Pills for Thrills

alien-1979-ridley-scott-movie-review-xenomorph-harry-dean-stanton

(600 words)

“Profundity pills?!
“That’s right, three for a tenner, I bought six!”
“Wow, well done!”
Libby smiled, “Yes, they’d just got a new batch in, they sell out fast, I was lucky to get so many!”
The government had just licensed a new recreational drug with one eye on the national debt. ‘Profundity Pills – an exciting and safe way to relive your favourite books and films!’ said the ads. The pills somehow disconnected parts of the brain for a couple of hours, so that you had virtually no memory of anything you’d ever read or watched. A bit like a couple of bottles of wine but without the hangover. Consequently, you could watch a film, like Back to the Future, with no idea of what was going to happen when Marty plugs in his guitar at the beginning, even if you’d seen it ten times before!
Libby went over to a case of DVDs, running her painted red nails over the spines before plucking one out. Alien!
“Wow!” I felt a genuine thrill and some trepidation at the idea of watching it again for the ‘first time,’ unaware of the grisly surprises to come. “Then we could watch The Exorcist” I said.
“Yuk!” she exclaimed, putting the two DVDs on a table.
 –
It was the first time for Libby and I. She handed me two large green capsules. “This way we can watch both!”
I held the capsules in the palm of one hand and a glass of water in the other. “Here goes!” They went down quite easily, despite their size.
We sat on the sofa. After a few minutes Libby giggled. “I was just trying to remember the name of that book, the one about … Jesus … is it?”
“Oh, you mean the B …, the B ….” I just couldn’t remember the name!
I went over to the case of DVDs and scanned the titles. Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jaws. Hmm, they seemed somehow familiar, but I had no recollection of every having seen them, or what they were about, apart from a vague supposition sparked by the titles. I looked around the room, everything seemed familiar, including Libby, I could even remember getting up in the morning, but I just couldn’t remember watching any of those films. “I think we’re ready!”
Libby picked up Alien and took it out of the case. “‘In Space No-one Can Here You Scream!’ This one sounds scary! What’s this other one? The Exorcist, well we’ll watch that after.
“Wow, that was amazing!” I said, nearly four hour’s later. “When that monster came out of …”
“Yes, and when that girl’s head turned all the way round and she …”
“I’m not starting to remember properly yet, are you?”
“Not yet,” said Libby. “Maybe we should watch another?!” she giggled.
Just then the phone rang. It was my sister, Morag. “Hi, how’s you and Libby?”
“We’re fine, just tried those profundity pills, they were amazing!”
“Oh, yeah, I tried one yesterday. I watched Groundhog Day, I honestly couldn’t remember it. Just so funny. Hey, did you see on the news about that idiot who jumped out of a window. Seems he never read the instructions and took two! Then he watched some horror films and couldn’t stop hallucinating!”
I turned to Libby. “Hey, did you read the instructions?”
She shrugged. “I dunno. Why? What’s the big deal?”
“You idiot! Seems like we could be in for some unpleasant dreams!”
“Oh my God.” Her face was white. “Look!” She pointed at my stomach.

I looked down. Something was pushing against my shirt. From the inside.





Don’t forget to check out some of the other stories on my blog. There are over 160! 
 –

If you are interested in joining a fortnightly 300 word story group please contact me and I’ll send details.

Also, I’m very pleased to announce that ‘the best of my blog,’ To Cut a Short Story Short: 111 Little Stories, and a short story, Bound in Morocco, are now both available as paperbacks and Kindle eBooks. Please see Shop in the menu above for full details.

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Out There

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(700 words)

