A Girl in Every Town

I first saw her on the midway. Her laughter, her wild curly hair, everything about her drew me to her. As her friends started to leave one by one, I took my chance at the hook-a-duck stall. Standing beside her and the couple she was with I reached over and scooped the duck out the water and turned to catch her eye.

“Do you want this?” I said pointing towards the teddy the stallholder had handed me.

“It’s not doing much for my reputation.” She giggled and nodded taking the teddy from me. She indicated that her friends were moving on and I nodded standing awkwardly at the stall.hook-a-duck

“Do you want to come with us?” she asked and my heart fluttered. We spent the next moving from ride to ride. Her couple friend and us making a perfect foursome. My favourite moment being alone on the love train as we entered into the darker tunnel she leaned into me and I caught the scent of raspberry that lingered in her hair. Walking to the gate I asked if I could see her again, she nodded and said we could meet back at the hook-a-duck tomorrow. I smiled and watched her leave, then turned to go to my trailer.

The next day my world sank as I was told this was the last night in town. We were to pack up after the show and move on to the next town. All day I mopped while doing my chores, I couldn’t leave without her. As day turned to night I toured the grounds over and over keeping an eye out for her, hoping I hadn’t misplaced my trust to her. As it got dark I made my way once again to walk passed the hook-a-duck, where my heart skipped as I saw the mass of curls standing at the stall. As I approached, she smiled at me causing my voice to catch in my throat. She held up the little teddy I had given her the night before, she had brought it back.

“I’m so pleased you came back.” She nodded and pointed to the love train. I understood and we made her way arm in arm towards it. In the darkness, I saw her eyes glistening and took the opportunity to kiss her. She was hesitant then kissed back, my whole body filled with warmth. We walked towards my caravan, I told her that I must leave tomorrow, she began to cry saying she didn’t want me to leave her. I nodded to reassure her but I knew she wouldn’t be leaving me.

That night as I helped the team clear the remains of the carnival, I walked towards Jack that ran the hook-a-duck and handed him the teddy. “I’m sorry mate, did this one not work out either?” I nodded sullenly. “Maybe in the next town, lad.” He said reassuringly. “Only if the perfect girl is there.” I said and smiled. That night I slept soundly as the train moved to the next town. Wrapped inside my pillow was a perfect raspberry scented curl.

Originally written using the prompt “I first saw her on the midway” featured on the blog propellant. Check them out for inspirational prompts to keep you writing. My random number is 27.


The Tree to Treasure

My hands grip the branches which have woven themselves around the trees.
My brother below stares up in wonder as I climb but this is an adventure I must take on my own.
Going higher I listen for the sounds I know are sure to come, each foothold enticing me further and further until I am passed the green leaves and into the clouds.
I hold my breathe and listen.
The sweet snores of the giant rumble through the clouds towards me and I know that with a few more brave steps I will find the treasure I was promised.


Tree by Sue Vincent
Tree Photo Courtesy of Sue Vincent.


I hope you enjoyed my little dabble into the world of Jack – originally written in response to Sue Vincent’s challenge – #writephoto over at DailyEcho. Check it out for further creative imaginings within 100 words or less, you may even be inspired to pen a quick post of your own! KL❤


The Secret Home of the Fairies

Isabella followed the music.

Haunting and enchanting, she couldn’t help but step towards it.

Luring her from the street until she reached the ancient stones.

She had scoffed when her mother had told her this was the home of the fairies, now before her eyes they danced with glee to the music.

When the music stopped Isabella turned to walk away, she couldn’t wait to tell her mother what she found but before she moved a small fairy appeared before her raised its finger to its pursed lips “shhh…..” Isabella nodded, she would keep the secret of the fairies.

stoned - Sue Vincent
Photo Courtesy of Sue Vincent @ Daily Echo



I hope you enjoyed my little “fairy” tale – originally written in response to Sue Vincent’s challenge – #writephoto over at DailyEcho. Writers are encouraged to write a story in 100 words to go with the photo. It is amazing the variety of original story-telling which features. Check it out, you may even be inspired to pen a quick plot of your own! KL ❤



Superbia’s story – humility

Superbia entered the town’s walls muttering to himself. For the last half a mile he had been stuck behind a train of merchants mostly watching the swishing of a tale of a donkey’s ass. Why had his father sent him to this god-forsaken town? Pride had always been a slight problem for him, but being one of seven children he knew he had to be the best – how else was he to get any of his fathers attention and a fair share of his fathers wealth?

