‘E’ Wing – Martin Gosling
2600 words Horror / General / Fantasy
Brogan is beginning a six year sentence for the manslaughter of a prison officer. He is unrepentant and is temporarily lodged in the derelict former execution wing of the prison where he is held. A battle of wills and wits ensues. He suspects that he is being subjected to an elaborate treatment programme designed to shock him into remorse and rehabilitation. But all is not as it seems.
‘Killing Senior Officer Stewart was murder, plain and simple. And we both know, Brogan, that you should have been given Life.’ Brogan glared his defiance at the Governor and sensed the unease of the younger of the two prison officers who had brought him from his cell. He almost spat his reply. ‘The point is that they chose to call it Manslaughter and six years is what I got.’
Broken Journey – Martin Gosling
4700 word General Fiction / Humour
Peter Hosker uses a solitary hike through East Anglia to leave behind his troubled personal life. He breaks his journey at a small hamlet and pitches his tent in an orchard. Later an unlooked for incident in a village pub has repercussions that compel him to revise his plans.
Avoiding the village of Croton, Peter Hosker crossed the main road and struck out on a rough compass bearing for Monks Brayleigh, some seven miles distant. A deep, grassy lane ran in more or less the right direction and he soon found the rhythm of walking that best suited the weight of his pack and the emotional ache in his chest. For two days he had trudged deeper into the heart of rural Suffolk, having previously taken a train to Manningtree and then walked across the bridges that spanned the River Stour which marked the county boundary.
Checkmate – Martin Gosling
1400 words General Fiction
Mary keeps house for her brother Simon, a bachelor and busy rural GP.
This had initially worked well but with time passing Simon has become autocratic and selfish. Arrangements for his monthly gathering of chess playing friends provides the catalyst for a confrontation between brother and sister – a flash-point made poignant by the presence of Simon’s new acquaintance, a chess playing consultant surgeon…
Mary put down the breakfast tray and handed a clutch of letters to her brother before pouring his coffee. He looked up as she turned away. ‘What’s that other one, a bill?’ ‘No, Simon. It’s a ticket for the concert next week at the Corn Hall. I promised I’d go with old Mrs Plumer.’ He held out his hand and she obediently passed him the envelope. His glasses were on the end of his nose and he frowned as though he were dealing with a particularly tiresome patient. He leaned back in his chair and pushed the ticket to one side.
Major Rattlesbury’s Day – Martin Gosling
6300 words General Fiction
An arrogant Master of Foxhounds seduces the wife of a hunt servant and is made to pay a heavy price. The story looks sharply at this clash of personalities set against a background of foxhunting and the English countryside.
It was dusk when Major Vernon Rattlesbury at last sat alone in his study, musing over the long day’s sport, while upstairs Cully prepared his bath. Mud-spattered boots lay in a corner of the room and he rested his stockinged feet on the arm of a heavy oak chair. From this position he could reach the fireplace with a poker and he stabbed the glowing logs into a respectable blaze.
Margaret – Martin Gosling
1900 words Crime Story
An embittered former Army officer sets out to kill his cousin who, he believes, was responsible for the failure of his pursuit of the woman he had loved.
Charcoal clouds that had loomed all afternoon now broke near the horizon and steamed crimson across the setting sun. The tall man patted the pocket of his tweed jacket into which he had earlier placed four shotgun cartridges. Away to his left, beyond the oak-studded park, the Grange seemed to blaze as each window reflected the orange disk of the sun. In the tower above the stable, a clock struck seven, the cracked bell giving its familiar dull, anvil ring.
Neglect of Duty – Martin Gosling
2200 words Crime / General Fiction
North London in the 1960s. A mounted policeman, ‘Lofty’ Beamish, heads home to his stable at the end of a routine patrol. As dusk and rain set in, he interrogates an odd looking man who is behaving suspiciously. The box he carries contains items that will later point to his involvement in a gruesome crime. But Beamish has let him go…
Events reach a violent climax in the police stables some hours later when Beamish is alone with the horses and a rain-drenched figure appears at the door.
