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Clouds of Glory
Back in the early 1970's, three ten-year old friends go up town to cause trouble. "The first thing I heard from outside was half-shouted laughter. Shadows moved on our wavy glass. The aluminium letterbox flapped as I wrenched the rain-swelled door open. I knew who it’d be. The time was right. “Comin’ up tahn?” One of them asked, grinning, the other thinking it with a half-smile but looking sideways down the street, uneasy. Kev was always like that. Like all the worst of his past was about to catch up. Happily uneasy though. Adrenalin always flowing. Always on the watch for opportunity . . . Mark grinned again, twitching his arms in his cherished plum and black PVC jacket. He often claimed it was leather, I didn’t mind. My uncle had reckoned leather was silent: “PVC sounds different,” he’d asserted dismissively, probably narked at being shown-off through a gap in the curtains, asleep on the sofa, some weekends back: “That’s my uncle!” I’d announced outside the house to a few mates. But what did he expect, my mother’s brother? At least I’d said it with pride. It wasn’t as if you could see anything but his head. Up in London he worked at Heathrow, and this fact along with the rarity of his presence, made him a minor god . . . and basically, (dog ends circulating in his mug of cold tea), he always lounged till noon on Sundays when he stayed with us; delaying till the whimsy to rise overcame his inertia. Only then, after occupying the solitary bathroom for what seemed hours, would he be ready to head to the pub – him and my dad. Oblivious of time, there they’d soak until the Yorkshire puddings sank and our dinner was dead. Dinner my mum made specially for his visits..."
Grow and Warm the Earth
Everyone hits Paul Doe, the teacher's pet. But what happens when you don't? "I hate geography. Meacher gives me the creeps. He has a high eye-brow smile that is permanently slapped across his boat-race, like he’s posed for a picture and the flash has frozen him in time or a cow-prod has taken him by surprise. He’s got sharp little pincer teeth that threaten to punch holes in your neck if you don’t know a stalactite from a stalagmite. You can hear, then feel his smile before peering up to find him leering down at you doodling in the textbook. The clock is limping by like a crippled tortoise and it’s freezing in 2B. Snow settles around the window seal and icicles have begun to appear from the top of the arched frames. Still too long to go. My mood doesn’t change when Paul Doe pipes up with his usual arse-kissing comments. “Carbon dioxide from burning fuels causes global warming, a process capable of changing the world’s climate significantly.” Bloody text-book whore..."
A woman leaving town decides to have a farewell drink with her ex-partner. "Just one drink to say goodbye, you’d said. Half an hour, tops. I’m off tomorrow. You’re not naïve enough to think that if he comes it means he still cares. That idea is on a par with telling yourself that if all the traffic lights turned green on the way here, he’d fall back in love with you and beg you to stay. Stupid. And they all turned red..."
Brindley Hallam Dennis
You’d be a fool to risk it these days, with no witnesses and only memory to guide you. All you can recall is little details, as sharp as a story painted on shattered glass. The summer of seventy six you took a temporary job with a film company working in the English Lake District.
Where the Four Winds Meet
Where the Four Winds Meet is the first novella in a Trilogy. This story reveals the emotional journey through time of one man as he tries to discover how his biological father really died. ‘I’m fifty-two years old and today I saw a picture of my father for the very first time. Can you imagine how that feels?’ Bobby is about to open Pandora’s Box to unlock the secrets of his past – but is he prepared for the turbulent secrets which are about to be revealed about his biological father? ‘You know when I was in Germany? A woman came to me and she said, “‘Your husband’s given me a baby as well.’” How will the two immensely different scenarios, one good, one bad, impact upon the present and especially upon his two sons, a moody wannabe rock star and a ghost buster who falls for a mental medium? ‘He was a wonderful man you know, your father. Such a lovely brother to have.’ Bobby uncovers what he believes is the truth and resolves to let the past go – until it surfaces once more to haunt him.
The White Dog Of Barafundle Bay
A soldier home on leave sees things he cannot quite believe and finds his wife in a strange, compromising position. "The Boathouse Café had an air about it that suggested sea and sand. If it had been inland patrons would have drank their coffee, eaten their scones and felt nostalgic for the beach without knowing why. It was the décor, Phillip decided. Crisp white walls, low beams, driftwood picture frames, and a candy striped canopy over the ice-cream booth outside. He ordered a fried egg and sausage bap but the assistant with a tattoo on her boney arm, written in a script he couldn’t decipher, informed him that it was after eleven o’clock. They didn’t serve breakfast after eleven, but since when had fried egg and sausage become solely breakfast food? Had he been away that long? If he decided to take the next tour – Middle East, Mosul or Marshhad no doubt – would he come back to find soup sold at lunchtime only or teacakes served only after three in the afternoon? The girl’s lip curled when she spoke to him as if he were the hundredth person to ask for sausage and egg that day. Did she have no respect for a uniform? For all he knew she might have thought his clothes were fancy dress and him, just another case of too much sun to the head. The sun had a lot to answer for in these parts..."