A-tone-ment – Simon Whaley

3000 words Feel Good

Granddad’s hearing has deteriorated so much his family have had enough. They’re fed up with repeating everything three or four times and even then he doesn’t hear. It’s down to granddaughter Becky to take him for a hearing test. But the results are not what Becky expects to hear.

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‘Rampant sex?’ ‘Granddad! That’s not what I said!’ Becky glanced round, worried someone had overheard them. She swept a long strand of brown hair behind her ear, closed her eyes, took a deep breath, then opened them again. Mum had warned her today would be challenging. Becky put an arm around Granddad’s shoulders, and leaned closer to his ear. With her other arm, she pointed to the doors of the audiology unit. ‘Which is better, Granddad?’ she enunciated, ‘Ramp? Or steps?’ ‘Oh! Why didn’t you say? Let’s take the steps, shall we? I’m not decrepit yet.’

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Fledglings – Simon Whaley

4000 words Women’s Fiction

It’s Connie’s birthday and great-granddaughter Beth has a surprise for her. But the birthday treat comes with added excitement, helping Beth to decide where her future lies and giving Connie the push to chase her dreams again.

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A high-pitched mew screamed high above Connie’s head. She dropped The Times crossword onto the wrought iron garden table and returned the china teacup to its saucer, with a tinkling rattle. Shielding her eyes from the sun with her hand, she scoured the Shropshire cerulean sky above her until she found her quarry. A buzzard. Soaring on a thermal, the bird’s broad wings stretched taut, the feathers on its tips fanned out like fingers on an open hand. It circled in huge, wide rings, climbing higher and higher until all Connie could see was a mere blob in the stratosphere. Then, suddenly, it plunged, tumbling, twisting, turning, dropping several hundred feet, until it thrust its wings out straight again, caught another thermal and began the slow, inverted helter skelter climb once more.

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Seventy Two Feet – Simon Whaley

3000 words Feel Good

Dan’s getting married in a few weeks and wants the Reverend Wilkins to lie for him. But vicars don’t lie. Or do they? How will the Revd Wilkins resolve Dan’s problem without resorting to lying? Can Dan learn to cope with seventy two feet?

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‘You couldn’t lie for us, could you, Revd Wilkins?’ I recognised the groom’s voice behind me as belonging to one of the newer couples who’d recently asked me to marry them, but I couldn’t put a name to his voice. I slotted a number 7 into the hymn board and turned around. His wheelchair was wedged right against the altar steps, and I noticed he wasn’t wearing his prosthetic lower legs today. ‘I dunno,’ he chuckled. ‘Legless in church. What would the great man upstairs have to say?’ He pointed towards my new church roof. The grin dropped from his face. ‘Sorry, vicar. Didn’t mean to offend. Battlefield humour. Forget where I am sometimes.’

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Wiggle, Waggle, Woggle – Simon Whaley

2400 words Humour

When the President of the Lower Ticklerton Ladies Golf Society asks Veronica Ventura to organise a fundraising event, things don’t quite go according to plan … as Veronica tries to explain in a letter to the President.

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Deirdre Millikan-Palmer President, Lower Ticklerton Ladies Golf Society Lower Ticklerton Westshire Dear Deirdre, I can’t tell you how delighted I was when you asked me to devise a charitable event to raise five hundred pounds to buy a new trophy for the Lower Ticklerton Ladies Golf Society Woman Golfer of the Year Award, especially coming so soon after that unfortunate incident I had with the Golf Club’s Chairman. I do hope his voice recovers when the swelling goes down. After careful consideration I thought a Twilight Matchplay Tournament during our usual Tuesday night get-together at the golf club would be a good fundraising event, although I do accept that playing with dark green golf balls was not one of my best ideas.

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