Love’s Dead

My wife always that I work too late. She wants me in bed with her every night, but you know duty calls. I am at the morgue for hours every day, slaving away. It’s a small place, they don’t need many staff. A text from her now- when will you be home? To be honest I don’t know.

I can work very late into the night. I don’t want to go to sleep, or roll around the bed with her in my arms. She says I’m frigid, like the corpses I work with five days a week. She wants to reignite the passion in our marriage. I don’t feel it anymore. These cadavers here are better lovers than she is. Love is dead, dear.

 

Originally published on Seakay’s Guide to Storytelling before the magazine passed away. (RIP)

 

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Agony

Bang. Throbbing surges through my body. In agony, I let out the most bloodcurdling scream until I run out of air. People crowd around me as I lie on the floor. Maybe one of them will put me out of my misery! I am not usually one to ask for help, but now I know I need it. I am ready to die. I’ve banged my bloody toe against the door!

Down With The Sickness

The sun shone through an open window. I could hear birds singing, people laughing and talking, ELO’s Mr Blue Sky playing. I was sitting on the toilet, holding a basin, wishing I would just throw up already. Today, I was sick. And not in the cool, hip-hop way either.

In fact, by this point, I’ve been ill for two weeks. This was the second round of antibiotics, as the first one Amoxicillin was just too mild-mannered to fight off this chest infection. The flem clung to my throat and ribcage like stubborn cobwebs, or like a weepy, creepy ex. My sinuses were clogged, making my head heavy in aching pain.

I had to watch from afar- or in other words my Facebook newsfeed- all the nights out, dinners out, days out and other people having an all-out great time. I had to cancel shifts with my Easter holiday work- all of them over two weeks; Burnsfest, Easter Sunday with my family, Easter Sunday with my boyfriend’s family and god knows what else.

Why? I was housebound with it. As in the Disturbed song, I was well and truly down with the sickness. It was like the poltergeist that just wouldn’t go away. It was named The Cough.

I could barely move without coughing violently. I could barely think without coughing violently. All I did for the next five or so weeks was cough. Sometimes, I coughed for so hard and so long I made myself throw up.

I tried everything to exorcise this demon that haunted my body.

At first I thought: it’ll only last three days at most. I’ll stay positive, guzzle as many vitamins as possible, rest up and maybe if I ignore it for long enough, it’ll go away. Right? And for three days, I was led to believe this.

But on the fourth day? Nope! The Cough decided to stay, and it decided to exhaust me. For the next three days after that, I was bedridden. Then for the next two weeks, I would be couch-ridden. The Cough took up all my energy. I could barely play video games, let alone write meaningful content.

My Easter holidays evaporated and any shred of positivity had gone along with it. The Cough’s hold upon me had weakened, but I couldn’t bring myself to do everything I could do before. Still zero energy.

Another four days and I dragged myself back to work. If I didn’t go back now, The Cough would win. So I went back. I’ve been back at work for a week or so now and I’m still fighting it. Just about.

It’s not just a bad excuse for not producing new content. I really have been so ill I’ve not been able to write. I’ve been so used to going at a hundred miles an hour every day, but this past month I’ve been barely moving at a snail’s pace. Maybe if I hadn’t been going so fast, The Cough wouldn’t have had such an ample target.

I’ve decided to pace myself as best I can. I have an unbearable urge to say yes to every new project that appears but I doubt that’s a sustainable practice. This little blog post is one small baby step into creating new, fresh content for the website. Be patient though: I’m still locked in mortal combat with The Cough and it’s still breathing.

Thanks to my wonderful boyfriend for helping with the editing process. I’m still pretty new to blogging and wanted to make this one worth your while! x

Do you have any illness horror stories? Have you also been a victim of The Cough? Send me your stories in the comments! It’ll give me some goddamn perspective! 😀

Rapunzel

My wicked stepmother keeps me in this tower, day after day. It gets lonely. The only company I keep is her, whenever she brings me food or the odd critter. But they never stick around long. I’m so bored here, I’m almost brain dead! All I do is sing to myself and brush my ridiculously long hair.

Then I hear a voice from the bottom of the tower, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel! Let down your hair!”

