John gripped the barrier. Will he jumble the words like last time? He wished he wore a clean shirt as sweat was gathering under his armpits. Oh, no! He wasn’t wearing his favourite blue dotted tie, his lucky charm. Yesterday, he spilled coffee over it as he reported the terrorist attack in Spain. Concentrate. He can do this, he has to be professional.
The train blast kept replaying in his mind. The image of those poor, poor children and his distraught sister screaming had kept him awake throughout the night. Traumatised, he clung onto the cold barrier. Lost for words.
Peacefully sitting beneath the mistletoe Reflecting on the year just passing by Feelings like a last candle burning low Thoughts as dark shadows across the sky And the mistletoe whispers in a breath of air As if an angel came and kissed me there.
Peacefully nodding under the mistletoe Floating in a warmth of hope filled dreams Bright ecstatic friends in a cheerful smiling glow Enthusiastic embraces with jokes and promises As the mistletoe rustles in a bright new year And you, my angel, will always kiss me there.
We were ten-year-olds huddled in a spinning Alice In Wonderland cup at the fairground. Martha, my sweetheart, kept our dream alive, and we created Dolly’s Amusement and Theme Park.
Just one last look. Early morning, quiet, and I feel so proud for the pleasure people get from our dream. Soon, excited children and anxious dads goaded and dared to a ride on the Hell-Coaster will arrive.
We did good, Martha had said. She is calling me.
It is time. I feel my soul discard this body as I journey free and home to the other side. Is that you, Martha?
‘It’s a message, Watson.’ He blew a cloud of hashish smoke. ‘Lord Carmichael will refuse the ransom.’ Watson spluttered. ‘Do you have to?’ ‘Oh, there’ll be no demands.’ Holmes shrugged. ‘The infusion enhances concentration; try it.’
‘Surely the kidnappers know of his Lordship’s wealth.’ ‘My dear Watson.’ He grinned. ‘Look, what do you see?’ ‘They dropped a cord.’
‘Lady Jane is an eccentric intellectual and a fanciful romantic.’ ‘Holmes! She is in mortal danger.’
‘The symbol eight; love and infinite wealth.’ Holmes smiled. ‘A Pearl of the East and a paper boat.’ He laughed. ‘Lady Jane has run off to Hong-Kong.’
I enjoyed the view from the hotel balcony; people watching. A glorious evening, and I watched lovers strolling. Hell! I rushed down the stairs two at a time. Sprinted across the promenade.‘John,’ I screamed. ‘John.’ I leapt onto the beach. ‘Debra!’ I tripped in a castle moat. The pain shot through my ankle. My mouth filled with sand, and I spat and cried. A poodle licked my ears until the owner came to help.
Three hours later, John gasped, looking at my bandages. ‘Let’s enjoy our honeymoon,’ he said and opened the Champagne.
Everyone is in hiding, that is what we are told to do. Hide. At night it is worse than ever. It’s an unseen enemy, but I can sense them; watching, waiting, wanting to invade my body. I must fight back, as I did in Korea, for my country. Well, I am watching them too; the specks of lights hovering, menacing, grouping, slowly surrounding me. Wear masks, that is what we are told. I don’t recognise myself anymore, or anyone. Who is who? I can’t stand this confinement, I need fresh air and freedom. I am going out, I’ll show them.
Literally Stories have aired my short story as one of their Sunday re-runs. I must thank them. Their site holds hundreds of worthwhile reads from a variety of writers; you may find yourself engrossed for hours. Every read is free or you may wish to contribute your own story for others to enjoy.
‘Let’s have an ice cream,’ Carolyn said, ‘and stop talking politics.’ We were here to visit her grandmother and not to solve the Middle East’s problems. Having refused my money, she sold her Breitling to pay for our flights, but I insisted on booking the best hotel. She wasn’t pleased and mumbled something about expenses.
Next morning, she disappeared for the day. Where? That evening she burst into the hotel room. ‘Get packing, we are leaving. Now!’ ‘What?’ Her clothes were dirty with a smell of gun oil; a fresh gash on her head. ‘Now!’ We dashed to the airport.
‘I have something important –’ ‘Not now,’ said Carolyn, and flashed her new Breitling watch. ‘Meet me at Le-Petite around five.’ She cycled away and tinkled her bell. ‘Still waiting,’ toned Maurice. He lifted my cup. ‘Another coffee?’ ‘No.’ I paid him and stared out the window. Carolyn’s Diamond watch niggled me.
We worked out at weekends in Bros Gym, where people ogled her glowing appeal. Lately, without an explanation, she would disappear for days. No calls. Was it my business? I dare not ask. But today! She was never late. I was going to New York. Would she come along?