“Superbia”, he heard a voice call out in the crowd and turned to see a rotund figure heading towards him.

“Patruus”, Superbia waved back and as his uncle grew closer, he embraced him in a hug. As the train of merchants began to move again slowly through the town walls Patruus and Superbia walked side-by-side in comfortable silence.

“So, your father has told me you have lost your way Superbia. I make no bones, he told me he found you drunk crawling through town.”

“I wasn’t…” Superbia started to explain Avaritia’s evil set-up but Patruus held his hand up.

“It matters none to me, I helped raise your father into the good strong man he is today, and I can see the same in you. But you will have to put in a lot of hard work. Your father has said I am only to send you home once I am happy with your progress.” Superbia nodded in response. Although the remaining journey was spent in friendly discussion about Superbia’s brothers and sisters, Superbia could not wait to get to his uncle’s home and enjoy a nice hot meal and comfortable bed. His uncle’s wealth was beyond that of even his fathers and Superbia couldn’t wait to enjoy a little of that luxury, even if it was just to boast about it to his brothers and sisters back home. He was unaware his uncle had other plans.

After dropping of the cart and entering the cool home, Superbia was instantly happy to be out of the heat. He was in awe of the size of his uncle’s home, rooms to the left and right, cellars and stairways and a central courtyard with a garden and a fountain, it was all truly breath-taking. He turned to his Uncle, “Pat, may I see my room?”

“Of course”, Pat smiled happily, this way. Pat walked ahead of Superbia down one of the darker corridors, Superbia noticed the floor was rather plain compared to the beauty of the entrance hall, and in some places, the white walls even seemed to be crumbling a little. “Here we go”, his uncle said opening the room door wide for Superbia to see. Superbia stepped inside, there was only a hard wooden single bed and a wooden chair.

Superbia glanced up and down his body, would he even fit on that tiny bed? There was nowhere to put his things. He turned to his uncle thinking this to be a joke but his uncle was gone, putting his head out the room Superbia could see Pat was already making his way down the corridor.

“I shall leave you to get settled Superbia, see you in an hour for our evening meal together”, Pat called over his shoulder.

Superbia slumped down onto the hard bed. His father must truly want him to suffer. This was not what Superbia had had in mind at all.

After his hour Superbia was desperate to leave his tiny cell-like room and make his way to his uncle’s courtyard. As he approached he could hear many voices chattering and was excited to enter his uncle must have thrown him a party! But as Superbia entered the bright area, he could see the dressware of his uncle’s guests was poor, some even wore no shoes. Superbia tried not to stare agog but every now and then a detail caught his eye that he could not help question, lack of shoes, a rip in clothing, dirty hands or feet.

“Aaah Superbia”, his Uncle walked over and patted him cheerfully on the back, “You have finally arrived, let’s all eat.” Superbia turned away so his back was to the guests and tugged his uncle round with him. “Pat, who are all these people?”

“Oh dear boy, these are my friends and colleagues. You must recognise a few of them, some of them have been with the household since you were a child.” Pat turned back at the crowd and waved happily as everyone began to take their place at the table.

“You have invited your servants to eat with us”, Superbia could not help hide the anger in his voice.

“I do not have servants, I have employees and colleagues. They are all good and honest people, which is why they dine with me. You would do well to remember they are here because I chose for them to be, you are here because your father chose for you not to be with him. Does that make you better than them? I think not.” With that and his face once again filled full of smiles Pat returned to his table and raised a toast to his guests.

Superbia followed, his anger burning inside. How could his uncle and his father treat him this way? He picked at the fine selection of food and spent the majority of the evening stabbing at the leftovers on his plate. However the rest of the group merry with fine wine had a wonderful evening. After the meal was cleared away music started and several of the group Roman_drinking_cheersincluding his uncle left the table to dance.

After a while Superbia stood up, deciding his cell-like room was better than this but as he turned around a vision of beauty stood before him. She blushed shyly and twirled a strand of her hair nervously.

