Why The Leaves Fall

I was ten when I became a man, that’s what my father told me anyway. It was when my innocence was taken from me. Snatched by the hands of fate, not quickly, but slowly and cruelly. A boy should remain a boy until the time is right. Read more »

Don’t Tell Your Mother

There was a quaint red-brick shop on the edge of our village. It stood as a representation of our community, a hub for the town to socialise, to buy our food and conveniences. Mrs Carter, a plump, round woman with rosy cheeks, greeted patrons of the business, she didn’t judge, it wasn’t her job to. When I was a child, she’d sneak me a chocolate bar when I’d pay for our family’s groceries. Read more »

My Dad was a Mortician

When I was six, I remember my teacher telling me that thunder was clouds bumping together, he was proud when he told me that. I took it at face value. It’s amazing what you believe at such a young age. When I was helping my father work and lightening struck, filling the room with bright light, illuminating the bodies that lay peacefully on the benches, I told him. He could see I was scared. I hated helping him, I dreaded it. Read more »

I Bet My Brother He Couldn’t Raise the Dead

Yes, it does sound silly, but he’s also ten. We’d watched Frankenstein (2015 edition) with our Dad at the start of summer. Now that is a shit film, but Ben was obsessed with it. He told me that he could do that and I said he couldn’t. He asked what I would give him if he did. I said he could have my soul, that he could use it to give his monster personality. We shook on it. Read more »

Don’t Make Her Upset

I don’t know if this says more about where I used to live than it does me, but when I first heard a house alarm go off, I did nothing. I moved from the city to the country to get away from shit like that, trying to sleep while a house alarm drowned out the traffic, or a car alarm ringing through the night. So, to say I was annoyed was an understatement. It had been going off for twenty minutes before I opened the back window to see if I could work out what direction it was coming from. Read more »

Five Hundred Teeth

I saw an article today about some poor Indian child getting over 500 teeth removed from their mouth. It’s lucky they were able to have the surgery; some aren’t that lucky. Have you wondered why it is you don’t hear more about that happening more, babies born with distressing deformities? It happens more often than you’d expect. In my country it’s rarely on the news, and if it is, it’s usually when conjoined twins are successfully parted, never if it’s unsuccessful. Then again, you don’t hear about every heart surgery that goes wrong, or brain tumor that couldn’t be excised. The truth though, is far more horrifying. Read more »

Have You or a Loved One Been in an Accident in the Last Six Months?

I was in a car accident on Monday, nothing serious, but the shunt from behind gave me whiplash, I’m sure of it. My neck throbs all the time. Now, I’m not someone who’d usually think about litigation, it was an accident, and it was a work colleague of mine. He’s an asshole, sure, but no hard no foul. He asked that we didn’t go through the insurance and that he’d cover it himself. I know he’s on good money, so who was I to argue. Read more »

Valeday

My mind is still spinning to say the least, you do not expect your world view to change so radically within minutes. I think the last time before today was when I was a child and I saw my mother sneaking into my room to put a Christmas stocking at the end of the bed. I was six. Today I am thirty-five, and this time with the benefit of years of knowledge and experience, it is much more dreadful, how much of my life has been a lie. Read more »

Teeth

As I sit writing this, I’m tonguing my gums. I don’t miss my teeth, I thought I would at first. Though there’s something soothing about running my tongue along the soft flesh, not yet healed and hardened. It tingles a little. I jump sometimes when I press too hard. I’m not sure some of the cavities are healing well. That seems of little consequence after what I’ve done. This is taking me a little while to write and in my state I think you’ll understand. Read more »

Life Volunteer

I loved Sebastian Krause, in a platonic way. He was my mentor and a very good friend. I knew there was something wrong when the weekly phone calls stopped. It left me with a feeling of unease I didn’t know the source of. It was only when one of his life support volunteers phoned me, that it hit me. He never liked to use the words patient or client, they set the wrong tone and didn’t line up with the philosophies he would teach. Lily Passion (no not her real name, but in the same vein), said Sebastian told her to phone me if the inevitable happens. Within a few hours his other life support volunteers had called. Read more »

Nine Months

In my previous job I had quite a bit of experience of checkpoints. They are placed at strategic locations along state lines, or main artery roads heading out of populated areas. Some are permanent, but I worked on the temporary ones organized within hours of an emergency. Some are put in place when intel suggested a drug shipment was headed into state, some when a dangerous criminal was on the move; the most exciting of which was a serial killer. Read more »

Playtime

For the summer of 2009 I worked in a Royal Infirmary, a fancy name for a hospital; there I met Andrew. I temped as a receptionist for the X-Ray department, answering the phone and doing gofer jobs when someone was covering; that someone was Andrew. Read more »

The Black Night Bus

There’s been this rumor in our town of the black night bus, I remember hearing it as a kid, though no one took it seriously. We’d stay up at night, looking out the window, but it never came. One night I woke with my face plastered to the window as the sun began to rise. It was said that the black night bus would pick up the naughty children and take them away, never to be seen again. When my friend Justin did disappear, we all thought he got on the black night bus. That was until his beaten remains were found in his uncle’s basement. Read more »

Marybelle’s Confession

Our town is like a bad dream. Awful things happen, more often than you’d believe. In the last ten years alone there have been ten murders. The folk round here are not the welcoming kind you anticipate from tales of small-town America; everyone is suspicious of their neighbor. I guess in this post 9/11 world that can be somewhat expected, but here? Where the crops still grow and there’s not a Starbucks in sight? We don’t even have a traffic light, only a four way stop in the middle of Main Street. It’s just the way of the world I suppose. Read more »

Déjà Vu

I was five coffees down and still shattered as I sat in the diner past midnight off Route 1. The waitress did her best to keep my cup filled. If she knew I wasn’t going to tip, I don’t think she’d have been so attentive. I finished my pastrami on rye and waited patiently for my ice cream; it was my little treat to myself for being on the home stretch. Read more »

People Shouldn’t Take What Doesn’t Belong to Them

He was around six feet tall. He wore a long brown trench coat. A large brimmed hat left his face in almost complete darkness as he entered the bar. I’d been sitting there for a good hour and my buzz was well and truly on. It had been two weeks since my wife had left me. This was my temporary happy place, as I did my best to forget. The man walked towards me, his boots clacking on the floorboards. He took the seat next to me. An aroma of pipe tobacco and gasoline wafted from him. I stared straight ahead. Read more »

I Wanted To Be A Hero

Tuesday night I was driving home from work. I’d only moved and started my new job a month back and was still getting used to the area. Being January, it was already dark before I left and the streets were not yet familiar. I’d been a security guard for most of my adult life and this new job was the first time working in an office. To say I was under-stimulated would have been an understatement. Though a salary bump of almost 100% was enough to convince me my shifts prowling the night were over. Read more »

The Grief we Stow

I don’t know how to begin this. I don’t know how to express the emotions I feel right now. I’m not sure if it’s hatred, fear or guilt for a time long lost, or only a nothingness – an absence of all feeling, leaving a growing despair. Read more »