Came as ‘Me’, Left as ‘We’ – 21 stories to escape with
‘This Land is My Land’ and ‘Came as ‘me’, Left as ‘we’’ are ‘his and hers’ holiday reads from Alfie Dog Fiction. The collections bring together some of the best short stories from 37 authors across the globe.
‘Came as ‘me’, Left as ‘we’’ contains a mixture of women’s fiction, feel good stories and romance, while ‘This Land is My Land’ is more action and adventure driven and both contain stories to leave the reader thinking. Alfie Dog Fiction’s managing director, Rosemary Kind, says “We know from our readers that they like to stock up on reading matter for their holidays and these collections offer the perfect way to do just that.”
Both collections have a truly international feel, not only through the spread of the writers but the fascinating backdrops to the stories. Within the pages the reader will travel from diamond mining in Australia to a lone tree in an African desert, from the quintessential English seaside Pier to the jungles of Malaysia and coast to coast across America.
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Stories Included: Came as ‘Me’ and Left as ‘We’ – Caroline Scott Collins, Swept Away – Patsy Collins, Signwriting – Angela K Blackburn, Moving On – Jan Baynham, The Button Box – Tina K Burton, The End-of-the-pier Show – Derek Haycock, Marie’s Necklace – Annette Siketa, Nice – Judith Bruton, Coffee with Luna – Jeff Williams, Taking Time – Lilliana Rose, Losing the Past – Tricia Maw, Sam Something – Kate Blackadder, Celebrity Kennels – Gill McKinlay, Something to Move You – Alice Parrant, Pier into the Future – Susan Jones, The Decision – Patricia Fawcett, A Past Life – Susan Wright, Diamond Trail – Suzie Hindmarsh-Knights, Those Pesky Kids – Maggie Jones, The Embers of the Day – Rosemary J Kind, Amanda – Chris Cooke
Double Trouble – Annette Siketa
3800 word Ghost / Humour
Widower Walter wants to marry the enchanting Philippa. Unfortunately, the ghost of his bullying dead wife won’t let him.
Mr Walter Woolfield, had been a widower for twelve months. Since his wife’s death, he had worn sober clothing, accepted a seemingly endless stream of condolences, and behaved in the manner expected of the recently bereaved. Privately however, he was ecstatic. His wife, Dimity, had been a pilgrim in every respect. For years she had made her husband’s life a misery, branding him a moral and religious pariah. Whenever he had indulged in a little light reading, or had deigned to laugh, or partaken of wine, or enjoyed the plethora of pleasures that were anathema to the pious, her disapproval was palpable.
Essence of Dust – Annette Siketa
6850 words Fantasy / Romance
After rejecting a host of arranged suitors, the wizardene, Sukor, uses her powers to marry the mortal King, Gerrain. But one of the rejected suitors has other ideas, and is determined that if he can’t have her, nobody can.
To the south of the city on the edge of the Great Forest, where the roots of the trees are kissed by the waves of the sea, stand the ruins of a once imperial palace. Directly in front and either side of the crumbling entrance gate, are two weatherworn statues. Once bedecked with gold and jewels, the now naked stone is a reminder of the fickleness of fate. Some of the old ones still worship these statues, for in their hearts’, the tragedy of King Gerrain and Queen Sukor still lingers. The young ones however, regard these symbols of the past with undisguised resentment, for it was the strange, untimely, and simultaneous deaths of the royal couple that instigated the war.
Forget Me Not – Annette Siketa
2700 words Ghost / History
Flirtacious and self-absorbed, Anna wants neither marriage and children, and while there is little she can do about the first, her only recourse to prevent pregnancy, lies in the hands of a decrepit witch.
Anna Markal was the prettiest girl in the village. At every dance, fete, or fair she attended, and there were not too many in which she was absent, she would laugh and flirt coquettishly. With large brown eyes, flaxen hair, and buxom figure, she had everything a young virile suitor could want in a wife, including a modest dowry. The man who finally won her hand, was Joseph Arler, a park-ranger and woodsman employed by the government. He was over six feet tall and powerfully built, and coupled with his russet hair and a rather high brow, his appearance was somewhat ferocious. But this was far from the truth, for in spite of his intimidating physique, he was a happy, smiling, gentle giant, who only saw the good in people.
