Tag: short fiction

Sea Urchin By Julie Dawn

Sea UrchinHe thought she was a rock. Smothered in seaweed, motionless, her skin encrusted with salt. But then she moved, and he leapt back so fast that he fell over and landed on the sand, which was not as soft and accommodating as you might think.

She uncurled herself, her hair a tangled web of darkness, twisted with mermaid’s necklace and several pale starfish. Her face was darkened by sun and reddened by wind. She was tiny, a waif of a thing, with kelp wrapped around her body like a second skin, and she reeked of rotting weed.   She looked like an urchin, a waif.

She hissed at him, baring tiny white teeth like oyster shells. Behind her, the sea breathed softly and rhythmically, whispering to itself, vast and impenetrable.

Ben drew back, but he didn’t run. He was seven years old, and he was not afraid of anything. (Except the dark, and climbing frames, and flying beetles.) He stared at her, and she watched him with dark eyes, lustrous and deep as the ocean. He glanced around. His mum was a long way down the beach, hand in hand with her boyfriend Darren, following the lacy edge of surf and leaning down to pick up a shell or a piece of crusty pumice. There was nobody else. The sun had nearly dipped below the horizon; the sea was glowing with that strange fiery light that comes when there are stormclouds looming, and the sky was streaked with gold and pink like candyfloss.

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Wild Bill’s Bakery By Daniel Miller

Will BillWilliam Andrew Morris, 78, of White Butte died Thursday night Nov. 8, 2009.

Graveside services to be held Saturday Nov. 11 at 2pm in Cliffside Cemetery.

Known to friends as “Wild Bill”, William was born August 16, 1931 in Clarksville, VA. Parents, William Jackson Morris and Betty Claire Ringwald, owned a small bakery where William worked as a youth and gained a love for the family trade. From 1949 to 1953 William served in the Army where he met Linda Whitfield. The two married in 1953 before moving to White Butte. William and Linda opened Wild Bill’s Bakery in 1954 where he served as head baker and Linda kept the accounting. Into retirement William continued to work part-time at his Bakery.

Survivors include daughter, Janette Mitchell; and two grandchildren, Samuel and Jeremy.

Sam Harrison read the obituary on Friday November 9th. Sam’s mother was hesitant about letting her son read the short script, preferring he stick to more uplifting material. “Wouldn’t you rather read the funnies, Sam? How did you even find out what an obit is anyway?” She asked him. Sam knew what an obituary was. He had stumbled across the two-page section of the White Butte Democrat one day about a year earlier in the leafy pile of pages his father had discarded in his search for the classified and sports sections. Sam enjoyed reading the “funnies” on Sunday morning when they were in color, but the weekday paper’s stale gray and white failed to pique his attention. The pictures of old people in the obituary section, however, fascinated him. He rarely read the actual pieces, preferring simply to imagine their lives in his head. He had read them at first, but found their sterile facts and summaries of life uninspiring – much like the gray and white funnies. In his imagination he filled in the details of those gray-white faces or even made up entirely new lives for them: valiant soldiers, movie stars, or even ancient wizards and knights on his more fanciful days.

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Treehouse By Annabell Bowyer

TreehouseDeep into the Forest, far beyond the reaches of Dust stood a Treehouse; hidden amongst the Oak trees. In the blossoming sunlight it stood watching the world go by, each day as it comes and by night another. It watched the brown pillars towering over the glazed flowers and the iced mountain tops, over the continuing daylight chasing the clouds across the landscape, and over the animals growing and changing into something majestic. The cascading Oaks hid the Treehouse in their shroud of Green, holding onto their dignity as rest of the Forest shied away. They knew more than they were letting on.

The little girl woke from her dreams sharp as the breath on her tongue. Her butterfly eyes opened from the dark, and she stood up and reached for her bow and arrow, walked towards the door, unbolted the latch and looked out onto the Map beneath her feet. She followed the animal footprints in the freshly carved Earth with her eyes and raised her bow to a shadow-cast Rabbit. She took a moment. She knew she had to do this. It would only take a few moments- moments that had already passed. There were never enough moments in the day.

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Apollo XI By Julie Hayman

Apollo XIJuly 1969. Everyone’s making rockets. Kev’s made one, Bobby’s made one, Nick Cruikshank has made one. Kev’s is a Fairy Liquid bottle covered with white sticky-back plastic and the words Apollo XI written in permanent marker along the side, like he’s seen Val make on Blue Peter, with wooden forks, the kind you get at the chip shop, glued low-down to make it aerodynamic. Bobby’s is an Airfix kit he bought at the model shop on Fisherton Street, with transfers of the American flag and NASA up near the snout, while Nick Cruikshank’s is a fab one, built with Meccano, complete with a launching gantry on wheels. They’re going to have a competition in the park on Saturday afternoon, to see which one’s best. Kev asks if I’m going to bring a rocket too: I nod and race home.

I’ve already got an empty Cornflakes box, some crow’s feathers from the garden, a square of corrugated cardboard and some cocktail sticks in my bedroom drawer – they might be useful for it. I ask Mum if I can have the washing-up liquid bottle, and she says I can when it’s empty, but it’s still half-full so won’t be ready in time – I’ll have to think of something else for the body of the rocket.

By teatime, I haven’t come up with anything. By bathtime, nothing too.

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Exclusive Member Story Men of the World By Nick Black

Men of the WorldI write this by the guttering light of a candle, melted down so far, it’s mostly wick and puddle now.   The darkness around me billows and retreats, billows larger again as a draft creeps in near my feet.

My nib scrapes against this paper, though I can barely read what I am writing.  I ignore the repeated, demented, banging that I cannot tell if outside on the street or within this very house.  I steady my hand so as to spill no more ink, and start at the beginning, with Thurwell bursting into the Club, a train of snow in his wake. Burton and I beckoned him to join us by the hearth, and sent for brandy. Neither of us had seen him since his return to England, and while he answered our many questions, I took the time to examine the changes five years abroad had wrought on the man. Never thickly set, he had dropped a weight of flesh from his bones but was finely dressed, moustache well waxed, beard curling from his thin chin in an upward hook.

“Gentleman,” he said, raising his tumbler in a toast. ‘To old friends.” In the dancing rosy firelight, his face had a positively Moorish aspect so that his eyes and teeth flashed all the whiter by contrast. “And tomorrow, my lambs, you must come to my rooms, for I have brought back mementos that I believe may amuse, things,” he looked around, “not suitable for such public galleries.”

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