Sunday, 31 October 2010

#17 NPCs

“Here e’ comes, make ready.”
“Alright I know. It’s only a line, it’s not like we actually have anything else to do except stand here and look rustic.”
“Sush! e’s here!”
“Noble peasants hail! I am Vortigen the Revenger. The land groans under the yoke of the evil Vortigrax, quick can’st tell me the hidden path to his fortress?”
“Aar well you don’t want to be startin’ from ‘ere. Ow!”
“Don’t mind him milor’ he’s a bit simple like. Straight on, right as the path bends through the Darkling wood, left past the Direwolf’s lair an’ it be right in front of ‘ee.”
“My thanks to you good man and to your er simple friend. Away now Lightcloud!”
“What I have told you about improvising?”
“Well there was no need to hit me …”
“’Only a line, you said, ‘all we’ve got to do’ you said… ”

Sunday, 17 October 2010

#16 Night Sky

The mysteries of the heart are like the deeps of space, untold and fathomless. Love explodes like the birth pangs of a star, or blinks out in a moment, leaving only the void. Yet most just decay slowly, until, like the light from a distant sun, we glimpse only a remnant from a thousand years ago.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

#15 Long Service Award

Face wizened, seamed, like rivulets cutting their way through a cragged mountain pass, your dark button eyes regard a world of shopping centres, sales and Starbucks.

Khaki has given way to Surawal, parade ground to waste ground, Kukri has been long sheathed.

You are present but almost forgotten, your reward for a life-time’s devotion, a broken bench by the Thames in the sunshine.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

#14 Empire of the six gardens

I rule the empire of the six gardens, three roofs and two sheds and all therein unto the boundary of the great wall. Five wives are my harem, twelve fat neuters my courtier-slaves and here my dominion is absolute, unquestioned and unchallenged.

The providers, in their great wisdom, left me intactus to rule this domain and here I fear no-one, not great ginger Achilles, nor killer ear-torn Buttonchops – I fought and conquered them both and even the great hell hound Megan was sent whimpering from the garden where the pleasure plant grows.

Now, I bask in the glow of the warming orb, allowing a provider to ear-worship me, one-eyed, battle-scarred, my head a bumpy patchwork of ancient rents and overgrown wounds. Battles have been fought, will be won again, until claws and teeth and cunning fail…

Topsy is my name.

Monday, 28 June 2010

#13 Retirement Plan

When I get older, I’ve decided I’m to go to go a little mad, not quite stark staring bonkers or anything but peculiar, eccentric and strange. I’ll develop weird obsessions and phobias, hoard bin bags or dig tunnels in the cellar. I’ll mutter in high streets and exude a malodorous smell.

I’ll buy a walking stick with a metal end and shake it at life. Kids will run from my shadow and I’ll always say the wrong thing in shops – loudly – and be blunt to the point of rudeness and perhaps cultivate a line in casual racist remarks .

I’ll force young mothers to give up seats on buses and make damn sure I get the sympathy vote. I’ll milk state benefits and cause doctors to shake their heads, as I stay just on the right side of certifiable.

I think it’s the only thing that will keep me sane.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

#12 Beyond the cheese course

“Hello, nice meet you, we didn't get a chance to speak during dinner, I’m Letitia.”
“You seem like a strong, handsome, charming kind of fellow Brian, tell me …do you swing?”
“Aye lass, but it usually takes a new ball and’t right overhead conditions.”
"I see …well not beyond the bounds of possibility.”

Saturday, 5 June 2010

#11 Intruder!

“Hello, which emergency service do you require?”
“Oh, the police please, dear.”
“What's the nature of the emergency?”
“Well dear, I can hear strange noises coming from downstairs, I think we may have burglars.”
“Okay, okay, stay calm and stay on the line, I'm dispatching a patrol unit right away, they'll be with you in two minutes. Now don't worry, they'll see you safe.”
“Oh no, no, it's not me I'm worried about dear, it's the burglars. You see it's a waxing gibbous moon tonight and Eugene has slipped his chain ...again. You'd best tell them to hurry.”

