‘E’ Wing – Martin Gosling
2600 words Horror / General / Fantasy
Brogan is beginning a six year sentence for the manslaughter of a prison officer. He is unrepentant and is temporarily lodged in the derelict former execution wing of the prison where he is held. A battle of wills and wits ensues. He suspects that he is being subjected to an elaborate treatment programme designed to shock him into remorse and rehabilitation. But all is not as it seems.
‘Killing Senior Officer Stewart was murder, plain and simple. And we both know, Brogan, that you should have been given Life.’ Brogan glared his defiance at the Governor and sensed the unease of the younger of the two prison officers who had brought him from his cell. He almost spat his reply. ‘The point is that they chose to call it Manslaughter and six years is what I got.’
13 Superstition Drive – Peter Lingard
3000 words Fantasy / Horror
A long empty, seemingly benign house wants to again enjoy days of caring, warmth and happiness.
I’d had enough. My life was crumbling around me. At my peak, I was worth something in excess of a million dollars. That was before ‘the incident’; the incident that ruined my existence. The murders took place in 1946. Sam Clarkson came home from the war and found his wife living with Simon Christie, a man who had evaded war service and made a fortune dealing in rubber and petrol. Sam strangled Christie, caught his fleeing wife, strangled her and then committed suicide. I was an orphan from that moment. No one has cared for me since that day.
A Moving Story – Peter Lingard
3675 word Fantasy
Geoff knew his murdered friend had been unconventional but he was about to learn of another peculiarity.
At breakfast my mother handed me The Herald Sun folded to expose the story of a man killed by the person he had rescued from the Yarra. The rescuer’s name was Michael Dodge. “Think that’s your friend, Gene Simmons didn’t he change his name to Michael Dodge?” she asked. “He was a troubled lad.” “Could be. Do you have a number for him?” “I think so. Somewhere. I heard neither hide nor hair of them since you joined up.”
After Taste – Edward Ahern
2800 words Fantasy Fiction
Frustrating love sometimes survives death.
It began with the toilet seat. It was down. Roger never left the toilet seat down- it had been one of the sore points with Joyce before she divorced him. He squinted early morning eyes and propped the seat back up. His cell phone beeped as he slid a razor down his cheeks. Roger glanced at the heading -a message from Joyce’s sister. He finished shaving, wiped his face, and looked at the text, a broadcast to about twenty people. Joyce was dead. He called the sister without putting the phone back down. “Sarah, Roger. What happened?”
Alfie’s Woods – Rosemary J. Kind
48,000 words Fantasy
Alfie is fascinated when Hedgehog is recaptured following his escape from the Woodland Prison. Too young to understand money laundering, Alfie assumes that Hedgehog should be given sympathy for washing his money.
Hedgehog, overwhelmed that any other creature should care about him, finds the strength to change his life. As an ex-convict Hedgehog meets with opposition at every step and it is only the faith of his friends and their unwavering support that enables him to turn his life round.
Alfie’s Woods is a story of the power of friendship and the difference it can make to all of us.
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Between the Rains – Lilliana Rose
1700 words Fantasy
A pact with Hades to take away your memories may be the best way to live, but the deal comes with a hidden price.
She watches the droplets of rain dribble down the window. The evening shadows conceal me as I watch her, sitting, holding The Record Book. I know what’s about to happen and I swallow the rising bile. Maybe she survived? After the rain is the time for waiting, a time for those left to remember and to nurture those caught in the rain. I wonder how the others are coping. How many were caught this time?
Between Times – Henry Mitchell
7 5* Reviews on Amazon
88,000 word novel Folk / Fairytale
The second book in the Benjamin Drum Trilogy – Spanning three continents and half a century, this is the second in the series of books charting Benjamin Drum’s life. Between Times traces the lives and wanderings of the families along Sorrow Creek in mythical Marshall County, North Carolina.
Fans of The Summer Boy will delight to recognize some familiar characters and discover new ones to love among other mountains where Drum grows up and the Laurel remains as elusive and hidden as it is real and powerful.
Read reviews HERE
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Blood is Thicker Than Dimensions – Chris Cooke
1100 words General / Fantasy
In the real and paranormal worlds, destiny can be linked by shared experience and bloodlines. Can a gambler avoid a gunfight with help from the future?