“America killed us Sam.”
“Don’t be ridiculous!”
“They’ve written us off. It’s like we don’t exist any more.”
I gazed out through the command room windows over the bow, at the uncountable millions of stars that surrounded us. “We’ll be back. Our kids’ll be all grown up!”
Randy laughed. “Little Anita was just five, bright as a sixpence. She’ll be twenty seven, maybe with her own kids!”
“Hard to imagine!”
“I want to go home Sam.” Randy’s voice trembled.
“Come on Randy, you signed up. No-one forced you to. You’ll be home before you know it!”
Exactly to what I was unsure. We were five years into a mission to Nephthys, a small rocky planet circling nearby Barnard’s star. It would take us ten years, nearly all of that in hyper-sleep, Randy and me waking up once a year to check the systems. When we eventually arrived, the rest of the sleeping crew would awake and we’d descend to the planet to find a mining station prepared for us by androids, scheduled to land a year ahead of us. That was the plan anyway.
“See all these stars Sam. There must be people, aliens, on the planets round ‘em.” Randy said the same, every time we ‘awoke.’
“I guess so.” Detectors on Earth had found Nephthys to be rich in rare earths, the metallic elements needed to make advanced handheld devices – videophones, holographic projectors and the like. The plan was to spend two years mining and refining the ores, then, with the holds full, back into hyper-sleep for the trip home. In our twenty two year absence, our families would be amply compensated.
These annual ‘awakenings’ felt weird, it took hours to reorientate oneself to the surroundings and to remember how to work the interfaces. But I enjoyed them. Just me and Randy wandering alone in the colossal ship, constructed in Earth’s orbit over a decade. Gazing out in wonder at the infinite universe.
Jesus! Did you see that?” Randy shouted.
“What?”
“Something just went past! Out there!”
“What?”
“I dunno, some kind of light. It went across the windows, upwards.” He made a gesture.
A couple of minutes went by, then, “There! D’you see it?”
Sure enough, something like a ball of light came from below us and shot in front and upwards. I felt excitement and fear in equal amounts.
Suddenly there was a beeping from a control panel on the far side of the room, about ten metres away. Red and yellow lights flashed rapidly. I raced over. “There’s an incoming signal!” My training took over. Calm down! I addressed the computer. “OK, Max, switch the decoders on.”
The computer responded. “Incoming signal is video. Recording. Should I display it Sam?”
Randy had joined me and we both faced a large screen. “Go ahead Max.”
We both gasped as an ariel shot of New York appeared, the viewpoint zooming around the Freedom Tower, sunlight reflecting brightly off its endless windows, before flying along the Brooklyn Bridge and up over one of its towers.
Wow!” we both exclaimed in unison.
Now over St. Louis, it skimmed beneath the Gateway Arch before heading over sweeping plains with huge herds of cattle, then we were flying over snowcapped mountains, finally zooming into and along the Grand Canyon. Suddenly it stopped near a group of hikers. A girl pointed towards us, her face a picture of curiosity, and their smiles vanished. She took a few paces towards us before the viewpoint took off again, soaring into the sky. Then it headed rapidly outwards and the canyon receded into the distance below, finally becoming a tiny speck. The blackness of space began to encroach on the brilliant blue northern hemisphere and the screen went blank.
We stood speechless, in awe of what we had just witnessed.
Finally I said, “Max, play it again.”
There was a silence, then the computer spoke. “I’m sorry Sam, the video could not be saved.”
We looked out of the window again for a while. Nothing moved. Finally, with the heaviest of hearts, I realised the show was over.
“Looks like someone’s looking out for us,” said Randy, eventually.

“Someone … or some thing,” I replied.





Don’t forget to check out some of the other stories on my blog. There are over 150! 
 –

If you are interested in joining a fortnightly 300 word story group please contact me and I’ll send details.

Also, I’m very pleased to announce that ‘the best of my blog,’ To Cut a Short Story Short: 111 Little Stories, and a short story, Bound in Morocco, are now both available as paperbacks and Kindle eBooks. Please see Shop in the menu above for full details.

Statue at Liberty

anumbis with sythe

(700 words)

“America comes first though, right?” said the president.
Aides Don Daley and Victor ‘Day-Glo’ Rigby exchanged nervous glances.
The president stood, facing a statue. A voice came into their minds, deep, educated. ‘No, we come first, then America.’
The president stuttered. “Oh, yes … of course … I meant, er.”
Slits in the green eyes widened imperceptibly. ‘You will first do our bidding, then the bidding of your people. You will cut spending on your Environmental Protection Agency climate change program. Drastically!’
The president had sat in the oval office, finally, and incredibly alone. The inauguration procedure, with its endless speeches and razzamatazz, was over. Photographs of every permutation of his family had been taken. Finally, Day-Glo had ushered everyone out. “Come on folks, I think Mr. President needs some time to himself!” Before leaving, he’d turned. “Mr. President, there’s an urgent letter for you from Obama in your desk.”
In the unaccustomed silence, the president wiped his face with a handkerchief and looked in a cabinet. Thank God! Several bottles and glasses stood inside. He poured himself a generous measure of whisky and added several cubes of ice from a refrigerated compartment. He took a gulp and felt his brain reel from the alcohol. Better have a look at this goddamn letter!
‘Greetings Mr. President, firstly there’s something you must know. Take the lift at 9 p.m. tonight. Press six and nine simultaneously for five seconds ….’ The president’s jaw dropped. The letter continued with the usual congratulatory material. It signed off, ‘Good luck, you will need it! Barack.’
He’d taken the lift as instructed to find himself descending below the lowest level for what seemed an age. Finally the door opened onto a corridor where Daley and Day-Glo were waiting.
“What’s going on? What’s this about?”
“You’ll see sir. Don’t worry.”
They proceeded into a large chamber, illuminated by numerous candles around the walls. In the middle of the room was a statue of a seated Egyptian figure. It had the head of a jackal. Daley and Day-Glo stood on either side of him. The president felt annoyed. What the hell was going on? Suddenly a voice came into his mind, making him jump.
‘Greetings. You have been elected president, and like every president before you we extend our congratulations.’
The statue’s eyelids slid upwards, revealing green, snake-like eyes. The president started, then felt Daley’s reassuring hand on his shoulder.
“Who are you? What’s this about?”
‘We came to this planet many millennia ago to aid your development. It was we who constructed the pyramids. Because of our … appearance … we are currently hidden, but we continue to direct your affairs. In return you co-operate with us.’
“Aid our development?! What about all the millions of people killed in wars!”
‘The fate of individuals is not our concern. War leads to innovation, innovation requires power, power produces heat, and heat … warms the planet.’
“What?! What’s that to you?”
‘Our … people … abhor the cold. When the mean planetary temperature has increased another five degrees, then they will come en masse, and we can reveal ourselves.’
The president’s mind boggled. So the rumours were true. Lizards, or something similar, really had been pulling the strings! Goddammit. As if he hadn’t got enough on his plate already! “Look, we appreciate your help, sorry I don’t know your name, but there’s a lot of people not happy with global warming!” What the hell could these creatures do about it anyway, if they were hidden away in statues and the like?
“My name is Anubis!”
Daley and Day-Glo looked alarmed. Day-Glo spoke hurriedly, “Mr. President, er, it’s best you agree sir!”
The president felt emboldened. No, he was in charge goddamn it! “So it’s, er, nice to meet you, Mr, er, Anubis, but I can’t agree to this.”
The aides gasped.
Slowly, ponderously, the figure rose, rocking it’s canine head from side to side. Now standing eight feet tall, it stretched its arms out and opened its hands to reveal a slender thumb, two fingers and three long, sharp claws.

