Within Half Shadow of Red: a very short fantasy Short Story
The isle was heavy with death. Blood stained the old cathedral lawns. Kett couldn’t walk ten yards without coming upon another body. All the Doctors were dead. That didn’t bother Kett. He hated the bastards with their utter faith in Knowledge. They didn’t know they’d die like this. It wasn’t just Doctors. Every second body was a Half Shadow. Poor bastards. Mute, loveless, enslaved and now dead. When he reached the library his boots were red. “Is he ready?” Kett asked the boy. The boy was pale. He had never seen death before. The Half Shadow was drinking wine, his hand shaking. Wine covered the mute’s chin. Kett looked at him. The Doctors never say him, they say it. The Half Shadow looked the image of his brothers. Kett wondered if the Half Shadow remembered who he had been. When the wine had calmed him, the Half Shadow wrote a word on a piece of parchment. His hand was still unsteady. The boy didn’t recognise the word. “What’s a one of them?” the boy asked. Kett knew the answer but instead he ruffled the boy’s hair and on their ride back across the bridge he told the boy not to think of the dead anymore. “They’re dead, that’s all,” Kett told him, “don’t let them live in your dreams.” But they were in Kett’s dreams that night. The dead bodies rose, Doctors and Half Shadows both. Every one of them spoke the word as they closed in on him.
Atlas: a very short Short Story
He was dreaming of Harry Lime on a Ferris Wheel. And cuckoo clocks. Wacky was in the kitchen drinking the cider he hadn’t finished the night before. “Happy birthday,” Wacky called. He didn’t answer him. He went out and when he was done with selling books to no one he went to the pub to meet Jenny. An alligator was hanging from the ceiling surrounded by old radios. There were pictures on the wall of 1980s street parties. A man at the bar tried to talk to him about Sierra Leone. “Why do you go on about cuckoo clocks all the time?” she asked when the bell rang for last orders. When he got home he found Wacky slumped on the kitchen table. The atlas was opened to Australia beneath Wacky’s head. A glass of cider had been knocked over. The cider had soaked into the pages of the atlas.
Ok: a very short fantasy Short Story
Ok was fourteen. She was a woman now, no one could deny that. The tower rose above the valley. It was a thing of glass and secrets. Just getting through the valley was dangerous enough but even when night fell and she could hear them crying and slithering she didn’t stop walking. “Ok,” her father had asked, “why do you need to go to the tower?” Ok didn’t tell him the real reason. The stairs spiralled around the tower. All the way up she could see the valley, the desert and the savage beasts through the glass. The savage beasts were coming down from the mountains. At the top of the tower she waited with the horn pressed to her lips.
The Candidates: a very short Short Story.
“We could get Will Self up,” said Siobhan. Only Tony had a beer, the other four had cokes. Gloria was waiting for an excuse to leave. Alice was waiting for Gloria to leave and Harry was watching Siobhan. It didn’t matter that she had a boyfriend in Drogheda. This wasn’t Drogheda. Anyway, she had turned her phone off. After half an hour and six more writers being suggested they had decided on Will. Each of them was calling him that. Will. Siobhan couldn’t decide who had started with the Will. Tony most likely. When Gloria stood to leave, Alice followed. “Another?” asked Tony, tilting his empty glass. Harry was sure that Siobhan would turn her phone on. The bar was long and empty. Three barmaids talked while a fourth served Tony. Harry stretched his legs beneath the table until he felt his boots touch against Siobhan’s.
After the Festival: a very short Short Story
The American student liked to think of himself as the Watcher. If he held his camera up then no one would mind him watching them. If they didn’t know he was watching then no one stopped him watching. When he got to Edinburgh he realised that soon he would need to go home. “Where is home?” asked the IT Consultant’s wife and he lied. She was a teacher. She had black hair like tar. He would often watch her and imagine her hair falling over him, sticking to his body. “You missed all the fun,” the IT Consultant said, meaning the festival. Sometimes after breakfast he would watch them leaving for the day and sometimes he would follow them. Once he stayed in the bed and breakfast and slept. He dreamed he was below the city and that no one believed he existed. He would wait there for the lost to wander down and he would watch them as they stumbled blindly through the darkness searching for a way out. He woke to the sound of the IT Consultant’s wife’s laughter.