Sunday short short story: Less Than Green These Days by Morgen Bailey

Posted every Sunday, the following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s shorter short story collection, FLASHES,  available in e-book from Morgen’s online store where you not only get the best price but can either instantly download the collection or purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

Less Than Green These Days

Russell stared at the photograph sitting on the window ledge above the cooker. Sarah would laugh at him if she could see him now, only she couldn’t, wouldn’t.

The first Sunday after she’d died, he’d forgiven himself and knew she would have too; a roast for one.

Three months later and he was still serving up double portions – one sat in front of him, the other in front of the empty chair; the chair with the Border Collie cushion. The cushion he’d bought for her last Christmas; the Christmas they’d not expected to see together.

She’d been given six months at best and had seen another four. Christmas, New Year, just short of Easter and now it was summer. The time of year she’d spend her days in the garden. She wouldn’t be so pleased about that; the dying plants, unmowed lawn, less than green these days, bird food containers.

Work had been understanding. “Take all the time you need,” John had said. He’d known how Russell had felt then – but not now. Jane had got better, lived, thrived. She’d helped Sarah those first few months but when it became clear that there really was no hope the gaps between visits grew wider until she stopped coming – to the house, to work, to the funeral.

Russell had considered quitting his job but he’d needed something to focus on – a return date – another set of walls to stare at all day.

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Sunday short short story: She’d Expected A Whooshing Sound by Morgen Bailey

Posted every Sunday, the following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s shorter short story collection, FLASHES,  available in e-book from Morgen’s online store where you not only get the best price but can either instantly download the collection or purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

She’d Expected A Whooshing Sound

No one believed Izzy when she talked about the old man. She’d cried wolf too often, told people about her imaginary friends. This time he wasn’t so imaginary.

The Johnson family had moved into the Old Post Office a fortnight before Izzy had started seeing the old man. Him rushing from room to room, turning his head left to right, right to left, as if watching a tennis match. Izzy loved tennis. Her Uncle Frank had taken her to Wimbledon the previous summer but now that was a distant memory.

The house was cold, old and Izzy missed their place back in Weybridge; the rambling vicarage that had gone with Daddy’s job except Daddy no longer went to church – none of them did.

Izzy was sitting on her bed playing with Ruby Rabbit when the old man ran from the bathroom to the back bedroom, the spare bedroom that was still piled with boxes.

The man came out just as quickly, and disappeared into her parents’ bedroom.

One thing that surprised Izzy about him was the silence. She’d expected a ‘whooshing’ sound as he ran. Everyone makes a ‘whoosh’ when they’re in a hurry although she didn’t think anyone was as rushed as the old man.

It wasn’t long before he came out of her parents’ room and headed for hers. He’d just reached the threshold when he spotted Izzy and screamed. A noiseless scream which Izzy knew should have been loud, as loud as Mummy when she sees a spider, shuts the door to it and waits for Izzy’s daddy to come home.

“Hello,” Izzy said calmly. The man stopped screaming. It was then that she noticed something in his left hand.

“What’s that?” she asked. He held it out to her and she went to look closer, to take it, but he pulled it back, held it to his chest.

Izzy could just about make out a figure; a woman about the same age as her mother, but old-fashioned, wearing clothes like her grandmother used to wear.

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Sunday short short story: A Glint Of Gold by Morgen Bailey

Posted every Sunday, the following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s shorter short story collection, FLASHES,  available in e-book from Morgen’s online store where you not only get the best price but can either instantly download the collection or purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

A Glint Of Gold

Johal’s heart sank as he looked at the statement on the bank’s ATM screen.

His holiday to Goa had taken more out of both him and his savings than he’d expected.

His next stop was to have been Tesco for a bag of ice but now he decided to go to the pound shop and buy some plastic trays instead.

As he walked home he passed the antique shop and stared at the window.

Few items were priced and he could see why. A glint of gold caught his eye and he grinned as he spotted a familiar item; a small Indian elephant lead by a man in national costume.

As Johal took a mouthful of water, the elephant’s price tag made him cough… if this baby was worth £1,000 what was his adult version at home worth?