The president gulped. “Of course, on second thoughts, er, you know best. Sure, I’ll cut the program. No problem!”





Don’t forget to check out some of the other stories on my blog. There are over 150! 
 –

If you are interested in joining a fortnightly 300 word story group please contact me and I’ll send details.

Also, I’m very pleased to announce that ‘the best of my blog,’ To Cut a Short Story Short: 111 Little Stories, and a short story, Bound in Morocco, are now both available as paperbacks and Kindle eBooks. Please see Shop in the menu above for full details.

If Only They Could Speak

ginger-cat-650545
(650 words)
“Rudyard, here Rudyard!”
Rudyard’s ginger face appeared in the doorway. He hesitated, seeing a stranger in the room.
“Here kitty, good kitty!” called William Wilde, professor William Wilde as he now was.
Gingerly, Rudyard came into the study, studiously ignoring Willy and jumped onto my lap, purring. His huge yellow eyes looked up at me quizzically.
William, or Willy as he now preferred to be called, was an old school chum. The one who’d worn thick lenses in a huge black frame and was always found studying in a corner of the school library. He’d been the butt of our childish cruelty. ‘Four eyes,’ ‘Willy Wanker,’ or just ‘Willy the creep.’ He’d had the last laugh though, graduating in Physics with first class honours at Oxford. Then, five years ago there’d been a school reunion. Willy had turned up with his wife, a glamorous ex-model, now the mother of five kids. Respect!
Old insults forgotten, bygones become bygones, we’d kept in touch. Then had come a phone call two days ago. Willy, sounding breathless, telling me he’d discovered something amazing. Something unbelievable. Something so incredible it was going to change the world!
“Is that all?” I’d said, laughing.
“Stephen, do you have any animals?”
“Yes, I’ve got a cat, why?”
“Let me come and see it, you’ll see why,” he said enigmatically.
So he’d arrived, armed with two suitcases full of electrical equipment. Two MacBook computers now sat on my desk, amongst a tangle of cables connecting strange pieces of equipment. One computer screen showed several analog meters, the other had rows of scrolling numbers.
“What on Earth is it?” I’d asked.
“Translation software and voice synthesisers,” Willy smiled, “you’ll see.”
Now he produced a cage and opened the lid. “Put Rudyard in here please.”
The big yellow eyes looked up at me with reproach as I did so. The cage was narrow and Rudyard couldn’t turn. He looked anxious, his ears folding back, but with me close by he co-operated, no doubt recalling occasional trips to the vets, loathed but tolerated.
Willy reached in and, his hands now protected with gloves, fitted some kind of electrical device over Rudyard’s head. Rudyard began to miaow in protest.
“Now, watch this!” Willy flicked a switch and Rudyard sat bolt upright, looking from Willy to me and from me to Willy. The screens were going crazy, needles moving backwards and forwards in the on-screen meters, and the rows of numbers scrolling down in free fall.
Then something came over a loudspeaker, a synthesised voice, reminiscent of Stephen Hawking. “What … what … is … happening?” The ‘voice’ of Rudyard!
“That’s just amazing!” I said.
Willy beamed. “I told you it was incredible!”
Rudyard turned his head towards me. “Let … me … out.”
“Just a few minutes more Rudyard,” said Willy, “then we’ll let you out. Now, I’d like to ask you some questions.”
Rudyard sat attentively.
“What is your name?”
The synthesised voice spoke slowly. “Rudd Yaaard.”
“Very good, and what animal are you?”
“You … call … me … cat.” He bent down to lick a paw.
“This is incredible!” I said, scarcely able to believe that my beloved cat was communicating with us. “Rudyard,” I said. “Are you happy here? I mean, in this house. Is there anything you want?”
The big yellow eyes blinked. “Fooood.”
“I mean, like a bigger basket?”
“Fooood.”
“Oh, I see, you’d like some food, is that right?” Willy and I exchanged glances.
“Fooood.”
“OK, I’ll get you some food in a minute. Now, what are your thoughts on … er …” I tried to think of something, “um, other cats?”
Silence.
“Er, vacuum cleaners?”
Silence.
“World peace?”
Silence. Well that was a tough one.
“Well, perhaps that’s enough for one day,” said Willy resignedly. “Rudyard, is there anything you’d like to say before I take the headset off?”

