Although they stood only five yards away from George, the pair of them were quite oblivious to his presence.
You use 40 percent less energy in the peloton. A life spent in the service of others.
She walks east. Tick tick tick tick, a woodpecker tapping at the side of her brain. Tick tick tick tick. Countless tiny brass squares of the city’s shame underfoot, unforgotten.
Flora Goodwin picks at the hole in the tablecloth on her kitchen table. There must be something she can do. Outside, six pigeons, two starlings, one crow, two swallows and a parakeet line up on […]
I was a camper. Everyone hated me.
OMG NOOB CAMPER QUIT CAMPING U FAG.
Finding a quiet corner of the map – or a dark spot in a busy corner of the map -and picking off passers-by was, apparently, not cool.
Jake removes his Bose headphones and stashes them in his rucksack as he turns into the estate. He needs every sense down this end of town where, lit by a full moon, giant concrete Tetris shapes litter the landscape, vomited up out of the ’60s architectural nightmare.
Alfie Twitch rubs his wrists, sore from the plastic ties that had him strapped to the chair. He watches as Jess eyes the painting above his desk. With flick-knife still in hand, she approaches the scene of London at night and cuts a St Paul’s-shaped hole out of the canvas.
Grandad, slumped in his tatty armchair, turns slowly to face me as I walk in with Mum.
‘Is that my favourite Grandson?’ he says, his voice thin.
‘It’s your only Grandson.’
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.
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.
My second attempt at Whiteout Wednesdays. Thank you to Black Cat Alley for this week’s text. I’m going to call this one ‘Donald Trump’ and is redacted from a poem called February Elegy by Mary Jo Bang. You should have a go. It’s fun taking words away rather than putting them on the page once a week.
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.
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.
Evie and I live on floor 43 of Tower Three on the south side of Central Square. We share our room with a couple called Amy and Graeme. Graeme used to be a fitness instructor and DJ. He still talks about football as if it exists.
She seems a nice woman. Her kids are well-behaved, and he feels a little ashamed this is the first time he has spoken to his neighbour in the two years since she moved in.
George recalls exploring his father’s musty old study, whereupon I realise these characters are developing far quicker in my head than I anticipated. Time for a rethink…
The town is abandoned inside an hour. Sixteen thousand people, gone. I sit on the pavement and watch a family cram as much as they can into their car.
Dad looks worried.
‘We absolutely have to leave in five minutes.’
‘Truman, you can’t expect a crushed child on your watch to go without consequences.’
Derek Granger stands up, gulps down his Coke and burps. I stare out the window at the July snow.
Hello! With my first full month of freelance writing now completed, I just wanted to get a few notes down about these 50-word stories that seem to have taken over my life. I only started […]