Worth Every Penny – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s smaller short story collection (just 93 stories instead of 250!), The Story A Day May Collection, available in eBook and paperback from Amazon  and Morgen’s online store where you can not only instantly download the collection but also purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

Worth Every Penny

You look at the advert in your hand then at the car. The words ‘Trades’, ‘Description’ and ‘Act’ spring to mind.

“And the top speed is…?” you ask the old man who’s staring at his car lovingly.

“Had her over a hundred-and-thirty a few times.” The old man steps closer. “When no one was looking of course.”

You look back at the paper, and the price. “Two thousand is a bit steep.”

“Worth every penny,” the man says, stepping back and tilting his chin. “Spent almost that much doing her up.”

You look at the car, its red rusting bodywork and wonder where the money could have gone.

The old man looks at you and nods. He shuffles towards the bonnet and lifts it up.

The sun hitting the engine almost blinds you and you pull down the sunglasses that had been perched on the top of your head. “Wow,” is all you can say.

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Progress – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s smaller short story collection (just 93 stories instead of 250!), The Story A Day May Collection, available in eBook and paperback from Amazon  and Morgen’s online store where you can not only instantly download the collection but also purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

Progress

“Remember when this was fields?”

“I do. Not all that long ago.”

“Ten years, just over. A month or two after Sally and Ben got engaged. They were one of the first to buy here.”

“Oh, yes. Paid a fortune too, if I remember.”

“A small fortune, yes, but they wanted eco-friendly and the King was pushing for that so of course everything cost more.”

“King Charles? Was he on the throne already by then?”

“Not long before. 12th June 2014. Ben’s thirtieth birthday. The Queen abdicated on Sally’s; 15th May. Guess it came as a bit of a shock so it took them a while to sort out the paperwork.”

“Sally and Ben?”

“No. The coronation. The government.”

“Oh, yes. Nice party. This drinks party, I mean, not the government…”

“Isn’t it? Not many faces I recognise though.”

“Me neither. Bit of a relief to see you, if I’m honest.”

“Likewise. They’ve started digging up old Jack Tyler’s land.”

“Have they? For houses?”

“A thousand.”

“No!”

“Yeah. Can you imagine?”

“Not really. A thousand on the bit of land behind the farm?”

“Oh no, the whole thing.”

“What? What’s going to happen to the house?”

“Flatten. I think they’ve done it already.”

“That lovely old-”

“Progress.”

“So where’s Jack gone?”

“You haven’t heard?”

“Heard what?”

“Heart attack.”

“No! When?”

“When he got the letter offering seventy million.”

“Seventy million? What happened to that?”

“The son got it.”

“Jack had a son?”

“Lives in the States. Married a girl over there and stayed. Didn’t want the farm, of course.”

“Who would when offered that much?”

“The son.”

“Never saw him visit.”

“Think they fell out.”

“Reconciled after this death, though, didn’t they? A thousand homes. Wow. The council will grant anything these days.”

“It’s the government push… since the shuttles started bringing the… you know, the legal aliens.”

“Of course, but people are leaving too, though, aren’t they?”

“Not as many. We have more resources here.”

“True, but Mars is young and you’d think exciting.”

“Fine for single people, but most have families these days, especially given the couple’s bonuses shooting up since the housing crisis came to the fore, and most wives would be more traditional, you know, happier to stay put. They’ll wait for Mars to be established then they’ll go. If they go. Most can’t afford it.”

“Can if they have farms to sell.”

“Yeah. If only…”

“Better mingle.”

“Me too. Nice to see you again.”

“You too.”

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Beyond The Blue Horizon – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s smaller short story collection (just 93 stories instead of 250!), The Story A Day May Collection, available in eBook and paperback from Amazon  and Morgen’s online store where you can not only instantly download the collection but also purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

Beyond The Blue Horizon

Tel stared out through the treble-layer glass at the blue horizon. It seemed to be growing a shade darker every day but he looked down at the printer, at the reports, and they didn’t show anything out of the ordinary; the heartbeat lines pulsating in rhythm with no hint of a deviation. If there was an attack due then the machine wasn’t sensing it.

There was only one other explanation that Tel knew, or rather had heard of. It had never happened in his lifetime.

It was going to rain.

He couldn’t say anything. They’d laugh at him.

No one knew what effect real water would have on man-made water. Would they just blend or would one substance react with the other? Kill the other?

