A chill wind blew through the partly open window as Margaret Ann led the visitor into her bedroom. The veiled stranger, dressed all in black, seemed out of place within these off-white walls. Turning as she reached the wooden bedstead, Margaret Ann faced her guest.
“Have a seat on the bed, please.”
There was no chair to offer in these cramped quarters, plain as the smile, stitched like a lie, across Margaret Ann’s wrinkled face. A spider made its way across wooden floorboards.
“I’ll stand,” replied the veiled woman, her gloved hand quietly closing the door. Continue reading “Black Widow”
This piece was written in response to Philip Larkin’s poem, Afternoons.
Iris stands apart. The smile playing on her lips is temporarily eclipsed as her mouth pinches a cigarette. Continue reading “Thank Heaven For Little Boys”
“Who’s out of bed? I fucking warned you.”
Dad’s voice crescendoed from the hallway as we sprung out of view on the landing, quick as adrenaline. The bedroom door swinging behind us, I shinned up the ladder to the top bunk while Jay dived under covers on the bottom. Dad took the stairs two at a time.
“Will you say it was you, Jay?” I pleaded. “He’ll kill me.” Continue reading “Brothers”
Thanks for all the feedback on Paulie. I made some changes and submitted this version for the anthology. I’ll learn if I made the cut by the end of July.
Half A Childhood
At last, Dad came home from the hospital, while Jay, Catherine and I were at school. That evening we were each allowed a few minutes in his room. I, being eight and eldest, went up first.
A face turned purple.
Mottled and bubbled and lumpen. One eye closed like a boxer’s.
An ogre, a brute, a fairytale monster.
Underneath was my Dad.
Still strong, with hard hands and black, wavy hair.
He sat up in bed, beneath the bobbly green blanket, toenails curling black, peeping out. I felt secure as he pulled me onto his knee. Continue reading “Half A Childhood”
I’m entering the text below for publication in a City Lit anthology of creative writing, maximum length 1500 words. This is a second draft of shorter pieces I’ve shared before, and I need your help to improve it further before submitting. Please leave feedback in the comments. Third and final draft (for now) here.
William kept his shoes on as Kerry walked barefoot on the beach. She, in a tie-dyed oil-spill dress, showing off slender legs. He, somehow pulling off handsome with a fag constantly on the go. Continue reading “Paulie”
“You’re sick in the head,” Dad snarls.
“I probably am, living with you.”
I punch myself in the head again. It hurts more this time, but I try not to show it. Continue reading “Paulie, Stop”
The Shacklewell Harm was heaving.
Nigel sweated angrily while the barman chatted to his mates, before turning and walking towards him with a smile.
“Two pints of Doom, please, and a JD and Diet Coke.”
But the barman wasn’t smiling at him.
Nigel’s friends looked on, nonplussed, as he shouldered a hipster and forced his way to the exit.
Dalston was getting out of hand. It was time to take the power back. Continue reading “The Dalston Vigilante”