Silverlink Writing Group: The Writers

 

Heather Hanlon

 

Hi I'm H. W. Hanlon.

I was born in Newcastle upon Tyne and have live there all my life.

Having worked away from home for a short while, I was based in Dorset.

I write science fiction and fantasy, most of the time.

In the past I have had a poem published in a local magazine and won second prize in a Star Trek poem competition.  At another Star Trek Convention I entered my first short story and won The Best Novice Award for it.

Email me  hw3hanlon@yahoo.co.uk

Please visit my website  hwhanlon.yolasite.com

Here follows samples of my work:

Page last up dated 3 October 2011

SWG August 2011 Competition. First line: The vulture picked at the remains in its enclosure... You only have 500 words to tell your story.

Word Count = 500

RUNNER UP OF AUGUST 2011 COMPETITION

STORY A:

Zoo Nights

 

The vulture picked at the remains in its enclosure as the visitors looked on.  The keeper shouted to clear the area.  The visitors were escorted away from the vulture enclosure.

The police arrived promptly.

The vultures were ushered back into their house and locked inside as police and their forensic team began the painstaking process of collecting the evidence.  The body turned out to be human, a petty thief.

So why was he discarded like a piece of rotten meat?

The Detective watched the remains being removed.

“Sir, we found his wallet.  It has money, credit cards and a business card still in it.”  the policewoman handed the Detective, the wallet in a plastic evidence bag.

“Thank you.”  the card caught his eye.

The Detective rang the number on the business card.

“This is the Dempsey Detective Agency.  Leave your name and number after the bleep and we’ll get back to you.”

The police Detective smiled as he left his name and number.

The returned call came quickly.

“Well brother long time.”

“You dealing with Jonny Riker?”  the Detective asked.

“Yes he had information on a case.  Why?”

“He turned up dead at the zoo.”

“Oh!”

“What case?”  Detective Dempsey asked.

“The girl that was kidnapped and the ransom paid a few weeks ago?”  the private eye answered.

“The girl was returned unharmed.  What about it.”

“Riker was supposed to meet me last night at the zoo gates.  He never showed.”

“Yes he did, someone fed him to the vultures.”

“Fed him...  Meet me in my office.  See if we can figure out who murdered him.”

“Be there in fifteen minutes.”  Detective Dempsey said, “Officer Cole can you rush this wallet to fingerprints.”

The Detective handed the wallet back to the policewoman.  “Yes Sir.”

The private eye’s office was seedy and rundown.  Detective Dempsey pushed open the unlocked door.

“Burt you here?”

“Right behind you.”

“Wish you wouldn’t do that.”  Detective Dempsey said.

“Always could sneak up on you.  Why is my door open, I locked it?”

They entered.

The room was a mess, paperwork everywhere.

“You need a cleaner.”

“Someone was looking for something.”  Burt picked up some of the files.

“Let’s see if we can figure out what.”

They found the empty file for the kidnapping.

Burt went over and pulled a piece of skirting board off the wall.  Behind it was a small metal box, inside a memory stick.

“Always have a backup.”  Burt plugged it into his computer.

The brothers looked over names on a list, one leapt out.

“I know Beckett.  He was one of the suspects.  He had an alibi.  I’ll take another look.”

Fingerprints on the wallet and in office were those of Beckett.

Beckett’s alibi fell apart on closer inspection and money was found hidden in his house.  Beckett confessed to the kidnapping and murder.

Riker was his partner; Beckett refused to give him his share. They struggled; Beckett hit Riker over the head with a rock and killed him.

SWG July 2011 Competition. Choose from four pictures. You only have 500 words to tell your story.

Word Count = 500

RUNNER UP OF JULY 2011 COMPETITION

STORY A:

THE LAUGHING DOG

The noise of chatter, laughter and the clink of glasses could be heard outside on the street.

The bar staff wondered how some of the party goers travelled to The Laughing Dog, as some of the costumes worn, were revealing or bulky, the belly dancer beside the fire, the black bear standing by the door, his head under his arm, trying to get some air.

