Lucky Charm – Patsy Collins
I made a horrible pun from Mrs Harley-Butt’s name, spilled wine on her and insulted her family. It would need more than luck for us to become friends.
“Lucky charm this, mate,” the stallholder said. He offered me a small dark object. It slipped from his hand and I caught it without thinking. It felt warm. “Antique, well probably,” he encouraged. “What is it?” I asked. “Flower vase I suppose. It brings luck; well, it did for Mum.” Surely he couldn’t expect people to be so gullible? “If it’s so lucky I’m surprised she can bear to part with it.” My tone was more than a little sarcastic. “She’s dead.”
Medical Emergency – Patsy Collins
1000 words Women’s Fiction
Told not to move by a nurse who doesn’t seem to understand her duties, I’m prepared for surgery by a doctor who isn’t sure what was wrong with me. This isn’t how I imagined my holiday would go.
I couldn’t feel my legs and began to panic. I tried to sit up to check what was wrong with them. A hand placed on my shoulder gently pushed me back on to the bed. “It’s best if you try not to move,” the nurse said. “You have suffered a medical emergency.” She returned my chart to the end of the bed and then began to wipe my face with damp cotton wool. I wondered how long I’d been lying here.
Mistletoe and Wine – Patsy Collins
2175 words Women’s Fiction
Emily wasn’t worried about the little people on her bed and in her hair. It was obvious she was dreaming. One of them even agreed with her, which probably wasn’t a good sign.
Emily woke because of the tiny feet kicking just behind her left ear. Of course, it couldn’t really be anything kicking her; she had no pets, the children were in their own rooms and, since the divorce, she slept alone. Perhaps she was lying on one of the children’s toys? She sat up to look and saw what looked like a pixie at the bottom of her bed. The boys didn’t have toy pixies. She felt the kicking again and twisted her head. The mirror on her dressing table showed another pixie clinging to her head and he was moving.
Mother – Patsy Collins
1900 word Women’s Fiction
Sue would have preferred Chris to call mother a witch rather than ignore the warnings because he didn’t allow himself to think her anything of the sort.
“You can’t go. Please, I can’t lose you.” “Oh, don’t be ridiculous woman. I’ll be back in three days.” “Jamie will be five on Saturday, he needs a father.” “And I’ll be back on Thursday, Sue.” She turns away from him so he can’t see the tears. “Come on love, what’s all this about? It’s just a routine trip, it will be about the twentieth this year, you’ve never minded before.” “It’s not the trip, Chris. It’s the flight. Please, you can’t get on that flight.” “Why not?” “Something bad will happen. I know it will.” “You know?” “Mother told me, she said you mustn’t.”
No Family Secrets – Patsy Collins
1200 words Women’s Fiction
When you have a mum who never lies, there are some questions you just can’t ask.
If anyone in our family wants to know the truth, they ask my mum. Mum never lies. Not ever. Not even when the truth will tear the listener’s life apart. Once, Aunty Louise asked Mum if the dress she was considering wearing to a family christening made her bum look fat. Mum said, “No, Louise, the weight you’ve put on is what’s making you look fat. If you want to still be alive for that child’s wedding then you’d better start living more healthily.”
Not a Drop to Drink – Patsy Collins
‘Not a Drop to Drink’ includes 7 of Patsy’s stories
and it’s absolutely
(You will receive an email with your download link or can download from the ‘your downloads’ on your ‘account’ page – once you have been through the checkout)
Oh, we could drink ‘straight’ H20, but usually we don’t. More likely it’s vitamin rich juice or teeth rotting cola. We like a nice cup of tea to calm us down or cheer us up. Perhaps a nice glass of wine to celebrate or drown our sorrows. Two glasses. Too many glasses.
Our bodies do contain liquid of course. Never just water. What’s in yours; acid and bile or the milk of human kindness? Blood, sweat and tears of joy or sorrow?
It’s these waters Patsy hopes you’ll find running through
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Offside Rule – Patsy Collins
1100 words Women’s Fiction
Michael and Aaron both love football so it doesn’t seem fair they should only be able to watch from the sidelines.
I didn’t think much of Aaron when I first saw him. His family moved next door just before Christmas. We looked out the windows to see what they were like. There was a lady and man and a boy. He had glasses and walked funny. He didn’t help carry stuff, but the way he acted when a computer was unloaded, you could tell it was his. There was no bike.
On Time – Patsy Collins
2000 words Women’s Fiction
It’s good to be on time, even better to be early. That’s what Rev. Grand told his congregation, just before learning it wasn’t always true.
“I’ll just go and change the setting on the alarm, otherwise I might forget about it tonight,” Davie McGregor told his wife. “Are you putting it forward or back?” Alison asked. “I’ll set it to six fifteen.” “Six fifteen! Do we really have to get up so early, Davie?” “I’m afraid I do. Now I’m manager I’ll have to be first in. It’s a matter of honour. I shouldn’t expect my staff to work longer hours than me.”