“Umm.. would you like to dance?” she finally asked boldly.

“Me,” Superbia looked around him but it was just the two of them. “Yes, I would love to”.

After several dances the pair returned to table and began to chatter.

“Why did you come talk to me, I can’t have been particularly friendly looking?” Superbia said. He knew he was the best looking guy in the room and was sure she was about to pay him a compliment.

“I felt pity for you.” The girl answered. “I do not know what made you so sad, as your uncle has invited you to live in his beautiful home and put on such a wonderful meal , I suspect it is missing your family and I know how that feels.”

Superbia was gobsmacked. This was not what he had thought and to this he did not know what to say, she was right. Yet he still felt frustrated at the situation. So he just nodded.

“It is late, I must leave, I am to work the market stall early tomorrow so I must be going.” She sighed slightly, clearly not entirely wanting to leave.

“Wait, what is your name?” he asked as she stood.

“Humilitas”, she smiled at him.

“May I see you again, Humilitas?”

“Of course”, she giggled, “You’re uncle has arranged for you to work the stalls with me.”

Superbia was once again cross with his uncle, to work in the market place. That was definitely something his father would not expect him to do. Yet at the thought of seeing humilitas again Superbia felt his heart lift. He made his way across the courtyard to his uncle’s side.

“Good night Uncle. Thank you for the great meal and fun evening.” He turned and made his way down the corridor, so did not see his uncle’s smile. It was the first time Superbia had shown any signs of humility.

Superbia, exhausted from the dancing and the wine fell into his bed, he did not even notice how hard or cramped it was. Sleep soon took him as his dreams played over what tomorrow could bring. A day with humilitas, what could be better?


————————————————————————————————- Hope you enjoyed Superbia’s Story – humility, another 7 deadly sins based story.. To find out why Superbia got banished to Patruus’s care see this earlier post –“Superbia’s Story – Pride Before a Fall”. I would love to know what people think of this themed series. Thanks for reading. KL

Never Grow Up – Short Story


“What do you mean shhhhhh?”

“Can you just shut up for a minute and let me think?”

“Let you think about what?”

AAAAaaarrrrgggh, I sighed. “Think about how to get us out of here.”

“But the door’s closed, you can’t get out.”

“I know that, that’s why I need to think.”

“Well what is there to think about we are stuck.”

“Well things like if we are stuck here all night how will we keep warm.”

“That’s easy, just take all the coats off the coat hangers.”

Hmm… actually that wasn’t a bad idea. I stood up and grabbed a few of the coats and made a kind of nest in the corner to huddle in.

“There”, I said rather pleased with my effort.

“Well what are you going to do now?”

“Well if we are in here too long we’ll need food.”

“That’s a bit more difficult, rummage through those pockets and see if anyone has left anything in them.”

I started going through the pockets. Returning to the nest with my treasure. A half-finished pack of mints, a box of raisins and a piece of chewing gum. It wasn’t much but it would do.

“Now what?”

“We wait, we need a plan to escape.”

I opened the box of raisins, a little food might help. After a while under the warm coats I must have fallen asleep. I was woken with surprise by the large door opening and sunlight filtering in.

“Millie, get up out of there”, came a booming voice from the doorway. “What on earth have you done with all my good coats, hang them all back up”.

I stood up startled and began placing all of the coats onto the hangers. Good now come on get your shoes on, it’s time to go. Mum bustled to the front door and pointed at my shoes on the rack. I closed the door staring into the darkness as it slid shut.

It may have just been a breeze but I’m sure a coat arm gave me a wave goodbye.

Peter Pan

Superbia’s Story – Pride Before a Fall

Superbia entered the town’s walls muttering to himself. For the last half a mile he had been stuck behind a train of merchants mostly watching the swishing of a tale of a donkey’s ass. Why had his father sent him to this god-forsaken town? This had all started as a bit of a joke.