The landlord was getting ready the prizes, time to judge the costumes.

“Attention everybody!” the landlord shouted.

The chatter stilled. The landlord picked several people to go and stand by the bar. A few people whispered to their neighbours at the selection the landlord made.

A cowboy, a woman in a medieval dress, a vampire, an alien in a spacesuit, the belly dancer and a Klingon.

“From you a winner will be chosen. Step forward one at a time, the one with the loudest applause, wins.” the landlord held up a small silver cup and a bottle of whiskey.

The cowboy swaggered forward and raised his hat. His spurs rattled as he walked. He stepped back as the applause died down.

The woman in the medieval costume glided forward and smiled shyly. Her applause lasted less time than that of the cowboy.

The vampire pushed his teeth in and stepped forward with a flourish of his cloak. His friends, whooped and clapped.

Next the alien stepped carefully forward, his boots seemed too big for him. His large head inside a big clear bowl, his eyes big and black. The room exploded. His grey skin under the helmet, flushed green and he hurried back to his place by the bar.

The belly dancer swivelled her way forward, clicking small cymbals in her fingers. There were whistles as she flashed smiles at the male party goers. The applause was loud.

The Klingon marched forward and growled in the belly dancers ear. She retreated back to the bar. The Klingon beat his chest and growled again. His eyes were wild and blood shot. Nervous laughter and applause, but again not as loud as the alien.

“I think we have a winner.” the landlord smiled and pointed at the alien.

The alien looked around as he stepped forward to claim his prize. The Klingon pulled the alien back and took his place.

“No not you, the alien won.” the landlord just looked at the Klingon and he backed down.

“That puny little creep don’t even drink.” the Klingon growled.

The alien took the cup offered, but shook his hand at the whisky, pointing at the Klingon.

“Looks like you get this anyway.” the landlord handed the bottle over.

The Klingon took a swig and held the bottle above his head as he whooped.

The alien left The Laughing Dog pub, a new spring in his step. In a dark corner of the car park he entered his vehicle.

The party goers turned as one and looked out the windows as a bright light took off skyward.

 

 SWG July 2011 Competition. Choose from four pictures. You only have 500 words to tell your story.

Word Count = 397

WINNER OF JULY 2011 COMPETITION

STORY B:

ALL CHANGE!

“Rib-bit, rib-bit...” the frog sat on a rock on the edge of a small island in the centre of a pond.

A fly flew low in front of the frog; it vanished in a blink of an eye. Lunch!

A slender figure with blonde flowing locks carefully picked her way down the hillside, holding her skirts high out of the mud. She smiled when she saw the frog.

“My! What a handsome frog. I must kiss you.” she frowned as she realized the frog was beyond her reach.

“Rib-bit, rib-it...”

She looked around, “Oh, a boat.”

The boat was tied up at a small jetty a short walk away. The young woman made her way to it.

The jetty quivered under her weight, which was not much as her clothes were made of silk.

The jetty was old and some of the boards were rotten. With care she untied the rope and got into the boat. It rocked for a moment as she settled down.

The oars were big and clumsy; she struggled with them for awhile before she managed to get the boat moving. Slowly!

“Rib-bit, rib-bit...”

“I’m coming, my love.”

“Rib-bit, rib-bit...”

The boat scrapped the rock. The frog blinked at her.

“Rib-bit, rib-bit...”

“Oh you gorgeous, handsome frog. Come to me.” she scooped the frog up in both hands and planted a big sloppy kiss on his lips.

“RIB-BIT!” the frog wiped his lips with his front legs and blinked back at the woman.

“Why are you not changing? You should become my Prince.” her bottom lip quivered.

“Rib-bit?”

“All kissed frogs turn into princes. Why not...”

The frog began to get heavier. The young woman dropped him to the bottom of the boat.

He began to change, to grow bigger. She moved to the back of the boat as the frog took up more space. He changed colour, from dark green to brown. Hair began to sprout. The shape of his face took a different form.

But not that of a handsome prince.

“Oh! My!” the young woman put her hands to her mouth.

