Wednesday 13 July 2016

Dinner at Dark

Giddy, giddy, giddy, giddy....

Here it is, a short story by yours truly where housekeeping meets horror story. 

For the first time ever I've paid for a professional cover, provided by the amazing Melissa Alvarez at BookCovers.Us  I am so giddy about it! 

The story is available at Smashwords here, Amazon here, and will be shortly available at all good ebook retailers.  It is only a short story so I have kept the price low. 

All feedback gratefully recieved.

Sunday 15 May 2016

Domestic Demon

Here is the result of a prompt from Studio 30 and The Darkroom.  I want to be extremely clear - this is a work of fiction.  My house is always messy.  The picture of the sink also reminded me of the poem I wrote last September called Displacement, which I wrote not long after my father's funeral.  It's worth looking at the responses to these prompts from other people, you get to read some great stuff then.  

“I’m sorry, darling.” Darren smiled nervously at me.  “But it is only twice a year, and it is only from Thursday to Tuesday.”
I took a deep breath.  “Of course, I know.  Your mother and I don’t see eye to eye, but that’s okay.  She’s your mother and we both love you.  That’s why I’ve got the day off to get the house all set up for her.”
Darren winced.  “I’ll pick her up from the airport.  I’ll pick up a takeaway on my way back.”
“Absolutely not.” I said firmly.  “I’ll make a lovely casserole and that way it doesn’t matter if you are a little late.”
“Thank you, darling, I do appreciate it.” Darren gave me a quick kiss and hurried off to work.

Pamela, my mother-in-law, did only visit twice a year, the first weekend after the Christmas break and the first weekend in July.  It was some awful ritual where a demon was unleashed twice a year.  They could make a Nicholas Cage movie out of it.  As for the takeaway, I was not falling for that again.  Four years ago I had made the mistake of allowing Darren to pick up a pizza on the way back.  For the last four years I had been hearing about how a proper wife made her husband meals, no matter what the circumstances. 

I slouched into the kitchen.  I had never felt less like being a domestic goddess.  It was all so humiliating.  I was far too particular, according to my friends, and wasted far too much time cleaning.  According to Pamela, I was a slattern.  Every inch of this house would be scrutinised.  Last time I thought I had her.  There was no dust on the top of the kitchen cupboards and the walls had been washed down.  I had put brand new bedding on her bed and I had dusted behind every stick of furniture.  I had had the oven professionally cleaned and steamed the carpets.  The old witch had actually taken the drawers out of her dresser and found dust on the inside of the frame.  She had been so smug, sitting opposite me in my kitchen, eating my food which I had cooked, while Darren sat between us, twitching.

I looked around my lovely, clean kitchen.  Not only would she go over the room like a forensic detective but she would also sigh and complain that it looked too bare.  “It’s a shame you don’t have any knickknacks around,” she had said last time.  “Of course, not everyone has a flair for decorating.  Perhaps it is just as well that you haven’t tried.” She had smiled a wide, fake smile and patted my arm.  “I’ll bring you some nice things next time I come.  Then you won’t have to worry about getting it wrong.”
The old trout had great taste – for 1972!  I knew that she would have a suitcase full of cheap tat when she turned up, and that it would have to be in the same place she left it when she returned six months later – and she would know if the plastic grot had been moved an inch.  I swear the old bat had a photographic memory.

I threw together a boeuf bourguignon and put it on slow.  I’d already taken out every removable drawer in the house and cleaned behind them.  All the carpets, curtains and rugs had been steamed last week.  Not only was the bedding in her room new but so was the curtains.  I’d cleaned all the lampshades yesterday and dusted all the lightbulbs.  I sighed and started to pull out the fridge.  Then I paused. 

Why was I playing her game?  Why was I running round in circles trying to get her to like me when nothing short of a sharp blow to the head would ever make her accept the woman who stole away her baby boy?  I’d been doing it wrong for years.  If she ran out of things to check I swear she would pull up the floorboards.  Okay, if she wanted something different, she could have something different.

By the time Darren’s car pulled into the drive I was finished.  I ached with the efforts, and I had had to get a few friends to help out.  It had been entirely worth it.  I looked around as I heard Darren carefully reversing into the garage.  The kitchen was smeared with jam and I had done my best to give a greasy feel by spraying the wall with the oil spray I used in cooking.  I had found some kitchen curtains in a skip which were now drooping at the window.  I had gone to every friend and neighbour and scrounged the contents of their vacuum cleaners.  After some trial I found that a light mist of water helped the dust of a dozen homes cling to walls, sink and bath.  I had put a mouse trap at the back of her dresser, just where it would get her if she checked, and I put the contents of four dryer filters under her bed. 

The trip to the charity shop had been the most fun.  The house was awash with ‘accents’.  Our house was now a temple to the worse taste that ever landed on an Oxfam donation table.  There was plastic everywhere.  I had also got some extremely washed bedding from the charity shop and begged some curtains for Pamela’s room that they were going to send to the rag man and rubbed damp instant coffee granules along the edges for an added artistic touch.  I had had fun, and so had my friends.  Everyone had got photos.

