48 Months

Early in 2014 I set myself the challenge to publish 48 short stories written by me in a row one every month for the next 48 months straight. You can find them here:

18. The Glance

Glance by photographer Brad Evans


The Glance


She shot her eyes furtively over at Tom in the train aisle as she moved past to step off onto the platform. Then she moved on and it was over.  The train gave a small lurch as it started forward. She had her back to him as she came into his field of vision as the carriage rolled past and then she was gone.


Tom sat back in his seat and thought about the moment. Her getting off her seat and looking around, then seeing him sitting in the aisle, her body tensing as she recognized him. She turned her back and busied herself with her bags and then walked down the aisle her eyes straight ahead looking neither left nor right, her lips pursed slightly a micro expression of how she felt about it. The way she positioned her body on the platform so he couldn’t see her face if he was looking. The signals were strong.


You don’t exist.


I can’t see you so I don’t have to acknowledge you.  


You never made my eye line so it is an accident if I don’t see you.


Tom thought about the incident that got them to this point and then put her out of his mind. How many people have a glance in there lives everyday in a workplace or college. How bad does that make us as people? That we would reject the reality around us rather than face it?


Everyone has a history. Everyone has ghosts that inhabit this world, which we never want to see again.  A painful memory seared into the face of the individual a shared recollection of an incident of some casual cruelty, which we chose to put away and forget.


We are all wounded we are all scarred by some barb which penetrated our emotional armour and left a mark. In her case a small scab to be picked at from time to time.


Tom shook his head and picked up the book he had being reading. He would forget her in an hour and never remember her again unless there was another random meeting. The scars had calloused on this one.

Posted on Thu, 28 Jan 2016

17. New Eden




Ray stood down from the probe ship and looked out across the valley. It was lush green and verdant. New creatures flew across the sky and sang in unison. Ray took off his helmet and breathed in the earthlike air. It was a virgin planet with a perfect atmosphere and an Eden like environment. He clipped open his computer and typed in Inhospitable atmosphere and negligible resources .

Humanity had colonized 17 planets in the galaxy and to Ray’s thinking had fucked up 16 of them.  Ray climbed back on board his ship the S.S. Misanthropy and blasted off. It was Ray’s fervent hope there would never be an eighteenth.

Posted on Mon, 30 Nov 2015

16. When Humour met Sadness




Humour met Sadness in a small room were people of conflicting emotions meet when the music has played loud for some time and the rampant excesses of hormones and alcohol has lead the few on a path of extreme highs or lows.


Why are you so sad? Humour asked Sadness as she sat curled on a seat in the familiar foetal position of one who had hurt and was hurting.

Im blue Sadness replied. All I can think about is all the times I have been by Myself and how I want True Love to find me.

You know True Love rarely goes out said Humour. Can I keep you company?

I guess so said Sadness maybe Happiness will come along soon 


So Humour stayed and talked as Sadness waited for True Love and as these things go people changed over time. Humour became Desire and Sadness became Melancholy. They stayed close together as these always do and people commented on it and said they made a great What if? 


Unfortunately Desire became Brave as Melancholy was turning into Denial and when Brave announced his feelings to Denial saying he had found True Love and it was her. She was there to turn him down, morphing Brave into the Despondent and Denial into Memory as she did what all good Memories do which is deign to live in the heads of the Despondent and Unrequited and not face up to the stark world of Reality by leaving.


But such is life in this crazy world it happens to all and sunder every day as we go by; someone suffers and turns Happiness to Sadness and back again.


I saw Despondent there recently he had time to look back on the whole situation and had found Closure a week or so ago. Announcing he was now Fine; but he couldnt fool me. I recognized him the instant I saw him. He was Lonely :-(


Posted on Mon, 26 Oct 2015


The President has taken his love of video games to far

Dam this is the best fun. The joystick is slippery in my grip and I'm out of potato chips and cola but this is the best run yet. I've just dodged the amateurs who were guarding the borders and I'm about to move up a level by taking on the pilots. They're fast and the visuals are great as I pump 'Welcome to the Danger Zone' through the speakers and give a Yea Hah! as I get a confirmed kill. Being the President is great. You gotta hand to that shrink of mine for saying I needed a hobby. Chess was ok but not trilling enough and shooting ducks was a hoot for a while unitl the incident with the Vice President but when it comes to sheer out blissfulness it's gotta be flying military drones over conflict areas. i remember the first time I saw one of these bad boys. The top brass were taking me around showing me were all those billions of tax dollars were allegedly going. When I was shown this bad boy. Just seeing the joystick again made me nostalgice for the days of my youth. Sure i tried the new ones and they were fun but role playing has never being my thing. And I gave it a good shot. Even got the whole cabinet in to play a game together online. But I could never get this out of my head. Sure there was some weird looks when I asked for a military drone for myself to play with but that soon ended. As soon as I stoppped mumbling to myself and locking myself in my room sobbing for days on end they saw the benefit of my little hobby. And I'm good too. I don't know how many houses and factories I've blown but I'm up there in the top five on the board. And it's an amazing sensation. Great graphics, skilled competitors against you in the air and watching the little fuckers run when they see you coming is a big turn-on. There's nothing like striding down the corridor like a boss high-fiving secret servvice guys after blowing up a hospital.