One More for luck – Patsy Collins
760 words Women’s Fiction
I wanted to skip over there and slap Sandra. How dare she bob about all perky and pert as we all but collapsed in front of her?
“And now back to the beginning and we’ll do the whole routine one more time,” Sandra, the fitness instructor, sang out gleefully. I tried honestly I did. I couldn’t see for the sweat in my eyes so it’s not my fault I turned left when everyone else went right. Splat! The woman I’d crashed into was no slimmer than me.
Overlooked – Patsy Collins
850 words Women’s fiction
Alan was easy to overlook, a fact he’d learned to accept.
Harder to deal with was his youthful looks. In a job like his they were a real disadvantage.
Alan didn’t like the way he looked. He no longer hated his lack of height; he had when he was a kid, but he’d got over it. At forty three, he’d long since accepted that he’d never grow taller than five foot two and a quarter. His youthful looks also bothered him slightly less than they used to. His appearance did still worry him though; people hardly noticed him and never took him seriously. It wasn’t only for himself that he worried, it was for his patients too.
Perfect Timing – Patsy Collins
2000 words Women’s Fiction
Charlotte knew she was lucky to have people who wanted to take care of her. In fact she’d always been lucky that way. Perhaps too much so?
Charlotte patted her silver curls, ensuring they were neat, when she saw Billy approach. She greeted him with a bright smile and assured him it didn’t matter at all that he was a bit late picking her up. It really didn’t. Knowing what he was like she’d asked him to come half an hour earlier than she thought she’d need to leave. She smiled a little less brightly when he announced he had to drop something off at a friend’s house. “Ted’s not been well so I picked up his prescription for him.”
Private and Confidential – Patsy Collins
Jenny understood sharing a house meant she’d rarely have a moment to herself. What she wasn’t prepared for was sharing everything from her food and toiletries to her thoughts.
Jenny came home from running a work’s training course absolutely shattered. The delegates had taken advantage of everything being on expenses so were grouchy with bad heads in the morning and sleepy in the afternoons on account of their large lunches. It had taken all her patience, tact and perseverance to get them to do enough for her to issue their certificates at the end. After that she’d had a three hour drive in the rain.
Pursued to Glory – Patsy Collins
700 words Women’s Fiction
The hopes of his country were at stake and all Roger could do was run.
In the unexpected heat, Roger ran faster than he’d ever run before. Sweat poured from him, dripping into his eyes. It stung and blurred his vision but that didn’t matter. In any case, he couldn’t risk taking the time to glance behind to see if the men who chased him were close.
Seeing the Truth – Patsy Collins
1000 words Women’s Fiction
Lynda made a mistake putting her career ahead of everyone’s feelings and that included her own. It was time to put things right – but how?
Lynda Beckley read her horoscope. ‘A romantic concern has been troubling you recently. There’s no need for secrecy. Put aside you usual Libran tact – for now is the time to act.’ Lynda folded the paper thoughtfully. The horoscope was wrong, of course. She was in a delicate position and would need all her tact in the next few weeks. Any hint of scandal or trouble regarding Lynda or her department could ruin her promotion prospects. She made her way down the corridor toward Peter Edgar’s classroom.
Sick Leave – Patsy Collins
2000 words Women’s Fiction
Alice was enjoying her holiday; all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, even garden care was done by someone else. She just wished her family would appreciate the cleaning fairy at home as much as they valued the waiters and other staff.
I soon realised I was expecting too much from a couple of weeks in the sun. At first, I’d enjoyed having everything done for me. I could sunbathe or join in family activities without having to rush in early to cook tea. I could watch the children pour milk onto their cereals without worrying I’d have to go out for more. I painted my toe nails every day. After reading a book about obtaining a perfect body, I’d decided to start from the bottom and work up. “Isn’t it marvellous, the way they look after us, Alice?” Allan said.
Simple Pleasures – Patsy Collins
Evening dress and eating minced scallops were all very well, but Jennifer missed the carefree fun of student days shared with Neil.
With a frustrated sigh, Jennifer threw down the magazine; why did everything have to be so complicated? Life used to be simple and fun, but recently it all seemed to be getting on top of her. It wasn’t much comfort to know she wasn’t the only person to feel that way. Neil had been sympathetic when she’d mentioned it to him. “I know what you mean, love. Why don’t you take the day off on our anniversary and just unwind?” She’d tried to follow his advice by relaxing with a coffee and the crossword. After she’d chosen from filter coffee, ordinary instant or the decaffeinated kind and realised she’d have to add buying more milk to the day’s ‘to do’ list, she’d sat down.
Sliding into a Relationship – Patsy Collins
2250 words Women’s Fiction
Holly’s not exactly good with children but she’s going to have to learn to cope if she hopes to keep her man and help her best friend.
