, her feet were rooted here as solidly as the foundations of the bridge. She didn’t know anywhere else, had never left the village. She’d grown up here and got with child here. Tomorrow she would become an adult here. The whole village knew that tomorrow, Sunday, Mary Struthers was to marry Johnnie Dart. Tomorrow they would right the wrong of one night’s fumbling and prodding in a dusty corner of the churchyard. Tonight was the last night of her childhood. The bells rang for evening service, calling her back to reality. She turned from the bridge, from its promise of escape, sub-consciously smoothing the fabric of
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Categories: My Short Stories.

‘Magic and Mischief’, a short story

‘Magic and Mischief’, a short story The lift doors opened with a clatter but Elinor didn’t get in. For the third time she checked her handbag. Keys. Purse. Cheque book. Paying-in book. Two dividend cheques to pay in, four bills to pay. She ticked the items off her mental checklist. Then she looked again at her keys. Had she locked the door? Oh dear. The lift doors closed empty as she retraced her steps to h’r front door. Twinkle followed. She didn’t need to tug once on the white Scottie’s elegant Smythson pink leather lead, Twinkle went wherever Elinor went. And he knew her routines well. Yes, her front door was locked. As her long fingers, now bent with arthritis, struggled with the heavy bunch of keys, another fear popped unbidden into her head. The fire. Was it off? A tall elegant woman, Elinor looked younger than her age. She was bored by other women of 74 who seemed pre-occupied with the twin domesticities of grandchildren and husband. Elinor, who had neither, had always been comfortable in her own company. She was satisfied with her own internal monologue and comfortably isolated herself from modern society. And she never sought the
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Categories: My Short Stories.