Maybe this was the attack after all. They, the powers that be, had said it was to be an air attack. Could it be something as simple as rain?

“Rain?” an alarmed voice said behind him.

Tel swung round. “Stop doing that!”

“What?” Farbe looked innocent.

“Sneak up on me… read my mind.”

I only read the good bits, Farbe said not moving his mouth. “Now what’s this about rain? You know we haven’t had that since-”

“And we won’t,” Tel interrupted. “The reports are fine, everything’s fine.” He gave a nervous chuckle.

“Then why is the sky getting darker, bluer?”

Tel turned to look at it. “You’ve noticed it too?”

“No.” Farbe leaned in. “I was listening to you.”

Tel stepped backwards, standing, not by accident, on Farbe’s foot.

“Ow!”

Tel faced his colleague. “How long have you been standing there?”

“Since just after you were thinking about what you’d like to do to Evetha.” Farbe grinned.

“Before…? Before! How?”

“I’m a Mark IV, remember.” He tapped the side of his white metal-clad head. “Improved sensors.” He then shook his foot to clear the pain, which appeared to do the trick. “Right,” he said, as if taking authority. “What are we going to do about this rain?”

Tel shrugged.

“There’s a contingency plan somewhere isn’t there?”

Tel’s eyes lit up. He opened a drawer under one of the desks and pulled out a red file.

Farbe stepped forward to join him.

Turning to the index, Tel ran his finger down the alphabetical list then read out, “Railway incidents… Raised blood pressure… Raisins stuck in throat.” He looked over at Farbe. “Raisins? They’ve got raisins but nothing about rain? What are we supposed to do?”

“Maybe you’re wrong.”

“I don’t think so. I can feel it in my…”

“Water?” Farbe laughed.

“Bones. I’ve just got this horrible feeling…”

“Then you should tell someone.”

“They won’t believe me.”

“I believe you.”

“No, you don’t.”

Farbe put on his sincere expression. “I do.”

“Then you tell them.”

“Oh, I can’t do that. I’m only a Mark IV.”

“What were you saying about improved…?”

“Sensors. But we’re still young. No Mark IV I know of has got past Assistant, and I’m not even there yet.” He hesitated then thrust a finger in the air. “I know!”

“Yes?”

“Let’s ask a Mark V!”

“What? There are no Mark Vs.”

“Yes there are. There’s one. It was in the paper.” Farbe held up his right hand, palm facing Tel, and a screen within it burst into life.

Tel read the first few lines then looked back at Farbe.

“That’s no good. We don’t know where it is.”

Farbe sighed. “If you’d read a bit further you’d have got to the bit saying where it was going to be delivered.”

Tel looked out the window, to the right of the horizon, to the city complex and the thousands of home-pods. “Go on, where.”

“Here.”

Tel turned to Farbe. “Here? Really? When?”

Before Farbe could reply, an electronic swish sounded behind them and a door slid open. It was the same sound as they used on the first Star Trek TV series, Tel’s boss a big fan, had been insistent on it.

They stood there open-mouthed as a gold version of Farbe glided in. “Hello, I’m New.”

“We know,” Farbe said first.

“No, my name is New.”

“Oh,” Tel said. “And erm… what do you do?”

“Everything,” New replied, his voice changing tone with every word, like a gentle stream on a summer’s day.

“Everything?” Tel repeated.

“He does,” Farbe said, looking at Tel, then scrolling down the text on his palm screen. “He even tells the future.” Farbe turned back to face New. “We have a question for you.”

“I know,” New said.

“Of course,” Farbe laughed. “You can tell the future.”

“Rain,” Tel butted in.

New faced Tel and gulped.

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The Ramshackle Writer – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s smaller short story collection (just 93 stories instead of 250!), The Story A Day May Collection, available in eBook and paperback from Amazon  and Morgen’s online store where you can not only instantly download the collection but also purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

The Ramshackle Writer

On the edge of the mountain, silhouetted against the setting sun, there is a small ramshackle cottage made of wood. It looks like any ordinary cottage but it’s the stuff of legends, the owner, the hero of legends.

Or so he thought.

“Tommy!”

No, that’s terrible.

On the edge of the mountain, silhouetted against the setting sun, there is a small ramshackle cottage made of wood. Wood collected from the forest at the top of the mountain.

Jack pulled the piece of paper from his typewriter, screwed it up and threw it at the bin. It missed, and became just one of a pile of screwed up pieces of paper.

