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.’
Continue reading “My Mother and Her Cat (Part 3) | Short Story”
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 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”
I guess you could say I went out with a bang. There was certainly a sickening thud as my body made contact with the car bonnet. But actually, other than those final few seconds before everything went black, the last day of my life was unbearably dull.
I ate a cheese and pickle sandwich for lunch. Cheese and bloody pickle, couldn’t be more boring. Even the car accident was a cliché; I was lost in thought when I stepped out into the road. Forgot to check for traffic. And those thoughts weren’t about anything interesting. I was wondering whether I should order ham and pineapple or pepperoni pizza for my dinner.
But the bit that happened directly after my death was significantly more interesting.
Continue reading “The Dead End | Debut Novel”
Lit Up published my short creative nonfiction piece about losing my dad. It’s not the most cheerful thing I’ve ever written but we can’t write fun stories all the time, I guess!
His skin is too thin. Not papery — not that frail— but like the corners of a paperback that have been crumpled up and smoothed out one time too many. Each crease seems to be etched deeper than it was just twenty minutes ago. When the blood was still going round.
It’s my first foray into creative nonfiction and I’m really happy with how it turned out. Read it here.
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Photo by Silvestri Matteo on Unsplash
Her chest heaves as she looks at the photograph of days long gone. Her and her big brother, eight and ten years old, throwing sand at each other on Brighton beach. A snapshot of childhood, back when summers seemed to stretch out for years rather than months, giving them hours upon hours of play and playfights to indulge in.
She jumps at the sound of her husband’s voice and the photo frame slips from her hands and lands with a crack on the edge of the hearth.
“It’s alright, I’m sure it’s fine.”
She retrieves the frame, leaving chunks of smashed glass behind on the floor. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.” The tears fall fast.
“Hey, it’s okay. We can replace the frame easy enough, can’t we?” He takes the frame from her, swiftly removes the backing and hands her the photograph. “There’s something written on the back of that.”
The world seems to slow down around her. It’s like a spider has wandered across the page, its legs covered in ink. Her brother’s unmistakable scruffy handwriting.
Alright, knobhead! I KNEW you’d drop this frame. You’re so predictable. And stupidly clumsy.
Don’t feel too bad, the glass was already cracked. And it was 99p from Asda — you know me, I love a bargain.
Now, it’s time for a good old-fashioned TREASURE HUNT!
Continue reading on Medium >
“I’m telling you – it’s Dad.”
“It’s a bloody goat, Sarah.”
“He’s in the goat’s body.”
“He’s possessed it?”
“He’s been reincarnated.” Continue reading “Goat | Microfiction”
It started when my boss asked for a strong black coffee. My mind catapulted to those cool Sunday mornings when I’d wake you up with a freshly made cup. The house would be tinged in the pale yellow of the early spring sun, and you’d smile at me, eyes still closed, as soon as the aroma of coffee roused you from sleep.
At lunch, it was a dress that did it. Dark blue and covered in little white spots, worn by the woman who stood in front of me in the queue at the supermarket. You had a dress just like it. At least, I think you did; it looked like something you would wear. But I suppose I never paid enough attention. Your wardrobe now is a hazy memory – a blur of blues and whites and greys and every now and again, when I insisted it suited you, a splash of red. Continue reading “I Remember | Flash Fiction”