Missed

Andrew remembers it as a splendid October day, a Sunday – his father’s day of rest.  The sky is blue. The sun is bright. The air is crisp and still. The world feels clean and sharp. October, his birthday month, is when all is possible with nothing to prevent him from conquering his evolving world. The white lines of the rugby pitch are almost three dimensional against the close-cropped verdant grass, while the stark white rugby posts stand to attention. 

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Word of Mouth

Waiting for his luncheon guest, the Reverend Simon Ivery stands in the kitchen of his grace and favour apartment on the fourth floor of a Georgian house in Cathedral Yard. Suffering from severe osteoporosis, he’s a virtual prisoner in his eyrie because of the many stairs. He’s ceased to play an active role in the Anglican Church, seldom attends services and can’t use his choir stall. Through the kitchen window Simon sees a peregrine falcon launch itself from the eastern tower into its two hundred miles per hour hunting stoop. If only I could fly away, he wishes. 

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Din

It’s dusk. Oswald Sander is happy as he watches the van disappear down the cinder track beside Great Wood. The refugee camp superintendent, or commandant, as he styles himself, is counting a bundle of bank notes from his recent black market transaction. He can’t believe how easy it is to amass considerable amounts of cash from selling the food meant for the refugees he’s employed to protect. He loves his power and basks in the refugees’ fear; falling out with Sander is to go hungry. He laughs at his ability to pay women for sex with money they cannot spend. He sees himself as ‘the lord of all he surveys’, he’d be horrified if he knew the phrase had originated in India.

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Haunted

A snicket leads out of the rear of a cul-de-sac of 1930s semi-detached houses. Robert, aged seventy-five, has lived in number 17 for years. Recently an elderly man has been loitering in the snicket and each time Robert has tried to speak to him he’s vanished. Robert’s not alarmed but intrigued.

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Marley Lives

The south-facing elevation of Sonya’s eighteenth century house is festooned with white roses. The garden is the most visible expression of all that she holds dear as custodian of her family’s heritage. Her visiting grandchildren, Nick and Jane, play football on the immaculate lawn, and invariably but accidentally, damage her meticulously ordered herbaceous borders. Bored by Sonya’s endless carping at their lack of respect for her delphiniums, Nick and Jane refuse to visit her. She misses them and has a vivid memory of her daughter, Clair, telling her grandchildren that Granny is mad as a hatter. Sonya’s reached the point where she’s trapped in her own sad history of appearing to love objects more than people. 

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The Escape

This is my 100th 500 word story from the collection 
‘Behind the Plague Door’

It’s early morning. The sky is black. Maritime pine and eucalyptus emerge, ghostlike, from swirling clouds of white smoke which precede the imminent arrival of the fire. A high wind drives the inferno towards a large white walled and red tiled villa. 

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The Jacket

Geoffrey is proud of the home he and his late wife, Isabella, created, for themselves and their daughter, Anita. In the ten months since Isabella’s death he’s kept the three promises he made her: he’s kept a close eye on Anita, eaten three meals a day and kept himself ‘respectable’.

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Untidy Rain

Heavy rain sweeps over the overgrown back garden. Margaret, or Peg, as her husband Oliver calls her, is staring out of the kitchen window of the rambling Victorian house that has been the Cromwell family home for nearly fifty years. Gusting wind bends the silver birch and the black barked laurel hedge shudders in the growing storm. It’s not rain, Peg thinks, it’s the ocean, the cold Atlantic, as squalls of rain, thick as waves, pound the window panes. She imagines white horses breaking on the lawn. The once herbaceous borders, now populated by weeds, drown under the weight of rainwater. The leafless branches of trees wave frantically as if they are the masts of long lost galleons. Are there pirates to be saved, Peg wonders? I’m all at sea, she thinks, lost in memories of her daughter, Ellie.

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Fate

Jack looks in the mirror in the hotel toilet and there he is, a reflection of himself; nothing unusual about that except that this ‘himself’ isn’t him. He turns.
The man standing in front of him says, Yes, I was thinking the same thing. Name’s John. He extends his hand.
I’m Jack. They shake hands. We’re doubles. John, Jack, almost identical names.
There’s the word for it, doppelgangers.

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The Errand

They have no telephone at home nor callbox nearby, so Abraham is on an errand for his mother to see how his uncle Fred is doing in Cardiff Royal Infirmary after a heart attack. It’s the school holidays and Abraham’s been as bored as only a thirteen year-old can be. Not now. He’s sitting on the number 6 trolleybus whistling Buddy Holly’s hit, ‘It doesn’t matter any more’. 

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