The Limerick Code

I feel a mild disclaimer is required for this particular piece of fiction. I hope it’s clear that I’m parodying a particular genre and everything below was written with tongue firmly in cheek. Nonetheless I can’t ignore the fact that this particular genre is quite popular commercially so I reserve the right to adopt ‘Professor Peter Turnbottle’, without even a hint irony, as the hero of a novel that I may write in a shameless attempt to secure an agent and book deal in the future.

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Professor Peter Turnbottle examined the letter again. It made no more sense upon the second reading.

“Contained in this note is a warning
That a day full of peril is dawning
I advise you leave now
Or I fail to see how
You won’t draw your last breath this morning.” Continue reading The Limerick Code

To The Manor, Forlorn

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“We’re definitely lost,” Sally groaned as the path yielded yet more seemingly identical trees, “Let’s just go back.”

“We’re not lost,” argued Matt irritably, “if we keep following this path, we’ll definitely get to the Manor” Continue reading To The Manor, Forlorn

In Convenience

The vulgar chime of the shop door announced her arrival. Darren didn’t know her name. He knew that she worked in a nearby office. He knew also that she always bought a chicken and sweetcorn sandwich and a Diet Coke for lunch. And he knew she had a nice smile. He was certain about that. Continue reading In Convenience

The Deadline

Rufus could barely keep his eyes open, but unhealthy levels of caffeine and sugar were just about preventing him from falling asleep at his desk.

He took another gulp of his coffee. It was cold. Did he have time to make another?

He looked at the screen. He felt like he had been staring at the monitor for a long time now without actually writing anything. He glanced at the clock in the bottom right hand corner. Continue reading The Deadline

The Pre-Audition

Chantelle knew she had what it took to be a pop star. It was, as she explained to the young producer, indeed as she’d explained to anyone who would listen to her, a lifelong dream. Whether at nineteen years of age it was yet possible for Chantelle to have a ‘lifelong dream’ was perhaps a matter for debate, particularly given that until the age of fourteen, Chantelle had actually wanted to be a vet. When she discovered the grades she would need to achieve she conceded that ambition had always been a little fanciful. Continue reading The Pre-Audition

La Fontaine

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Pete looked incredulously at the winged serpenty-lions gushing water into the fountain. According to his online guide, they were supposed to be dragons. But the heads were definitely lions. And the bodies were snakes. What do you get when you cross a lion and a snake? Not a bloody dragon that’s for sure. He was prepared to concede that the wings were dragonesque, but the sculptor had clearly not been watching the same films as Pete when it came to fire-breathing reptiles. Continue reading La Fontaine

Alice Accepts Her Fate

“You’ve got to live life to the full,” Pete declared, through mouthfuls of chicken and leek pie, “you could get hit by a bus tomorrow and kablam! Then it’s all over before you even realise what’s happened!”

Alice knew her brother meant well, though he could have chosen a better example to support his argument. The village of Nettleton hadn’t had a bus service in over twenty years, so the odds of being hit by one seemed fairly minimal. Heavy-duty agricultural vehicles were another matter entirely… Continue reading Alice Accepts Her Fate

All Hail King Bromfell

Bromfell saw the village in the distance. It was a welcome sight. He had ridden for many hours and both he and his beloved horse, Alcris, were tired.

He patted the stallion’s neck.

“Not far now old friend,” he said, “soon we shall find respite.”

The smell of freshly harvested hops served as an extra impetus, for he yearned to quench his thirst, and the local ale had a fine reputation.

He tugged the reigns and Alcris picked up the pace. Before long they were entering the outskirts of the village.

A young man was walking by the road. Bromfell hailed him.

“Hello lad,” he said warmly, “is there an inn nearby, where I and my companion may quench our thirst?”

The youth gave Bromfell a startled look.

“Listen mate I don’t want any trouble, ” he said. Continue reading All Hail King Bromfell

Making Merry

“Ok Bazza, it’s your round!”

Barry looked at the three-quarters-full pint of warmish lager in front of him.

“I don’t really want another drink to be honest,” he replied.

“But it’s your round!” Toby remonstrated, aghast at his friend’s poor comprehension of pub etiquette.

Barry took a sip of his tepid pilsner, and felt the recriminations of his belligerent bloated belly. Continue reading Making Merry

Robbie Wants A Rocket

The familiar melody was growing louder. Robbie was excited. So often he was forced to listen to those chimes come and go, leaving him with nothing more than a bitter taste of disappointment.

“We’ve got ice-lollies in the freezer,” his mum would say.

Robbie always protested. The ice-cream van sold rocket lollies… Continue reading Robbie Wants A Rocket

The Room is Booked Until Twelve

Brian drained the last of his tea and looked desirously at the chocolate hobnobs that were, infuriatingly, just out of reach.

Geoff leaned over and grabbed one, almost as if to rub it in.

The ‘minute hand’ continued its leisurely passage towards the top of the clock where the ‘hour hand’ was waiting impatiently.

Geoff continued with point five of the agenda, reading the minutiae of the Senior Management Team’s latest thinking on productivity, all through mouthfuls of chocolatey-oaty goodness.

Brian glanced towards the anti-glare windows of the tenth floor. He could still make out the sun, shining brightly and taunting him through the grey-tinted double-glazing. He yearned to be outside, kicking a ball, throwing a Frisbee or just running around, like he never did as a child – forever a slave to his games console.

He turned his attention back to tedious Geoff and his dreary document.

The minute hand was still crawling, ever slower, towards its destination. It seemed to have stopped for a break. Had it actually gone backwards?

Brian looked at the other bored faces around him; each of them eager to escape to lunch.

All except Trisha, who was passionately scribbling down the minutes as if her life depended on it.

This always perplexed Brian – certainly this gathering was dubbed a ‘meeting’ but no-one spoke except for Geoff who read directly from a manuscript produced by his superiors. So why the need for minutes?

Geoff moved on. To item six.

Brian stirred in his seat. Item six was the last item. The minute hand was now lying on the road side, defeated, unlikely ever to reach the promised land of twelve, but it mattered not. Item six was a reminder about using swipe cards to gain entry to the building. A cursory reminder. Nothing to be dwelt upon.

Freedom beckoned. An hour in which to gorge on fast-food and peruse local retail outlets before returning to the drudgery of data-entry.

Geoff put down the paper and looked up.

“Before we conclude,” he enquired, with his usual misplaced air of authority, “is there any other business?”

Brian was half out of his seat when he heard the voice. The dreaded voice. The voice that actually had ‘other business’.

It was Trisha. It was always bloody Trisha.