“Ruff, ruff.”

“A dog? Oh I know you!” she began to laugh, a silly giggle at first then almost hysterical laughter.

“Ruff?”

“You’re our gardener’s dog. We wondered where you had gone.”

“Ruff?”

“Welcome back Prince.” she patted him on the head and he licked her hand.

 SWG July 2011 Competition. Choose from four pictures. You only have 500 words to tell your story.

Word Count = 502

STORY C:

DRINKS FOR EVERYONE<

Derek propped up his favourite bar from his usual seat at the end of it. He could see all those who came or went using the main door.

Looking at his watch he knew she would arrive soon.

Ruby dress, raven hair and eyes of emerald.

Perfection.

He smiled at her. Their eyes met for the briefest of moments. He was not what she was looking for.

A young man stood and smiled. She greeted him.

They talked for a time and left.

Derek finished his drink; it was time for him to leave too. Back home to an empty flat.

He would return again and maybe she would seek him out.

Days passed as he waited for his moment.

Perfection came and went, but only from a distance.

Still their eyes would meet and then move on.

Derek longed for her to notice him, sitting waiting for her.

It happened; it caught Derek by surprise when she walked over to him.

“I have seen you before.” her voice sounded like velvet, deep and rich.

Derek felt his knees shake, he whispered, “This is my local.”

“I am Selene.”

“Derek.”

“White wine.”

“Please sit.” Derek pulled as chair closer to him.

She slide onto the barstool and crossed her legs.

Derek’s eyes widened as the side split in her dress opened to reveal more of her long legs.

The drinks arrived as they talked.

Derek was breathless.

Close up she was flawless.

Selene eyed the door. “Could we leave?”

“Where would you like to go?”

“Somewhere close by.”

“My place is just around the corner.”

She smiled.

He helped her from the stool. Her hand was soft and cool.

They left.

Derek opened the door and allowed Selene to enter first. Her perfume over whelmed.

“Go straight down the hall.”

“Nice place.”

“Thanks. Please take a seat.”

Selene sat down on the sofa and patted the seat next to her.

Derek joined her. She placed his hand on her leg.

“Do you like this?”

“Yes.” Derek said

She moved his hand up her thigh.

A loud knock at the door.

“Must get that.”

“Hurry.”

“Yes, can I help?”

“We are doing a canvas of the area. There have been several murders locally.”

“Yes officer, I had heard.”

“They centre on The Butchers Arms pub. Have you seen anything over the last three weeks?”

“No, I go in there all the time.”

“Here if you think of anything give us a call.” the officer hand Derek a card.

“Thanks.” Derek returned to Selene.

They smiled at each other.

Perfection was now his. Derek wrapped his arms around Selene and began to kiss her.

The front door was kicked in and several armed police officers entered.

“What?”

“GET AWAY FROM HER.” an officer shouted.

Derek staggered back as Selene opened her mouth and extended her fangs.

“Shit!”

The room was filled with gunshots.

Usual seat in the usual place.

“Drinks for everyone. I need to celebrate. I had a lucky escape.

 10 January 2011

Mind’s Eye

 

That strange place I call my mind.

A confusing place of image and word.

Of  T.V. and cinemascope as one.

A place to go and hide.

To live a life you want and can reset whenever you don’t care for it.

A place of colours bright or not.

Of warmth or the arctic stretching far.

A place where you have all you need or ever want.

To live in a castle or house.

Of money and fame.

The novel written and movie made.

You star in it, and know your lines.

To be you or someone else.

To have a voice and play whatever instrument you like in perfect tune.

The thoughts come and go.

Some stay, to fill the space others drift away never to return.

A place of impossible dreams.

Of places long gone, of places yet to be.

You are perfection within, even if not without.

That strange place I call my mind.

SWG October 2010 Competition.  Your first line is: He closed the shutters...  You only have 500 words to tell your story.

Word Count = 499

RUNNER UP OF OCTOBER 2010 COMPETITION

STORY B:

WOODSPIRIT

He closed the shutters on the setting sun.

