Desert Rose – Tom Rhoyd
2700 words Crime
A pensioner’s dull life in suburbia flares with excitement when he is witness to a political assassination. He survives a long afternoon in the company of a young Syrian woman… and arrives home with an impossible tale to tell…
Mr Smith sat by himself in the barber shop as the barber and his assistant tended to a hirsute gentleman reclining in a large leather chair. Mr Smith may not have had the biggest mane of hair around, but it still required expert trimming. In vain he had tried to explain to unisex salons that though his hair grew in tufts around the sides of his head, he did not need a Friar Tucker fringe. Which is why Mr Smith was prepared to drive all the way across Johannesburg to this barber shop in Melville. It was run by a fellow from Arabia who certainly clicked his scissors with great verve and dexterity. Not only did Mr Smith like the shop, it was an escape from the weekly visit to the garden club with Mrs. Smith.
Eyes of a Woman – Tom Rhoyd
2000 words Crime Fiction
A private eye is employed to supervise security at a high-profile gala night for the unveiling of a world renowned painting. He is seduced away from his duties by a redheaded temptress, or was he? Then the canvas is hijacked. And now he’s facing an inquiry into the events of the night…
A soft drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other, I stood in the shadows a few bar stools away from an experienced but still attractive red-head, staring through the semi-darkness past the patrons into the large hall beyond the bar where the guests were beginning to knot in numbers approaching dozens. The red-head may or may not have been waiting for me to say something. I didn’t. I was reflecting on my new-found duties–to assist with security at some high-class function. A floor manager in disguise, the anonymous guest to circulate and keep an eye on the other guests.
Fordsburg Apology – Tom Rhoyd
4300 words Crime Fiction
It’s Friday night in a seamy side of Jozi. Two Muslim families are at each other’s throats. A son has been kidnapped. A black PI is in hot pursuit of a fat reward for his return. Then he finds himself in the role of a mediator…
On a Friday evening I was squeezing the scrawny neck of a small-time crook. I had him over the snooker table bent all the way back and his legs thrashing the air. If that doesn’t sound like much fun, it wasn’t. Not for the man whose throat I was squeezing. As for me, I was just plain short of patience—it was way past the hour when any hard working man should be locking the office door behind him and looking for some weekend leisure time. That some things go with the territory didn’t improve my mood.
Springtime – Tom Rhoyd
2000 word Historical / Mystery
Does the nurse of a wounded British soldier still wait for his return in a country hotel, as local folklore has it? The new guest is sceptical but is unsettled by inexplicable events during a stormy night.
A little before six of a springtime evening I drove into Dullstroom. At this time of year the wide banks of the river under the low bridge are bedecked in orange and white lilies, and along the verge of the road under the blue-gums, Highland roses spread their turgid pink and white displays. I saw none of that. I was nursing the Landy along with one tyre torn—courtesy of a sharp-edged pothole as wide as the jaws of a great white. I avoided the parking lot outside the Inn and pulled into the walled yard at the back. It had been the coach yard of old, remnants of stables still stood around the walls. By this time the tyre was slap-slapping the ground with a noise loud enough to wake the dead. I was not in a good mood.
The Good Son – Part 1 – Tom Rhoyd
2150 words Crime Story
A private investigator is tasked with finding a missing college student, whose mother runs a fashion empire and thinks he may be the target of hired killers. The PI discovers that the missing son was visiting a drug den in the urban wasteland of an inner-city suburb…
I ducked around the ornamental pool with the two large stone eagles guarding its end and pulled up outside the mansion. On top of the steps sweeping up to the front door, two dark-suited gents were watching sullenly. I wondered if the wheels had perhaps kicked up some dirt. As I climbed the steps, I recognized them as the two bodyguards I had run into the day before at The Rock. They had exchanged their pork-pie hats for dark fedoras that went with their charcoal gray suits, white shirts, and large red ties. And they sported some serious artillery
The Good Son – part 2 – Tom Rhoyd
1800 words Crime
A Johannesburg PI finds the missing son in a drug den where he is being held to ransom for unpaid debt. After paying the druglord to secure his release, the PI discovers that hired killers are waiting for them outside in the street …
As I pulled in to the kerb, a man wearing a grubby T-shirt and a yellow hazard vest suddenly appeared to assert his claim to a parking fee. He was bent double like someone with a serious case of belly ache, and corkscrewing his arm into the ground to show me how I must turn the wheel. When I got out, I stuck a large blue sign on the window: POLICE—OFFICIAL BUSINESS. I thought it was good for at least an hour’s undisturbed parking. I was half way across the road when the parking instructor and two of his mates disappeared around the corner. Then I entered The Majestic.
The Good Son – part 3 – Tom Rhoyd
1900 word Crime Story
After rescuing the missing son from a drug den, a Johannesburg private investigator is followed on the highway while speeding back to the mother’s Soweto mansion. He lands up being stuck in the mud next to a lake – and shots sound as the killers move in …
The big man repeated the message: “The boss wants the kid out now.” My eyes returned from scanning the street. The dark discs of his shades hid his face. “Follow me,” he said. “I will meet you outside the basement garage.” Then he ducked away from the car and hustled across the road. I found the entrance to the garage in an alley along one side of The Majestic. The big guy was standing in the dark opening and waved me in. Away from daylight, the place was dark. I parked in the first open space I saw—I didn’t think it mattered.
The Rider at Sunset – Tom Rhoyd
1900 words Historical / Mystery
A historian encounters a stranger on horseback at an Anglo-Boer war battle site in the veld. The stranger asks strange questions, and an even stranger discussion takes place back at the local hotel when the full moon is rising that night…
The mounted horseman stood off the rough track under the trees while looking at the country around him. A close observer might have thought that he had the air of a man who had arrived at his destination without remembering the journey. And because he had come to it not by the usual landmarks, it all looked strangely different. To his left, the sun was low on the horizon formed by the crest of rising ground; behind him, the track crossed a spruit and carried on through the trees. In front of him, the stream cut a wide swathe through rich grassland, its course rimmed by tall trees. The horseman was not wholly unfamiliar with his surroundings. But he kept up his steadfast observation of the landscape as if details of its features would relieve a confused memory.
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