A Friend and Colleague – Patsy Collins
1900 words Women’s Fiction
Jess felt so sorry for Lilly. The older woman was retiring soon and would have an empty life – so why did she seem to think Jess was the one in need of help?
“I feel so sorry for poor Lilly Forrester, she’s worked here for years,” Jess said. “Don’t worry, we’ll give her a really good send off,” her boss, Sasha, said. “Is that a good idea? She’ll be reminded of what she’ll be missing.” “I don’t think that’ll worry her, Jess!” Jess was only twenty, but felt great sympathy for poor Lilly’s plight. Jess would miss more than just her wages if she lost her own job at Invite an Impression printers. Lilly must be dreading retirement. Jess tried talking to her.
A Girl Named Rebecca – Debora St Fleurose
2000 words Teen Fiction / Women’s Fiction
There comes a time in everyone’s life when they feel discouraged. Even when they succeed, the euphoria only lasts for so long. They’re smiling, but it could be because the smiling is to hide their unhappiness. You never know a person’s situation unless you’re faced with it yourself. Rebecca Parker’s been faced with several challenges due to her being different. This story shows that anyone, no matter race, structure, religion, or gender, can become who they want to be if they follow their heart and cast their doubts into the dark.
Rebecca Josephine Parker was a daydreamer. Whenever her mind had the chance to wander, it always did, whether she was in the middle of class or on a roller coaster in Six Flags or chatting up her best guy friend, Blake. Blake sat in front of her in theatre, aloof and laid back as usual. He was not the least bit dramatic in reality, but when Blake was on stage it took your breath away. Rebecca loved him. She knew it in her heart.
Rebecca Josephine Parker was a daydreamer. Whenever her mind had the chance to wander, it always did, whether she was in the middle of class or on a roller coaster in Six Flags or chatting up her best guy friend, Blake. Blake sat in front of her in theatre, aloof and laid back as usual. He was not the least bit dramatic in reality, but when Blake was on stage it took your breath away. Rebecca loved him. She knew it in her heart–Blake was like her brother. She felt herself inhale sharply at “brother.” Her own brother, Radley, had died about six months before in a car accident. It had been hard on her, her parents, and her sisters.
A Girlie Girl – Patsy Collins
1500 words Feel Good Story
Emily, or Expedition Em as she was known, had to change or no man would find her attractive; especially not the one she wanted.
Emily gripped the paddle, her knuckles as white as the foam on the water. Her canoe crashed through the torrent while adrenaline pumped through her veins. The smile on her face was as bright as the sun sparkling off the icy river. It wasn’t really happening though. She’d been staring at the computer for so long, trying to delay the coming ordeal, that her screen-saver had come up. There was no getting out of it, adventures like her latest white-water rafting trip were firmly behind her. Instead, Emily had to make do with tedious, girlie stuff like shopping. ‘I’m going up town,’ she announced. ‘Can I get anyone, anything?’
A Good Night’s Sleep – Susan Wright
1000 words Feel Good/Ghost Story
Geri is surprised when her husband tells her that she doesn’t need to phone her mother after dinner. She’s spoken to her mother every evening since her father died and she can’t work out what’s changed.
Included in the Collection ‘The Day Death wore Boots’
As soon as she’d finished her dinner, Geri sat back in her chair and looked at her watch. “I’d better phone Mum,” she said. “Oh, you don’t need to,” her husband Matt replied as he stabbed his fork into his last chip. “I meant to tell you, love. She phoned earlier and I told her you were working late.” “Yeah, but no doubt she’s expecting me to phone her back.” Geri stood up and started walking across the room towards the phone. “I’ve spoken to her every evening since Dad died and…”
A Granted Wish – Iyana Jenna
1800 words Teen Fiction
Being told over and over that he is too young to have a girlfriend, or a boyfriend as the case may be, 15-year-old Kyle sends a wish to whoever up there is willing to grant it.
Kyle inches slowly, creeps in, and, stealing a quick glance towards the boy sitting next to him, he smiles. He looks down; can feel their fingers entwined together underneath their school bags. He loves seeing the blush on the other boy’s face, feel the slight tremor running through his hand–though from excitement or fear he knows not. They are inside the school bus after all. He swallows his disappointment when Aiden pulls his hand back. Right. He tries not to show his feeling, looks up and sees the boy’s shy smile toward him, making him feel warm all over.
