My Mother and Her Cat (Part 3) | Short Story

Tabby cat on a white pillow

Missed Part 1? Read it here

Missed Part 2? Read it here


I remember the first visit to the specialist hospital for treatment. That building, a giant grey block of concrete, was like a great tombstone towering over us. I had visions of it careening over and crushing us as we walked through its doors. And it did, in its way. It snuffed out our spirit.

She grew sick of hospitals, sick of doctors, sick of me telling her to cooperate. And I was sick of her too.

‘I’m not going back again, Sharon. All they do is prod and poke me and then tell me its more doom and gloom.’

‘They’re trying to help.’

‘They all know I’m a dead woman walking.’

‘They’re trying to keep you walking for as long as possible.’

‘What if I don’t want to?’

‘You’re ready to die, are you?’

‘I think I am, yes. You should just shoot me rather than keep dragging me down that hospital.’

‘Alright, Mum. I’ll see if the bloke at Holme Farm’ll lend me his shotgun and we’ll put you out of your misery, eh?’

‘You’d love that, wouldn’t you?’

‘Absolutely. Would give me a great deal of satisfaction to blow your old brains out.’

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My Mother and Her Cat (Part 2) | Short Story

Tabby cat in a wicker basket

Missed Part 1? Read it here

The wee thing didn’t stay wee for very long. It grew at a rate of knots on a diet of sardines, mackerel, salmon, steak—bloody steak!—and anything my mother left on her plate after each meal. That sodding cat was better fed than Mark and I had ever been as kids.

It wasn’t fat, necessarily, but by heck was it big. Solid. Strong and burly like a furry, whiskered wrestler. It would strut up and down the street like a panther, intimidating anyone who dared to approach it with vicious hisses and snippy flicks of its tail.

Arrogant, it was. It would lay out in the middle of the road on its back, sunning its belly and getting its coat blathered in dust and flecks of gooey tar that had melted in the summer heat. When a car came along it wouldn’t move. Brakes would screech and cars would lurch to a halt, and the damn cat would merely peer up at the vehicle before it and blink at the driver, as though they were doing it an inconvenience. A pip of the horn or rev of the engine was the only thing that got it to shift, and even then it moved at half-speed, luxuriously stretching out each of its limbs as it got to its feet and wandered over to the pavement to find a new sunbathing spot.

And it was this sheer bloody arrogance that killed it. Eventually a driver came along that couldn’t give a cat’s arse for the wee thing and its ego.

Continue reading “My Mother and Her Cat (Part 2) | Short Story”

My Mother and Her Cat (Part 1) | Short Story

Tabby cat sat on kitchen table

My mother always said that cats choose their owners. I always said that my mother talked a lot of old shite.

It wasn’t just when she was old that she talked nonsense. It started when I was young. Scratch that; it probably started when she was young. She insisted that eating my crusts would make my hair curl, but I ended up begging for a perm by the time I was fourteen because all the sodding crusts in the world wouldn’t put a single kink in my limp locks. She said apples were as good as toothpaste for brushing our pegs, but that theory was disproved when our Mark insisted on eating two apples a day instead of using a toothbrush and spent more time in the dentist’s office than he did in school. She insisted that leaving shoes on the table brings bad luck, but I don’t think I’m any unluckier than the next poor git despite going against this titbit of motherly advice more times than I can count over the last forty-nine years.

And she said for decades that she’d be dead by eighty. Said she could feel it in her bones. Said it was written into her fate. She got that wrong. No, she stubbornly hung on for as long as she could. Shame, really, because if she hadn’t, we wouldn’t have had to put ourselves through the shambles that was her eightieth birthday party.

Continue reading “My Mother and Her Cat (Part 1) | Short Story”

Thistles | Flash Fiction

Thistles in bloom

There’s nowt but thistles that live on the empty plot at the end of the street. It was home to a house once upon a time, but that place burned to the ground many moons ago. All that remains is a labyrinth of thistles, the only plants vicious and spiky and determined enough to sprout from the scorched ground.

Nobody knows who started the fire, but there’s always been murmurings and pointed fingers. Some say it was a cigarette, still smouldering, left carelessly on the arm of a chair. Others say it was a dodgy extension cable or a dodgy toaster or a dodgy electric heater. More still say it was something much more sinister.

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Feeding The Kids | Flash Fiction

Fox

It was that fox again—the one with the limp. It stared in through the patio doors, swaying a little from side to side as if on the verge of collapse, brown stains running from eyes to muzzle like tears. I wanted to let it into the warmth, or at the very east to throw it some scraps from the kitchen. But I couldn’t. That’s how they got you, if the news stories were to be believed. And I believed them.

I pictured the poor thing limping across field after field, squirming through hedgerow after hedgerow, desperately searching for food despite its twisted limb. It had left its babies back home in its den, small and pink and blind and growing skinnier by the hour, bleating forlornly for milk. Milk that would only flow if their mother could eat. And she hadn’t eaten for days. I could see it in her eyes while she stood there gazing at me through the patio doors, a silent communication from one mother to another.

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Let’s Walk (TiK ToK) | A Song Parody

Panting dog on lead

I wrote a song parody of ‘TiK ToK’ by Ke$ha for a fab Medium publication called Song Done Wrong. It made me snigger and I’m pretty proud of it, but I do apologise for inflicting this obnoxious earworm upon your lugholes. It takes me back to my uni days… oh, the hangovers.

Wake up in the morning feeling like I’m dizzy
Grab my dog I’m out the door ‘cos she needs to get busy
Before I leave, grab my coat and a big woolly hat
‘Cos when I peer out the door I know I’ll freeze in that

I’m talking icicles from my nose, nose
Wearing five layers of clothes, clothes
Cheeks got a bright red glow, glow

Skip-hopping while dog tugs on her lead, lead
Rollin’ up at the park scene
Tryin’ to get a little bit cosy

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Photo by Tucker Good on Unsplash

Silly Hammy | Microfiction

Hamster clipart - "Silly Hammy" microfiction

Round and round goes the hamster in his wheel, sending up giggles from the human faces which peer through the bars of his cage.

“Silly Hammy.”

“He just keeps going, doesn’t he?”

“Why does he run for so long, Mummy?”

“I suppose he’s just having sooo much fun!”

The hamster lets out an indignant squeak. Fun? Ha! As if, he thinks. His heart hums and his lungs burn with exertion. But look… it might just all be worth it… Continue reading “Silly Hammy | Microfiction”