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Sunday short short story: Everything That Doesn’t Remind You Of Him by Morgen Bailey

Posted every Sunday, the following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s shorter short story collection, FLASHES,  available in e-book from Morgen’s online store where you not only get the best price but can either instantly download the collection or purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

Everything That Doesn’t Remind You Of Him

You can’t remember it being this eerie. Brighter in the estate agent’s brochure, but then the house was full of someone else’s belongings, a young couple. New baby. Outgrown their love nest.

Your love nest died with Nick. No breadwinner to pay the bills, you took a part-time job, then full-time but it still wasn’t enough so you’d down-sized when it had become apparent that you’d not cope… coping was the last thing you’d wanted to do, but you did it for Nick, or the memory of him.

He was the one who held it all together, took you in his arms when he saw the tears forming, his large brown eyes melting your heart every time.

It had surprised you when you’d opened the door to the two policemen that you’d not cried then – you didn’t in front of strangers, even at the cinema with a sad movie. This was the strength you’ve been wearing ever since.

Looking around the shell of each room, the piles of boxes with their names in black letter; lounge, kitchen, bedroom, you wonder if this is where you’ll spend the rest of your life, in a little old house surrounded by everything that doesn’t remind you of him.

“If anything should happen,” he’d said, as if he’d known, “move on, meet someone else.” But you’d known him since school and couldn’t imagine anyone else’s arms around you, although you know Ted at work has a soft spot for you.

You put on the kettle and start opening boxes. The kitchen is easy, so you start with that. One cupboard’s already full when the kettle clicks off and you make yourself a cup of tea. You always have, even Nick could never get it how you like it; little tea, little milk, little sugar. Weak on the outside, strong underneath – that’s what he’d said, knowing he meant you.

And now you are, you have to be, and as you look at the next box you take a deep breath and pull open the flaps.

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Sunday short short story: Stage Left, Henry! by Morgen Bailey

Posted every Sunday, the following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s shorter short story collection, FLASHES,  available in e-book from Morgen’s online store where you not only get the best price but can either instantly download the collection or purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

Stage Left, Henry!

“Stage left, Henry!”

“Over here?”

“No, left!”

“Your left or my left?”

“There is only one stage left… like starboard and port.”

“I thought it was port and starboard.”

“Whatever, Henry.”

“Not that I remember which is which of those.”

“It doesn’t matter. Just put the tree ten feet or so to your left.”

“As I face the front or…”

“As you are now. Move… the… tree…”

“I hear you.”

“OK. Now when Romeo comes towards the balcony…”

“Balcony?”

“Yes, Henry… the balcony.”

“But I thought we were setting up for the final scene.”

“Why would we want a tree for the death scene?”

“I did wonder.”

“Then why didn’t you say anything?”

“I don’t know.”

“No, Henry… balcony, foliage, so Romeo can climb…”

“Climb?”

“Do you know this play at all?”

“Of course. It was one of our school projects.”

“Project?”

“To design the set, yes, then photograph it. I still have them somewhere… the photos, not the set… obviously.”

“Obviously. Now, so we’re on the same page…”

“Page? They’ve given you a script?”

“No, Henry. It’s just a saying.”

“What do we need for the death scene?”

“What?”

“You know, the end… when they die.”

“I do know, but why are you asking?”

“I like to be sure. Balcony, foliage, tree… we’ve got those.”

“We have. Alright then… the marble bench, a gun and the poison.”

“And the dagger.”

“Dagger?”

“Doesn’t one of them…”

“You’re thinking of Macbeth.”

“But when Juliet discovers Romeo she thinks he’s dead and…”

“This is am dram, Henry. We’re doing the film version not Will’s.”

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Sunday short short story: Not Red Like I Asked by Morgen Bailey

Posted every Sunday, the following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s shorter short story collection, FLASHES,  available in e-book from Morgen’s online store where you not only get the best price but can either instantly download the collection or purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

Not Red Like I Asked

Norman will be back soon. I know what he’s up to, you know. Likes to keep me on my toes. I ask for one thing, he gets me another so I started asking for things I don’t want, just to see where his imagination takes him. Only as far as the corner shop usually.

Today though he said he was going to the parade, needed the DIY store. Always building something… to keep himself out my way, I reckon.