It’s a young man! I humph my ridiculously long hair out the window, and he uses it to climb up. I could do with a nice chat. Stepmother hasn’t seen me since breakfast and that seems like hours ago.

After a lot of tugging, and some strands of hair inconveniently pulled out, he finally reaches the top. His face has fallen, become pale for some reason. “Dear God! W-What are you?” he asks, shakily.

What does he mean, what am I? “I’m a princess, silly!” I laugh, but it just comes out as grunts. I walk towards him. He looks so good. He screams no. He’s rooted to the spot. All of this screaming is making me hungry. I bite a chunk out of his arm. He really is tasty! He has blacked out, and just as I’m almost finished his arm, I hear a blood curdling scream. I’m startled! It’s my stepmother!

“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? YOU HAVE EATEN THE PRINCE REGENT!” she screams.

I look down at my meal. Oh. So that’s why he’s dressed like that. I look back up at my stepmother, who’s looking down at me with horror and disgust. Oops!

Sermon

You’d think that sound usually radiates in a church, booming and echoing along the walls and rising to the roof like hot air. But this morning, the orchestra mumbled hymns and the brass band choked a low rendition of Jingle Bells and Feliz Navidad.

I’m not an atheist, but I swear if that priest keeps boring on about the baby effing Jesus, I’ll sock him! He’s got the right amount of general fluff talk for radio. He could go on TalkSport for how much he bores on about the most mundane things. I really thought I could handle it. I sit at the end of my row applying yet another coat of grape lip-balm. I could run out if I wanted to.

But I can’t. I couldn’t do that to the kids at their Christmas concert!

Mugged

The Christmas Works Night Out. Obviously the only reason anyone would still working for Coffee Society. One night to take our minds off our dire economic circumstances and get wasted. But first, the dreaded Secret Santa. Nobody really wants to buy colleagues a present for just short of an hour’s wage, but our manager insists that it will boost morale.

We pass around a red basket and I pull out mine. It is in a little faux-designer gift bag.  Inside, a mug says, “I Am Batman.”

A voice asks, “Do you like your present? I knew you liked superheroes.”

Oh God, it was her. All Burberry, Prada, yada yada. We all know it’s from the Barras. Isn’t this a secret Santa, anyway?

I muster the most grateful voice and smile I can, “Oh my gosh, I LOVE it! Thank you SO MUCH!” I reach across the table to hug her.

I hate Batman. He shouldn’t count as a superhero. He’s a wooden bastard who’s only really considered a superhero because he’s rich.

During the meal, I quietly try and think of a way to dispose of it without being overly rude. Maybe my cousin will like it. But does he like Batman? Who cares.

After getting royally pie-eyed, I take the short cut home. I’ve spent the taxi money on a fishbowl, and it’s not far. It should have been perfectly safe.

But then a mad-looking man in a black hoodie materialises.

“Geez the bag!” he coughs.

He glares at me, his eyes manically wide. He’s right up in my face. I thrust my handbag in his hands.

But this only antagonises them further. “NO THAT BAG THE OTHER WAN!”

The other one? The gift bag with the mug? I hold it up, “What this on-?”

Before I can finish, it is snatched out of my hands, and he scurries away down the street.

That was Cucci not Gucci you idiot! I smirk to myself. If I ever get a present like that again next year, remind me to walk home!

Love Is Blind

My girlfriend Millie said she was having quality time with her mother today. So seeing as how I was behind with my Christmas shopping, I thought I’d get cracking. I’m feeling pretty smug, now. I’ve got Millie’s presents more than sorted: a box of chocolates, a golden necklace with a heart pendant encrusted with diamonds and some really cute stationary from Claire’s Accessories. This week, she’s been moaning about how she’s got virtually none of her stationary back from her students. She’d love to have some more.

But as I’m walking past Costa Coffee, I can see Millie and her mother in the distance. No!

I walk the other way so I’m not spotted. I peer over my shoulder and they’re following me! What a pain! If she sees me she will want to stop and chat, and when she stops and chats she’ll notice her whole Christmas. Then the magic of her Christmas will be gone!

Keep calm, Becca. Maybe she won’t see it. Maybe she hasn’t seen me.

I peek behind me again and find they are closer, and yet closer. They close in and….