Rudyard’s big yellow eyes looked up and blinked twice. “Fooood. Want fooood.”



Don’t forget to check out some of the other stories on my blog. There are over 150! 
 –

If you are interested in joining a fortnightly 300 word story group please contact me and I’ll send details.

Also, I’m very pleased to announce that ‘the best of my blog,’ To Cut a Short Story Short: 111 Little Stories, and a short story, Bound in Morocco, are now both available as paperbacks and Kindle eBooks. Please see Shop in the menu above for full details.

To Cut a Short Story Short – The Book!

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I’m very pleased and excited to announce that the ‘best of my blog,’ in the form of 111 stories, has just been published on Amazon in paperback as To Cut a Short Story Short: 111 Little Stories.

All the stories have been rechecked, and revised where applicable, and the book has over 250 pages. It also includes a 4000 word ‘bonus story,’ a ‘horror comedy,’ which will NOT be appearing on my blog. It is priced at just £8.99/$10.99.

A Kindle eBook version is also available at only £3.69/$3.99 and features a clickable contents list for quick access to any story.

In both versions the word count for each story is given in the contents table for ease of selection.

Description:

A young magician in a pub opens his hands to release a cloud of tropical butterflies; a female bookseller is forced to attend a dance in drag to atone for a misdemeanor; a lonely man searches for a mysterious woman on a cruise; four school friends experience terror on a caravan holiday, and a macabre stranger wanders the streets at midnight, stealing dreams.

Ranging from just 100 up to 4000 words, these and 106 other memorable little stories are found in this eclectic and tantalizing collection by Simon J. Wood.

To Cut a Short Story Short preview

[2nd Sep 2017] Also, I’m excited to announce that a talented voice actor/narrator, Angus Freathy, is producing the above book of short stories as an audiobook! It will be available on Audible, Amazon and iTunes by mid-November, just in time for Christmas! His ‘voices’ really bring the stories to life!

Angus Freathy audiobooks/samples

Angus Freathy bio/samples

Bound in Morocco

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The longest story on my blog (which is not included in the collection above) has recently been published separately in paperback and Kindle eBook. Entitled Bound in Morocco, it has 42 pages in the print version. It is priced at just £4.69/$5.99 for the paperback and only £1.99/$2.99 for the Kindle eBook.

Description:

Marcus Slater decides to forgo the cold, wet, wintry weather of England to join a walking party in the sunny climes of Morocco. There, against a backdrop of the curious, ancient towns of southern Morocco he meets the enigmatic Sylvia and finds himself embroiled in a game he cannot possibly afford to lose.

Bound in Morocco preview

Both books have wonderful covers and the paper quality is lovely. Highly recommended, and they make the perfect gift too! 🙂

Both books are available in paperback and Kindle eBook form on Amazon, worldwide.

Heartless Desires

robot sex
(600 words)
“June, could you iron this shirt for me please darling?” called Jim, holding up a pale lemon-coloured shirt with white stripes.
His wife appeared with a sheaf of papers in one hand. “No, I’m busy, can’t you get your ‘floozy’ to do it? It’s her job isn’t it?”
“Yes, but she’s at work, doing overtime.”
“Why?”
“I’m not sure, she’s getting £5 an hour so she only has to do twenty two hours to pay for her rental for the week.”
“Twenty two hours?”
“Yes, don’t forget she gets to keep 10% – thanks to the government caving in to that damned Humanoid Rights Act!”
“Look, you know I’m not happy with Melissa. I understand that since my accident, well you have … urges, but it doesn’t seem right.”
“The technology’s available so why shouldn’t I use it?”
“Well, you could consider my feelings for a start!”
“Well, don’t think about her if it makes you unhappy.”
“That’s a bit bloody difficult when she’s wandering around the house! Anyway, why do you need a shirt ironed? It’s Sunday”
“Oh, Old Man Warburton just called an emergency meeting. The yellowmen aren’t happy.”
“Well YOU iron the goddamn shirt then!”
“OK, OK. Where’s the ironing board?”
June shrugged. “How should I know?”
Just then they heard the sound of the front door opening and a beautiful young woman with oriental features and long black hair came into the room.
Jim spoke. “Oh, thank goodness you’re back. Can you iron this shirt please Melissa?”
“Yes, Jim, but I have something to tell you.”
“Look, I’m in a hurry. What?”
“Well, we don’t have emotions, we don’t really understand what they are, except they make humans act … funny. But there’s a boy at the office, another…humanoid. Well, he, Willie he’s called, and I, well we…understand… each other. I can’t describe it to you, a human, but we want to be together.”
“Good God, are you serious? No, a thousand times no! D’you think I’ve been paying £100 a week just to let you run off with another goddamn ‘robot’? Where would you go anyway? Disneyland?”
“No, Thailand. We’ve booked flights for tonight. The climate will be good for our … mechanisms, and Willie knows a restaurant owner who will employ us as waiters. And we get to keep ALL our wages.”
Was there a trace of a smile or did he imagine it? “So how will you pay for the flights? With shirt buttons?!”
“We’ve both been saving our ten percents.”
Pfft, look Melissa, I’m sorry but I’m calling the company, they’ll put a stop to this nonsense right now.”
She reached out a slender, perfectly manicured hand for the shirt. “Sorry Jim, I’ve okayed it with them. They’re sending you a replacement…”
“How did the meeting go,” asked June, the following morning.
“Oh, Warburton’s paying off 90% of the yellowmen, replacing them with robots.”
The doorbell sounded. June went to answer.
In marched someone of indeterminate sex, large and dumpy-looking. The voice was medium-pitched with an odd, grating quality. “Hello, my name is Kim and I am the replacement for Melissa.”
Jim looked aghast. “Good God, I was expecting another combined service and pleasure model!”
“Sorry sir, all available robots have been seconded by the Warburton corporation. However, I am sure I can learn to give you pleasure, if you would instruct me.”
Jesus Christ! No, no, that’s OK, look, I know a nice little office you can work in. £5 an hour and I’ll even let you keep 15%! How would an 80 hour week suit you?…”



