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Behind the Paint

A short, very short story by Paul White. Rather alluring and evocative, I think.

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a short story, if you have one, or seen one you think would be a good fit here, let me know using the contact form and then I can share it here.

 

Enter here to read Behind the Paint

Introduction to The Magic of Stories book

MagicofStoriesCoverThis week I’m re-launching The Magic of Stories eBook under the Electric Eclectic banner. It’s been tweaked from the original, with additional stories and new formating, and a brand new super-duper cover, which I love. Paul White of P J Designs has done a lovely job in designing it for me.

Stories are wonderful, they weave magically threads that draw you into a world that is different to your own. We all need escapism and many, like me, like to do this with a good book.

I’ve always said stories are not just fictional.  True life tales, can be just as fascinating. I love hearing about people’s passions, what they love, what they believe, their families and their memories. Stories are all around us every day.

In The Magic of Stories, I have collected material together written over the years, which include poetry, shorts, and flash fiction, each telling a tale.

Screen Shot 2019-09-25 at 17.43.03Last year, I read a book called Undressed by Karina Kantas. It’s a collection of poetry, prose, flash and short fiction. Although I loved reading all the stories, there was something else that made it special. For most of them, she explained her reasons for writing it, or how it came to be, or some other fascinating snippit.

I’ve never seen this done before and found they added another dimension to the book. So, this is what I’ve done with mine. Knowing how a story orginated makes it a a more interesting read.

Karina has kindly offered to give my readers a copy for free. I highly recommend you grab it and add it to your reading list. All details of how to get it are in The Magic of Stories book.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Every day this week I’ll be sharing articles to accompany the stories in the book. As I publish them, I will add the link here, so you’ll be able to come back and follow them anytime.

Coping with Bereavement
Can you Control Your Dreams?
Playground Games
Finding Humour
Do You Believe in Love at First Sight?
Do you keep a diary?
Memories of my dog Ricky
I don’t like creepy things, do you?
My Sister Far Away
Don’t tell a writer your secrets!
Hidden Stories in Family Tree
Train Journeys
Churches and Ouiji Boards

 

 

 

 

A Bus Drive Never Forgotten

We’ve all travelled on a coach or bus in our youth when we were young and carefree. For me I remember a train ride where four of us went on a day trip to Alderley Edge, in Cheshire. A area where the ‘Edge’ provides magnificent views as well as a few interesting caves along the way.

The train was in compartments and we went noisily into one. It was much more fun to travel in the luggage rack rather than on the seat! When ever I see those roped racks I’m transported back to being a silly teenager again remembering the rocky ride. Although, I might add, not tempted to do it again.

Author, C. A. Keith wrote a story about her bus ride, which brought my memory back. Hers was very memorable and so I thought I’d share it with you. I can just envisage the girls with their drinks, and a very obliging bus driver!

 

Click here to read the story!coach-3206326_1280

 

What is Flash Fiction? It’s this…

Flash fiction is a style of fictional literature or fiction of extreme brevity. There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category. Some self-described markets for flash fiction impose caps as low as three hundred words, while others consider stories as long as a thousand words to be flash fiction.

Fewer words often tell a better story, I think.  So I’ve had a play about with words.

Addicted to Love

I love…..

I loved……

I cried……..

I saw, I took, I loved and I lost.

That sums it up really.  He was handsome and kind and when he asked me out, I said yes. I took the love he offered. It was good, really good. I drank from him and I waded through a pool of caresses and kisses. I indulged, I supped, I enjoyed.

I became dependant, possessive, needful and addicted. It was too much. No good shutting the door after the horse’s bolted, Granny said. It was one of herf avourite saying and its pity I didn’t listen.

How do you wean yourself from addiction? Time will heal, says Granny and this time I’m trying to listen. It’s hard and it hurts. I’ve cried, I’ve yearned and I’ve learnt.

This was a compilation of shorts I wrote a few years ago.

Albert

Albert loved to watch the children play in the school yard. Their voices filled hish eart with happiness, but someone reported him as suspicious. Now all Albert watches is trains.

This was a dream I had, so not all of it makes completele sense. But I think you will get the gist of it. It stuck in my mind because of the shock of what happened at the end. It felt so real.

And The Ship Went Down

I’d gone with a small group of tourists back in time. We were observers and everything around us was in black and white.  Just like a film except that we were there.

In the corridor people had spilled out of cabins shouting and pushing to get out. They couldn’t see us as we stood watching like observers.

A woman shouted above the noise, “It’s all right we;re going on again.” Just for a moment the panic subsided and then I realised we weren’t going on, we were going down, and at the same time I realised it, so did they. The ship was sinking!