He was one of seven children, each had their faults, and their father knew of these but to Superbia it always seemed like his father was hardest on him. Luxuria chased men all day including those that were married, yet she could turn that sweet smile on her father and he would concede and forgive her every time. Invidia followed her around like a lost puppy, jealous of everyman and everything Luxuria had. Gula was a pig! To Superbia he was a complete waste of space who seemed to do nothing but consume copious amounts of wine, yet as his glutton attitude affected no-one but himself, his father turned a blind eye to it. Acedia was yet to do a decent days work, all he seemed to do was sit around and ate grapes, Superbia could do that easily. Ira was permanently in a foul mood, no-one seemed to know why. Superbia thinks it’s because she can’t get a boyfriend or because when she does Luxuria seems to pinch them, but he daren’t say it out loud, he mentioned something along those lines once and couldn’t feel the left side of his jaw for week!

However, of all the children, Avaritia was the worst in Superbia’s view. Avaritia was full of deceit and trickery, he had robbed half the wealth from those in town, yet his father was so easily manipulated by him that in the end he would often praise Avaritia for maintaining the family wealth. That was all Superbia wanted from his father was a bit of praise, yet he couldn’t live up to the others.

It was Avaritia’s fault he was here, watching a donkey’s tale swish. Avaritia had told him he couldn’t possibly beat Gula in a race! Superbia had been shocked, of course he could, Gula was a drunk! So Avaritia had taunted him, telling him if he was so sure, he should bet all his money on it and told him Gula was so sure that he had placed all his money on the bet (not that he ever had much). Superbia couldn’t stand it, he knew he was the fastest of all the children he would win this easy. So, the bet was made. It would be Superbia Vs Gula. The following day at 12 o’clock Superbia strode into the courtyard, ready to take his glory. He was surprised he should see so many people there. He noticed Avaritia amongst them, taking their bets as to who would win. Superbia should have known there had to be something in it for Avaritia, he was always on the make.

The crowd grew louder and louder, impatient for the race to begin. Avaritia made his way to the centre and shouted both Superbia and Gula over, he called over his shoulder and two stools and a barrel appeared. Avaritia instructed his brothers to sit. “Sit?” asked Superbia, “I thought this was a race?”

“Why it is dear brother!” Avaritia paused and smiled at him, a toothy pointed grin, “A wine drinking race”.

“What? But I don’t drink!” cried Superbia, glancing around at the noisy crowds.

“I thought you said you could win any race against Gula?” Avaritia taunted, a gleam sparkling in his eyes. Superbia felt sweat trickle down his forehead.

“Well… yes.. I did…but..”

“Good, let’s get going then!” Avaritia raised his hands and the crowds went quiet, all focus on him. “The rules are quite simple, my brothers drink simply until one of them can drink no more. 3…..2……1……..”

Superbia sweated, his hands grabbed the each of the table, he glanced at the cup in front of him and at the great big jug filled with wine, his eyes then wandering over to Gula who already seemed to be swaying a little. Maybe I can win this thought Superbia.

“Go!” shouted Avaritia loudly and the crowds went wild. They shouted loudly as each brother consumed cup after cup of wine. 1…2…3….4….5….6…Even the belches in between that could not be held got a cheer. 7…Belch…8…Belch…9….Belch. The numbers climbed higher and higher. Superbia kept drinking and drinking yet oddly with each cup his mouth felt drier and drier. He watched his brother Gula, sway, rock, belch and hiccup in the stool, yet he still lifted cup after cup.

In the 20’s Superbia stopped hearing the counting around him, his ears swimming with noise, his mouth was dry as the bottom of his sandal and each time he burped he felt the red wine bile attempt to creep back up his throat. He watched Gula sway, then realised it was his own vision that played tricks on him. He made to stand from the stool, but the effort overtook him and he spun landing face down in the sandy court yard. The crowd cheered loudly.

Roman_drinking_cheers“The winner is Gula!” He heard Avaritia announce, and Gula hiccup happily in response while leaning to top up his cup with more wine. Superbia tried to stand again but couldn’t, falling to his knees time after time. He gave in and resorted to crawling. As he crawled from the courtyard he heard his brother once again loudly over the crowd, “It looks like my prideful brother has had a fall”. The sound of the laughter echoed around his ears, but he could not stand to face them, instead he continued to crawl away home.

It was in this state Superbia’s father had found him, he had been livid. “Do you want me to be known as the father that has raised two gluttonous drunks? You are to be banished to live with your Uncle until you learn a little respect.”