Jesse Livermore stared at his tormentors, slowly eyeing each one of them as his gaze moved around the poker table. He held the best hand, he knew it . . . but why would Bart Blackwell raise him only to have “One eyed” Jimmy raise again? Jesse smelled a rat. Looking down at his cards Jesse still held four kings. Nothing had changed except that if he called these two men and lost, he would lose his horse, “Cactus Jack” and it was a long walk to Reno from Virginia City.
Brad and Jen – Peter Lingard
2700 words Humour / Fantsy
An ardent fan of Jennifer Anniston is shocked and excited when one of the aliens who move into the next flat masquerades as her.
It was a shock when a thin shaft of light suddenly shone out of a hole in my bedroom wall. How long had the hole been there? Given the busy wallpaper, it could have been a while. What had the previous tenants watched me do? My mind raced back through bedroom time, searching for potential embarrassments. There were a couple but, considering the watchers had gone, I didn’t need to put my head in the oven. I arched my back, bent my knees and looked through the hole. The room was bare. I kept looking, believing that because the room was illuminated, something must happen. My thighs started to ache and I knew I had to re-arrange the furniture.
Bullied on the Bus – James McHarg
4200 words Fantasy / Teen Fiction
Moving to the country was bad enough but now twelve-year-old Jeremy must endure daily bullying. With his mother’s life threatened and his great-granddad close to death, all seems lost. Only a dark family secret might save them, but first he’ll have to turn thirteen.
“Jeremy, please hurry! I can see the bus coming. Come along, quickly now,” Victoria Rayder shouted to the dawdling boy. “Aw, Mom, do I have to go to school? It’s too nice out. Come on, Mom. Please, let me stay home.” Jeremy Rayder dashed up the narrow lane, skidding to a stop in the loose gravel alongside his mother. “Look what I found,” he said excitedly, waving a grasshopper in her face. The bug’s legs clung to his index finger; antennae twitching and eyes bulging out from a blue-green face. “Yes, I see it quite clearly, Jeremy. You don’t have to stick it up my nose.” Jeremy giggled, a playful spark lit up his eyes. “Yeah, and it’s green, too. Just like snot. See!”
Come Tomorrow – Martin Gale
1280 words Horror / Fantasy
Nuclear Terrorism – The Creme de la Creme of suicide bombings
Have you ever been frightened? I don’t mean nervous I mean that cold, empty dread that you feel when they tell you that you might have cancer. Wendy is being sick again but, so far, I feel normal. I have done my best to make the cottage airtight by using anything that comes to hand to seal the windows and doors. We are in what is known technically, I believe, as a Hot Zone.
Essence of Dust – Annette Siketa
6850 words Fantasy / Romance
After rejecting a host of arranged suitors, the wizardene, Sukor, uses her powers to marry the mortal King, Gerrain. But one of the rejected suitors has other ideas, and is determined that if he can’t have her, nobody can.
To the south of the city on the edge of the Great Forest, where the roots of the trees are kissed by the waves of the sea, stand the ruins of a once imperial palace. Directly in front and either side of the crumbling entrance gate, are two weatherworn statues. Once bedecked with gold and jewels, the now naked stone is a reminder of the fickleness of fate. Some of the old ones still worship these statues, for in their hearts’, the tragedy of King Gerrain and Queen Sukor still lingers. The young ones however, regard these symbols of the past with undisguised resentment, for it was the strange, untimely, and simultaneous deaths of the royal couple that instigated the war.
Fang Rot – Teresa Howard
4200 words Fantasy
Wackiness ensues when a lecherous vampire and his long suffering ex-wife consult a dentist in an effort to save him from a dreaded disease.
A horrific screech echoed through the crypt as the massive door was forced open, not an easy feat even for someone with preternatural strength. An all too familiar voice called out a quick greeting. “Hello Jeffrey? Are you risen, Love? Sun’s down and I fancy a bite to eat. Want to join me?” A loud groan answered the cheery call. Jeffrey Bellington-Kemp managed to pull himself up in his coffin and snarl at his ex-wife. “I’m really not feeling up to it tonight, Velda. Go away!” He fell back into the dark satin folds and closed his eyes.