The panic and bedlam rose up again. People began falling as the ship tilted. Among them were children who were getting trampled in the panic.  I could hear each individual scream and it was horrific.

We scrambled to the back of the ship and stood waiting.  I could see land not too far off as it tilted and the sea was further away. There was no question of jumping, it was like contemplating jumping off a cliff.

With awful suddenness we realised something had gone wrong, we were going down with it, and the water the rushing towards us, “I don’t like this, I want to go,” I shouted above the noise.  This was too real, not what I expected at all!

We began to sing the code word, Red Tomato, Red Tomato, Red Tomato, and nothing happened. The wind rushed in my ears and the people in my party started singing, “We are English, We are English.”  Did that matter? What was that for?

Apart the abject terror, there was no time to panic as water rushed up my legs and over my head. I will swim, I thought, soon as I’m under the water, I shall swim away, and back up to the surface.

I didn’t count on the whoosh, and of sucking sensation that sent me turning and spinning.  Then I stopped and was floating. I waited for the pain that goes with drowning. I looked across the murky water to see other people who had been sucked down too. Inthat tiny millisecond I realised I didn’t know which way was up and I wasn’t going to get to the surface. Then my breath ran out. I had no choise but to breath in and fully expected it to be sea water. It wasn’t. It was fresh air. I was alive! My eyes opened and it was a dream….only a dream…

Cooking

When I withdrew the knife, I smiled.

This would be better.

I liked to cook in the kitchen, especially on my own.

It was when I got to the sink I realised the knife still had his blood on it.

Torture

A pulse was beating in my temple which exploded into a full blown headache as I saw them come for me. I was taken down a white walled corridor as my stomach churned. I felt sick.

A light above me flickered as hysteria bubbled inside. The door opened and he was standing there waiting for me, a glint in his eyes. I didn’t want to look at the cold, sharp instruments lying on the table. I could smell fear in the room as the blood rushed through my veins and pounded in my ears. For a moment, I thought I was going to faint.

I’d seen others coming out, their faces as white as the walls.  Somewherea tap dripped. The bright light above was aimed like a spotlight illuminating the area of kill. Oh god!

Hands were on my shoulders making me lay back and terror consumed me. I caught the sight of ametal hook and broke out into a cold sweat.

A hush descended the room, the only sound was my breathing. A sweet sickly smell swept though my nostrils as goose bumps marched down from my shoulders.

Thank god they had changed it to 12 monthly appointments, as I couldn’tgo through this every time I needed a dentist check up.

The Mistake

I’m 30 and I’m single. Is that unusual? I don’t really care because I am happy with who I am.

I’m Christina; I live alone with my cat, Henry. I’ve had plenty of boyfriends and have a good social life. I love men and always have, but haven’t found the one to settle down with.

Life was good, I have a good job and my own my flat, but last weekend my life turned upside down.

It’s hard to put into words and I’m struggling to come to terms with what happened. My whole life has been thrown into disarray. I don’t know who I am any more. My self-confidence has plummeted.

You see I went to a party. My friend dropped out at the last minute and I decided to go on my own. Lots of people were there and I always find it interesting meeting new people. I’m waffling; I know I am waffling, putting off the moment I have to tell you.

You see, I kissed another woman.

There, I’ve said it. It was a full blown necking session with wandering hands. Every time I think about it, my stomach flips and I go cold. I love men. How could I do that?

I feel sick, indeed I have been sick. I’m not a lesbian, I’ve never thought of another woman that way. I love men. I love everything about them. I love sex – with a man. I’m repulsed at the thought of sex with another woman simply because I’m not gay.

So why did I end up kissing another woman? I don’t know. She liked me. She made all the moves. At first Ithought she was being attentive and naively thought she found me interesting. When she began touching me, I didn’t think anything of it. When I realised she being over affectionate, I knew I’d drank too much, and because I lwas enjoying it. Before I knew what was happening, we were outside. She was smiling at me in a way that was disconcerting. Then she began kissing me, it was passionate, it was nice, my eyes were closed. Then I opened them.

I expected to see a handsome hunk, instead there was a pretty women. I felt let down, and cheated.

My friend told me to chalk it up to experience. She said it happens to most people at some point in their lives. At least, she said, you know who you are now.

But then I always did. I love men.

I See Things

I am a normal ordinary person, or I would like to think that I am. I’ve lived in our house for 18 years and was brought up by a loving family. I’ve never had any problems. That was until recently. Now I see things.

I don’t particularly believe in ghosts. I’ve never seen one, at least I don’t think of what I see as ghosts. If they aren’t, what are they?