Don’t forget to check out some of the other stories on my blog. There are over 130! 
 –

If you are interested in joining a fortnightly 300 word story group please contact me and I’ll send details.

Taylor Maid

sex-robot-10-19-15-1

(600 words)

“Imitated by many, matched by none!” Professor Norman King exclaimed, proudly gesturing to an image of a young woman on a screen behind him. “Bonita!“
There was a round of applause and knowing smiles were exchanged among the audience.
The professor stood at a lectern. He was tall, slim, tanned and had neat grey hair. He wore silver-rimmed glasses. To his right a sheet covered a figure, about five feet high.
“Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, what you’ve all been waiting for. Incidentally, we decided against Bonita mark 2.”
Polite laughter.
“So please meet… Fleur!” He pulled the sheet back and there was a gasp of astonishment. There stood a beautiful young woman of about 25 in a sleek red dress. She smiled and the professor passed her a microphone.
”Hello Ladies and Gentleman.” She spoke with a soft musical voice. “It is lovely to meet you. I am pleased to be the new flagship ‘companion’ of NJK Robotics Inc. I have been equipped with the very latest in artificial intelligence, hundreds of nano-servos for realistic motion and facial expression, and a new and unique, er, ‘internal manipulation’ device.” She laughed a mellifluous laugh.
There was a huge round of applause, then the professor continued with technical information – lifting ability, charging times and options such as skin and hair colour, breast size etc. Finally, he discussed typical jobs the robot could do – washing up, cleaning, ironing and, of course, the ‘pleasure’ functions.
“Now, before I take questions, the all important one. How much does she cost? Well the fantastic news is that the price simply consists of a negotiable deposit and a rental starting from just £100 a week – terms and conditions apply – and she is fully upgradeable, included in the rental. A catalogue is available with full specifications, but now, are there any further questions?”
“What are the main differences between Bonita and Fleur?” asked a scientific correspondent type, wearing huge black-framed glasses below a halo of wild blond hair.
“Well, primarily improved skin quality, movement and intelligence. She has improved learning capabilities too and some test models have learnt to drive and, indeed, passed the driving test on their first attempt!”
An excited murmur went around the hall.
“Can she be employed in a salaried capacity by a third party?” asked the same journalist.
“Yes, we are negotiating with the department of employment. She’ll have to be registered for tax and national – humanoid – insurance, then she’ll be eligible to undertake suitable paid employment on your behalf. You’d be entitled to keep 90% of all income, the remainder will go into an account for her personal use.”
“Blimey!” exclaimed a huge man in a patterned smock and leggings so wide they looked like pillars.
The audience laughed.
A middle-aged lady asked shyly, “is there going to be a male version?”
The professor smiled. “Yes, the first prototype is being tested as we speak. We hope to release ‘Kenny’ within six months.”
The woman spoke again. “Will he be customisable, er, down there.” She blushed furiously.
“Yes, I think you’ll find Kenny an, um, impressive companion, the professor said to general laughter. Several other women hurriedly raised their hands but the professor gestured for them to wait. “I wonder, could I just get a feel for how many might be interested in a Fleur or a Kenny? Please raise your hands.”
About three quarters of the audience did so.
“Ah, I should just add that we are also working on ‘Taylor’, a model with both male AND female, er, ‘characteristics’.”

Discretely, the remaining hands crept up…



Don’t forget to check out some of the other stories on my blog. There are over 120! 
 –

If you are interested in joining a fortnightly 300 word story group please contact me and I’ll send details.

Contents – To Cut a Short Story Short – 20th Mar 2017

Here the stories are listed according to the categories in the menu, namely 100 word stories, 200 word stories, 300-600 word stories, longer stories, TASWG, excerpts and blog (links open in new window/tab).lilnks open in nw 

stone horse

100 Word Stories

1

Don’t Mind the Police!

30th Nov 2015

2

Dream of a Stone Horse

30th Apr 2016

3

Dumb

31st Dec 2015

4

Femme Fatal

31st Jan 2016

5

Life on Mars

31st Oct 2015

6

Speechless

31st Mar 2016

7

The Final Mystery

31st Oct 2015

8

The Majorette

Sep 30th 2015

9

The Suspect

30th Nov 2015

10

What the Devil?