A Hell of a Lot of Power – Terence Brand
2450 words Humour
After banishing RAF airman Nobby Clarke’s latest, and noisiest, car from their billet’s forecourt, Newton feels guilty when the car is stolen. With a passionate Nobby urging them on, Newton and Halliday burn up Singapore’s highways in pursuit of the thief.
Oh hell. That idiot was off again. I raised the needle from my record, got off my bed and went to the balcony. The parking area outside Block 151, RAF Changi, had been floodlit. Under the lamps stood a rakish, silver-finished American car. Its six-cylinder engine roared aggressively as the owner tested his latest modification. Someone below me yelled, ‘Give it a rest, Nobby!’ An oily hand emerged from the driver’s window, two fingers extended. I sighed. Nobby Clarke’s lewd gesture signalled the end of my record session. Even up on the first floor, it was impossible to listen to music while Nobby played with his new toy. Snooker would have to replace Ellington as the order of the evening.
A John by Any Other Name – Peter Lingard
1600 words Humour / Romance
A woman is confused about with whom she has a blind date, but the man she picks thinks it’s wonderful.
Jennifer arrived early on Saturday evening to meet John Miller, an almost-blind-date arranged by her sister. She sat on a bench by the fountain in St. Francis’ Square, draped her slender arms along the wooden backrest, and tilted her head to catch the glow of the setting sun. John Miller’s family lived in Adelaide but he had gained his degrees in economics and geography at Melbourne University. It was there that Jennifer’s brother-in-law had been friendly with the man who was soon to commence working for the town’s most prestigious brokerage house. Jennifer had seen a photograph of a group of students that included John before being asked if she fancied the idea of a date with him.
A Journey of Discovery – Alice Parrant
1800 words Feel Good Story
A flat car battery puts an end to Jane’s hopes for a fabulous day of shopping and forces her to journey out on foot. However it isn’t long before she realises that there’s a lot more to her small hometown than meets the eye…
“Oh, for goodness sake,” cried Jane, slamming her hand on the car horn then gesticulating wildly. “What makes you think you can cut me up?” “Mum, Matthew hit me,” whined Poppy from the back. “Did not!” came the quick retort. “Would anyone like a toffee?” asked Dora, the children’s grandmother, from the front passenger seat. “That’s it, Mum, fill their mouths with sugar to keep them quiet,” replied Jane, as Matthew and Poppy leaned over to grab a sweet each. “Perhaps you’d like one too, love,” said her mother quietly.
A Kinship of Cats – Dorothy Williams
3000 words General Fiction / Animal Story
A Kinship with Cats lightens the difficult lives of two old war veterans as they strive to maintain their independence together as fire, flood and disability diminish their ability to live off their land. They pity a mysterious giant feral cat starved of prey by the fires, that steals from their barbecue, until a reporter reveals its identity.
Only the passing of the marmalade tabby draws his attention. He sits alone and silent all day on the veranda of the Alamein Home. But then, old George never did talk much . . . He sat on the steps with Vern, gazing across the firebreak. They sniffed the wind and the faint drift of smoke from the ranges, sensing the weather — a wind change, maybe rain on the way. Only once had fire come towards them from the mountains to the east. The rain came just in time that year. Every summer still, just in case, they ploughed a firebreak through the regenerating bush that reached across the narrow flat towards the little shack.
A Kiss on Route 66 – Theresa Van Meter
6800 word Romance
Marshall is from England, and on his first holiday to the United States. He plans on cruising Route 66. Betty, his reluctant hostess, has dreamed of visiting England, for years. During their cruise they are kidnapped by crazed gunmen. Will they live and find love on Route 66?
Betty stared at the computer screen and sighed. She inhaled deeply and could almost smell the fragrant English countryside, or at least what she imagined the scent would be like. “What’s wrong?” Christina asked. She opened the microwave oven and pulled out a steaming cup of hot water, then plopped a tea bag into it. Betty frowned. “That’s not the proper way to have tea.” “Why not? I’ve seen you do it before.” “Maybe so, but it’s still not the proper way.” Christina glanced at the computer screen. “I should have known. Are you dreaming about England again?”
A Laughing Matter – Edward Ahern
3100 word Fairytale
An older couple accommodates the presence of death.
Alan watched the drool sliding from the right side of her mouth. The side of her face whose creases had been gently smoothed out by the stroke. Judith’s right profile was two decades younger than her left. Alan remembered making love to her right profile. He had pulled a metal and plastic chair next to the bed so he could read to her and wipe away the drool. Alan made a ritual of waiting until the drool had slid down to the corner of her jaw and beaded into an almost drip before blotting up the saliva from the droplet to the corner of her mouth.