A curious incident occurred in North London in the early 1960s. The outcome of the matter depended entirely on a seemingly innocuous decision made under conditions of mild duress. A mounted policeman was nearing the end of his patrol one late November afternoon. A heavy, grey sky sagged towards the dismal streets. It was almost dusk and both he and his horse were anticipating, with some relish, returning to the stables where their tea awaited them. Knowing the area well, as one would expect, P.C. Beamish – walked his horse, Duchess, through a network of side streets and alleys that ran between Chapel Market and the Caledonian Road.
Nothing But the Truth – Martin Gosling
740 words General Fiction
A woman is nervously awaiting her first appearance in court. However, proceedings may not be all that they seem…
The courthouse corridor was bustling with worried looking people – defendants, witnesses, probation officers and police. Petra pushed her way to the notice board and peered hard at the list of cases in number two court. ‘Miss P. Cummins; charge:- Stealing two credit cards; contrary to the Theft Act. Anxiety rose again in her throat and she jumped as a hand rested on her shoulder.
Overture – Martin Gosling
940 words Romance
A nurse tries to help her elderly father replace a precious record that he has broken. Her search leads to more than she could have imagined…
Maggie nodded her thanks to the girl behind the music counter and pushed her way through the bead curtain. The room was lined with shelves of old records, each section marked with the name of the artist; all long dead and half forgotten. Not unlike the archives at the General Hospital, she mused. On a bench at the far end of the room were two old wind-up gramophones, partly dismantled. She looked again at the note her father had written in his slow, spidery handwriting.
Sentence to Love – Martin Gosling
2000 words General
An accountant on trial for fraud. His wife is desperate to raise money to pay for his defence. She makes an offer to an old flame who is prepared to advance the money – but in return for what?
Esme thrust her hands deep into her mackintosh pockets and watched the rain drip from the notice warning her not to bring tobacco or spirits into the prison. The gate opened at last and the line of dispirited visitors shuffled through to the waiting room where one or two were already being searched by a bored prison officer. She had a few moments to glance at herself in her compact mirror and ran a comb through her bright auburn hair. This was her third trip to see Tom in as many days, but this time she had positive news.
The Sergeant Major Instructor – Martin Gosling
3600 words General Fiction
This concerns Cope, a former British Army officer who is persuaded to return to Libya, having been posted there in the 1960s.
He is responding to an appeal from a former colleague who seems to be in trouble but who is actually involved in a nefarious scheme to retrieve uncut diamonds.
This story is included in the collection This Land is My Land
The old Bodega Bar had been turned into a coffee shop and the Italian road sign outside had long since been replaced by a suitable Arab name. I looked round at the empty tables. It was ten to six and if Stokes was coming at all, he would be here soon. Benghazi had changed all right but then so had I in twenty-four years. I glanced back at my reflection in the mirror behind the counter; thinning hair over a thin face. As Second Lieutenant Cope I had been tall and slender; now I was stooped and slender and I pulled back my shoulders and ran a finger round my collar.
This Land is My Land – 16 short reads for lazy days
‘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.
‘This Land is My Land’ is more action and adventure driven while ‘Came as ‘me’, Left as ‘we’’ contains a mixture of women’s fiction, feel good stories and romance, 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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Reader Reviews HERE
Stories included: Winter Light – Henry Mitchell, Tiburcio’s Treasure – G. Lloyd Helm, Fordsburg Apology – Tom Rhoyd, The Sergeant Major Instructor – Martin Gosling, Presence – Michael Barry, Deadly Nightshade – Peter Lingard, The Tree – Dr. Robert Clifford, Tightrope – Michael Mohr, Rosie The Riveter – Chris Cooke, The Refugee – Stephen Rowson, Grey Matter – John Malone, Hunting at Dawn – Ian D. Smith, Under the Baobab Tree – Roger Woodcock, A Forgotten Key -Gerard Taylor Wallace, The Storekeeper’s Town – Paul Peppers, Beasties that Bite and Sting – Terence Brand