Hope you enjoyed my 7 deadly sins based story. Did you figure them all out? I would love to know what people thought of this theme/idea. Thanks for reading. KL

Know Your History – 16th September – James Alan McPherson born

know your history - writingOn this day… 16th September, 1934 – James Alan McPherson born

James Alan McPherson (born September 16, 1943) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American short story writer and essayist. He has been a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship. McPherson is a member of the permanent faculty of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa.

Advice On Writing

 What makes for a compelling history volume?

  • First and foremost, it has to be readable. If the writing is awkward, jargon ridden, narrow, if the prose is dull or dead, then people aren’t going to read it.
  • Second, it has to be accurate. It has to be based on thorough research and on an honest effort to present the story as objectively as possible. Nobody can be 100 percent objective, but it has to be fair-minded.
  • Third, I think it does have to be a story. It has to have dramatic tension. It can’t merely be about large economic or social or cultural forces without real people in there with whom the reader can identify. These are some of the important things that will engage the reader and keep him from saying, ‘This is dull, this is uninteresting. I’m not going to waste my time on this book.’

James Alan McPherson - Love

Did You Know?..

McPherson is heavily influenced by Ralph Ellison and actually co-wrote with him on “Indivisible Man”.

McPherson believes “that the United States is complex enough to induce that sort of despair that begets heroic hope. I believe that if one can experience its diversity, touch a variety of its people, laugh at its craziness, distill wisdom from its tragedies, and attempt to synthesize all this inside oneself without going crazy, one will have earned the right to call oneself citizen of the United States.”

Like Ellison, McPherson is a moral historian. Recognizing the American territory as an ideal always pursued, always there but never reached, he holds his fiction to a high standard by virtue of his identity as a black American writer: “Those of us who are black and who have to defend our humanity should be obliged to continue defending it, on higher and higher levels—not of power, which is a kind of tragic trap, but on higher levels of consciousness.”

The Truth Zone

The Truth Zone.


I pace back and forth in my cell. They call it a patient room but it feels more like a cell, I can neither have people in nor go out, that feels like a cell! I’ve been here a week now and it blows. The isolation is getting to me. Sure I have a bed, a sofa, a tv and even a fridge, almost like my own mini apartment. Almost. Except in an apartment you don’t have to hand over your urine if you visit the bathroom. Or give a blood sample once a day. Or take those disgusting pills they keep giving me. Some of them make me drowsy, I know that. I wonder if they are truth pills as when I’m in their drowsy state I answer their questions truthfully. I can’t help myself. I am too tired to think up a lie.

All last week I spent sleeping, sleeping and watching tv. God I don’t ever want to be like that when I’m old. I asked for a phone but they don’t want me to have one, not yet. I need to be strong by myself first, they said.


They gave me more of the sleepy pills last night, they told me I only have 3 more days on them, it must be a 10 day course. They said they are going to take me off the meds soon. Thank god for that, I will be able to think and talk and lie again. Lying is never something you’ll think you’ll miss but you do. Especially when you don’t have enough thoughts to do it. I hadn’t realised how often I lie until I couldn’t.

They questioned me again too. I think I may have told them. I dunno, maybe I did, some of its blurry. I don’t really know what would happen if I told them, would I go to jail? Would he? Doesn’t matter I’m sure I didn’t tell them this time, but it felt like I was close to it.


I pretended to be asleep last night. When they came in the room, but they woke me anyway, and told me to take them. I thought about refusing but I didn’t really want to. I’m addicted to the sleep they give me. Strange right? I know it’s not good for me, but I can’t help doing it. But that’s what an addict is really someone that knows all the consequences of their actions but thinks “it doesn’t matter I want to do it anyway”, this then becomes, “I need to do it anyway”.

I know I wasn’t always an addict. No-one is. Maybe to sugar as a child. Actually yeah, that probably was my first addiction. I even stole money for chocolate. That is probably a real sign of a problem, right? Then as a teenager it was cigarettes. They felt so good and I thought I looked cool. I didn’t but who cares, besides it good me used to smelling bad, that would come in handy later. Then there was the booze. That had been wild. Who said alcohol was a depressant? Going to bars, hearing bands, playing pool and taking in booze. I was a lucky one too. It barely made me puke. Not like the other girls I went with. They were weak and I soon left them behind. I could keep up with the guys easy.


