I hear the accusation, though it is never spoken, never actually presented to me. It is evident enough though, obvious in your involuntary glance away. The eyes tell a thousand truths the mouth dare not.
This has been coming. I feel like I’ve been running on empty for a few days and so, after 86 consecutive days of new fiction, I have to bring the run to an end.
He pauses at top of the stairs and takes a deep breath before descending. As usual, he has forgotten something, but if he is quick, retrieves the stool from the kitchen without delay, his nerve should hold.
Brent Overton looks out of his window for two hours at the same time every day. The view is nothing special; a quiet residential street in north London, and if only the houses on the […]
Jess spins the globe on Alfie Twitch’s desk and stops it at random with her little finger.
‘Huh, Luxor,’ she says, peering at the tiny writing. ‘Ever been there Alfie?’
‘Where’s Luxor?’ he says, still staring at the painting of London At Night above his desk. He has found himself counting the stars.
‘Egypt, you twonk.’
Ed isn’t entirely sure quite how they arrived at Sainsbury’s Local. He assumes there was walking involved, and before that preparations will have been made, such as getting dressed and cleaning teeth, but exhausted, the world swirls ethereally in front of him
Laura doesn’t even need her nails doing. After yesterday’s encounter with the furious Chinese man, she took a bus into Morden and had them filed and polished by a young lady with a stud in her temple and the words ‘anti-fascist’ tattooed above her top lip.
There isn’t the terror in his eyes that I was expecting. It’s more pathetic than that, like he can’t decide whether to plead for my help or ask why I pushed him in the first place.
‘I don’t usually do this sort of thing,’ smiles Jess.
‘What, kill people?’
‘Oh no, I do that all the time. I just don’t usually tell them beforehand.’
Susan’s Nail Bar is sandwiched between a bridal shop and a defunct Blockbuster in a scruffy parade of shops set back from the A24. Walking past Abra Kebabra, Laura notices she is alone and now that she thinks about it, she was alone yesterday too.
It’s taken two stops on the 5.12pm from Waterloo, but Alfie Twitch finally catches the eye of the girl sitting opposite. He smiles and asks what she is reading.
‘The Girl On The Train,’ she says.
‘Oh, the irony.’
She smiles a wan smile and returns to her book.
Keith is smart, quits the 4am starts and high-stakes gambling with the nation’s mortgages for a country reboot before the breakdown. He buys a van, a ladder and a squeegee. Life will be simple.
You can tell when there’s real trouble because Morrisons goes quiet. People stop hollering and fighting and for a few blissful moments silence blankets the cold, metallic shell. Then, there is the unmistakeable click-clack of boot heels marching up the frozen foods aisle. Someone’s getting it today.
Jarrod calls me over to his desk. Jarrod writes Game of Thrones fan fiction and since seeing me read Vonnegut in the canteen, has me pegged as his literary friend.
Alfie Twitch is always switched on, never offline. Out-of-office makes him sick. Alfie Twitch is always moving, always manoeuvring, invades personal space, is handsy, your best friend, really wants to hear about your weekend.
Oscar stands on the landing for a few seconds, staring at the blue wall, his breathing heavy with a hint of drool. His four squat legs threaten to buckle under his barrel torso. Climbing the stairs is gruelling these days.
I walk back down the 86 flights of steps and look for Tyke in the basement of Tower One. Tyke’s name isn’t really Tyke, but he’s from Yorkshire and I can barely understand a word he says. He’s carved out a niche in this Brave New World by acquiring knowledge
Although this site has existed since 2015, I barely touched it before this year and only figured out what to use it for in January.
Steve: Where’s Eric?
Dave: Floating in a paddling pool three gardens down.
Steve: What? Why?
Dave: The kid was flailing his arms around like a lunatic, so he bum-dropped him.
The reassuring aroma of freshly-cut grass and freshly-baked pies wafts across the ground. George watches on from square leg as the spinner stands at the end of his mark, tossing the ball from hand to hand, a reflex as natural as breathing, contemplating his next move.
So after the relative success of my villanelle last week (by relative success, I mean no one told me to burn my computer and kill myself), I’ve had a go at an ‘Italian’ sonnet.
The young girl at the counter of Susan’s Nail Bar looks surprised, startled even, to see Laura walk through the door, bell tinkling as she does so. A glance around the salon reveals five empty stations.
He despises himself even as he presses record, red light blinking at stabilisers discarded, front wheel wobbling at new-found freedom.
Everyone remembers where they were when The Fall came. Evie was in a meeting about how to get fresh water to those in the city centre. Clive says he was fishing his sister out of the river.
I am a liar who cannot be trusted. After a self-pitying post about how I was going to fail to post anything for the first time in two months, I’ve snuck in before midnight and written something. I have no idea what this is, it fell out of my brain in about 10 minutes, but it is something and it’s late.
The boy slips off the arm of the chair and cracks his head on the wooden floor. Pain consumes him and his searing cry is genuine, this time. His father rushes to pick him up, holding him tight before setting him down in the chair, but he is surprised to see the boy’s face has transformed from pain to disgust.
How will we know when we’ve got it all wrong?
OK, today, something very different. For my MA, I have to write a sonnet, a villanelle and a free-form poem. I haven’t written a poem since I was about 1986, until this morning. I’ve started with a Villanelle, which is a 19-line poem that has only two rhymes and some line repetition. It’s structure is a challenge, let’s say.
Another Saturday, another Spread the Word, featuring some of my favourite writing that I’ve discovered across WordPress this week.
Buzz flips open his wings .
‘Hey Woody, want anything from the kitchen?’
‘What are you talking about?’
‘I’m going to the kitchen, you want anything?’