Language Lessons – Clive Graham
1580 words General Fiction
If a man speaks a language perfectly, why does he hide it from his wife? The answer was a lot more complicated than you might suppose.
I saw them first outside the café opposite the museum. They seemed an ordinary couple in late middle age: I wouldn’t have given them a second glance except that they were speaking in English. You rarely hear anything but German spoken here; this isn’t the Black Forest or Bavaria and we’re well away from the usual tourist routes. I don’t get much chance to use my English these days, to my regret, so I took a table just inside the open door. There might be a chance of starting a conversation with them; if not, at least I could listen for a few moments.
The Basingstoke Affair – Clive Graham
1050 words Historical fiction / Humour
In which the Scarlet Pimpernel’s right-hand-man is rescued from a dangerous encounter, and unwittingly contributes to a masterpiece of English literature.
“… so, Percy, as you ordered, I started in immediate pursuit of our old friend Citizen Chauvelin. I caught up with him at Golden Cross early in the morning where he was creating a lot of noise: the ignorant foreigner making a great fuss about booking a place on the Dover Mail for the following day. I knew my man, however, and kept him in sight and after the clerk had begun to deal with another traveller he slipped out, went to a stables nearby and quietly ordered a fly, to start at once. Fortunately I had my horse ready and when he set off, so did I.
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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Understanding – Clive Graham
1050 words Crime / General
All Mitchell wanted was for people to understand how he felt. When they didn’t, he was prepared to take drastic steps to make them…
Mitchell lay watching the daylight as it leaked slowly across the bedroom ceiling. He checked his clock again. 05.38. That meant he had just under two hours to decide. Would he go to work today, or would he call the office, talk vaguely about ‘flu or some sort of stomach upset and stay at home? His sickness absences had been infrequent and he knew he would be believed. A few words of insincere sympathy and that would be that.
Voicemail – Clive Graham
1100 word Ghost story / Humour
Just who was it that Michael spoke to on his mobile? And where was he when he really needed him?
Included in the Collection ‘The Day Death wore Boots’
Bedtime, and my nephew was conducting his usual fighting retreat, step by step, up the stairs. A favoured tactic was to pause, brow furrowed as if in thought, and then come up with a question carefully crafted to sound like an expression of real intellectual curiosity which he hoped I would feel obliged to satisfy, and so gain him an extra five minutes. You can come up with a lot of questions like that, when you’re seven. This time, we’d made it as far as the half landing.