I only have tonight left on the pills. Then I’ve to give it up. Is it strange that I know that I’ll miss them? I look in that little mirror in the bathroom and I see it. I see the difference they told me it would make. My hair is clean and shiny again. My eyes are open wide. My skin is looking unhealthy but I’d always been ghastly pale. It had never mattered. Girls think you need to be tanned and perfect to get a guy but it’s not true, a bit of pale thigh showing will get a guy going just as easy. Why do you think guys love white panties so much? They like pale and pure, they just don’t always realise it.

Some more memories came back to me last night. More of a flash of memory here and there. I don’t even think it was in sequence. It didn’t matter I told them it anyway, one encouraged me to speak while the other scribbled it all done. Sort of a good cop, nerdy cop approach. Only they are supposed to be doctors. I told them about travelling in packed cars, to festivals. Meeting guys and going back to their dirty homes. Stealing the odd wallet when there was no guy around feeling charitable. That wasn’t what they wanted to know. They wanted to know about the real drug, the one that had spread, the one that had caused the epidemic, the one I had helped grow.


Last night, I was quiet. Quiet for a really long time. I had to think. Should I tell them? I think I was going to anyway. But then they got me. They brought in this kid. She looked just like me, I couldn’t believe it. Well I say just like me, like me when I was 16. She had caught it. The epidemic. Only the drugs they’d given me, wouldn’t work on her. They brought her in and I thought, they’ve sent her to me so I can convince her not to go down the same shitty path I had. So I did for a while. But she didn’t seem interested. Neither would I have at her age. Then they’d taken her back out and dropped the bomb on me. She was going to die. I was the one that knew how to cure her. I might not give a shit about me, about the people I had made ill but could I live with knowing I’d killed her?

The one that had taken the notes finally spoke to me. He said could I stand with watching her die? Because if I didn’t talk, that’s what they’d make me do with all my remaining days here. They’d take me in day after day to her room and I’d have to sit there and watch her die. I gulped. I audibly gulped as the fear hit me. I gulped again but felt too much saliva in my mouth it wouldn’t wash away. I got up and walked to the toilet and vomited. When I was done I brushed my teeth and returned to the room. They hadn’t move. They were waiting.

The tears dripped down my face as I spoke. The words felt like they were burning on my tongue, betraying the only man who had loved me. What was I to do? I told them about the “special blend” we’d created. That we’d fed it to the cattle and they’d seemed fine. How were we to know the farmer was going to sell them? When he did we panicked and moved to a new farm. There was always work for farm labourers and lots of access to the crops. And an amazing amount of wild flowers about. That’s were the best seeds came from, wild plants and flowers. Like nature intended. We created a new batch, again the farmers’ cattle made amazing test subjects and once tested on them we gave it a try. The high was amazing, neither of us had felt anything like it. We bagged it up, and headed to the festival. It was a roaring success.

A few weeks later the news exploded everywhere, there was a new virus hitting. Several of the festival go-ers had been admitted to a secure facility, some had already died. They were asking all people who went to the festival to get tested. We laid low. It couldn’t have anything to do with us right? Then the next day after his usual morning paper the farmer knocked on our door, he pointed the article out to us in a neighbourly fashion and we politely agreed we would go get tested but that we’d both felt fine.

In the afternoon, his wife made his way over and offered a lift to the doctors as she was going anyway. We both said we were fine and we’d make time in the week but she insisted. As we headed out to her car the farmer called to Mark and he made his way over to help him. After a few minutes it was clear he wasn’t coming back and we headed into town. The farmer’s wife followed me everywhere and of course announced to the receptionist at the doctors I was there to get tested as I’d been at the festival. The doctor rushed me in and tested. Within an hour I’d had the phone call. I had caught it. The farmer’s wife drove me back home to gather my stuff but on entering the small apartment above the garage, it felt strange. Mark? He had left. I knew it straight away. He had left and taken most of our stuff with him. I cried and smashed the few remaining things I could. After a while the farmer’s wife appeared in the apartment, ready to take me to the clinic.

I’d told them enough. They asked me to recall the flowers and I did. They left the room in a flurry.