29th Feb 2016

11

Yesterday’s News

30th Sep 2015

If you are interested in joining a fortnightly 300 word story group please contact me and I’ll send details.

John Hancock Center's Tilt

200 Word Stories

1

A Controlling Interest

10th Jul 2016

2

A Dartmoor Childhood

15th Nov 2015

3

A Design for Death

3rd Apr 2016

4

A Friend in Need

24th Jan 2016

5

A Night on the Clown

17th Apr 2016

6

A Personal Experience

18th Oct 2015

7

Ad Pacem

24th Jan 2016

8

Addressing Impatience

22nd Sep 2016 

9

Adrenaline Junkie

26th Jun 2016

10

All Change

24th Jul 2016

11

Amid the Winter’s Snow

29th Sep 2016 

12

Another Splash

15th May 2016

13

Bouncers!

6th Mar 2016

14

Chivvers’ Foibles

29th Aug 2016

15

Cilice Sod

7th Aug 2016

16

Cocksure

12th Jun 2016

17

Death of a Dear Friend

24th Jul 2016

18

Double Trouble

20th Mar 2016

19

Duck Surprise

21st Feb 2016

20

Encounter on London Bridge

18th Oct 2015

21

Fox Meat in Aspic

13th Dec 2015

22

Hen Morning

1st Oct 2016 

23

Hopes and Arrows

17th Apr 2016

24

If Two Witches Were Watching…

10th Sep 2016

25

Incident at Clibbon’s Farm

24th Jul 2016

26

Legless in the Park

15th May 2016

27

Little Pricks in the Night

18th Sep 2016

28

Lobar Limbo

13th Dec 2015

29

Marley’s Spirit

6th Sep 2016

30

Mementoes

7th Aug 2016

31

Mind Your Subconscious!

27th Dec 2015

32

Mirror Man

12th Jun 2016

33

Miss Chan Takes a Trip

27th Dec 2015

34

Mysterious Ways

3rd Apr 2016

35

Nibiru

29th Nov 2015

36

Orwyn’s Ring

7th Feb 2016

37

Peer’s of Wigan

29th Nov 2015

38

Play with Emotions

27th Dec 2015

39

Rest Room

1st Nov 2015

40

Reunited

15th Nov 2015

41

Seeing What Isn’t There

26th Aug 2016

42

Sheldon’s Secret

21st Feb 2016

43

Si Vicium In Petasus

1st May 2016

44

Take A Long Holiday..

10th Jan 2016

45

The 100th Story

24th Sep 2016 

46

The Blob from Outer Space

7th Feb 2016

47

The Coffee Break

6th Mar 2016

48

The Girl from the Labyrinth

10th Jul 2016

49

The Neighbour

15th Nov 2015

50

The Other Woman

26th Jun 2016

51

The Real Doctor Lamont

1st Nov 2015

52

The Saltby St. Mary’s Murders

1st May 2016

53

The Scrying Game

29th May 2016

54

The Story of a Bullet

10th Jan 2016

55

The War and Starvation Diet

20th Mar 2016

56

Tiger Tiger

29th Nov 2015

57

Titus

29th May 2016

58

Where is Your Mind?

10th Jan 2016

boy-girl-holding-hands

300 – 600 Word Stories

title

‘publication’ date

no. of words

1

A Flick of the Knife – A Halloween Story

30th Oct 2016

600

2

A Labour of Magick

13th Feb 2017

600

3

A Saucerful of Bullshit

27th Oct 2016

400

4

Amid the Winter’s Snow – 500 word version

7th Nov 2016

500

5

Blind Panic

15th Mar 2017

600

6

Clarissa’s Missives

8th Feb 2017

600

7

Copperwood

27th Feb 2016

500

8

Erection and Resurrection

10th Nov 2016

600

9

Falling for the Boss

25th Mar 2017

500

10

Flip Side

3rd Feb 2017

600

11

Heartless Desires

14th Apr 2017

600

12

Here Comes the Sun

7th Dec 2016

500

13

If Two Witches Were Watching – 400 word version

9th Apr 2017

400

14

Inventions Я Us

1st Sep 2016

300

15

Killer on the Road

20th Dec 2016

500

16

Lucifer’s Kitchen

29th Jul 2016 

500

17

Luck of the Devil

12th Nov 2016

500

18

Medium Rare

20th Oct 2016 

300

19

New Year’s Eve Ritual

19th Jan 2017

500

20

Playing God

16th Oct 2016

300

21

Saint Teresa of Woking – 600 word version

1st Feb 2016

600

22

Scene in a Lincolnshire Churchyard

10th Mar 2017

500

23

Steal a Little Dream

3rd Nov 2016

500

24

Taylor Maid

30th Mar 2017

600

25

Teeth Can Wait

25th Mar 2016

500

26

Tetford, No Ordinary Village

27th Jun 2016

500

27

The Black Swan

29th Oct 2015

590

28

The Downfall of British Journalism

28th Feb 2016

500

29

The Fabled Fox

24th Jan 2017

400

30

The Hollow Santa

25th Dec 2016

500

31

Tiny Demons

3rd Dec 2016

600

island-menschen-vor-dem-dettifoss-20080807_133623

Longer Stories

title

publication’ date

no. of words

1

A Merry Dance

29th Dec 2016

1000

2

Black Swan, Green Lizard

15th Dec 2016

700

3

Bound in Morocco: Part 1 – ‘Welcome to Marrakech!’

