Lodgers | Flash Fiction

Man in dark room looking out of window. "Lodgers" flash fiction

The front door slams, the house shivers and its inhabitants freeze.

“They’re back,” says Daughter, and her face quickly crumples as tears well.

“Don’t you dare cry,” hisses Mother. “They’ll hear us.”

The family falls silent and listens. A series of thuds and rattles comes from the floor below. Cupboard doors are opened and closed, opened and closed, over and over. Then there’s a short yell, a moment of quiet, and the soft wail of a miserable child.

Daughter whimpers. Mother glares at her.

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Poohsticks | Microfiction

Children chasing butterflies illustration - "Poohsticks" microfiction

Stick after stick they flung into the water before tearing along the muddy riverbank in chase.

Each twiggy sacrifice hurried along the current to its destiny; a big leap over the edge of the rocky outcrop. The sticks plummeted into a deep, dark pool and disappeared beneath the surface. It wasn’t long until they rose again, buoyed by the amber, peaty water. Continue reading “Poohsticks | Microfiction”

Trick | Microfiction

Hairy spider silhouette - "Trick" microfiction

“Trick or treat!”

Mr Swinton eyes up the pair of children – dressed up in old white sheets and skeleton face masks – and crosses his arms. “I choose trick.”

The kids glance at one another, rolling their eyes behind their masks.

“You kids all expect something for nothing, don’t you? Well, impress me with a trick and maybe you can earn some sweeties.” Continue reading “Trick | Microfiction”

What Hunger Does | Microfiction

Cottage illustration - "What Hunger Does" microfiction

The noodles writhe in the bowl like worms. Jeb blinks at them repeatedly, wondering if it’s his eyes playing tricks on him.

“Hunger does funny things to our brains,” mutters the old woman from her armchair. “Eat up, lad. It’s delicious.”

It was hunger that had driven him towards the cottage. Hunger which had forced his knuckles to rap on the front door. Hunger which had made him ask for some scraps. Hunger had which pushed him into the home of a stranger despite his gut squeezing and churning in objection.

Jeb smiles at the old woman, who eagerly shovels noodles from her own bowl into her mouth.

Hunger had already done some daft things. Not much of a surprise, then, that it could make a benign bowl of noodles wriggle like a mound of worms…

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Where Monsters Lurk | Short Story

Monster illustration - "Where Monsters Lurk" short story

The monster leers at me with dull, sunken eyes, its mouth agape and spittle smeared across its chin.

Its grey skin is plagued with more yellowing warts than unusual. Its long hair is lanker, greasier, and more dishevelled. I’m sure its hooked nose is more crooked than I’ve ever seen it before.

It’s the last thing I want to look at first thing in a morning, but it can’t be avoided. It took up residence in my bedroom years ago; it’s almost part of the furniture.

I turn away, sick to my stomach, and retrieve my day’s outfit from the wardrobe. Black trousers. Loose grey t-shirt. Black, fine-knit cardigan. Black ankle boots. As close as I can get to an invisibility cloak.

I run a brush through my hair and that’s that — I’m ready. I don’t bother with makeup. Couldn’t bear it.

In the bathroom, I brush my teeth while avoiding eye contact with the monster that lurks in there. It’s a little smaller than the one in the bedroom and easier to ignore if I concentrate hard enough.

There have been times when curiosity has got the better of me and I’ve snatched a glance at it. The shortest of glimpses of its repulsive flesh under the harsh bathroom spotlights — its skin pale and thin enough that I can see the blood pulsing through the veins beneath it — is enough to make me retch…

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