…. It’s not them. It never was. They are probably wondering why I look so pale! I slip into the nearest shop, trying to look as casual as possible.

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A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words (Flash Fiction)

In this world, your words is all you have. And if you don’t have the paper? You just don’t get what you want. And by God I wanted that painting more than anything in the world. A portrait, painted of my mother by my cousin and local artist-celebrity, Duaz Romandsu. It was painted in his school years, yet he insists on charging me 1,000 big ones for it! I told him I could produce that by the end of the month. I am a writer, my novel A Book Holds A House of Gold series made a bit of dough. So of course I’d put in for it (though really he should have given me it for free the robbing so-and-so).

So the big moment arrived. I put the pages down at that opportunistic little weasel’s desk. An essay on why he wanted the painting so badly. I’d spent the best part of two months on it! He lifted it up and leafed through briefly before remarking, “Hmm yes, this’ll do. Help yourself”. As I went to lift the canvas with my beautiful mother on it, he continued on with some monstrosity of a modern art piece.

The Other Ghost (flash fiction/parody)

Things are pretty crap at the moment. I have no money, my home is being run by this grieving airy-fairy American artist, my family and friends are gone, I don’t get out much. And I’m dead. Nobody talks to you when you’re dead. Nobody even knows I’m there. Even that “psychic” she hired can’t see me. Just to clarify: she’s a fraud. A total fraud. She can’t contact the dead boyfriend, he isn’t even here! It doesn’t matter what I do. She can detect diddly squat! By God she’s milking my roommate for all the money she has.

So I’m having a bit of fun with it, you know, poltergeist spooky stuff. Smashing the odd plate, scattering Cheetos on the carpet, writing scary stuff in blood on the bathroom wall, well almost. On my way into the hall, I see her manhandling the clay on the pottery wheel. Probably going to make yet another modern art monstrosity, or something. All those sculptures cluttering up my flat! I have half a mind to take a sledgehammer to all of them but those things are harder to move than potato chips.

But this time instead of having that screwy determined expression while she works, she’s all hot and bothered. The kind of hot and bothered she gets when she reads those Black Lace Novels. She’s squatting on that wooden stool, all heavy breathing like someone’s touching her.

I don’t see why you’re looking at me. I wouldn’t touch her with a bargepole. She probably thinks it’s her gooey, sickening husband from beyond the grave. I have never laughed so hard in all my death.

Pigs in Blankets

In a little cottage made of stones, there lives a Mummy Pig and her only piglet Percy. Each night, Mummy Pig tells her child a bedtime story.  This night was no different from any other night. Percy was tucked up tightly, and raptly listens as she begins tonight’s tale.

“The Three Little Pigs: Penny, Paul and Peter, all leave their Mummy behind to build their own houses outside the village. They bought their materials at the market and skipped down to the forest and got building. Penny built her house from straw. Paul built his house from sticks, whilst Peter built his from bricks. He was always the smarter one. They built them up, and were happy for a while. They didn’t even send their Mummy a letter, and were blissfully unaware of the Big Bad Wolf stalking around…”

 “Like the Big Bad Wolf who gobbled up Little Red Riding Hood?” Percy pipes up.

“The exact one!” Mummy’s eyes widened. “The Big Bad Wolf was HUNGRY! So he went to the first little house, and banged the door. Little pig, little pig, let me come in, he said. Not by the hairs of my chinny chin! Penny cried. So the Wolf huffed, and puffed and blew her house down, and then ate her alive!”

The piglet gasps. “Ate her alive?”

Mummy nodded, “And then he went to the house of twigs. Little pig, little pig, let me come in! the wolf shouted. Not by the hairs of my chinny chin! So the Wolf huffed, and puffed, and blew his house down. Paul was a fast runner, but he couldn’t outrun the wolf! And he…”

“He didn’t… eat him alive, did he?” Percy stammers.

“Yes, of course he did. The wolf was too hungry to wait for them to cook!”

Percy squealed, but Mummy Pig was unphased, and continued her story, quickening her pace! “And then he got to the house of bricks, where Peter lived, and he tried his usual huffing and puffing routine but it didn’t work on the little brick house. Peter was always a little smart arse. He could hear the Wolf coming from miles away and knew he’d come down the chimney. But as the pot boiled, he could see the Wolf circling around the house. What was he doing that for, Percy?”