A Lesson to Remember – Patsy Collins
Adam’s granddad showed him a way to get the bicycle he wanted. PC Marks instructed him in riding it safely. Looking after it was a lesson Adam had to learn for himself.
Adam had almost forgotten about his rush to get to school on time. He often forgot things and sometimes this got him into trouble. “Mum, I’ve just remembered, my tyre was slightly soft yesterday,” he’d said at breakfast. “Did you pump it up?” she’d asked him. “No, I forgot.” “You’d better do it now, hurry up or you’ll be late,” Mum said as she helped him with his tie. Adam cycled extra fast all the way. He just got to assembly on time.
A Letter to Barbara – Roger Noons
1150 words General Fiction
A man writes of his infidelity in a letter to his wife.
It was just after four o’ clock in the afternoon when I went into the study. A shaft of sunlight slanted through the French windows, missing the desk, but highlighting my favoured leather armchair. I switched on the CD player and selected Elgar, the Cello Concerto played by Casals. The melody always consoled me when I was feeling sad. I sat at the desk, selected a sheet of ivory notepaper and picked up my favourite pen. After gazing briefly through the window and relishing the shimmer of the flowering Magnolia stellata, I began to write.
A Life of Riley – Joan Zambelli
825 words Children 6 – 10 years
Since the cats moved out, the mice down in the palace cellar lived ‘a life of Riley’ – which is more than can be said for lazy King Casper and kind Queen Veronica! Astonishingly, it took Ricardo and his ‘special pizzas’ to change the situation.
King Casper and Queen Veronica lived in a grand palace at the top of a very steep hill. Lazy King Casper was so bad tempered, that all the palace staff had left years ago. Even the palace cats had moved out, so the mice down in the cellar lived a ‘life of Riley’! Poor Queen Veronica had to clean all the one-hundred-and-one rooms, including the very large State Rooms, Banqueting Hall and Ballroom. By evening, she was tired out!
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.
A Little Grey Lie – Cath Delaney
2000 words Women’s Fiction
Teenager Josh is at loggerheads with his father, Max and his mother, Anna, feels like the pig in the middle, trying to keep the peace. Then she finds Josh’s English homework book and discovers how Josh really feels. But what can she do to improve things?
A herd of elephants stampeded down the stairs and burst into the kitchen. “You’ve been in my room and I can’t find my One Direction CD,” Josh screamed. “Please calm down. I had to clean it, what a filthy mess. And I haven’t touched your CDs.” “It’s my room and you shouldn’t go in. I’m entitled to some privacy.” Josh’s contorted face was not a pleasant sight. “And I’m entitled to have dirty dishes washed and in the kitchen where they belong, not under the bed. They were a health risk. And while I’m at it, how many times do I have to tell you to put dirty washing in the basket….?”
A Little Less Self-Restraint – Patsy Collins
1000 words Women’s Fiction
Grace couldn’t see anything special about New Year’s Eve, or why people bothered with resolutions, or the point of quite a lot of things … even if they did look like fun.
Grace watched the starlings splashing around in the birdbath. She knew they only did it because they needed to keep their plumage in good condition or risk perishing on frosty nights, but it looked as if they were having fun. If she’d dared think of Simon, she’d have imagined him laughing at the sight. Once the starlings flew away, she went out to replenish the water. “They’ve never drunk it all?” her neighbour Ruth called. Grace explained why the water had so quickly been used up.
A Little Piece of Fiction – Dorothy Davies
1240 words Science Fiction / Feel Good
A grandmother prepares her last gift to her grandson, who is about to take off for distant planets and stars.
Her hand trembled a little as she reached for the flour jar. She told herself to stop being stupid, there was a loaf to be made and very little time in which to make it. She tipped the flour into the bowl and added the fat; her wrinkled fingers began the process of rubbing it in. If Gary were to walk in now, she thought, he’d say, as he always did: “You need a mixer, Gran, one with a dough hook. It’ll do all that hard work for you. Go on, let me bring you Mother’s.” But she’d always made her bread this way and she always told him she was too told to change her ways.
A Little Revenge – Alan Garth
1730 word Humour
The serious business of insulting fellow guests at a cocktail party takes on a greater significance as Iain Lanton is made an offer he can hardly refuse and his career path takes an unexpected turn.
