Category Archives: My Short Stories

I Heard Her

The door gave way on the third kick. I wished that it hadn’t as soon as the smell hit me. The notion of what a smell is will never fully explain what entered my nostrils that day. She had been there for three days, windows shut, in the dry Sri Lankan heat.
Her position was familiar, sitting in her favourite chair, facing the television.  Her shorts and T-shirt seemed almost inappropriate for the situation. She was there, but gone.
The arc of blood up the wall behind her was brown now. A death rainbow, and at the end of it there was no pot of gold. The air was me, and I was the air. I breathed her decomposition.
I spent years thinking that she had been murdered. The Colombo murder squad hinted at the boys from the beach. They insinuated that she was a prostitute, that one thing had lead to another. She was just another victim of just another brutal robbery in a poor country. Now I’m not so sure. Something happens to you when you discover a dead body. There is an interaction, even though one of you is no longer there. She told me something that day. It has taken me a long time to hear it but I hear it now.

I hear her pain, her disappointment, her release of expectation. I hear her dreams slowly disappearing as her heart hardened.

I hear her locking the door from the inside.

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The Sympathy of Rain

The sound of the rain washes me away.

It takes me back to an unknown place.

To a time that I can not quite put my finger on.

It is more of a feeling than a memory,

a sort of nostalgia for something I have lost.

Something long forgotten.

Rain on windows always does this to me.

Sometimes I think that if I stare long enough at the glass,

that if I count enough straggly raindrops running down towards the sill,

I will remember what it is.

But I never do.

I try to let the rhythm of the rain hypnotise me

into releasing the uncried tear that I know is there.

But I am always just left with the same slight melancholy,

the same refreshing, inspiring sadness.

If you have ever cried next to a window in a rainstorm

then you probably understand the sympathy of rain.

Like dew crystals on tufty cemetery grass.

I think that’s why I like caravans.

I like tents too.

But the sound of rain on tents leaves me longing for a window.

For something to take me a step closer to my buried memories.

For something that will do my crying for me.

Soon to be published in Volume Two of Incandescent;  http://www.incandescentpoetry.com/


Harsh Mistress

As I closed the door behind me and walked up the unlit hall I sensed her in the bedroom. I spoke no words of greeting and received none. I put my keys down on the coffee table in the lounge and headed for the kitchen. The cats food bowl was empty and the light on the extractor fan above the hob that I had forgotten to switch off in the morning was still glowing. I switched it off and turned on the main kitchen light over the sink. The water from the tap sprayed over my hand as I filled the kettle with enough water for one cup. I tossed a tea bag into a mug and reached over to the fridge for the milk.

While I was waiting for the kettle to boil I switched the TV on and flicked to channel four for the news. Another scandal involving the prime minister and the media filled the screen. The kettle finished boiling and I walked back past the breakfast bar to my mug. Water in, I let it steep for a minute then squeezed the bag twice with a teaspoon. I flung the squashed tea bag into the bin. The milk, as always, went in last.

As I sat down on the sofa in front of the TV my thoughts turned to the bedroom. I would at some point have to go in there. My heart pounded in my chest and the usual knot of guilt made it’s presence felt in my stomach. We started two years ago. On a dark wintry day in London I had taken the day off the work and walked to the local park. It had just begun to rain when she came to me.

It had started off well, so exciting and interesting. And new. At work I thought about her all day and couldn’t wait to come home to her. I would dream about her every time I slept. I guess the beginnings are always the best.

I first started to have doubts about five months in. I began to think about her less. I would find reasons to not come straight home. A pint after work. Slow, leisurely shops around the supermarket. I had even stopped dreaming about her.

Eventually, I don’t remember exactly when, I began to think about moving on. I felt numb and passionless. My life had become boring and mundane. All of the initial spark had left. The guilt I felt when I thought about leaving her was tremendous. It felt like such a waste. All of that love and energy for nothing. I couldn’t leave her.

My eyes and thoughts began to wander. I started to look elsewhere. I wanted that buzz of the beginning. A new start. I wanted to feel passion again. To feel alive. She came to me on the bus on the way back from the cinema. I had gone alone to watch a documentary. A documentary about a chimp being brought up like a human.

She was amazing. Suddenly I felt alive again. I hadn’t felt this for so long. She was different from her. She was unpredictable, spontaneous, passionate. So passionate. But no sooner had we begun than it was over. I felt good about it though. My confidence was soaring. It was brief but powerful. Of course I felt guilt but that lessened with every new affair. And there were many. I just couldn’t give her up.

I picked up my mug of tea, switched off the television and walked towards the bedroom. The handle felt cold to my touch as I opened the door. I switched on the light on my desk and pressed the power button on my laptop. As it whirred into life I was debating whether I was in the mood. I hadn’t looked at her in a while.

I opened her up and skipped through to chapter eight. This was as far as I had got. Two years to write eight chapters. If it had not been for all the short stories I would have undoubtedly already finished her.


Re:Birthday

Soon to be available for a minimal fee on Amazon, a story of murder, mayhem and fun in the beautiful English countryside. Turning forty proved a little too daunting for Simon Tompkins but at least his friends were there to help him through it..

Did you pick up the body paint for me today, Simon?,” Rebecca shouted as I shut the front door behind me and walked up the narrow hallway. I have more than my fair share of pet hates but the simple unwillingness to say ‘hello’, or ‘hi’, when I come home ranks fairly high among them. Just a little annoyance but these things can build up occasionally.

“Hello, my dear,” I said, as I came up behind her and kissed the top of her head. “Yes, I did. It’s in the boot of the car.” She was sitting at her dressing table in front of the mirror using a lip pencil. As I looked down at my hand on her shoulder I noticed a large smudge of gold paint between my thumb and forefinger.

“Well, would you bring it in please? I want to try it against my new dress,” her eyes met mine in the mirror as she said this. She raised her eyebrows slightly and paused the pencil on her lip while waiting for my response.