That was the last of the medication, the remaining days I was drug-free. Probably for the first time in a long time. But I had strength, it wasn’t mine I knew. It was borrowed. From a young girl who I watched get better and better over the next 14 days. Who I confessed all the stupid shit I had done, I didn’t know if I had saved her, not really. She had already started on that crazy path that led her to the festival. But that small glimmer of hope that I might save her, had saved me.


Thank you Priceless Joy – http://pricelessjoy.co/2015/09/02/mfts-the-devils-abode/ – for this great daily prompt and well done for getting one featured. 🙂

Horizon – Short Story

Kate looked at the name as climbed onto the deck, The Horizon. Ironic, Kate thought, people talked of sailing off into the horizon, it had never been something she imagined doing. As she got to the top of the gangway, the young first mate took her hand gently, ensuring she was sure-footed. She thanked him and moved away but the warmth of his hand tingled on. She had caught a brief glimpse of his eyes and they’d startled her, she’d never seen such an emerald green. He blushed at her staring and turned his head away causing her to turn too.

She made her way along the deck looking for the doorway she’d been directed to. She paused looking over the side of the ship and back to the land but knew there was no-one there waiting for her.  Yet she couldn’t help but hope she’d hear Michael’s voice shouting over the crowds begging her to change her mind, to stay with him instead. Alas, she turned around, her heart heavy with the thought she would never see him again as she sailed to lands faraway. Gathering her resolve, she lifted her bag and made her way along and through the narrow door.

She checked the glass sign and made her way down the decks to the entertainment lounge, she had been instructed to meet there. Four flights down Kate began to lose her breath, she hoped this wasn’t every day she thought to herself, all the while smile at an elderly couple wandering along the corridor in their bathing suits.

On entering the lounge she could see a group of others with their luggage, so she made her way towards them smiling awkwardly as she squeezed past to find a seat. Within seconds, a loud voice broke over the tannoy informing all staff to report to the entertainment lounge unless otherwise informed by their team lead. There was eye-rolls by the bar staff who never-the-less moved behind the luggage group. Kate couldn’t help but look around and within five minutes the room was packed. A sharp looking woman in a perfectly tailored suit and heels that seemed far too high to wear on a ship walked in and took the floor off the stage. The room fell into an immediate rush and the woman began to talk effortlessly with no microphone.

“Today, we have five new teams starting. I want each of you to take them through the required drills within your area in the next 48 hours. I want no-one looking unprofessional by the time we set sail. You have two days people, those who aren’t up to it will be let go before we get out of this port. Understood?”

The group was silent. “Good. Area Leads take over.” With that, she spun on her shoes and walked away. As she approached the door, the first mate walked to the room.

“Oh, running a little late are we Thomas?”

“Ehhh….” Thomas stammered, but before he could get a sentence out suit responded. “Well done, Thomas. Late and quick witted, you’re a catch.” She nodded her head towards the stunned group. “Let’s hope you can teach this lot to be even better.” With that, she walked out the door in a hurry.

Thomas seemed to recover after she left. and walked towards the group. “Right newbies follow me I’ll show you where you sleep and then we’ll grab some food.” He turned around to leave and Kate hoisted her pack quickly to follow.

“Em… suit lady said we only have 48 hours to learn the ropes. Shouldn’t we get straight to training?”

“Aren’t you hungry?”

“Well, yeah but I need this job more than I need food.”

He stopped and looked at her, behind her was a small gathering of equally sheepish looking new starters.

“Look don’t worry about Trish. She isn’t the captain and she certainly isn’t the boss. It’s just easier to let her think she is. She’s actually pretty resourceful and does keep things ticking over. But her job here is entertainments manager, nothing serious, so just let her get it out her system, don’t slack off and you’ll be fine.”

Everyone relaxed a little and followed him as he distributed them into tiny twin cabins, with a map, and an envelope that would apparently tell them their roles, responsibilities & an insurance form.

After unpacking, Kate made her way up to the food court. She was surprised to see staff eating in the same areas as the guests. As the other new starters talked away her mind kept drifting. She had always thought this would be an adventure her and Michael would take together. He had seemed to want it as much as her. Her heart torn every time she thought of him. They had been about to start their lives together. She hated him for hurting her, for leaving her, for choosing to stay in that stupid town and for choosing that stupid girl. He had said he’d leave her, that’s why Kate had stuck around for so long. Now she felt stupid.