Holly tried to relax and concentrate on what Carl was whispering in her ear. It was no good; she tensed up whenever his child waved its sticky fingers around near her pastel coloured walls, gleaming white woodwork, crystal ornament, cream throws … It was clearly time for Carl and Jessica to go home and for Holly to consider where the relationship was going. Once they’d left, Holly rushed around the house with wet wipes to remove every trace of their visit. No permanent damage had been done and finally she was able to relax.
Small Ones are More Juicy – Patsy Collins
Clementine works in the advertising industry, so why is she still falling for the hype?
“You’ve been Tangoed,” I say playfully slapping young Clementine’s bottom. You’d have thought Miss Jaffer would have heard that one before, but she just smiles. I’m really something in the world of advertising, so you’ll understand why I’m so delighted with Clementine. Got plenty of va va voom, but she’s really naïve. She actually believes low fat chocolate cake will help make her slim. “Murray, it’s 95% fat free, so I can go ahead,” she tells me. She has a slice each morning with her richer roasted, fuller flavoured coffee whilst I explain our latest campaign.
Someone to Talk to – Patsy Collins
1250 words Feel Good
I was glad when Penny moved back. I was sad too. Although she’s great company for me, I’m no use to her.
Penny is moving back. “On the right of you, this time, Cyril. My old flat wasn’t available.” “From what I remember lass you were always on my right side.” It wasn’t much of a joke but she chuckled politely. “I’m glad we’ll be neighbours again,” she said. I was glad too. It’s nice to have a pretty young neighbour to talk to. I felt guilty about my pleasure. She was back because her marriage was over.
Something for the Weekend – Patsy Collins
800 words Women’s Fiction / Humour
Working in the pharmacy wasn’t glamorous, but Gemma did get to meet interesting people. Those people sometimes bought alarming items.
Gemma loved her Saturday job at the pharmacy. It wasn’t as glamorous as the clothes store and didn’t seem such a good place to meet boys as the music megastore, but it was close to home and her boss, Mr Cantrell, was kind. She soon realised it wasn’t just sick people who used a pharmacy. Her first customer was an attractive young man who bought a toothbrush.
Spider’s Web – Patsy Collins
1200 words Women’s Fiction
Every mum wants the best for her child. The best is what they want or need, even if it is second hand.
“Mum, I want my Spiderman pyjamas.” “OK, love, I’ll bring them tomorrow.” Bleach had accidentally been spilt. The threadbare material was weak and the strong chemical had ruined them. This was not something that Sandy wanted to tell Jamie. He was weak too, connected to a dialysis machine until a new kidney became available. Every day without the operation was a disappointment; it was another day he couldn’t play football or walk his dog. She just couldn’t disappoint him further. The following day, Sandy went to the shop where she’d originally bought the pyjamas. They no longer stocked them.
Spirit of the Château – Patsy Collins
900 words Ghost Story
The boy seems to care nothing for the potential danger.
Perhaps he feels, as I do, that the old Château can never harm those who love it.
The boy is dressed all in black. His loose trousers and shapeless top are black. Even his footwear is black. I suppose he is a boy, at my age anyone under thirty seems young. His hair is long and dark. It moves, gently blown by a breeze I cannot feel. His face is pale, too pale for summer, for health. He looks sad, lost. I follow as he wanders around the Château. I cannot hear his footsteps echoing through the empty rooms.
Surface Charm – Patsy Collins
1200 words Women’s Fiction
Esther’s old, cracked driveway had become too dangerous for her to walk across, or at least that’s what her new young friend told her. Luckily he could help her out for a small charge. The price kept rising until it was higher than even he had expected.
“Just coming,” Esther called in response to the doorbell. She put down her book and hauled herself out of the chair. “Just a moment,” she shouted as she walked down the hallway. As she reached the door, she noticed the security chain wasn’t on. Her son Davy was always reminding her about that. “Don’t open the door without the chain, promise me, Mum?” She’d promised, so now dutifully clipped the chain into place before pulling the door open a little. She needn’t have been so cautious after all, it was that nice boy who’d helped her with her dustbin last week and again yesterday.
Surprise Gift – Patsy Collins
550 words Humour / Christmas Story
It was too light to be a bar of solid gold and too heavy for tissues, but otherwise I had no clue what the prettily wrapped parcel might contain.
I wipe my hands down the front of my jeans before picking up the shiny package. I don’t want to leave sticky fingerprints on the gorgeous deep red foil gift-wrap. I lift it gently; careful not to crush the extravagant bow and flamboyant ribbons.
Swept Away – Patsy Collins
The man wrote words on the sand and let the sea wash them away. Could he do the same for Hilary’s troubles?
Jamie ran along the coastal path ahead of Hilary. “You not coming, Mum?” He called. “There’s someone else, down there,” Hilary said. She knew she should have stayed away. Jamie came back to her. Together they looked down at the beach. A man, and a boy about Jamie’s age, were at the water’s edge writing words in the sand and watching the tide erase them.