Gold – Anette Siketa
5000 words Supernatural
Tired, over-worked, and disillusioned with the world, scientist and alchemist Charles Broadside sets out to prove the existence, or otherwise, of the Philosopher’s Stone. But then a mysterious visitor shows him the darker side of wealth & power.
Being orphaned at an early age, I was left in the care of a bachelor Uncle who was a retired Admiral. Considering his former vocation, the family surname of Broadside, was often the subject of many regrettable jokes. He was a rather lively old man, with deep-set brown eyes and shaggy, over-hanging black eyebrows. His weather-beaten face and rubicund nose, were more the result of his years at sea than indulgent living, as was his hobbling gait, for he had lost his lower right leg in a battle.
Just Dial Humbug – Annette Siketa
3000 word Ghost Story
When sports writer Robert Williams is landed with the task of writing a Christmas ‘feel-good’ story, he is completely stumped. But then a chance remark summons an unusual spirit, who shows him that not all children love toys and games.
Included in the Collection ‘The Day Death wore Boots’
It was December 23rd, and I had already left the office to begin my short but well-earned Christmas break. It had been a stinking hot day, 40 degrees in the shade with hardly a breath of wind. Upon arriving home, I had showered, opened a can of beer, and was just settling in front of my computer when the phone rang. In his usual bluff manner, my editor, Miles Frobisher, announced that the paper needed a Christmas story. “3000 words will do, and make it soppy so that the readers will cry into their Christmas pud.” I did not like the sound of this. “Where’s Cathy?” Our ‘ace’ features reporter had the uncanny knack of making even the most mundane event sound like the best thing since sliced bread.
Marie’s Necklace – Annette Siketa
5200 words Historical Mystery
Teresa is neither psychic nor a thief, so why is she being haunted by a dead Queen?
This story is available in the collection Came as ‘Me’ Left as ‘We’
The audacious weekend theft made headlines around the world – ‘Priceless Marie Antoinette Necklace Stolen’. On Monday morning, the newspaper office was still buzzing when Teresa Piccolo arrived at work. Ordinarily cheerful and fresh faced, her uncharacteristic gaunt and dishevelled appearance might have been mistaken for the flu. A veteran newspaper man, Editor Harold Bartlet, was still doggedly pursuing the story, when he saw Teresa approaching his office. Her lifeless eyes and trance-like state, were enough to tell him that something was terribly wrong. He opened the door and beckoned her inside.
Mirror Image – Annette Siketa
5800 word Ghost story
After the death of their mother, Emily and Gilly are separated and fall under the auspices of two Aunts – one kind and compassionate, and the other cruel and pious. And then Emily dies…or does she?
Although born a year apart, Emily and Gilly were so extraordinarily alike, that they were often mistaken for twins. Their father, Colonel Adamson, a proud, sensible man, was officer-in-charge of a regiment in India. When his wife died of cholera, duty and propriety dictated that the girls be sent to relatives in England, and to this end, Emily, the eldest, was placed in the care of Miss Adamson, the Colonel’s sister, while Gilly was sent to Lady Lacy, her maternal aunt. The Colonel would have preferred that his daughters remain together, but neither lady was inclined to take on the responsibility of two girls. Moreover, if both had been placed with one lady, the other would have regarded it as a slight.
Mistaken Identity – Annette Siketa
2000 words Crime
A serial rapist is killed by his wife. Two detectives discuss whether it was murder, accident, or premeditated.
Detective Inspector Mark Bradshaw poured a generous amount of whiskey into two glasses and handed one to his visitor. “Thanks for coming over at such short notice Ben,” he said sitting down. “It’s good to see you again.” He sipped his drink, then lighting a well-worn pipe, began puffing with vigour.
Partners – Annette Siketa
1500 Ghost Story / Humour
An undiscovered diamond mine turns Melville into a killer. His partner’s retribution however, is priceless.
