It’ll Be Over Soon – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s larger short story collection (250 stories), Fifty 5pm Fictions 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…

It’ll Be Over Soon

“Keep calm, Mummy,” Walter said, hiding under the table. “It’ll be over soon.”

Ninety-eight-year-old Ethel wasn’t so sure. Pacing the room, she kept looking up at the ceiling, then out through the windows. She jumped as a plane flew overhead, holding her handbag closer to her.

“Mummy, come under here,” Walter said, patting a section of blanket to his right. “They said it wouldn’t be late tonight.”

“You’d believe anything, Walter!” Ethel snapped, still walking up and down in short, shuffling movements.

“Make her shut up!” a voice from the corner of the room barked. “Get her to sit or something.”

“Sorry, Jeff,” Walter mumbled. “You know what she’s like.”

“I do,” Jeff replied then sang, ‘I do, do, do, do’ to himself.

“It’s lovely and toasty under here, Mummy. You’d like it if you tried.”

Ethel stopped pacing, walked to the table and leaned over, twisting her head to peer at her eldest son. “Cosy?”

Walter nodded.

“Toasty cosy?”

“Very toasty cosy. Come on, give it a try.”

She sighed then crouched down, wincing as she did so. Then on all fours, she padded like a dog until she was sitting on the blanket next to Walter.

“There. Isn’t this nice?” he soothed.

Ethel looked at her watch, shook her head, then reached inside her handbag for her gun.

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Three Keys – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s larger short story collection (250 stories), Fifty 5pm Fictions 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…

Three Keys

You slam shut the kitchen drawer despite knowing it’ll likely wake him.

It’s the morning after another argument and you’ve not made up yet. Separate bedrooms again… second time this week and it’s getting worse.

Deep down you know you love him and that he loves you but everything about him makes you mad, even the little things you’d not noticed before, like the way he jangles his jacket pocket as he walks towards the front door and you picture the three keys slamming against one another – the keys to the car, house and office – the three places he shares as his job dictates; selling chocolates to shop keepers, pubs and schools.

You lost the box room to his study-cum-store room and you’ve felt its pull over the past few months. He’d never been career-orientated until recently and you just want him back. He says he’s doing it for you, build a nest egg to start a family but you’re not convinced there’ll be a nest to put the egg in for much longer.

Opening the drawer you remember this time what it was you were after: the orange squeezer to make his juice just how he likes it; fresh and natural, just how you felt all those years ago.

You hear him come down the stairs and you fix on a smile, hoping that he’s remembered his.

As he enters the room your heart sinks as he’s fixing his tie. He nods, takes the juice and slips on his jacket, rattling the keys as he pats the pocket.

You watch him place the empty glass on the hall table and slam the front door behind him.

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Who Indeed? – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s larger short story collection (250 stories), Fifty 5pm Fictions 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…

Who Indeed?

“You’re back early, Jess.”

“A couple of days, yes.”

“Didn’t you have a nice time?”

“Oh, Tanya. It was fantastic.”

“That’s good. So why…?”

“Neil had a call from work.”

“Oh dear. Nothing serious, I hope.”

“They had a burglary. I’m livid. Bit calmer now, what could he do? But you know what he’s like, tied to their apron strings.”

“Couldn’t they have waited ’til he came back?”

“The police wanted to speak to him.”

“They could have rung him, surely.”

“I said that but he didn’t know what happened so was only getting second-hand information from his boss.”

“What a shame. But apart from that, everything was OK.”

“Best holiday we’ve been on. Just like the brochure. Better in fact. Not too hot, loads of new things, local fish, beats out of a packet anyway.”

“It would. So it did you two good? You did say you’d been having a few prob-”

“Better than ever.”

“Oh… great.”

“He was so loving and…”

“And the burglary…”

“Nothing was taken, that’s the strange thing.”

“That’s good.”

“But it was like someone just wanted to-”

“Maybe kids.”

“No, it wasn’t messing around.”

“Maybe they got the wrong place.”

“No, it was targeted. That’s what the police said anyway.”

“Oh dear.”

“Like they knew we were away and wanted us to come home early.”

“You?”

“It was Neil’s desk they went for.”

“How strange.”

“Left everything else in the company alone. Minimal damage to the front door. Just enough to get in.”

“So they were quite clever.”

“The police are stumped but it’s early days. They’ve talked about being a revenge for something but who would do that?”

“Who indeed?”

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Just A Shame They Have To Die – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s larger short story collection (250 stories), Fifty 5pm Fictions 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…

Just A Shame They Have To Die

Watching him as if he has a spring in his step makes me laugh every time. He bounces like… well, like Tigger out of Winnie the Pooh. He gets… that’s my Nick, not Tigger, he gets like this when winter’s gone, or more specifically Christmas. I’m not really a fan either but I don’t like to tell him or we’d sit around moping. As it is, his eyes almost sparkle when I open my presents and he always puts so much effort into them. A ruby ring last time, just because I’d spotted one in a film and said I liked it. The box was from a jeweller miles away so I know he must have spent ages… and he wouldn’t have sent his secretary, Sarah, he’s not one of those bosses. Fitted my finger a treat, snug against my wedding band.