The lads are playing on the green again. I know their schooling isn’t up to much but surely they can read the ‘No Ball Games’ sign, it’s large enough. I’d point it out to them, only… well, you know, you hear such awful things on the news. Happened to one of my brother’s neighbours, terrible affair. He was never quite the same after that… the neighbour, not John, although it shook him up something rotten too, as he’d been outside only a few minutes before.

Safest place, your own home, although old Ted Richards had a nasty experience the year before last. ‘Distraction burglary’ the papers called it, but it was more than that, he had a black eye because of them. They got one of them, turned out to be the lad next door to Ted, with one of his mum’s stocking over his head… the pervert. Never did catch the other one, although they knew who he used to hang around with.

So that’s why I keep a vigil, make sure Norman gets home alright. I send him out because he needs the exercise, the allotment’s only a road away and I have to think of something, don’t I? Then I’m so relieved when he comes back, try not to show it but I’m not that good an actress really.

They’ve still not fixed the street lamp outside Mrs Jones’. It’s not got one of those stickers on it so I know it’s supposed to work and when you phone the council you get passed round so many departments that it’s quicker to go to the DIY shop and fix it yourself. Of course they wouldn’t let you if they knew… health and safety and all that.

She’s ninety-three. I keep telling them… the council. Say Mrs Jones will be ninety-four next month, but they don’t listen. I suppose they would if I could get through all the options; press one for this and hash for that. No one there to tell me what the hash is. Some American thing made with corned beef, I thought. Mrs Jones’ grandson could tell me – he’s good with technology.

Oh look, there’s Norman, carrying the plant I asked him to get. Not red like I asked, but then he’s colour blind so not to know, is he?

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Sunday short short story: Dad’s Army by Morgen Bailey

Posted every Sunday, the following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s shorter short story collection, FLASHES,  available in e-book from Morgen’s online store where you not only get the best price but can either instantly download the collection or purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

Dad’s Army

Glenys always thought it a bind to visit her father. Every other Sunday. One o’clock. Military precision.

*

Major Arthur Thompson didn’t do late and today he was sorely disappointed with his daughter.

Tapping his cane on the floor with the ticking clock, he started to hum the theme tune to Dad’s Army, then chuckled as he replayed the TV introduction in his mind. It kept him busy while he was waiting.

He stood up when he heard a car pull up outside. Using his cane to support himself, he growled as his knees clicked, and a pain shot up his right thigh.

Walking as sternly as he could towards the front door, he stopped when he saw two tall, dark figures behind the frosted glass. He moved forward again as the bell rang and putting on the chain, opened the door a fraction.

“Mr Thompson?” one of the men asked.

“Major, but yes,” Arthur replied, knowing in an instant why they were there.

“May we come in?” the other man asked.

“Do you have ID?”

“Of course sir,” the first man replied and removed a black wallet from his inside pocket. He opened it and showed it to Arthur. “Sergeant Frank Knowles… and this is PC Terry Dooley.”

Arthur released the chain and opened the door, beckoning for the men to step inside.

As the Sergeant went to speak, Arthur remembered the moment his daughter was born; two weeks late and he knew, he’d never have to complain about her being late again.

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Sunday short short story: Others Would Knock by Morgen Bailey

Posted every Sunday, the following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s shorter short story collection, FLASHES,  available in e-book from Morgen’s online store where you not only get the best price but can either instantly download the collection or purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

Others Would Knock

Barry shook the newspaper, folding the right half behind the left. Looking out into the office, he tutted at the almost-empty scene ahead of him. Fair enough. It was lunchtime but he’d expected loyalty – eat a sandwich at their desks and work through.

Some of the red ink from a large advert for half-priced staple guns had bled through on to his blotting-paper desk mat. Pulling at one corner of the sheet, he yanked it out of the black leather, screwed it into a stiff cream ball and launched it at the stainless steel bin, laughing at the metal echo reverberating around his large air-conditioned room.

Swivelling his black leather executive chair towards the window, Barry growled as he watched all the people scurrying through the snow, some he knew, but others meaning even less to him. Outside the building’s main gate he spotted an old-fashioned hot chestnut cart patroned by many of his staff. He wanted to lift up his window, shout at them to get back to work but his office door opening distracted him.

Barry swung round expecting to see Joyce, his secretary, others would knock, but saw another familiar face, carrying a dish of chestnuts. Except it couldn’t have been who he’d thought, as he’d been dead for two centuries.

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