17th Jan 2016

7224

Bound in Morocco: Part 2 – Blue Painted Rocks

17th Jan 2016

 

Bound in Morocco: Part 3 – 50 Jour a Tombouctou

17th Jan 2016

 

Bound in Morocco: Part 4 – Ibrahim

17th Jan 2016

 

Bound in Morocco: Part 5 – Nimzowitsch-Larsen Attack

17th Jan 2016

 

4

Don’t Know What to Write?

23rd Feb 2017

800

5

Elf Service

14th Jan 2017

700

6

Fibonacci ‘n’ Chardonnay

11th Dec 2016

700

7

Full Fathom Five

5th Mar 2017

1300

8

Gone Fishing

29th Jan 2017

700

9

Ringing the Changes

1st Mar 2016

1750

10

Saint Teresa of Woking

22nd Aug 2016

1167

11

The Rump of Midas

9th Jan 2017

700

12

Voices from the Ether

11th Dec 2015

1000

13

Zip It!

4th Jan 2017

900

nuns-having-fun-12

TASWG (Tetford and Salmonby Writers’ Group)

1

Are You Being Served?

10th Apr 2016  – TASWG

1414

2

As Jehovah is My Witness – dialogue

8th May 2016  – TASWG

231

3

Biggest Brother – SF plots

12th Jun 2016  – TASWG

459

4

Get in the Habit!

12th Jun 2016  – TASWG

500

5

Legend of the Sprogge – poem

14th Feb 2016 – TASWG

216

6

Love, Let Us! – acrostic poem

14th Feb 2016  – TASWG

62

7

Mortal Gods – cover art description

14th Feb 2016  – TASWG

390

8

My Name is Ian Z McPhee

10th Apr 2016  – TASWG

627

9

Out of the Woods – story with/without clichés

13th Mar 2016  – TASWG

400

10

Stripogram Girls – potential plots

13th Mar 2016  – TASWG

604

11

Summer is Springing Up – descriptive passage

8th May 2016  – TASWG

252

12

Terrace with Tortoises – scene description

13th Mar 2016  – TASWG

321

13

The Roaring Sun – poems

12th Jun 2016  – TASWG

67

14

Walls Have Mouths

10th Apr 2016  – TASWG

782

15

Where Am I? – riddle

8th May 2016  – TASWG

91

magic_hours_by_erisiar-d9ys89n

Excerpts

1

Having a Laff (20 short extracts from published posts – humour)

18th Feb 2017

1000

2

Hibars and Lobars (20 short extracts from published posts – SF/fantasy)

30th Dec 2016

850

3

It’s Supranatural! (20 short extracts from published posts – supernatural)

4th Apr 2017 (scheduled)

1000

4

So Many Ways to Die (20 short extracts from published posts – horror)

29th Nov 2016

1000

5

Tiny Yellow Kites (20 short extracts from published posts – general)

4th Sep 2016

800

6

Violets are Violet, Letters are Read (20 short extracts from published posts – general)

6th Oct 2016

1200

dream reader picBlog

1

Onwards and Upwards

24th Aug 2016

500

2

Titillating Titles and Tantalizing Taglines.

27th Aug 2016

300

3

This Post is Dedicated to You, Dear Reader 

3rd Sep 2016

500

Flip Side

sun-crop
(600 words)