Well, they are small, dark blobs I see from the corner of my eyes. Suddenly they run across the room or they run up the walls. When I turn my head to look properly, they’ve gone, escaping to wherever it is they are running to.

Sometimes I think things live in this house, things we never knew were here and living along side us.  Now I know they are here, I worry. Where are they when I can’t see them?  Why do they dash everywhere and why can’t I see them as they really are?

I hear them at night too, as I lie awake in the dark. I can’t describe the soundt hey make but it is there and muffled in the silence. Where are they in the darkness? Are they crawling up the walls and dashing across the floor? It makes me shiver, and worry as to who else is living in our house with us.

Night Time Cuddles

“Do you know I love you very much,” he whispered.

“That’s very nice.”

“Very nice? What kind of an answer is that?”

“I’m just saying, that’s all.”

“You never say nice things to me.”

“Yes, I do.”

“When?

“Well, erm, I told you that jumper looked nice.”

“I’d just bought it.”

“Yes, well, I say other things too.”

“Like what?”

“I thanked you for washing up, didn’t I?”

“That doesn’t count.”

She giggled and snuggled closer.

“You’re a crazy woman, you know that?”

“That’s why you love me.”

“I do. Very much. Now go to sleep.”

Treachery

Mrs Horseface was very angry and I hung my heard.

“Somebody better own up or you are all going to be punished.”

Keeping my head bowed, I moved my eyes to Charlie on the right and Ian and Shaun on the left.

“It was her, miss,” said Charlie.

I looked up sharply in time to see the other boys nod in agreement.

Mrs Horseface turned to me and I shrunk from her stare.

“Right, get out, you three.”

And my so-called friends, didn’t need telling twice. They shot out of the door as I hunched my shoulders.

“You better explain yourself, right now Sophie Clark.”

“Erm, I’m sorry Mrs Horsley, I…I….”

“Yes? I am waiting.”

“I…well, you see….”

“Spit it out,”

“It was Charlie, he made me do it, said as my Dad was a gardener and I should pull them up.”

“Do you realise they were only planted in the spring and they were going to flower in this autumn? They’re not going to flower now, are they?”

“No Miss.”

“I shall be writing to your mother and father.”

“Oh, no, please don’t do that, miss. I shall put them back.”

“Hold out your hands.”

Reluctantly I did.

My hands were smarting so much when I came out of her office, but that didn’t stop me punching Charlie on the nose.

Like these? Some and more are featured in The Magic of Stories book. It’s on offer at 99p/c and free to read on Kindle Unlimited.

The Magic of Stories cover (Jon_s MacBook Air)

 

 

Missing!

by Karen J Mossman

 

It's been a while since I posted a short story, so this one I wrote a
few years ago. If you have a story you would like to feature here, 
get on contact, I would love to feature you.

 

handcuffs-2102488_1280Nick was about to put the key in his door when the cops turned up.

Charlie was called to the foreman’s office and asked to accompany them to the station.

Marie, Charlie’s girlfriend, was working on reception when they came for her.  Russ tried to dodge them which didn’t go down well. Wasn’t he the one who told Michelle he would kill her?

“I didn’t!” Russ frowned.

Her friends said she had been depressed lately. Was it true?

“Yeah, she was a little down.” Nick remembered.

What was her relationship with Russ like?

“Stormy.” Charlie had found her crying.

What was she like the last time you saw her? They asked Nick.

“Quiet, tense, like. I asked her what was wrong and she told me to mind me own business. I heard her cryin’ in the night. She was gone when I got up.”

They asked Russ the same question. What was she like when you saw her last?

“Sulky,” he scowled.

Charlie shrugged. “She wanted money to feed her ‘abit.”

She was a user?

“What?” Nick was indignant. “Bullshit!”

Marie chewed her nails. “I thought she was, but she swore she never touched the stuff.  Russ had the habit. They had a one sided relationship, y’know?”  She said referring to Russ and Michelle.

Nick pulled a face, “She was besotted with Russ. He was bad news. She knew it, deep down, like. But try telling her anything….”

Charlie lit a cigarette. “I think she was scared of him. I think he had some kind of hold on her.”

They felt one of them wasn’t telling the truth. The brother? The ex? The boyfriend? The flatmate?

What about home life, parents?

Nick shrugged. “She and dad were always arguing.”

About?

“Boyfriends, I suppose. She always picked the dregs, y’know?  Wrong sorts for a girl like her, that’s what dad used to say, anyway.”

Like who?

“Ones with problems, trouble makers, ones who had been in trouble with you lot, know what I mean?”

What did you think about Michelle, Marie?