Thursday, 6 May 2010

# 10 A New Bank Holiday

“Hi I'm Dave Bland and you're listening to BBC Radio Twelve. A quick reminder (as if you needed it) that today is National Fornication day, the one day of the year you can enjoy no questions asked, guilt-free sex with multiple strangers, with no comebacks, consequences or repercussions, safe in the knowledge your husband, wife, partner or significant other will be doing exactly the same.

NFD has been a roaring success since it was instituted over a decade ago to combat the tiresome problems of of unrequited lust, infidelity, marital boredom and relationship strife.

Remember it's not only a pleasure, it's practically your social duty, so get out there Britain and give 'em one for me!

Coming up, Suzie will be here with the weather ...after she's finished noshing me off. Over to you Suz.”

Sunday, 25 April 2010

#9 Scrap Heap Challenge

Glancing up, he could see the gleaming city in the distance. His head went down again as he sifted through the refuse pile and to Azrael's delight, he uncovered the tangled strands of a length of copper wire. A happy find, two or three days good eating at least. He tore and clawed at the surrounding detritus and his lean, sunburned body twisted with the effort. Then the heap finally gave up its treasure and he laughed and danced, holding up his trophy to the the city. It was dying, lights growing dimmer as its power petered out. One day, maybe one day soon, the lights would go out forever and they too, the ones who lived there, would have to crawl through oceans of their own waste to survive. Azrael smiled, he would show them the way.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

#8 Remote Control

Your day’s work is over and you drive home through the drowsy warmth of a suburban evening, at peace. When people ask what you do, your lies are well polished, the practiced deceptions of a surrogate warrior.
You’re simultaneously on the front line and three thousand miles away, an invisible predator hanging over the battlefield like a charnel raven. As you seek out new targets, your practised hands flicker over the controls effortlessly, man and machine in harmonious alignment. Sometimes you wonder if those heat signatures, those IR outlines, had lives before you reduced them to ashes. But then the training takes over and you see only threats, tangos, bogies. It doesn’t keep you awake at nights. Not very often.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

# 7 Insurance

It is a generally considered a wise precaution when undertaking any new job to open a private file detailing exactly where the business is burying the bodies required to succeed in the modern cut throat world of commerce. Less wise is to store that file somewhere it can - even accidently - be found, especially if your employer is actually in the business of burying bodies.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

#6 Underground

A growing hum which swells to a rumble. The precursor, air, pushed forward like the stale, exhaled breath of the tunnel. Light bending around the curve, then an outraged roar as it bursts into the station. I waver on the brink, a single step, an impact like an insect on a windscreen and then sweet oblivion. My elegy, the muttered curses of an untold host of delayed commuters.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

# 5 Three Wishes, Part One: Eternal Youth

It's wise to exercise a degree of precision when a Djinn grants you three wishes, three chances to obtain your very own heart's desire. I asked for an eternal youth. Big mistake. That's him over there with the sullen look, the pasty face and the poor personal hygene. Moody bastard.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

#4 Neophobia

It was with some trepidation that Axel confronted his greatest fear, only to discover that he was no longer very afraid of it any more. Damn. It was a moment of mixed joy and terror before he realized he was now suffering from disconcertaphobia - the fear of not knowing what your greatest fear is.

Monday, 8 March 2010

#3 New Worlds

It was with a growing sense of disconcertion that on stepping upon the surface of the unexplored world, Commander Shepherd discovered that the numberless dead did not in fact reside in heaven, hell or indeed anywhere in between. A strangely familiar reception committee awaited him.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

#2 Topical

“I won’t shake your hand if you don’t mind. I’ve heard being a twat might be infectious.”

Sunday, 28 February 2010

#1 Sibling Rivalry

“Were you an only child?”


It’s one of the many problems of being a writer, everything takes so bloody long. From idea to completion is a small eternity and even the shortest short story is likely to set you back a couple of weeks.

So what’s writerly chap to do? Well in the age of instant gratification and diminished attention spans, the only real response is to explore the short form, well, the really short form and hence 101VeryShortStories was born. 101 stories each of less than 150 words. Wonder how long it’ll take to get to 101 of the little darlings?