Traditional psychology can’t explain it. Well, they try to, they say it’s some kind of amnesia. I know it’s not, but they won’t listen to me. I look in the mirror and the person I see is not….me. It’s like I’ve been put in someone else’s body, not a bad one mind, and given a few sheets of A4 to learn about his history, life and work. So when Susan, my ‘wife’ comes to me and says Frank’s on the phone, I don’t have a clue who she’s on about, he wasn’t on the A4 sheets. Then she’ll get annoyed. “Look, Steven, you must go back for more tests. Stop giving them a hard time!” Mind you, she’s not bad looking though, and bedtime has been fun!
It’s no use though. I know I’m not ‘me’ if you see what I mean. Sometimes in dreams I’ll see a young woman with high cheekbones, long wavy hair, brown as chestnuts, and two kids, teenagers with tousled hair and braces on their teeth. Jake and Jenny are their names. Then there’s a dog, a black Labrador, called Rusty who likes to roll in autumn leaves and jump in the snow.
The lady, I don’t know if she’s my wife, is called Hannah. She has a laugh that reminds me of milk bottles tumbling over.
That’s who I think I am.
So I looked around and found someone, a Dr. Nightshade. He’s a ‘displaced personality specialist’. He says what I’m experiencing is not uncommon, something to do with solar flares. They can knock the ‘astral body’ out of alignment, he says. Then another personality can move in and the displaced one moves into the other body, the one just vacated. Or something like that. He calls it TPD, ‘temporal personality displacement’ on account of the fact that the astral body can travel through time as well as space. Of course, your average psychologist doesn’t believe in any of that he says, but he’s had special training, from those who ‘know’.
Anyways, he says he can fix me. He’s got a machine. Apparently he doesn’t even need to have the other person present – the ‘me’ with ‘him’ inside, if you see what I mean. He says the machine simulates the effect of a solar flare, but in reverse, so it’ll pull ‘him’ into this body and I’ll just ‘flip’ back into mine, wherever and whenever that may be. So it’ll be goodbye Susan, hello Hannah, Jake, Jenny and Rusty!
He says it’s not without risks though. Sometimes the astral body of a third person can become separated and then there’s a three way swap, or even more. He says that’s really unusual though, and he just has to run the machine a few more times until all the astral bodies are in the right people.
Well, the good Dr. Nightshade ran the machine, took my money, a load of it, and nothing happened! He says it doesn’t always work first time. To come back tomorrow. ‘Get a good night’s sleep and don’t worry,’ he says. As if!
There’s a knock on the door. Susan. She comes in but she’s changed her hair. It’s long, wavy, brown. Like chestnuts… “Hello Sweetheart,” she says, “I thought we’d go to the park. It’s a fine day. Take the kids.” She laughs. Milk bottles tumble over.
A tousle-haired girl, lean and smiley appears at her side. She doesn’t have braces on her perfect teeth. I hear the pounding feet of what sounds like a dog racing up the stairs.

“Come on dad, Rusty needs some exercise!”



Don’t forget to check out some of the other stories on my blog. There are over 100! 
 –

If you are interested in joining a fortnightly 300 word story group please contact me and I’ll send details.

Tiny Demons

Curiosity rover descending into Gale Crate on Mars.

(600 words)

“Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.” Saying this, the priest ended the service, feeling pleased with himself, and gazed up at the backdrop behind him, a huge picture of the planet Mars. He’d done his bit.
Susan Storey left the church, nerves eating at her stomach. She smiled at a row of reporters but kept going, ignoring their pleas. Keep a brave face! In just a few hour’s time, her husband, Stephen, would be taking his first foray onto the Martian surface. It would be the first interplanetary rescue mission in history and she was immensely proud.
Stephen spoke into his helmet. “Approaching the pods.”
His companion Matt steered the rover in the direction of six thimble-shaped buildings. “Look at all that shit on them!” Hard to believe they had once been white. Now they were barely distinguishable from the rolling red Martian hills behind them. Even the huge digits, numbering each pod, were indistinct.
The rover stopped and they dismounted. In the low gravity, they skipped over frozen red desert to the entrance of pod three, the power plant and communications area.
Like the NASA mandarins, Stephen had been exasperated that the mission had been re-tasked as a rescue mission, shortly before landing. The president’s say-so had been final, he reflected grudgingly.
He punched the entry code in, feeling trepidation. Ten years of NASA training had studiously avoided dealing with dead bodies.
Against all the odds, and all the naysayers, the independent space company, Mars One, had trumped NASA, to make the first manned landing on Mars. World-wide euphoria had accompanied the ‘little man’ of space exploration’s achievement. In every bar in every pub and hotel, patrons stood gawking as yellow-suited figures bounced gleefully around the Martian landscape. Behind them, a background of pods, previously dropped and assembled by robots.
One year later, with NASA’s first manned mission to Mars well on its way, a second group of six Mars One astronauts had joined the first. Then all communication with them had ceased.
“Okay. Doors opening, there’s some power. We’re taking corridor five to the power plant. Using torches…there’s some emergency lighting…temperature’s fifteen degrees…there’s air…breathable…removing helmets…”
They passed through room after room of machinery and plant. Most of it sat like useless junk, ominous in the semi-darkness, but here and there a light flashed. What the hell happened here?
Steve! There’s someone here!” Behind a mountain of storage batteries, looking like huge black beetles, yellow-suited legs showed. “I think he’s dead.”
The two men stood over the figure, which lay face down.
“It looks like Kenny. Going to turn him over.”
Jesus Christ, he’s got no face!” Sickened, Stephen gazed on what looked like grey mashed potato.
‘I’m sorry for your loss.’ A voice, high and even, sounded in their minds. Startled, they turned to see a female figure, perhaps seven feet tall, slim, with red ochre-coloured skin. She had long silver hair and huge black eyes. ‘One of your race wrote a book.’ Again the voice sounded clearly, although her face remained motionless. ‘It was called War of the Worlds.’ There followed a strange sound, perhaps a laugh, perhaps a snort of derision. ‘Your microbes defeated a supposed invasion by us!’
Stephen and Matt gazed open-mouthed. How the hell could she know that?
‘Our nano-microbes have turned the tables. Unfortunately…’
A moan came from the prostrate figure. Horrified, Stephen saw its fingers move.
He turned to the female. “What should we do?” but there was just an empty space…

Don’t forget to check out some of the other stories on my blog. There are over 100! 

 –

If you are interested in joining a fortnightly 300 word story group please contact me and I’ll send details.