History and Her Story – A. J. Kirby

5000 words General Fiction

History professor Colin Ackers and his former student Abigail expected they’d never meet again, but a chance encounter at an airport reawakens old feelings. This is a story told from the two distinct viewpoints of the two protagonists, as they are both forced to survey the wreckage of their lives after a failed relationship. It’s a story of what might have been, what nearly was, and what isn’t any more.

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I first see her as she steps confidently through the green barrier on her achingly high heels, dressed in sleek black. Something about the way she walks – somehow she’s always been above it all – makes it absolutely impossible that it could be anybody else. Even now, after all these years, she has nothing to declare but her beauty. My heart misses a beat as her name flashes through my head. She is Abigail, and she is here. The woman who’d long been nothing but a monument to an idea of something timeless and ethereal – totally opposed to the mundane everyday of my existence – is now striding click-clack across the polished tile floor, wheeling her stylish hand luggage behind her like an air hostess.

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Holding Back the Years – A. J. Kirby

3000 words General

A story about getting old, about struggling to hold on to your youthful vigour. It’s a story about growing up, too, as both of the protagonists, father Roger, and son Ringo (who’s now changed his name to Richard) come to understand they can’t run away from their duties and responsibilities for the rest of their lives. They reminisce about their lives through the frame of the pop music which shaped their early years.

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Roger smoothes his napkin into a square on his lap, exactly an inch down from his belt. Clears his throat. Says, ‘You’re looking tired, son.’ Richard flaps a dismissive paw. ‘Long story.’ His eyes won’t meet his father’s. Roger leans forward, tries to make himself unavoidable. Tries to force his son to look at him. Snaps, ‘That means you don’t want to talk about it… That means you can’t be bothered, or you think I can’t be bothered. But we’ve got an age, son. We’ve not even ordered the starters yet.’

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It’s the Way You Tell ‘Em – A. J. Kirby

5000 words General Fiction

A story about the tall tales, the white lies and the half truths we tell our children in order to protect them from an often cruel world, and about how the stories we use to pull the wool over our children’s eyes can often be just as dangerous as the truth. A single mother struggles to cope with her emotionally disturbed son Lewis, in the wake of the departure of his father. But when the travelling circus comes to town, everything changes…

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If he jumps up and down on the bottom of the bed one more time I swear I will not be accountable for my actions. Another fifteen minutes of peace and quiet, that’s all I ask; just a quarter of an hour of luxury before I have to face responsibility and real life and planning the day ahead in minute detail so that he doesn’t get bored and ask those questions again. We’re in a hotel, for goodness sake! Where else do you have the opportunity, nay right, to stay in bed past eight?

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