The evening meal was already on the table as Jack took his place.  The door was flung open by a large man in the uniform of the King’s Guard.

“YOU, OUTSIDE!”  the guard grabbed Jack and dragged him to the door.

“What have I done?”  Jack asked as he stumbled out of his home.

“The King wants to see you.”

*****

Jack stood trembling in front of the throne.  The King looked down at him.

“This is the man?”  the King asked.

“Yes Sire.  He is the carpenter of the village.”  The guard answered.

“Good.  I want you to make me a cradle for my unborn child.  You have until my child is born to finish it.  This cradle must be fit for a Prince.”

“Yes Sire.  I will start it in the morning.”

“No you will start now.”

“Sire, I must choose the tree.  I can only do this in daylight.  I must find the best for your child.  Sire, forgive me for disobeying your orders.”

“Not many would stand up for themselves.  It pleases me that you did.  You are forgiven.”  The King dismissed Jack with a wave of a hand.

*****

The morning was bright and clear, when Jack walked into the forest.  He looked long and hard for the right tree.  It stood tall and straight in the middle of the clearing.

The clearing was a forbidden place.  A place where magic was practiced.

Jack felled the tree.  When it hit the ground the sound echoed around the clearing.

The tree was sacred.  Protected by those who worshiped nature.

Jack cut what wood he needed and bore it home.

*****

The wood parted as Jack worked; the cradle slowly rose out of the log, ornate and majestic.  It was fit for a Prince.

Jack carefully placed it in his handcart; slowly he carried it to the castle.

He placed it before the King.

“My, that is a fine piece of work.  You have done well.  My son is not yet born but soon he will be.”

“I am glad you like it.  Sire, I am honoured.”  Jack backed away leaving the King running his hands over the ornate carvings.

*****

The Queen gave birth a few days later.

The Princess was beautiful as she lay in the cradle.

The King stood watching and smiled.  Not the prince he wanted but a fine, healthy child.

A shadow fell across the cradle and the child whimpered.  Her face contorted as the spirit of the tree took hold of her.

All in the room looked on, unable to do anything to stop it.

The child now belonged to the spirit; only the magic of the forest would save her.

The King called Jack back.

“Where did you get the wood?”

“From the clearing.”

“There must be a sacrifice, to please the spirits of the forest.”

Jack felt ill.  He knew who would be the sacrifice.  He had not chosen his wood well.

 

Your story is set in or around a DOLL'S HOUSE.  You only have 500 words to tell your story.

Word Count = 503

RUNNER UP OF SEPTEMBER 2010 COMPETITION

STORY D:

After Image.

 

The hammer came down on the podium.

Jenny smiled as the doll’s house was carefully carried away.  It belonged to her now.

A perfect copy of the house she now lived in.

It had taken over a year to track it down.

Jenny had found an article in a newspaper clipping she had found under the carpet in the old nursery at the top of the house.

A photograph had been taken outside the house, with the doll’s house sitting on the top step.  Sitting next to the doll’s house was a little girl smiling.

The article told the story of how the girl’s father had built it for her and that the photo was the last one taken before the girl had died in an accident a few weeks later.

The doll’s house was well crafted.  Jenny placed it on a table in the nursery.

“Pretty!”  Dan said as he wrapped his arms around his new wife.

“Yes it is.”  Jenny turned smiling, putting her arms around his neck and gave him a kiss.

“You really think it is the one in the paper?”  Dan asked.

“Yes it is.  Come on bed time.”  Jenny pulled Dan out of the nursery.

Jenny woke with a start.  She lay still in bed as she listened to the tiny footsteps on the floor above.  She had never heard them before.

Carefully Jenny got out of bed.  Dan pulled the duvet over his head.

Jenny crept up the nursery stairs.  At the top she opened the door slowly.

A glow came from the centre of the room.

Jenny put a hand over her mouth and her eyes grew wide at the sight of a small girl playing with the doll’s house.

It was the girl from the photo.

Jenny could hear the child humming and chatting as she played.

Pushing the door wider Jenny entered.