I turned round as Darren unlocked the door.  “Darling, my mother’s plane has been delayed and she has decided not to come until the Christmas break after all…” He stopped as he walked in to the kitchen.  There was a long pause.  “Darling, would you like a drink?”

Sunday 8 May 2016

Sea God Calling

I have combined the prompts from Studio30 and The Darkroom and came up with this poem.  Do have a look at the prompt sites if you feel like getting involved in writing.  They can be very helpful.

He stood between the land and sea.
He cocked his head and beckoned me.
I shook my head, ‘You let me be.
You’ll get no power over me.’

His hair waved dark, his eyes sparked blue.
He raised his hand and the cold wind blew.
I will not bow nor bend the knee,
You’ll get no power over me

Strong he stood, the clouds hung low.
I wanted him but dare not go.
A mortal woman’s not for thee,
You’ll get no power over me.’

The waves dashed high where the sea god stood.
I bit my lip and I tasted blood.
I wanted him, ‘You let me be,
I’ll give no power over me.’

He beckoned me, I felt the call,
The sun shone warm on the sea god tall.
I whispered, ‘Do not call to me,
I daren’t give power over me.’

He strode across the warming sand
And knelt to gently kiss my hand.
Lady, at your whim I be
You have love’s power over me.’

Thursday 28 April 2016


I've dipped into another Writing Challenge from Our Write Side - have a look and perhaps have a go!  I took a lot of inspiration from the picture as well as the word.  

           Joe met Diane outside her work.  “I’ve got a great deal,” He told his wife.  “Liam down the road let me have the timber he had stacked for a really low price – half what I would pay in the store.  He told me it would be perfect for a garden shed, all drilled and ready to go.  I can’t wait to get started.”
“Good luck with that job.” Diane sighed.  She knew Joe’s love of a bargain.  He fell for the sales talk every time.  “We haven’t got a garden.”  

Tuesday 26 April 2016


I am having far too much fun writing.  Here's a response to a prompt from Thin Spiral Notebook (which has awesome stuff!)

They had to be here somewhere.  I didn’t need my glasses.  I could do all sorts of things without my glasses.  I could read the microwave settings.  I could tell the difference between shampoo and conditioner.  I could read large print and work the tv without my glasses. 
I moved the clutter on the bedstand.  I looked in my all the pockets of all my coats.  They weren’t in their case or my handbag.  They weren’t on top of the bathroom cabinet and they weren’t next to my knitting. 

I absentmindedly pushed my glasses up my nose and kept looking  

Memories in Dreams

Memories in Dreams

I am dreaming.

Down the empty, echoing corridor,
Step by ringing step,
Heels click and soles tap,
Door after door.

I stop at the first door.

Inside I can hear memories, my memories
I don’t want to know,
I don’t want to remember.
The memories tap at the door.
I hold the door shut.
I can hear the urgent whispers.
I turn the lock in the door.
I think hard about a picture of sunflowers to blot the memory out
And stumble to the next door.

I stop at the second door.

I can hear the memories, more memories.
A snatch of music and a tap, tap, tap.
I see fingers against frosted glass and I hold the door shut.
I don’t want to hear the music.
I don’t want to remember.
The door is tugged.
I hold harder against the music.
I turn the lock in the door.
I think hard about the sound water over pebbles to blot the memory out
And stagger to the next door.

I stop at the third door.

I can hear memories, many memories.
A scent of flowers and old books drifts past.
I feel the door tremble as I struggle to hold the door.
I don’t want to smell this.
I don’t want to remember.
The door shakes.
I see the handle turn as I lock the door.
I think hard about the feel of clean sheets to blot the memory out.
I slide down and crawl to the next door.

I stop at the fourth door.

I am too late.
Memories spill out.

Your smile in sunlight.

Saturday 23 April 2016

There Should be Storms

I have been inspired by the prompt from Our Write Side, and their Friday Flasher - A Small Cafe.  If you are interested in writing, do have a look.  I had quite a lot of fun.  

There should be storms, not the calm, still sky.
There should be storms, and dark castle walls.
This faded coffee shop, half empty, in the shade,
Is not the place to watch your life crash down.

I wait for you, and you are late again.
In the corner, reading a cheap magazine,
A woman droops and, trying not to yawn,
Turns the page to new adulteries.

I check my phone, there’s nothing new from you,
Just half an hour wait and waiting still.
I wonder if you know what waits here, crouching,
In this faded, shaded, tired coffee shop

Two girls behind the counter, talking low
Of boys and school and last week’s hair.
They bend the paper clip from next week’s hours
To try and free the block in the machine

They sound so young and earnest, taking care
Warning each other about the burning pipes
Promising to be there at the club
And one will lend the other their new dress

The woman yawns again and leaves the place
Out into the bright and shining mall
Past the old rabbi playing careful chess
Facetiming with his friend in Tel Aviv

The two old men talk with kindness, they are kind
And measure the words they use across the miles
What words can I use to you so close
When I stare across the table at your face.

The old rabbi taps his hearing aid and shouts
A gentle, kind goodbye across the miles.
Packs up his chess and leaves into the mall.
I am reading the left magazine

The coffee shop is shutting with the mall,
The sun is draining down the peaceful sky
There should be storms.  I text you, ‘It is over
Do not contact me again.  Goodbye.’