Flight of the Sea Eagle – Dorothy Williams
3200 words General Fantasy
Does the Flight of the Sea Eagle bring a blessing or a curse to a prehistoric couple fatally banished by their isolated tribe after failing to prove themselves strong at initiation? Steadily starving, locked between sea and the mountain Barrier, Moonambel leaves to end it. Sonniel, left alone, sees something fall from the Barrier, before he is led to discover what lies beyond.
It was early dawn when they set out. Frost crackled under the shoes the cobbler had stitched for them in the clear light of their mother – the Moon – full and pregnant, burnished by star shine on the night of the equinox. The eastern sky glowed faintly salmon, the day promising to be bright and fair. As they strode along the cliff top way the first rays of the sun reached out to them across the water, blessing them with a golden promise. They turned to it, hands raised in gratitude, and watched the glittering pathway widen towards them. ‘Our Father blesses us,’ whispered Moonambel, awestruck.
Gavin the Afternoon Angler – Christine Genovese
6000 word Fairytale
This is a modern fairy tale based loosely on Grimm’s story, ‘The Fisherman and his Wife.’
When Gavin discovers some fraudulent goings-on at the museum where he works, his wife decides to use the information to get out of their dismal lodgings and improve their life-style.
This story is included in the collection Thrice Upon a Time
When Gavin woke up at the usual time of 1pm he was pleasantly surprised to see an oblique band of golden sunshine creeping in over the bedroom windowsill. It beckoned him out into the so-called garden – a minuscule pit of a plot next to the steps that led down from street level to the door of their basement flat. It was paved with uneven flagstones, and a few straggly weeds struggled up between them. In the far corner, however, there was a leggy buddleia, and as this was late June the sun was high enough to touch it for a few hours around midday.
Giving It a Rest – Allison Symes
1100 word Fantasy / Science Fiction
Narrated by an alien collector of specimens, disillusioned with their job. They reveal what their job entails and leave evidence to warn humans not every alien is as honourable (by their standards) as this one. They know the consequences of their actions could be fatal.
I’ll leave my notes and universal translator here so you can read why I jacked in my job to explore different worlds for my enjoyment, rather than my bosses’ profit margins. I’m not going into how those profit margins were shared but I’ll be the year’s top earner at the end of this trip if all goes well. It’s why I’ve stuck it out for so long. The penalty for disobedience is an electric shock applied to one’s intimate areas. Not fun I can tell you. I’m still the best worker, despite having the treatment five times, which is why I’m here and not dead.
Gold – Anette Siketa
5000 words Supernatural
Tired, over-worked, and disillusioned with the world, scientist and alchemist Charles Broadside sets out to prove the existence, or otherwise, of the Philosopher’s Stone. But then a mysterious visitor shows him the darker side of wealth & power.
Being orphaned at an early age, I was left in the care of a bachelor Uncle who was a retired Admiral. Considering his former vocation, the family surname of Broadside, was often the subject of many regrettable jokes. He was a rather lively old man, with deep-set brown eyes and shaggy, over-hanging black eyebrows. His weather-beaten face and rubicund nose, were more the result of his years at sea than indulgent living, as was his hobbling gait, for he had lost his lower right leg in a battle.
Green Door – Allison Symes
4000 word Fantasy / Science Fiction
Emily Shanton is lonely, she has recently been forced out of her job. She discovers there is more to her new neighbour, Jemma, than meets the eye. Jemma is everything Emily isn’t: young, outgoing, comfortable socially, but has a secret. Emily discovers, the hard way, what this is.
The blonde woman over the road was painting her front door in British racing green. ‘And about time,’ Emily Shanton told herself, finally letting her brilliant white net curtains drop into their usual position. ‘Given she has visitors at all hours all week her house needs a decent spruce up. Mother said women who always had visitors could never be up to any good. Mother was so right and on so many things.’ Emily paused. I shouldn’t have thought that. Mother would’ve thought it. She relished thinking nastily. Mother was difficult. Will I ever forget about her? I won’t be like her. I won’t. She was a tyrant. I must make myself think nice thoughts.
Heat of the Noon Day Sun – Margaret Pearce
2750 words Fantasy
Why should a brilliantly talented window dresser ever be linked to the odd fact that people from the same store go missing? What have they got to do with his window displays?