“Hello.”  Jenny spoke quietly.

The child did not notice Jenny, not until she hungered down next to the doll’s house.

“Hello.”  she answered.

“What’s your name?”  Jenny asked.

“April.”  she turned back to her play.

“What are you doing here?”

“I live here.  This is my room.”  April looked into Jenny’s eyes.

“No I live here now.  You used to live here.  That was many years ago.”

“NO!  My room.  GET OUT.”  April stepped forward and Jenny fell over in surprise.

Jenny sat on the floor as April stormed over to the other side of the room and into a dark corner.  As Jenny stood, she took her eyes off the child.

Jenny was alone in the nursery.  April had disappeared.

Dan almost fell out of bed as Jenny woke him and excitedly told him about April.

“You were dreaming.  Go back to sleep.”  Dan pulled the duvet out of Jenny’s hands.

“Come on up.”

“Then can I go back to sleep?”

As they walked up the stairs they heard April.

Dan stood shaking, as April faded as dawn lit the room.

“I told you this house was special.

Your story is set in or around a DOLL'S HOUSE.  You only have 500 words to tell your story.

Word Count = 353 

4th PLACE SEPTEMBER 2010 COMPETITION

STORY B:

A Knock at the Door

The front door flew open, there silhouetted in the doorway stood the monster.

Fat and furry, it just sat there rubbing its face with two small pink hands.  Black beady eyes stared into the hallway.

Suzie froze with fear, Dolly in the living room shouted, “Who is it Suzie?”

Silence came from the hall, until the monster waddled forward.

Suzie fainted and fell where she was standing.

Suzie, Suzie.”  Dolly yelled as she ran into the hall.  She skidded to a holt as her eyes met those of the monster.

She grabbed the broom that was leaning up against the wall next to her and began to hit the monster.

It squealed as it turned and fled.

“Suzie, Suzie, speak to me!”  Dolly scooped her friend up in her arms.

“Yes.  Is it gone?”  asked Suzie.

“Yes, until the next time.”

“What is it and why does it come here?”  Suzie asked her friend.

“It’s Amy’s pet hamster.  She lets it run free on the floor of her room.

“What’s a pet hamster?”

“Suzie you’re new here.  So I’ll explain.  It is a small animal that will eat anything.  See over there.”  Dolly pointed out the front door.  Sitting across the room was an old teddy bear with a large colourful patch on his leg.

“Oh yes, I see.”  Suzie said.

“The hamster nibbled his leg and pulled out his stuffing.  Amy’s mum wanted to throw Teddy out, but Amy made quite a fuss.  So her mum repaired Teddy’s leg.”

Teddy raised an arm and waved at them.  Suzie and Dolly waved back.

The bedroom door opened and Amy came in.

“Oh Charlie, come here.”  Amy scrabbled around on the floor until she picked up Charlie and put him back in his cage.

The front of the doll’s house opened up.

“Oh there you are!”  Amy picked up both Suzie and Dolly.

She smiled as she played with the dolls and their house.

Charlie ran around in his cage plotting his next move to get rid of Amy’s toys, so he would be the centre of Amy’s world.

Silverlink Writing Group June 2010 Competition: 500 words:Two objects: A wallet and a box. Location: A museum. 

Word count = 504

JOINT THIRD


STORY C 

Held in the Heart

Kate entered the museum.  She shivered at the change of temperature.

“Excuse me?  We need to see Professor McKay.”  Kate asked at the information desk.

“Please take a seat.”  the info woman dialled an extension.

Professor McKay arrived.  He smiled at the young woman.

“Hello, how can I help?”

“Professor McKay, I was told to give you this box.”  Kate handed him a wooden box.

“Thank you.  Who told you to give me this?”  McKay held up the box.

“My mother.”  said Kate.

“And she is?”  McKay asked.

“Annie Simons.”

The Professor went white. “You okay?”  Kate asked. “Yes.  Tell me about her?” “What’s there to tell?”  Kate said confused. The Professor opened the box and picked up his wallet, inside he found his old ID card for the museum.