James Melville stood in the centre of the room, feet slightly apart and hands in his trouser pockets. A short, rather plain-looking man, his slender frame and narrow neck belied his strength, the same strength that moments earlier had killed his business partner, Gerald Holt. He looked at the body lying at his feet – the closed eyes, the calm features, the right arm resting peacefully on the carpet, and contemplated why the attitude conveyed sleep rather than death. He had not derived any personal pleasure from committing the murder, though he had been a little surprised that it had been easier and quicker than expected.
Seaside and Spirits – Annette Siketa
2700 word Ghost Story
What could add to a holiday by the sea? How about smugglers, ghosts, and two very inquisitive boys.
Also included in the book The Ghostly Victorians – available HERE
Due to a persistent foot injury and nagging cough, my physician advised that I should exchange, albeit temporarily, the grimy and soot-laden metropolis, for the efficacy of fresh salty air. Accordingly, I rented a house in the romantically named Smugglers Cove. It was a small but thriving fishing community, yet even after I had explained this to my two young sons, their excitement at the prospect of pirates and buried treasure, was not diminished. With adequate railway services to hand, the upheaval from city to shore was, I am happy to say, uneventful.
Sweet Revenge – Annette Siketa
5000 words Humour / General FIction
When an obnoxious monarch comes to dinner, Georgie scores a hit for equality.
Georgista Caroline Hartley Aimes, or Georgie for short, absently glanced at her watch. Her royal visitor and his entourage, plus the specially invited dinner guests – all 40 of them, were due in less than an hour. She scrutinised her appearance in the dressing table mirror. Yes, everything looked perfect, including her make-up. Thoughts of the latter brought a wry smile to her face, for on this occasion, the application of cosmetics was in reality, a blatant act of defiance. With one exception, nobody attending the magisterial extravaganza, was aware of the bizarre circumstances surrounding her rebelliousness, for which Georgie felt neither guilt nor shame.
Teacher’s Pet – Annette Siketa
2500 words Horror Story
Linda hates her English teacher so much, that she manipulates Karen into a murder, but who is the real victim?
Having just had her homework ridiculed before the entire class, Linda looked neither embarrassed nor humiliated. On the contrary, she was the antithesis of cool, yet for the remainder of the lesson, like a wild animal stalking its prey, her extraordinary green eyes never strayed from the teacher.
The Abditory – Annette Siketa
3500 Supernatural Fiction
Some ancient secrets are buried for a reason and should never, ever, be unearthed.
Also included in the book The Ghostly Victorians – available HERE
Dr David Gregory, 16 Oxbridge Lane, Ealing, London 15th April, 1883 My dearest Gregory, As you will recall, when I took my departure from you on Wednesday last, I had every intention of staying with my cousin, Lord Emmet Durlish, for a month. You will therefore be shocked to learn, that I am returning to town forthwith, and that my bronchial condition, for which your prescription of ‘respite and clean fresh air’, was the reason for my sojourn, has been superseded by…terror. Indeed, upon my return, I would be exceedingly grateful for your immediate ministration, both as a friend and as a medical practitioner.
The Day Death Wore Boots – A Collection of Ghost Stories
Find out if the miniature Western town is really a toy in the title story. Was Jed Holloway’s death really down to faulty brakes – The Haunted Rig? You want to go home from your holiday in the Costa Del Sol but is it safe – Spanish Midnight? Does it matter that you don’t believe in ghosts when the ghost believes in you – Shard?
From Pompeii to the Wild West, from Australia to the shores of the United Kingdom the spirit world may be closer than you think!
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The Demon Drink – Annette Siketa
1800 words Ghost / Humour / Historical
Devlin O’Riley was, as the saying goes, ‘Jack of all trades and master of none’. But not even his vast experience gave him the ability to fix the broken leg of a ghost.