At mid-day the sun casts no shadow, so why should I have even suspected? The shadows puddled beneath everyone, as if hiding from the fierceness of the sun. Behind the shelter of my sunglasses and hat brim, everything was two dimensional, stripped and faded of colour, black and glaring white. The street was crowded. We had bumped against each other. He apologised. We exchanged casual words about the crowd and the unseasonable heat. Inside the building my companion still appeared two dimensional, black hair and black eyes in a white face.
Houseboat Dreaming – Suzie Hindmarsh-Knights
2900 words Fantasy / Women’s Fiction
Michael Delaray had it all, a successful business, loving wife and doting children. So why is he on a houseboat, on the beautiful River Murray, alone? The empty bottles of liquor aren’t helping him resolve his problems and just when he sees no way forward a fairy forces him to confront his troubles head on.
From the deck of his houseboat, Michael Delaray shielded his eyes as he looked across a stretch of muddy water, towards the sandstone cliffs towering above the Murray River. The morning sunlight and squawking cockatoos weren’t helping the liquor related thrashing going on behind his eyes. He needed headache pills to dull the pain. He turned from the view to go back inside when a voice stopped him. ‘Hello! Oi you, Ciao.’ Michael turned toward the riverbank where he’d moored the houseboat the previous day. He saw nothing but dry vegetation. And now I’m hearing voices. How much did I drink last night? He turned back to the door.
How the Bones Fell – Kerry Fender
2500 words Action / Fantasy / General Fiction
A momentary loss of control leads to devastating consequences for Leukippos, as the young man desperately tries to win his older brother’s approval.
In the Blood – Jill Bennett
2200 words Fantasy
Mermaid and human blood runs in the veins of two sisters. When the secret of their heritage is discovered, each has to make a choice. Do they stay in the world of their father and risk exploitation or do they take to the sea where their mother waits.
I stand at the window and look out towards the harbour. Eric, carrying Bryony, is standing where the May Princess is berthed, the boat that takes the tourists out to the May Isle. He’s talking to someone, probably a local, but it’s too far for me to make out who it is. He moves on, coming towards me, doing another circuit of the harbour. “Don’t go too near the wall,” I murmur, as the waves break over it. It’s a strange child we have, Eric and I. She loves the sea and every evening, no matter the weather, Eric has to put her in a sling on his front and walk round the harbour. There, she will dance her chubby legs against his body and gurgle her delight. It’s a small price to pay for a good night’s sleep.
Laurel Falls – Henry Mitchell
The third book in the Benjamin Drum Trilogy – Laurel Falls, the third book in the Benjamin Drum trilogy, brings the wandering protagonist home to find himself at last, and a new generation takes up his quest for the Real. Some familiar characters and a few fresh faces throng together to complicate and resolve Drum’s journey. Love prevails and unity is restored, but not without some spell-binding and spell-breaking trials and errors. Secrets are bared and riddles solved, but on the last page, the High Balsams, mountains mysterious and alluring, still loom constant over all. Is this really the end, or another beginning?
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Leather Apron at the Olympics 2012 – Perry McDaid
800 words Fantasy
The digging has disturbed the slumber of the fell spirit which charged Jack The Ripper. Jack was only a body which limited it. It has grown stronger in its slumber and the multitude it can now sense excites. To possess so many. It waits for the optimum time to strike.
The demon which made Jack The Ripper is roused from its enforced dormancy. Something disturbed the spirit which had burrowed deep into the bedrock beneath the Old Ford Lock after The Vessel had been dumped off Lea Bridge. It knew it had been dormant for a time. It had just forgotten how humans measured that most nebulous of concepts. Separation from the host did that. The ruckus continued.
Listen to the Deaf Man Sing – Edward Ahern
3100 words Fantasy
“Listen to the Deaf Man Sing” tells of a man whose unconscious words play like music in listeners’ minds, bringing many to ecstasy and a few to suicide.
One hundred thirty faces canted upward, staring at Stephen. Such smugness, he thought, such presumed entitlement while waiting for this odd little man to speak. An old woman topped with an obvious wig sat in the front row and stared raptly up at him. How much she looks like my mother, who never really listened to me. “There’s no point in taping this, my recorded voice won’t convey what you’ll hear. I speak without a microphone to small groups because electronic amplification strips out the psychic flesh and leaves a shell of words.