The fortune teller has been glaring at Polly for 10 minutes, and Polly hasn’t dared to look away. There’s something in the woman’s eyes that makes it impossible. Something almost threatening that tells her not to break the silence.
And yet, despite the hostile atmosphere, Polly’s feeling a little bored. She’s also more than a little peeved that she’s spent £45 just to be stared down by a woman with cold, hard eyes. She came here to be told of her future. She expected a crystal ball at the very least.
The fortune teller blinks, shakes her head, and finally looks away. “Gotcha,” she says. “Here. Take this.” She pulls a cardboard tube out from beneath the table and hands it over. “There’s a picture in here which depicts your future. Don’t peek until you get home. And don’t get too upset… we can’t all have the perfect life.”
Polly nods as she takes the package. “Thanks,” she says.
The fortune teller grunts. “My commiserations.”
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After being diagnosed with a grade 4 brain tumour, this tale’s narrator has very little time left to live. As he begins compiling a bucket list, he is visited by the devil who offers him a tantalising deal. He can live for an extra day in exchange for making one thing disappear completely from the world. What will he find himself capable of giving up? What does he value in life? When will he find himself content enough to leave the world behind? And will his cat, Cabbage, find himself disappeared? Continue reading “If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura | Book Review”
“You’re never 60!”
Her colleagues stare at her with pure jealousy. She doesn’t look a day over 45.
“What’s your secret?”
“Ah… that would be telling,” she says smugly. Continue reading “The Ultimate Anti-Aging Secret | Microfiction”
A roundup of the miniature stories I wrote on Twitter and Instagram this week.
Tristran Thorn has a beautiful girl to impress, and he’ll do so by bringing her a fallen star. He embarks on adventure into a strange, magical and dangerous world, and soon learns that the fallen star is far more valuable than he could ever imagine. Continue reading “Stardust by Neil Gaiman | Book Review”
“I can’t believe that dumb bitch put me in the washing machine.” Silk Shirt takes in the dark grey sky and her rage grows. “If it pisses it down on me now, I swear I’ll shrink on purpose just to teach her a lesson.”
“Give it a bloody rest, will you?” mutters Holey Old Band Tee. “There’s no wonder she treats you like crap when you’re so hoity toity and full of yourself. If you ever want to bag yourself Favourite Garment status, you have to relax. Roll with the punches. Pitch yourself as reliable. Comfortable. Cool. And make sure you age gracefully. That’s what I did. 20 years she’s been wearing me. My hem’s all raggedy and I have five holes and counting, but I still look fucking awesome. I’ve been through more wash cycles than I can count, andI’ve been left out in the rain at least six times a year since she first bought me. Do you catch me complaining? No. You’ll only ever catch me looking totally rock and roll. That’s why I’m her favourite.”
“It won’t last,” says Paint-Splattered Jeans glumly. “I was you, once. She never wanted to take me off. She wore me everywhere. We saw the world! Then one day, all of a sudden, I was relegated to DIY.”
Silk Shirt gasps. “What happened?”
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The toilet stall read “Vacant” and yet the damn thing wouldn’t open. She hammered on the door desperately, wincing as her full bladder threatened to revolt if it wasn’t relieved soon.
“Anyone in there?” she called.
No reply. Continue reading “Don’t Trust the Toilets | Microfiction”
The shop across the road looks like it sells a load of old tat, but it sure looks more appealing than trying and failing to put pen to paper. I down the last frothy dregs of my cappuccino, tuck my notebook and pen in my bag, and head out to kill some time.
The door jangles to announce my presence, and in seconds the shop owner appears before me with a wide grin stretched across his face.
“Looking for anything in particular?”
I shake my head. “Just browsing.”
I look at the shelves and take in the junk. Twee wooden figurines. Cheap plastic flowers arranged in even cheaper plastic vases. Cutesy signs with naff statements like God Bless This Mess and Dust is a Country Accent. Dachshund draught excluders with blue plaid bellies and cartoonish eyes. Floral aprons and floral tea towels and floral oven mitts and floral cushion covers and…
“Perhaps I can point you in the right direction,” the shop owner says, his megawatt grin not faltering for even a moment.
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He rolls over in bed to find her side empty and cold. There’s an envelope on the pillow with his name penned in her hand. Already he knows she’s gone.
He checks every room of the house, just to be sure. And then he pulls back the curtains in the living room and peers out at the creatures outside. They’re still there, dependable as ever. But she’s gone. Continue reading “You’re Right | Flash Fiction”
Timothy, Sarah and Edward are a tight-knit and loving little family, regardless of them not being actually related. Having run away from their children’s home and found themselves living under a cobblestone bridge, they’ve learned quickly how to become independent. But is independence all it’s cracked up to be? Is it okay to turn to adults for help? And will the three of them find it within themselves to let go of their difficult pasts and open themselves up to the possibility of a new life? Continue reading “Wish Upon a Leaf by Teresa Grabs | Book Review”