Devlin O’Riley was, as the saying goes, ‘Jack of all trades and master of none’. Part grave-digger, part carpenter, part horse whisperer, he could fix a chair as easily as set a broken leg. To Devlin, it was simply a matter of application. Aged somewhere in his 60’s, he was well-spoken, honest and generous, which was why Squire Fallon employed him to minister to his hounds. The Squire lived in a fine old mansion, with woodlands and parks to please the most discerning of riders. It was also, according to local gossip, haunted.
The Flip Side – Annette Siketa
1100 word Historical Ghost Story
A beautiful new car, an open road, and then the accident. The car is reduced to an expensive pile of junk, so why is the driver still alive?
She was a beauty, a magnificent example of 19th century technology, sleek and black, the chrome work shining like silver. I could tell by the grin on Albert’s face that, like me, he was very proud of her. “Are you sure you can handle her, Albert?” “Oh, yes sir,” he said with supreme confidence. “Mr Taunton down at the garage, he gave me lessons last weekend. When I collected her last night, I brought her the long way home to gain more experience. She’s a little different to what you’re accustomed to though. If you’ll look sir, the gears are now on the left of the wheel instead of the right.”
The Gift of Death – Annette Siketa
3200 word Ghost Story
Everyone likes receiving an unusual gift…or do they?
England, 10 – 13th December, 1888 Sir Christopher Sutton was one of my oldest and dearest friends, but unfortunately, with the exception of exchanging letters, circumstances had kept us apart for over six months. Consequently, it was with considerable delight that I accepted his invitation to an intimate house-party in early December, for what he termed, ‘a pre-Christmas banquet’. The reasons for the unusual yuletide indulgence were simple and sad. London, where Sutton and his wife Mary lived for most of the year, was in the grip of a sadistic killer dubbed, Jack the Ripper. Indeed, only a few days before the invitation arrived, the mutilated body of Mary Kelly had been found.
The Grey Lady – Annette Siketa
2000 words Historical Ghost Story
Who is the sad, melancholy ghost, and why won’t she leave the house?
I am an old lady now, and although I may be enfeebled, there is nothing wrong with my mind or my wits, except on those days when rheumatism intervenes. They say that with wisdom comes age, but that’s just hooey. What it really means, is that you’ve gathered a lot of facts and information that is of no use to anyone. I do have one story you might be interested in though. It started in the winter of 1854. My family, which consisted of my mother, my sisters, my brother, and myself, were living in a rented house in a quiet village on the south coast of Ireland.
The I’s Have It – Annette Siketa
FREE 8300 word Crime / Mystery Story
This story is FREE, if you enjoy it then why not join Mrs Harris for further adventures in Double Take – a cosy crime novel by Annette Siketa
An ingenious trap is set to catch a serial killer
Deep within the bowels of the Rockford police station, Detective Inspector John Simmonds, tossed the morning paper onto his desk. “I will never understand it,” he admitted to his latest subordinate, Detective Constable Mike Furrow. “The more gruesome and outlandish the murder, the more the public lap it up, and the media aren’t helping.” He pointed to the newspaper. “Look at those headlines. ‘Is society safe? What are the police doing?’ It’s difficult enough to catch a serial killer, without the public’s paranoia being fed.” He peered into his luke-warm cup of tea and shook his head. “The Rockford Ripper indeed. Are they living vicariously, or is it simply morbid fascination?” The recently promoted Detective Furrow, did not offer a response, nor did he seek elaboration as to who ‘they’ were. This was only his third day of duty at Rockford, and he had already learned that Inspector Simmonds, had a habit of posing rhetorical questions.
The White Wolf – Annette Siketa
5000 words Ghost / Historical Fiction
Based on an early 19th century German legend, three children try everything to please their new step-mother, and then one-by-one, the children die. (Warning: contains horror.)
My name is Helmut Vogel, and I want to tell you a story. It is not a pretty tale, nor is it easy to tell, but I swear to you, with one exception which was born out of necessity, every word is true. My father was an assistant game keeper on a large estate. With 300 acres of sprawling woodlands to patrol, keeping track of the deer, wild pigs, and other large animals, not to mention catching poachers in the act, was an exhausting job. He met my mother at a county fair, and after marriage, had three children in quick succession.