Crossings by Steve Luckham

Lunchtime and the city is bustling. The World celebrates. Three months since the lifting of lockdown and the pubs, clubs, cinemas, restaurants, and theatres are full to bursting. The partying persists much to the frustration of those who make their living from other people’s work.

Alicia knocks on the door of the attractive townhouse. She waits thirty seconds and takes the front door key from her purse. She hesitates at the sound of her mother slowly making her way down the stairs to answer. The door opens and a small elderly lady looks out.

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Lustre – by Ian

I finally manage to move the tumblers in the elaborate lock and push the door open. The sight and smells before me are remarkable, the rumours I had heard do not do the room justice. Acrid smells assault my nose, faint traces of bitter substances play across my tongue and my eyes are startled by an array of colour and fantastic, unnameable objects. 

I am so in awe that I forget the door but a breeze running down the darkened alleyway behind me prompts me to shut the room away from prying eyes. There are no windows to the room but it is faintly lit by various sized bowls emanating a faint glow. There are enough scattered around the room to allow me to see the whole space. I slowly walk around marvelling at, touching and variously inhaling the contents of the rows of jars, vessels and implements that are stashed on shelves and various tables.

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Gold – by Cara

I’d just finished getting dressed that morning when I noticed glittery streaks on my towel. Glitter isn’t an unusual thing in my house; it’s the herpes of the craft world, after all. Do you remember, during covid, there was an analogy for it? Nine people are using glitter in a small room. How many of them are not covered in glitter? Well, I teach 30 tiny, sociopathic people in a classroom built for straight-backed Victorian paragons. The craft lessons are—well, I’ll leave it to your imagination. 

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Distance – by Ian

I adjust the bandana so it covers my nose and mouth as my horse strides across the border. The plaintive wail of a trumpet plays in my head as I watch the rising sun cast long, human like shadows of the cacti across the arid landscape. 

I know my quarry is out there somewhere. The money is good enough on this one to merit the risk of crossing into Mexico but I need to find him quickly and get back with my bounty.

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Typo – Steve Luckham

Chapter 1.

Capela dos Ossos

I sip my café com leite while watching two very pretty young women walk towards the harbour. They smile and wave to me, posing provocatively. I am tempted, but shake my head on this occasion. They mock me with false disappointment.

I call over to them:  ‘Maybe later.’

‘Maybe never if you don’t take your chances,’ shouts the taller one.

The Jardim da Praça Ferreira de Almeida is awash with early evening sun.  It’s raining lilac flowers from the jacaranda tree above my table. Few tourists are abroad and I savour the tranquil quietness between planes approaching the airport a short distance along the coast.

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The Third Person – Steve Luckham

‘Flash the ash.’ 

The red pack of Marlboro was offered around reluctantly by Julie to her two companions on the park bench. The day was cold for June and an angry sky foretold rain. 

‘You know these fags cost more than fifty pence each?’ said Julie. ‘I saw Granddad yesterday and he said in his day you could get ten cigarettes for one and three.’ 

‘What’s ‘one and three’ when it’s at home? Julie’s brother Dom asked. 

‘How the fuck should I know,’ Julie shrugged. ‘But it doesn’t sound very much.’ 

‘It’s old money. Your granddad meant one shilling and threepence. In today’s money that’s around six-pence. I’m doing a project on it at school,’ said Boff. 

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Wash Day -by Rachel Hogg

1968

‘Vi? Vi! There’s another one been lost! That’s the third in three weeks.’

Mrs Bennett from next door bustled into the kitchen, brandishing a copy of the Mail which she spread out over Vi’s kitchen table. ‘THIRD HULL TRAWLER LOST’, the headline exclaimed. ‘19 ON BOARD. “No hope”, say the owners.’ The Ross Cleveland had gone down in Icelandic waters, all lives presumed lost. The Romano had gone down two weeks before, followed by the Kingston Peridot a week later.

‘Now, are you going to get behind Lil and sign her petition?’

‘Bloody Lil. She should leave well alone. It’s men’s work. No place for a woman to be meddling. Is it true she tried to stop the St Keverne from sailing?’ Continue reading “Wash Day -by Rachel Hogg”

❤4EVA❤ – by Rachel Hogg

‘He likes you’, Clare mouths, as a hand reaches over the back of my coach seat and pulls my ponytail for the tenth time.

‘No, he doesn’t’, I whisper back. Though, secretly, I hope he does.

Richie Simmons. The best looking boy in Year 10. Floppy dark hair, piercing blue eyes and a battered leather jacket (‘Used to be my dad’s. Wore it to Glastonbury in ’71’). He plays the drums, and is so much more mature than any of the other boys in our year. Of course I fancy Richie Simmons. But then, so do the rest of the girls in Year 10.

‘Got any chuddy?’ Richie’s face appears between the coach seats, like Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

‘God, Richie. You’re always on the scrounge’, says Clare, in mock indignation.

‘Here, I’ve got some,’ I say, fishing a Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit from the depths of my school bag.

‘Ah, you’re an angel, Susie.’ Richie takes the stick of gum from me. Clare gives me ‘a look’, and I feel the colour rising in my cheeks. Continue reading “❤4EVA❤ – by Rachel Hogg”

Daphne By Michael Mann

People are creatures of habit. I noticed these things as I gazed out from my kitchen window, that overlooked the busy city streets. The people. Their patterns.

07:42 the businessman walks by my window. Wearing his suit on his commute to work, rushing for the morning train, that by my calculations he would usually just make.

08:13 The group of teenagers, in their school uniforms. The boys showing off, like primates throwing their own shit. All to impress the young girls who are already far more mature, yet not old enough to know it.

08:24 The mother with two children clinging to her leggings as she dragged them off to school.

Then she walks past my window. Continue reading “Daphne By Michael Mann”