Quilting | Flash Fiction

Oh, she’s so fucking old. How is she still clinging on to life? How?

“Morning Mrs Tidpot,” I call as I lug her shopping through to the kitchen.

“Mm.”

She’s quilting as usual. Always bloody quilting. How she isn’t bored to death of it yet I don’t know.

“Working on that quilt again, are you?”

“Mm.”

I put the kettle on and unpack the shopping, wondering who I could get to shoot me if I ever ended up quilting every damn day just to while away the seconds until death.

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The Last Cig in the Packet | Short Story

I wrote this story nine months ago and put off publishing it in case it was too morbid or doleful. It’s certainly a lot different to the silly, whimsy fiction I tend to post. I was also scared of sharing too much of myself. This story is fictional, but it is inspired by own experiences with depression, self-harm and suicidal ideation. It’s Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK right now. I figured that sharing fiction like this might help in one way or another.

Ask for help. Lean on your loved ones. Don’t be too proud to admit when things are getting too difficult.


‘What are things like at home?’

I think of the thick layer of dust that sits on every surface in my living room, the unopened mail which carpets my hallway and the stacks of dirty mugs in my kitchen sink.

I shrug. ‘Fine.’

‘Do you live alone?’

I nod.

Dr Taylor looks away from his computer screen. ‘And how do you find that?’

I shrug again. I’ve lost count of how many shrugs I’ve given him over the course of the past five minutes. ‘Fine.’

‘What about when you need support? Who can you turn to?’

Another shrug. ‘My mum, I guess.’

‘Does she live nearby?’

I nod.

‘You see her often?’

I nod.

‘Does she know about the self-harm?’

My hand automatically moves to my forearm so that my fingers can poke at the fresh wound which lives there. It’s just beginning to crust over. The stab of soreness calms me. I’m looking forward to the inevitable sting that will occur later when I peel away the fabric from sticky, angry flesh.

‘Yes,’ I say.

‘So if you were in crisis you could go to your Mum’s house?’

‘I s’pose.’

‘And do you?’

Course not. When I’m in crisis I wallow in it.

‘Sometimes,’ I say.

‘Good. So your mum is an important part of your support network. I’ll make a note of that.’ He turns back to his computer screen and taps away at his keyboard.

I look at the beige walls of the bland office and wonder how Dr Taylor himself isn’t stir fucking crazy.

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Sucker! | Short Story

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.

“Alright, love?”

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.

“Fuck!”

“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!

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Pep Talk | Flash Fiction

I look in the mirror and grimace. Deep bags under my eyes. Pimples on my chin. Eyebrows in dire need of a pluck.

“Gross,” I whisper to myself.

“Who the hell are you calling gross?” I say back.

It’s me, talking back to me. My reflection is moving of its own accord and it’s talking to me. Continue reading “Pep Talk | Flash Fiction”

The Mug | Flash Fiction

The mug sits unwashed on the kitchen table, a layer of white fuzz growing on the surface of the dregs of tea inside it. A smudge of lipstick is on the rim, and there’s a fingerprint made in chocolate on the handle.

The rest of the kitchen is pristine. Every single other mug, cup, glass, plate and bowl is dutifully washed, dried and put away immediately after use. But the mouldy mug remains on the table, as it has for three weeks now.

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Wild Things My Grandma Told Me | Short Story

Grandparents have secrets. And trust me — you don’t want to know what they are.

My Grandma was 87 years old when she revealed her secrets, but nobody would have pegged her anything beyond 75. She had a few lines and wrinkles here and there, sure, but you’d never guess she was pushing 90. And if you spoke to her without seeing her, you’d think her in her 30s. She could talk a mile a minute and she swore like a trooper. She knew her stuff when it came to modern music and the latest blockbusters. She had an iPhone and a Snapchat account and thousands of followers on Instagram.

So when pneumonia took her down we were all surprised. None more than her, mind.

“I’m too young for pneumonia.”

“You’re 87,” my Mum told her.

