A Change of Heart – Paul Peppers
1000 words Western
Being bad’s easy when no one seems to care about you. But when someone shows you a little kindness and reminds you of your own momma, then pulling the trigger isn’t quite so easy. However, when you’re part of a gang and they’re all relying on you – then what are you gonna do?
There were only a few people in the bank which Frank decided was a good thing. He hated the thought of innocent bystanders being hurt or killed and he’d learned from experience that Russell didn’t care. Russell was a mean S.O.B. and would as soon shoot a man as look at him. Whenever Russell pulled that gun of his it was inevitable – someone died. Not for the first time, Frank wished he’d never hooked up with the crew he now rode with.
A Likely Story – Paul Peppers
1500 words General Fiction
When Granddaddy started to reminisce about his younger years, I couldn’t help but wonder how much was built from the sands of time and how much was what really happened.
My granddaddy was an original. I can picture him now in his liberty coveralls, shiny black shoes, and old felt hat. The grandfather stereotype was probably modeled after him. I will go so far as to say that if you saw another old man dressed similarly you would be reminded of my granddaddy. He always had an old flyswatter handy like a scepter of office. And like Solomon sitting in judgment over the Israelites; he would occasionally administer justice to a wayward fly, but only when it was absolutely necessary.
Bill Finds a Home – Paul Peppers
4000 words Western
The Yankees winning the war just ain’t good news to Sergeant Bill Branson. Soldiering’s his life and returning to his father’s blacksmithing in Texas sure don’t appeal. As he spurs his horse for home, an Indian ambush may mean he never gets there.
Sergeant Branson paused at the entrance to the command tent. “You wished to see me, sir?” “Come in sergeant and take a seat” The captain was silent for some seconds. “I wish things were different sergeant.” He sighed deeply. “Bill I’m giving you notice. I just received a dispatch – the army will be disbanded. The Yankees won.” Branson grimaced. “It’s a terrible blow for the south, Bill but it comes as no surprise. It was just a matter of time after Gettysburg.”
Chicken A La King – Paul Peppers
1800 word Humour / General Fiction
Do you believe in evolution? If so what do you think the future ages will have in store for the animals that we now raise for meat? This story takes a look at one possible scenario.
When I was a kid I watched a cartoon about a flea circus. One flea played the guitar, another drums, and so on. When my friend started an ant farm I decided to “one up” him and start a flea circus. Sure, I was an envious kid and a little naive. I caught the fleas (No difficult task that!) but couldn’t get them to do a thing besides jump. Ever hear about any tiny instruments? There is the one that plays “My heart bleeds for you” but I have never actually seen it… Finally I gave up the whole project, but I kept the fleas.
Rustlers at Cedar Creek – Paul Peppers
2500 words Western
Branson had never faced rustlers before, or the business end of a colt either, but when they tore down old man Shireman’s fence and took livestock that Branson was caring for he was forced to do both.
About twenty head of desultory looking cattle bunched up at the wire fence. Two men on horseback came up close behind them. The biggest of the men was mounted on a buckskin that shifted from side to side nervously as he spoke. “Ho, neighbor,” he said and displayed a big fake looking smile. “I’m Joe … McMillon. We are just passing through sir. If you will be kind enough to open your gate we will be on our way.” I examined the two hombres with a cynical eye. I was in no kind of a charitable mood and decided they were both probably tall.
Swimming Lessons – Paul Peppers
3000 word General Fiction
Bullied for his lack of ability, Pete is determined to learn to swim, by whatever it takes. Pushing himself way out of his comfort zone gives him courage in the challenges of his adolescence.
“This is it,” Pete said into the silence. The sound of his own voice strengthened his resolve. A water snake, unconcerned by his presence, swam close by the opposite bank. He pitched a rock at it and it dropped from sight. “That’s right,” he said, “get lost. I’m gonna swim today and no darn snake is gonna stop me.” The creek water was dark and green- rich with tiny floating particles and oak leaves swirled close together as an eddy took them and then cast them aside. This small branch of the river had widened into a large pool and it was evident that no one else frequented the area.
The Big Card Game – Paul Peppers
2100 words Fairytale
A night-time walk across the fields with my younger brother was strange enough, even before the cow beckoned us to follow him. When you find yourself playing cards with the big boys, you have to be ready for the consequences.
This story is included in the collection Thrice Upon a Time
Momma decided to let us stay late at uncle Bill’s house after I pointed out that it was going to be a full moon. My little brother Tyler was with me which was why she was worried about us walking home in the dark in the first place. That beautiful moon hung big and bright in a cloudless sky. I patted my pockets with satisfaction– they jingled with the coins I’d won playing cards with my cousins. I had trashed them, again, at cards and I didn’t feel a bit guilty about it either.
The Storekeeper’s Town – Paul Peppers
2750 words Western
Jake Wallace is a mild man. He’s been a mild man as long as the Town’s known him. No one thinks much of it when some trappers help themselves to what they want, including Jake’s daughter. The Law’s too busy to be interested and no one expects much of a reaction… except Jake!
This story is included in the collection This Land is My Land
The sheriff stood outside the hotel nursing a glass of buttermilk; a line of which decorated his upper lip. The storekeeper limped his way his fists balled in determination. “By God sheriff those trappers came in the store and raped Anne,” he said, nearly choking on the words. “Those men are animals – worse than animals.” “Good morning, Mr. Wallace,” said the lawman. “Sheriff,” Jake said, “they’re at the Diamond right now. I saw them go in.”
The Three Acre Farm – Paul Peppers
2500 words General
A Grandfather tells his grandson about a dreadful shooting accident when he was a child and he was out on the farm with his bother and a shotgun.
The old Rambler continued to cough and rattle after Daddy shut down the engine. Maybe the old motor didn’t realize it was time to rest. I had remained sitting in one place as long as I could stand and was so anxious to show Poppa my new shoes that I was about to jump out of my skin. Throwing open the door I ran as fast as I could to the front porch ahead of Momma and Daddy. Poppa was sitting on the porch swing gliding slowly back and forth holding an old wire mesh fly swatter. He took a half-hearted swat at a fly and looked at me with his old grey eyes. His weathered face split into a tobacco stained grin.
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
Three Damn Cows – Paul Peppers
6600 words Western
In the west a man makes his own law. No one had to tell Hake or Willis right from wrong – they knew the difference well – and were willing to kill for it.
Chisolm’s northern trading post wasn’t busy. Two horses and an Indian woman were the only signs of life about the place. The two horses were tied at the rail and the Indian woman was seated on a stick chair industriously chewing a buckskin hide; softening the hide with her teeth and saliva. She was a young squaw not yet in her twenties and her white teeth flashed as she chewed. The building was part mud brick, part log cabin; a hulking structure carelessly scabbed together and made nearly invisible by the materials used in its construction. Smoke boiled from a cobblestone chimney to drift languidly away on the chill air. Hake ducked through the building’s entrance.
Thrice Upon a Time – Fairytale Collection
4 5* Reviews on Amazon
47,000 words Fairytale
Thrice Upon a Time is a collection of 18 modern fairy tales for adults. Some retell stories written long ago from a different perspective, while others are completely new. Read what happens when a late night walk leads to a game of poker with the farm animals and learn the Queen’s side of the story in what it is really like to live with Snow White. Who is the cobbler who turns up in the village? And exactly how many frogs does one princess have to kiss?
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