We joke a lot, Nick and I. Makes me laugh just getting milk out the fridge. Gasps when he opens the door as if there’s something shocking inside. I don’t think he’ll ever grow up. But then he’s got something to be happy about. They say my tumour’s shrinking, receding. They said that the last time but it feels different this time.

Everyone’s been so kind, bringing me so many flowers. Just a shame they have to die. Nick never forgets my favourites; gerberas. Different colour every day. I keep saying it’s too much, just a new bunch when the old bunch… but he says it brightens the place up. It does that.

Oh, hello Sarah. How lovely to see you.

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Good With His Hands – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s larger short story collection (250 stories), Fifty 5pm Fictions 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…

Good With His Hands

It had been Mavis’ idea to shut early. “Too quiet,” she’d said, despite knowing there’d be a rush when the schools turned out. Today, I guessed, she couldn’t face children running around while their mothers tried on designer wear for a fraction of the price, and then tried to haggle.

“Maybe,” I’d said, hoping she’d change her mind, but she was as strong as her Yorkshire tea – decision made, job done.

So went down the blinds, “the blinkers to the world” she’d say, and that was it, afternoon off to do with as she wished.

Never time off, she’d make sure of that, but do chores that could have waited, nothing worth losing money over. I knew why she was doing it, the shop was no longer the haven she’d bought into, but one that had become mine. Without it I just had Mavis for company and… well, you can have too much of a good thing, as the saying goes.

I’d always been the practical one, said I’d help her with her ‘business-on-a-whim’, but a little goldmine as it turned out, even with mornings like this one.

I stood back as she locked up and tucked the keys into her bag… zipped it up as if it contained the crown jewels, then she took my arm and we walked home, stopping only to look in the charity shop’s window.

Awash with activity, a queue at the changing room, another at the till – all middle-aged women saving money to make their housekeeping go further – I wasn’t surprised at what happened next.

Mavis squeezed my arm and looked at the door. We’d been married for forty years so I knew what was going through her mind; buy from the charity shop, sell in hers. Win, win.

I nodded. She released her hold on my arm and opened the door, striding over the threshold – a woman on a mission.

While I waited outside, I knew when I was surplus to requirement, my attention turned to the young woman behind the counter; a gap-year student helping the British Red Cross instead of backpacking to more exotic locations. I never went to university, instead taking an apprenticeship at a local engineers… where I met Mavis, an assistant in the accounts department, good with figures while I’m good with my hands. So things would have been different if I’d gone to uni, maybe I’d have met someone else; a blonde instead of a brunette, with a willowy figure instead of petite and curvy, just like the lady now staring back at me.

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No Faded Circle Of Skin – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s larger short story collection (250 stories), Fifty 5pm Fictions 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…

No Faded Circle Of Skin

It felt as if he was going nowhere, sitting at the bottom of the stairs waiting to go into the boss’ office. Why old Tom Butcher didn’t have seats outside no-one knew, asked, or at least had explained to Shaun.

He looked up as Tracey from Accounts opened the door and burst into tears. He reached into his trouser pocket to retrieve a tissue but then remembered he’d given it to the receptionist, whose name he could never remember, when she’d spilled her tea while he’d been clocking in that morning. He thought she was Russian; Ivana, Ivanka, or something equally exotic. She looked the part too; firm hands gripping the telephone and transferring calls vigorously as others flooded in. The two women couldn’t be more different and it was the weaker one who stood in front of him now. She looked left then right, as if unsure where to go – one direction for her desk, the other the exit.

“I have a daughter,” Tracey sobbed as Shaun got to his feet.

“You do?” he said, not realising that she was even married.

She nodded then wiped away a tear, long enough to see there was no ring, no faded circle of skin that implied there’d been one once.

“Tom’s not just fired you, has he?” he asked a little too eagerly, not knowing why he’d been called there.

Tracey shook her head.

“So it’s not that bad.” Shaun replied, trying to look cheerful.

“Redundant,” she whispered.

“Oh dear. I’m sorry… but you’ll get some money?”

“Not much. I’m only part-time.”

Working in Research and Development, Shaun didn’t have much to do with the Accounts Department, but she’d always been there whenever he’d visited. A stroke of luck, he thought, but then suspected that his luck was about to change.

“Can I help?” he asked, not sure what else to say.

Tracey shook her head then plodded towards her office, Shaun watching her as she looked down at her feet as if she’d forgotten how to put one in front of the other.

Assuming no-one else was in Tom’s office, Shaun was about knock when he heard Tom speak.

“Come!” he bellowed, and Shaun took a deep breath as he opened the door.

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