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. 

Continue reading “The Third Person – Steve Luckham”

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”

The Whistling Man By Michael Mann

“So, why do they leave that one light on overnight?” Alice asked.

Paul turned to look at the empty stage, one last time before his retirement.

“That’s the ghost light.” He smiled. The single light bulb stood in the centre of the theatre’s main stage, giving off a slight warm glow. “You leave it on overnight to ward off evil spirits that may lurk in the theatre.”

Alice’s face turned pale with the idea of ghosts. Paul turned to look at her and quickly chuckled. Continue reading “The Whistling Man By Michael Mann”

❤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”

All That’s Left by Michael Mann

A slow beat. A smoke filled rhythm coated the room in a thick blanket of warm music.

“No more his eager call
The writings on the wall
The dreams you dreamed have all
Gone astray”

Her voice echoed throughout my bedroom, as I laid on the thin ash burnt carpet, dreaming of far off places. It was nearly dawn. The morning birds outside trying to match the beautiful melodies that I held captive in my room.
I didn’t hear the front door unlock but I heard the drunken stumbling of my mother, as she dropped her door key and she wasn’t alone.

I left the sanctuary of my bedroom and at the bottom of the stairs, two lingering fingers, hidden in almost complete darkness, lit only by the burning cigarette, ash slowly cascading onto the shag carpet. They were dancing. Dancing their dance of neck kissing and hands fumbling. My mother, and a stranger. Continue reading “All That’s Left by Michael Mann”

Love in the Time of COVID-19 – by Rachel Hogg

 

DAY 1

I guess lockdown was quite… fortuitous, really. Firstly, I had been needing a holiday from work in forever, and secondly, Matt moved in. His flatmate is a nurse. He didn’t want to take any risks.

Matt came to mine after work, wearing a shirt and tie, and that scent which always transports me straight to chilled-out nights and too much wine. Smart. Executive. Sexy as hell. Armed with a laptop bag and his suitcase. Who knows how long he’ll be here?

He could stay here forever, as far as I’m concerned. We’ve only been dating a couple of months, but this just feels… right. The world outside might crash and burn, but we’re safe here, in our blissful bubble. We have dinner, a bottle of wine, and sex. Twice. After, he jokes that we should make sure to wash our hands properly. We stand in the bathroom, up to our elbows in suds, and sing Happy Birthday to each other.

Lockdown ain’t so bad. Continue reading “Love in the Time of COVID-19 – by Rachel Hogg”

Sunshine and Rainbows by Steve Luckham

It was like a house in a film or a period play. We were in the dining room, dark with oak panels. The huge banqueting table dwarfed the twelve of us finishing off our meals. I knew a few of the group, not personally but from the media. We had an opera singer, a TV pundit, two news readers, and a politician – I couldn’t remember which party.

‘John Argent? My children absolutely love your show.’

Startled at hearing my name, I looked across the table at an imposing woman in a green evening dress. Continue reading “Sunshine and Rainbows by Steve Luckham”