The drinks party had already started when Iain Cuthbert Lanton walked into the reception room. He collected a glass of white wine from the bar and decided to plunge right in. The first unattached person he found was a tall, bulky man in a tweedy sports jacket taking receipt of a large scotch from the bartender. “Hello, I’m Iain Lanton. You here for the do?” “Lantern, eh. So, you light the way, ha ha.” Not a good start. Iain had heard this one too many times. “Not exactly, no. It’s Lanton, not Lantern.” “Ah. I see. Lanton.” “Yes, I. C. Lanton.” “Pardon?” “Iain Cuthbert Lanton.”
A Lonely Place – Dorothy Davies
1060 words Ghost Story
A morgue is not the place you expect to find someone wandering around at night, but it is a refuge from the world outside, perhaps …
It’s an odd fact that the morgue can be a lonely place at times. I mean, empty lonely, desperate empty, that kind of lonely. Don’t quite know why that should be, it’s just a place like anywhere else. Ain’t it? Well yes, I mean I know there’s bodies there, course I do.
A Losing Battle – Patsy Collins
Sally knew leaving stuff at Tim’s house was the way to get him to notice her – if only she could find something really interesting …
“A pumpkin?” Linda asks. “Yes,” Sally replies. “The enormous orange things you have at Halloween?” “Yes, but smaller obviously.” “Oh yes obviously. We can’t have the terrific Tim thinking you’re odd!” Linda makes a face at her friend from behind one of the display boards. The tourist information office is always quiet for the first half an hour or so in the mornings. The girls have time to chat as they replenish leaflets and check that posters are still in date.
A Loss of Identity – Terence Brand
2700 words General / Mystery
A worried airman makes a confession to Newton. He has lost his RAF Identity Card, known as a ‘1250’. It turns out he is not alone. Joining in the investigation, Halliday falls foul of the people who are stealing the cards which could gain saboteurs access to British service establishments.
This story is included in the collection On the Changi Beat – 1961-1962
I was chuckling over an advert for a magic potion in Singapore’s Straits Times —“Are you Listless; Do You Suffer from the Early Morning Blues”— when, for the first time in days, Flight Sergeant Ellison came into the office. Despite his rest, Chiefy still looked decidedly pasty-faced. I vacated his desk but left the paper. ‘Morning, Chief. How are your kidneys?’ I pointed to the advert. ‘You should try a spot of Wang’s Elixir.’ Chiefy pulled a face as he sat in his chair. ‘All right, Newton, one sarky remark, but only one, yes?’
A Lost Cause – Samantha Tonge
1700 words Feel Good / Animal Story
A home-less kitten makes house-proud Juliet realize just how much she has changed, since having children.
This story is included in the collection Sweet Talk
‘It’s such a cliché.’ Juliet groaned. ‘Everyone told me it would happen. I insisted it wouldn’t.’ ‘What?’ asked her sister, Susan, who had called in after spending the morning on the phone to tradesmen. Her washing machine had leaked the previous evening and her laminate floor was ruined. ‘Getting broody – now that Emily is in reception year.’ Juliet placed two coffees on the kitchen table. She offered Susan a biscuit and sat down opposite her. ‘Other mums warned me that’s how I’d feel, when my youngest started school full-time.’
A Love for All Seasons – Geraldine Ryan
2000 words Women’s Fiction
A woman reflects on her marriage after her husband’s death and wonders how she can ever put back to rights the immaculate garden he left behind and which she has let go during a year long period of grieving.
Jan surveyed the tumbling mass of weeds that was the garden these days. Slowly she inched her way down the path, brushing up against the marjoram, releasing its exquisite fragrance as she went. Sunshine struck the silver birches with a dazzling brightness, birdsong resonated on the summer breeze and the rustling of wings in the branches of tall trees drew her screwed-up gaze upwards. Such bounty. In the distance children’s voices called out to one another in happy play. Could it really be that time of year again?
A Matter of Routine – Patsy Collins
2100 word Women’s Fiction
There’s not much scope for spontaneity in Philipa’s life. Carl’s meticulous planning and the children see to that, but the man in the coat offers an opportunity.
Philipa sighed. She was ready to take the kids swimming and as usual Carl was fussing. He checked opening times online, sorted the right coins for the parking meter and lockers. He’d already chosen where they’d eat afterwards and booked a table. It was a good choice of restaurant; Philipa could have a classy salad while the kids gorged on pepperoni pizza. It would be a fun day out and nothing was likely to go wrong, she should be grateful for her reliable husband and his meticulous planning. Should be.