The bass from the speakers is drowning out the banging on the door as I scorch past another fighter jet and move in low throughout the terrain. I flip off a startled farmer on the screen as I scream overhead going Mach 4 towards the Capital City. My phone is ringing the whole time which is great. I got that baby set for hardcore metal so as the noise screams so do I.  I'm gain altitude as people look and point at their impending doom. Time to level up Motherfuckers.

The buttons start blinking on and off as I'm detected on Radar. Between the lights and the music it's my own personal Disco of Doom all set to the pleading of the staff outside. A moment of serenity hits as I begin my final desent. i forward for some potato chips and arm the nuke while I'm leaning forward. I'm down to just one life and I'm on the final level. No resets available.

I aim for nowhere in particular don't need to. Ragornak has come and I'll see myself out please. Two fingers to the world and fuck humanity. It's time to start a new game and let some other player have a chance on the board we weren't a particularly fun game to play and I for one am getting tired of playing. My scream goes black as the bomb hits. The chain reaction should start in to two more minutes. And then it's how do you like your humanity? Burned or broiled?

Game over Man.

Posted on Tue, 25 Aug 2015

15. Crazed Immortality

The Mask of Sorrow from Magdan


The sculpture raised itself up into the air and people looked and shook their heads. The author had sold all his goods and lost his family through his madness and still he doggedly spent to raise the sculpture up from the ground. Why? people asked him as they met him in the street pale and white from stress and hardship. To be remembered he would say and move on. People chortled as the slabs of cut stone arrived to add to the folly of one. Ozymandais is what they started to call him in the local press as the sculpture grew more austere in the light. The author nodded and said nothing. The stroke hit him when the sculpture was nearly 95% done. It left him partly paralyzed and short on funds due to medical expences. He went without medicine and completed the sculpture dying the following summer where he was then buried in crypt he had built in the sculpture. The radio interviewer who questioned him shortly before his death had just one simple question. Why?

The author gave this answer. To be remembered. To say that I was on this earth and I left my mark. That this will stand as a reminder to all that I was someone who existed. That people will remember my work be it this or my writing. So I can tell myself on deathbed that I mattered. At the base of the sculpture the author had three simple words carved into the stone. I WAS HERE. The sculpture itself stood in the ground and gazed out impassively.

And then the people came. They bought his books and asked questions about the author.  What type of man did this? Was there a different meaning here? The people also changed their minds. They sold his books and told fond stories of him. The family made money from both and then to the amusement of all they put another statue of him in the town. As legacies went it was not a bad one.

One man in the village was not happy. He shook his head and said nothing. When the pilgrims came and chatted in the bars and cafes he could be heard mutering 'Yes but was it a life well lived?' On occasion after a night of strong spiritis and heady talk he would walk to the staute and shout at it. He never did remember what he said the next morning but he always had the feeling it was important. He too began to become pale and gaunt. After much badgering by his children he went to the doctors who diagnosed pancratic cancer. The bile in his body was killing him. One night he close to his death he went missing and was found by his grandson near the base of the statue weeping and cursing. The medication he was on making him wozy and forgetful. Waking the next day he called his grandson into his room and asked what he had said. The grandson hesitated then spoke up. You were punching the base of the staute were it said 'I was here' and shouting 'So was I'. The old man nodded to his grandson and thanked him for his honesty. He died that night.

With the writers family consent they buried the old man in the grounds of the statue and placed a simple gravestone over him. The words 'So am I' was engraved in granite on the slab. The pilgrims who passed through also paid homage to the old man. They also looked at the statue differently. What before had being a light hearted look at personal eccentricity had somehow changed. The stautue always astere now seemed to frown upon the pilgrims as if asking questions. What have you done with your life? Why are you here? Will you be remembered? The attendance at the statue went down except for a devoted few who seemed to always come back and look at the statue. You could see them frowning looking up at the face all asking the same question in their minds. What have I done to be remembered?

The silence from the statue answered their question.

Posted on Fri, 21 Aug 2015