On the edge of the mountain, silhouetted against the setting sun, there is a small ramshackle cottage made of wood. Inside sits a writer with writer’s block.

“How’s it coming?” Nancy, Jack’s long-suffering wife looked over his shoulder. “Oh dear.”

“Yes, exactly.”

“It’s a bit ‘Dark and stormy night’.”

“I know, but it’s the prompt for today.”

“Can’t you change it?”

“We can but I like to stick with what we’re given.”

“It is only for fun.”

“And to put on my blog. By five o’clock.”

Nancy looked at her watch. Five twenty-five.

“I know. I can backtime it.

“Backtime? Is that even a word?”

“Don’t know. Backdate is.”

“If you used a computer like everyone else, it would underline it if it wasn’t a word.”

“It doesn’t matter. I’m a writer, I can make up words.”

“Why don’t you?”

“Why don’t I what?”

“Use a computer like everyone else.”

“It feels… I don’t know. It feels more authentic. Like Stephen King. Very… Secret Window.”

“Terrible movie.”

“I know. It’s all a dream and all that. But I’m more productive this way. My ideas flow better.”

“They’re not flowing today.”

“I know, but that’s not the typewriter, it’s the prompt.”

“Then pick another one.”

“No, I’ll persevere.”

Nancy shrugged. “OK, but don’t blame me if…” The rest was lost as she went into the kitchen.

“Another prompt,” Jack mumbled as he pulled out the paper, screwed it up and launched it at the bin. It hit the edge but fell in. He clapped, laughed and put another piece of paper into the typewriter, twisting down the end, until the paper was sticking out a couple of inches from the top.

“Another prompt…”

He sat up straight, hovered his fingers, claw-like, over the keys and started tapping.

It was a dark and stormy night…

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A Win-Win All Round – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s smaller short story collection (just 93 stories instead of 250!), The Story A Day May Collection, available in eBook and paperback from Amazon  and Morgen’s online store where you can not only instantly download the collection but also purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

A Win-Win All Round

Money used to mean everything to Sam. The harder he worked the richer he became… and the quicker it went courtesy of Libby, Mrs Sam Chase. Wardrobes stuffed with carrier bags; Prada, Versace and names he didn’t recognise but the lettering gave away their status, the status Libby thought washed off on her.

He’d not told her that he was up for promotion – he knew what she’d want him to do but it meant switching from ‘on the road’ to behind a desk which in turn meant more time at home, more time with Libby.

George had given him twenty-four hours to think about it. Sam didn’t need that long but he knew if he turned it down, George would take longer to ask again but Sam also knew that his colleague Ted was better at his job, a more suitable candidate so it would be a win-win all round if he said “no”.

He left work then drove around for a while thinking about what he should do. Libby was at her dance session so he had plenty of time before she was due home.

Having seen the same shops half a dozen times, he found it wasn’t helping so went home.

There was a light on in the master bedroom when he pulled into his driveway and assumed Libby had forgotten to switch it off before she went out.

Sam let himself in, put his briefcase down in the hallway, read the post and headed upstairs to change. Opening the door, a predictable sight greeted him; stacks of boxes and bags by the chair, piles of clothes on the floor but unexpected was his wife, dressed in bright red and black underwear. Not only was she not at the gym but she wasn’t alone.

Sam took off his jacket and threw it on to the chair. “Hello, Ted.”

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Making Up The Numbers – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s smaller short story collection (just 93 stories instead of 250!), The Story A Day May Collection, available in eBook and paperback from Amazon  and Morgen’s online store where you can not only instantly download the collection but also purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

Making Up The Numbers

“Bride or groom?”

Robbie looked at the pews. Plenty of space on the left-hand side. Groom on the left. “Groom.”

“Name?”

Robbie went with his usual alias. “Jimmy. Cousin.”

The man with the clipboard looked at the left side of his list. It didn’t take him long. “Sorry, don’t see your name here.”

“Ah yes,” Robbie started his well-worn speech. “I was a ‘no’ because I was going to have to work but then at the last minute. You know…”

The man shrugged and added ‘Cousin Jimmy’ to the list.

Robbie took an end seat halfway down the aisle then turned to the woman beside him, holding out a hand. “Jimmy.” He then lowered his voice. “The bride’s side really but I thought I’d make up the numbers.”

The young lady giggled softly and Robbie noticed her blush.

He’d woken up that grey and gloomy Saturday feeling equally dispirited but now it looked like it might be a good day after all.

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