“I don’t know…”  Percy snuffled, choked up with tears.

“Because he thought he was so smart, didn’t he Percy? He placed all the straw and twigs from the other houses all around the edges and then doused it all with petrol before throwing a lit match onto it. Peter Pig was burned to a crisp! The Wolf smiled as he watched the brick house burn to the ground…”

Percy couldn’t even utter a word of disapproval. He loved his Mummy. But this story made him so upset and scared.

“Those little piggies had the gaul to leave their poor mother without even a letter! You’re not going to be like those little piggies, are you Percy?”

Percy shook his head. “No, Mummy.”

“You’re always going to stay with Mummy, aren’t you Percy?”

Percy nodded, “Yes, Mummy.”

“Good.” Mummy Pig smiled, as she kissed her piglet on the forehead. “Goodnight, Percy.”

“Goodnight Mummy.” He whimpered.

Oot (Flash Fiction)

So I’m oot hittin’ the clubs with ma besto Tammy. We’re at the Rusty Nail cause the music’s gid and the lads dinnae try and touch us up but anyways, a see this woman in the middle of the dance floor. I mean, I can admire a lassie’s good looks and aw that but this yin was like WOWZA.

I couldnae take ma eyes aff her. Her big knockers were shoved into this sparkly dress, lookin’ like a pair’a disco balls. And by god she couldnae half dance. I WANT her, like I’ve never wanted a woman in aw ma life. But naw! I shouldnae WANT her, I’m a straight woman, with a straight boyfriend. I cannae be into girls, can I? It’s the drink. It hus tae be the drink. Why do I feel like I want to flirt wae her, dance aw saucy wae her, snog her? I’ve never gone aw lesbian when I’m pished. It must be the Midoori.

“D’ye want a drink, Molly-hen?” Tammy asks me.

I yell something like, “Geez another Midoori and lemonade” as I walk up tae the hottie oan the dancefloor.

I dance up tae her, compliment her oan her amazing hair when she turns around to face me. She’s a man! And no jist any man, MY MAN, Gaz. Gaz? And he’s wearin’ his sister’s dress an aw.  Is he… naw, he canny be. He canny be… gay can he? He told me he was gonna stay at hame and look after the dug. Who’s lookin’ after me dug if he’s here? And he has the cheek to be here, and use ma makeup, and drinkin’ some poofy wee Cosmopolitan? I could punch him.

“It’s… it’s no what it looks like.” Whimpers Gaz

“Whit the fuck are you dae’in here?”

Then another ladyboy pipes up. His pal Derek. “Haha, that’s ma fault hen. It’s a charity night tonight. Tranny tea party, you know for cancer and that? He couldnae say no!”

I turn to Gaz. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I was embarrassed. Come on you would have thought I was a… you know, poofter.”

I look back at Gaz. “I didn’t think that when I saw you. I thought you were an actual…”

“You thought I was an actual what?”

“You were a…”

Then up comes Tammy wae ma Midoori and lemonade. She yells, “Whit are you daein here Gaz?”

I look at Gaz. Gaz looks at me. We burst oot laughin’.

 

portrait of steph- oot

Gladiators Ready! (Flash Fiction)

We were kitted up with armour and laser guns. We were comrades, friends if you like. But then we entered the dark coliseum and it was every man for themselves. The armours colours that once flashed Red or Blue now dissipated into a blinding white. I hid at the Red base, futile I know, but familiar ground. It gave me some time to think away from the slaughter. The klaxon sounds, signalling the gladiators to run at each other.  The music playing thunks deafeningly. Why do I feel so alone? So afraid? I always fought better with two other people. I could feed off their synergy, and plan tactically. This is just a case of brute vs brute. And let’s face it, I’m no brute. I’m not tall enough for starters. I cross myself and run into battle.

I see a former teammate in the distance. Blirtzt! I am hit in the shoulder. He snickers and runs away. Blirtzt! I am hit on the back. Blirtzt! Blirtzt! Blirtzt! I am shot in all directions, before I know it I am surrounded by them, laughing as my weaponry and armour cease to function. I look like a fool. A siren goes off and a robotic voice says “Game Over.” I remember how much I fucking hate lasertag.