“How is Annie?”

“She’s in hospital.”  Kate answered.

“I must go and see her.”

“I’m visiting her tonight.  We could meet at the hospital?”  said Kate.

“Six-thirty.”  McKay said.

“See you then.”

Kate left McKay sitting on the bench.

* * * * *

The Professor met Kate as planned.When they reached the ward the doctor greeted them.

“Miss Simons we are moving your mother to a private room.”

“How is she?”  McKay asked his voice edged with panic.

The doctor looked from McKay to Kate.

“Please tell us.”  Kate asked.

“Her health is failing.”

“You still don’t know what’s wrong?”  Kate asked.

“Every time we think we know, a new symptom comes to light.”  the doctor was unable to meet anyone’s eyes.

“This sounds familiar.”  McKay thought a moment, “...Yes I remember the research Annie was working on.”

“What are you talking about?”  Kate asked McKay.

“She was doing research for me, before you were born.  Has she been to South America?”

“Yes, she went off backpacking for a couple of months.  She was sick when she returned last week.”  said Kate.

“I need to see Annie’s research?”  McKay asked.

* * * * *

McKay looked at Annie’s research on her laptop.He smiled as he dragged Kate back to the museum.

McKay and Kate went through many storage boxes hidden in the bowels of the museum.  Until they found what they were looking for.

* * * * *

Annie opened her eyes, Kate and McKay looked back at her.

“What happened?”

“The Professor saved you.”  Kate smiled.

“You set an ancient curse in motion with your research.  I reversed it, by reading a stone tablet aloud and placing this artifact on your heart.  Both of which we found in the museum.”  McKay held a strange lizard shape in one hand and the stone tablet in the other.

“How did I get cursed?”  Annie asked.

“In one of the temples you read out loud a text that started all this.  I saw the video of the text on your laptop.”

“It’s been a long time McKay.”  Annie said.

“Yes.  Your daughter is really nice.”  McKay smiled.

“I know.  Thank you for the dedication in your book.”  Annie smiled back.

“When did you last see each other?”  Kate asked.

They both just smiled.

 

BATTLES WON!

 

            The weapons hung on one wall of the room; some looked well used while others were brightly polished.  On the other walls hung tapestries depicting scenes of battles fought and won.

            Candles flickered in their holders, some attached to the walls and others in elaborate iron candelabras that stood on the floor.

     A fire crackled in the large stone fireplace.  It had not been tended for awhile.  Two large winged chairs sat either side of the fireplace.  One was occupied.

            The figure sat staring into the glowing embers.  A sword rested against the arm of the chair.  A thin trickle of blood ran down the blade and pooled on the stone flagged floor. 

            A wisp of hair fell across the stern face of the warrior.

            It had been a long day and many had died on the battlefield.  The victory was something that would not be celebrated.

            The warrior struggled to stand as the door opened.

          “You are hurt!” the young servant said as he helped the warriorstand.

           “Yes.  I was stabbed in the ribs.  I will be fine.  It is nothing.”  the warrior stood tall, only for a moment until the pain took over.

            “I will get the healer.  Come, I will help you to your bedchamber.”  the servant put an arm around the waist of the warrior and they walked slowly towards the staircase.

            The servant left the warrior lying on the bed and went to get the healer.

            “You were right to get me.  The wound was infected.  I have cleaned it and it should heal well.  No more battles for awhile.  Rest is needed, you will see to it?”

            “Yes Healer, I will do as you ask.”  the servant said as he bowed his head.