One of the leads stopped by the new starter table and the others began to chatter excitedly.

“Did you hear that?” the girl sat next to her with the healthiest salad Kate had ever seen, was staring at her enthusiastically.

“Sorry, what was that?” Kate said then quickly put another fork full of pasta into her mouth.

“The lead said there is a party on top deck tonight. Everyone’s invited. Isn’t that exciting.”

Kate nodded then continued eating her heart just wasn’t in it. She knew she should try to make friends try to fit in, but she couldn’t stop her mind drifting.

After dinner, Kate had a long hot shower then while getting ready chatted to her new room-mate. The girl was really nice and had only been on board a few weeks. ‘Long enough to show you how not to get lost, but not long enough to have remembered people’s names’, she laughed in a friendly way, and Kate was starting to feel a bit more settled.

Heading up to the party with her roommate she made her way to the packed bar. She quickly tallied up her money in her bank and realised she really should be sticking to water, but her nerves needed something stronger. Trying to get the over-worked bar guy’s attention. She leaned further and further over, she felt the object behind her move before she heard it, cringing she turned round quickly to see the first made and his very green eyes.

“I’m so, so sorry. Let me buy you another one?” She grabbed tissues of the bar and began to dab his sleeve with them.

He pulled back. “Hey, chill out. You don’t get paid enough here to be that stressed!” He smiled at her and she felt herself blush again. She stood nervously not knowing what to say next Thomas laughed and leaned over the bar.

“Hey Joe, Can we you pass us two bottles down when you get a sec?”

Within seconds the drinks appeared and Thomas was handling a bottle over to her. “Let me pay for that”, she began rummaging through her bag, hoping she had enough cash on her, but Thomas put his hand on hers.

“Look it’s cool. You can grab me one another time, yeah?… You don’t seem as excited about this trip as the others are? You wanna go some were and talk about it, there is a gorgeous view from the tennis courts and no-one’s there at this time?” He sent her that dazzling smile and before she knew what was happening Kate was following him up to the top deck.

“So what’s made you so unhappy to be going on this amazing adventure?” He smirked at her.

“Look I don’t really wanna go into it!”

“So a boy then?” She stared at him hard, this was not how she wanted the conversation to go. “Hey, I’m a guy, we can be jerks, I get it.” He held his hands up in protest.

“Yeah, it’s my ex. We were supposed to be doing this together. I’m not really the adventurous type.”

“I think you are.”

“You don’t know me!” She blurted at him.

“I know you came on this trip anyway. You were the first person to question me on disobeying Trish, you came up here with me all on your own. You took a chance when others wouldn’t. I think you’re gutsier than you gave yourself credit for.” Kate opened and closed her mouth unsure what to say next.

“On the Horizon, you’ll find a new life, a new family…” he leaned over and put his fingers on top of hers. “Maybe even a new person to give your heart to. Someone who’s an adventurer like you.” He winked at her, then pulled away, getting to his feet.

“Fancy a midnight dip in the roof-top pool?” he shouted, then giggling he ran towards the stairwell.

Kate took another swig of her bottle then got to her feet. “Wait up”, she shouted. Then ran to the stairwell laughing after him.

Storm - Elizabeth Edwards quote

Quote by Elizabeth Edwards (July 3, 1949 – December 7, 2010) an American attorney, a best-selling author, and a health care activist.

I hope you enjoy the short story on taking a chance and surviving. I think the plot could have been stronger and Kate is a bit wooly in places, but a reasonable attempt. Enjoy 🙂

Join in the #WQWWC  fun over on silverthreading to read more creative works on the theme “Survival”.


Short Story Writing Opportunity – North of England

Hi Guys, spotted this and thought you might like to give it a go 🙂

OPPORTUNITY – Writers from the North of England – North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humberside

Submit a short story of up to 5,000 words.

 The Clare Swift Short Story Award

This exciting new award worth £1,000 has been created by friends and family of Clare Swift. It will be given to the best short story submitted. The award will be judged by journalist and former editor of the Independent on Sunday and New Statesman Peter Wilby. It is supported by the North East Chamber of Commerce working with Northumbria University.