“I didn’t like her much, but what could I do?  Nick was Charlie’s mate.  His sister and Charlie, well, it’s over now. Least Charlie says it is.”

And was it over?

Staring at the table Marie followed the white cup rings with her eyes, gauging how much to tell them. “I think she was coming onto Charlie.”

Charlie looked away.  “No. It was over.”

They left his word to hang in the air, compelling him to say more. Instead he reached for another cigarette. Taking a long drag he blew smoke towards them. Playing for time, they’d seen it before. They waited.

“No,” he said again.

He was lying.

They were playing it softly, but in interrogation room 3, the air was blue. Russ wasn’t having that. “Me and Shell, we were like that.” He crossed his fingers.

Softly, softly was getting nowhere. It was time to go in for the kill.

Marie looked horrified.  “I didn’t kill her, I didn’t.”  She was tired, nerves spent.  “I was sick of her coming on to Charlie. He’s mine now, mine, not hers, not any more.”

They accused her again.

“I didn’t kill her, we argued that’s all.”

Charlie put out his cigarette and reached for yet another. “Course she liked me, we’ve been friends a long time. She didn’t want to let go. Wanted to get back together, but I’ve got Marie now.”

Nick looked at them, “Bullshit!  We didn’t row about Charlie. She wasn’t after him. Who told you that?  When I asked her what’s wrong, she told me to mind me own business.”  He shrugged.  “I went out; left her to it. When I came back I heard her cryin’, but I didn’t go in, I mean, it ain’t the first, like. She gets mixed up in things.”

They were interrupted then as formal identification of a body was required. As next of kin, Nick would have to do it.

Afterwards he sat with his head in his hands. It was a shock. He had never seen a dead body before.

They explained it was time to come clean.

Marie burst into tears. “I hit her, we fought, but she left, she left afterwards, honest she did, honest.”

Russ went ape, he threw back the chair and kicked at the table. It took five of them to restrain him.

As they locked the cell door, one said dryly, “I think he’s upset.”

“Or guilty,” said the other.

Charlie clenched his jaw and balled his fists, but apart from that he showed little emotion. It was an odd reaction for someone who was once in love with her. Or perhaps he still was.

Nick was relieved when they let him go. Whoever that body was, it didn’t belong to his sister. So where was she?  Where was Michelle?

“I dunno,” said Charlie. “Why would I know?  She didn’t come to me. I’m not her keeper. Why would I know?”

If Marie was relieved, she showed no sign.  “Ask Russ, my guess is she told him about her feelings for Charlie. Or he found out or, maybe she got her comeuppance another way.”

Russ fixed his gaze somewhere above their heads. “You put me through that, and it weren’t even her. Bastards.”

They told him what they thought, too.

“No,” he yelled. “There was no relationship with Charlie. All right, so I shouldn’t have accused her. I was jealous, see. Come on, man, why would I kill her?  She was the one who got me off the stuff. I’m clean now.”  He banged his fist down on the table. “It’s him, Charlie, I know it’s him. He’s the one who couldn’t let go; couldn’t accept she loves me now.” He put his head in his hands and groaned.

It looked like they’d have to let them all go, until there was a body that is, or new evidence. Maybe Michelle wanted to disappear. Russ was perhaps one more lame dog she’d helped. And Charlie, well he had Marie now. Perhaps she did want him back, or maybe it was the other way round. Marie was jealous, and Nick, well Nick had probably seen it all before.

The Pefect Christmas

Want something festive?

Want a free short story?

The Perfect Christmas

When Liam invites his girlfriend Kayla over at Christmas, he never imagines he would be getting married in nothing but his boxers and a bow tie.

A humerous and naughty short story to add a bit of spice to your Christmas!

Click here to download a copy.

A Case For Adjectives?

I don’t know why I haven’t been following Carole’s blog before. A sheer oversight!
I loved this story and didn’t expect the ending at all. How sad really. I wanted to see the magic of this story with my followers. Please follow the link and Carole’s blog.

 

 

Author -Carole Parkes

In writing circles experts frown upon using too many adjectives. This is from an English lesson I did many years ago. Oddly enough, I gained a tick for each adjective used. My question is how would this story be without them?

The Stranger

The spectacle of the filthy, bedraggled man sitting in the restaurant drew my attention. His matted, dirty hair hung in knots below his hunched shoulders and some of it fell forward into his soup. Pulling it out of the hot liquid he wiped the sticky, wet hair on his coat which was already covered in mouldy food spillage and vomit. He slurped noisily, spilling more soup from his spoon and mouth than he was managing to consume.

I looked away from him to my daughter who was standing next to me. She was also hypnotised by this revolting, stomach retching sight. Then my eyes fell upon his…

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