            The days went by as the warrior healed and began to practice with sword and lance.

~~~

            The battle was fierce and the blood that spilt turned the ground into a slippery quagmire.

            Warriors clashed with sword and shield, slipping and sliding.  Gaining ground; pushing back the enemy, to take back more of their land.

     This battle would win the war, with peace returning to the land.  A little longer and victory would be theirs.

       The warrior saw the leader of the enemy close by and raised a blood curdling cry.  Other warriors moved aside or were pushed.

            Both leaders stood for a moment and looked at each other.  Then swords clashed as the warriors hit out at each other.  Both were strong, one had the edge, the sword slipped between the ribs of the enemy leader.  He fell to his knees; the look of surprise upon his face, their eyes met.

    Anger filled those eyes that stared back.  The enemy tried to call out as the sword was withdrawn from his body.  Too late his life was almost gone.  His eyes flickered as blood oozed from his wound.

      His wife had told him, he would die this way.

            He had not expected it would be by her hand.

 

Silverlink Writing Group Competition August 2008:- 500 words starting with The lights went out?

Word count 499 (excluding title)

Boom, Crack, Crack, Boom!

 

The lights went out, as the door closed a heavy bolt slid across and locked tight.

She ran to the door and banged on it with both hands until they bled.

She sat on the floor and leaned back against the wall. Blinking the tears from her eyes, as she tried to focus on the far wall.

The room was so dark that she could barely see her hand in front of her face.

How had this happened? How had she ended up locked away in this cellar?

If only she had not over heard them talking, she would have gone home none the wiser.

By tomorrow the bank robbery would be over and maybe they would let her go, it was the only outcome she could hope for.

Voices came from the room above. Sounds not words.

A muffled boom, then a thud made her jump.

More voices, this time from outside. Another muffled boom then several cracks.

Silence.

Muffled banging, then more voices, footsteps running across the floor above.

She heard the bolt being pulled and the door was flung open.

Pulling herself away from the wall and stepping backwards towards the centre of the room, the light from the doorway made her blink.

The silhouette that was framed by the light frightened her. Gun in hand, the tall figure stepped into the room.

"Its alright, we?re here to rescue you. I?m a police officer."

Her knees gave way and she sank to the floor, then began to sob.

The officer helped her up and led her to the stairs.

On the floor above the sun light was bright. She shielded her eyes.

She gasped at several bodies lying on the floor. The officer ushered her out the front door. Sitting her down in a patrol car the officer started to ask questions.

"What's your name?"

"Molly Goldberg."

"How did you end up here?"

"I over heard them planning a robbery. They grabbed me and brought me here. I thought they were going to kill me."

"I see. We?ve been keeping an eye on this house. Where did you over hear them?"

"Where I work at the council offices. They were looking at plans. They grabbed me when I went to lunch."

"Did they hurt you?"

"No I?m fine now."

"So where were these plans for?"

"The bank on the High Street."

"Just wait here. I need to talk to my colleagues." the officer returned to the house.

He came back a few minutes later.

"I'll drop you off at the hospital, where you can get checked over to make sure you?re ok. We?ll take a statement later."

Later Molly was watching the news?

"Savers Bank was robbed earlier today. The robbers were dressed as police officers?" the newscaster said.

"Oh my!? said Molly as she stared at the television in disbelief. She still had not given her statement, but then again were they real police officers that had rescued her or just another set of robbers."

 

Winter’s End : A New Life

 

Snow lies upon the earth

All is bare,

All is cold and white

The sun brings upon the earth

A little green shoot

A little white head bowed down

The snowdrop brings hope

The Spring has come at last

Winter’s End : A New Life

 

THE FLYING KETTLE

 

The kettle crashed through the window and landed among the bright pink blooms in the flowerbed. The last of the water from the kettle drained into the soil.

“Missed me!” Johnny grinned as he stood up.

“GET OUT!” Carole yelled as she picked up a plate from the table.

“Now honey, let’s talk.” Johnny held his hands up in front of him.

“Talk… Talk, it’s past that time.” Carole threw the plate, like a Frisbee at him.

Johnny ducked as the plate hit him on the shoulder. It wasn’t funny anymore.

“BITCH!” Johnny growled as he clutched his shoulder and took several large steps towards the door. A wooden spoon hit the doorframe just above his head.

“Get out. This is the last time you’ll let me down.” Carole said, her last words tumbled out.

Johnny ran through the door. Carole heard the front door slam shut. She sank down into the chair next to her. She rested her arms on the dinning room table. Her tears flowed freely. It was over.