“People like me shouldn’t get pneumonia. Haven’t had so much as a cold in decades. Only time I get sick is when I overdo the whiskey sours and that doesn’t count — that’s self-inflicted. Are they sure it’s pneumonia? I don’t believe it.”

“It’s true. So you’ve to keep quiet, be on your best behaviour and cooperate with the doctors.”

“Yes, dear. I will. Best behaviour.” And then she saw me clock her crossed fingers and threw me a sly smirk.

I visited her as often as I could. I got the bus from the hospital straight after college every weekday, and I went in the morning and again in the afternoon on Saturdays and Sundays. She’d always have a tale to tell about the time that passed during my absence. How she initiated a group singalong of Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic throughout the ward. How she invited the charming 28-year-old hospital porter out for drinks. How she’d given one of the specialist doctors a lesson on achieving the ultimate orgasm. How she’d sneaked into the hospital kitchen to add chilli powder to the meatloaf mixture. On and on it went — miniature adventures which transformed a drab old stay in the hospital into a thriving chapter of her life.

But after the second week on the ward, the adventures became less frequent, less exciting. Her retelling of the few escapades she did manage — having a cheeky squeeze of a handsome nurse’s bum, for example — became less animated. Her cheeks grew paler. Her voice grew weaker. The wheezing and rattling in her chest grew stronger. Her skin was almost translucent.

“Not long for this mortal coil,” she croaked at me one day.

“Don’t say that, Grandma. You’ll be alright. Keep your chin up.”

“It is up, it is. But we’ve all got to go someday. My time’s coming up and that’s alright. Just promise me one thing.”

“What?”

“Invite Michael Bublé to my funeral. His number’s saved in my phone. He might not come, but I’d like for him to have the opportunity to say his goodbyes. He only knew me briefly but… well, he knew me rather intimately.”

I didn’t ask for details. “I’ll invite him,” I said, though at that stage I didn’t mean it. I didn’t believe she’d ever even met him.

“Thank you, dear.” She sighed, shook her head slightly. “There’s a lot you don’t know, young lady. A lot that nobody knows.”

“What do you mean?”

“My life. I don’t want to blow my own trumpet, but it was bloody colourful.”

“So tell me about it.” That was my first big mistake.

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An Update that Nobody Asked For | Blog

I’ve been AWOL for a while and I felt like I should do a short blog post to explain my disappearance and to make preemptive excuses for any future relinquishing of my website, social media, email, writing and general life responsibilities. Continue reading “An Update that Nobody Asked For | Blog”

Questions for Kids | Flash Fiction

“…so the pig offered a piece of his meat for the bloke to use as a muscle in his leg. That’s why they call it a hamstring.”

“Cool! Thanks, Dad.”

Kids are inquisitive. Too inquisitive, for Jez’s liking. They ask a lot of questions to which nobody really knows the answers, but if you try to fob them off with an “I don’t know, pet,” they’ll witter on and on and on until you’re about ready to lose your mind.

Jez came up with a solution to this problem. Just make shit up. Easy…

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Here Comes Dreary January | Flash Fiction

“Oh, shit. Dreary January is here. Prepare yourselves for misery.”

“Hi,” says January, face blank, dead behind the eyes.

“Hello, mate!” says February. “How are you doing?”

“Well, I’m skint. I’ve got nothing to look forward to. I’m freezing fucking cold and I hate everything.”

February grins. “Least you’ve got your health, eh?”

January gives a pointed cough. “Nope. Just getting over the flu.”

“Stop whinging, January. You really are a buzzkill,” December slurs. “Have a drink with me, won’t you?” Continue reading “Here Comes Dreary January | Flash Fiction”

Chitchat | Microfiction

She despises these events. Free tea and coffee is fine, but it comes with the pressure of idle chitchat and ‘making connections’ for the company she hates working for.

She pours a mound of sugar into her coffee and catches the eye of a man opposite her. Continue reading “Chitchat | Microfiction”