~~~

Johnny punched the roof of his car. He was angry with Carole for pointing out that he had let her down again. Of course she was right he had let her down. He had tried but it always backfired.

The party had been held at a very expensive hotel that Carole’s bosses had hired to impress their new clients. The deal was worth thousands and Carole was one of the team that had landed the account.

Johnny had accompanied Carole to the party. All was well at first. Johnny smiled and talked to the other guests. Until boredom set in. He began to drink. Carole had told him to have only one or two drinks that evening. As his voice got louder the other guests stared at him and avoided him as he started to stagger from group to group of guests.

Carole took his glass from his hand and tried to lead him away.

“Now come on baby, lets party.” Johnny shouted as he pulled away form Carole and tried to dance. He fell over.

“Get up, will you get up. Everyone’s looking.” Carole hissed.

“Baby, come on down here!” Johnny reached up and grabbed Carole’s wrist. She pulled away as Johnny lost his grip on her. She went flying into a group of guests, one of which was her boss.

“Carole?” her boss pushed her to one side as he sat up. He had been holding a plate with some sort of cream cake on it. Now he was wearing it on his very expensive hand-made suit.

Carole sat sprawled on the floor, around her were most of the executives from the wristwatch company whose account her advertising company had just landed.

Her heart sunk. Johnny grinned and laughed. He looked so foolish, but he did not seemed to care.

The room was silent. Moments past that seemed like hours. Carole slowly regained her dignity, by pulling her skirt down and carefully standing. Slowly, deliberately she took her first steps to the door. She held her head up high and ignored Johnny as he called out to her. Her eyes fixed on the door on the other side of the room.

“Where you going baby? The night is young. Come on let’s dance.” Johnny rolled over onto his hands and knees. He tried to stand, his legs were not his own any more. He had no control over them. Johnny gave up and lay face down on the floor. He began to giggle uncontrollably.

Carole continued to focus on the door in front of her, she could not make eye contact with her work colleagues. She was so embraced. Reaching the door she darted through it and into the reception area. All she had to do was walk to the outer door of the hotel. It felt like hours but was only two minutes. Carole pushed open the outer door, cool fresh air hit the hot skin on her face. Outside she slipped into the entrance of an alley. She placed her hands on her cheeks. They were red hot. It had been so embracing. How could she go back to work. She would have to change jobs. Maybe even move house.

Carole stood shaking in the alley. Some of her colleagues were leaving the hotel. She could see them getting into a taxi. She waited for them to go. Quickly she hailed a taxi. Getting in, she instructed the driver to take her home.

~~~

Carole closed the front door and leaned on it for a moment. Then she started to remove her clothes as she headed for the bathroom. She turned on the shower and stepped in. Warm water mingled with her tears as she stood leaning against the cold tiles, she sobbed loudly. Slowly she sank down and hugged her legs.

Her life was gone. She must start again. But how? What could she do?

Remove Johnny first.

Carole pulled herself up by the edge of the shower screen. Carefully she stepped out and wrapped a towel around herself. She dried herself and went to bed.

Carole cried herself to sleep.

~~~

No phone calls, no one knocked on the door. Carole woke late on Sunday morning. Her head ached as she sat up with a start. Was it all a dream? She lurched to the bedroom door. A trail of clothes led form the front door. No it wasn’t a dream. Johnny must have gone back to his place. Should she ring him? No, he was now out of her life, all she had to do was tell him.

Carole got dressed and sat down to breakfast. A key turned in the lock. Johnny entered.

“Hi honey.” Johnny smiled, “I’ll have coffee.”

He sat down at the table opposite her.

“I didn’t say you could come in.” Carole pushed her chair back and stood up.

“Great party last night”

“Do you remember what happened? Carole switched on the kettle.

“Yeah, sure I do. Sort of.”

“You embarrassed me, in front of my colleagues. Now I’ll have to get a new job. Start my life over again.”

“I don’t think it was that bad. Really!” Johnny said as he stood and stepped back.

Carole raised the kettle and threw it at Johnny. He ducked. It went through the window and landed in the flowerbed outside.

 

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