My Words, My World

First drafts – A few pages in the large wilderness of the world of writing

Archive for the category “Suspense”

Story A Day May day 4 – I do it for you, baby

I’m a day behind – there’s nothing I can do although this was half-written yesterday. Life gets in the way sometimes and certain people and things cannot be refused. I aim to be back on track by tomorrow evening…promise!


‘You have pen and paper in front of you, and an hour to produce an award-winning competition piece. Today’s prompt is “The empty chamber”.
There comes a time when you lose control of your dream and it takes control of you. It doesn’t happen often, at least not to me. This time though it’s worse; this one’s really got me.

I, like you no doubt, let my passions intertwine with my dreams. The things that I want in life, the things that are tangible, doable, reachable – they become my dreams. I don’t dream lottery wins, a Rolls Royce or a mansion on a hill, I dream in words, in black and white, created by me for me, usually. This time it’s different.

Mr Farrow, Martin to his friends so he remains Mr Farrow to me, teaches afternoon writing classes at the local college. He’s good, I’ll give him that. He’s published; he wins things, people look up to him. Last year I started his creative writing class, in the hope of a little dream realization; I was working a couple of bars at the time, keeping myself busy at night and staying at home during the day; perfect.

Except my days now are empty, with only words to fill them. My live-in partner, Shareen, left me months ago, calling herself a victim of my obsession. I’m not jealous, I just like to know where she is, who she’s with, what she’s up to. In addition there was my writing. At first she thought I was a novelty, someone to show her friends – a writer. I write all the time but I’ve never won anything. After a time she saw that as a reflection on me and saw my lack of success as a trigger for my obsession with her. She’s wrong. I will win, I know this time I’ll win and win big too then that’ll get her back, that’ll teach her. She’ll want me then. My name and my fame, she’ll want that.

‘Just fifteen minutes left now, you should have closed your story and now be reading through, editing where necessary. Polishing till it shines – this is the big one.’

I sit there looking at Martin, at Mr. Farrow, and sight the barrel on him. I hope he’s written for his life, there only one empty chamber.


StoryADay May 2014 – Getting Home

Well, I didn’t expect to take part in this, I never have done. When I received my StoryADay May 2014 email this morning I paid it little attention as I had a busy, busy day ahead of me.  However a couple of inspired hours this evening have produced 1,500 words – whether they’re good words or not I’ll leave up to you.

I’ve no knowledge of Ohio but Google maps gave me a geographic idea. I’ve no way of knowing if there’s a bus station in Marion, Ohio. I know there’s a Route 23 – Google told me. Anyway, here it is.

Thanks Julie, thanks Neil.


It isn’t normal, there’s no way this is normal. Bob Dylan once said you don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows and normally I’d say Old Bobby was right. I do however wonder what he would’ve said if he was stuck here with me in this dog-turd bus station, where the lounge caters for both arrivals and departures, somewhere in these back-fields of Ohio, watching a little Vespa getting blown around like a dropped chewing gum wrapper on a Chicago street. The wind and storm came from the north; now it comes from everywhere. What can I do to get back in time for my presentation tomorrow in Chicago?  I look out of the greasy, finger stained window. The rain meets the glass two inches in front of my nose horizontally.

‘It’ll blow over,’ says some farmer Joe, probably a local from two fields down the road, ‘it always does.’

Genius. A down-home nougat of wisdom from the corn flats of Ohio. It most certainly always does, it’s called a weather pattern, and weather patterns; unlike other patterns, like those of the floral leaning on my wife’s dress, blow over.

‘You hear that honey? The man said it’ll blow over.’ Mrs 1978 big floral dress speaks just as I was thinking of her. Is that a sign of true love?

‘Blow over, my ass,’ not even bothering to turn around. I can see her reflection in the darkening window, trying to look sympathetic with arms folded, at least, when one of them isn’t shoving a donut into her cake-hole. Then, joy of joys, the baby starts crying. Tommy was fed only an hour ago but now he took up a wailing normally reserved for paid mourners at funerals. He takes after his mother; two peas from the same pod. I snatch half the piece of donut from her hand and shove it in the baby’s face. He shuts up and eats, he always does. It’ll give me a chance to think. If I wasn’t at the presentation at 9am the next day I was out of a job and out on my ass. And here I was stuck near Marion, Ohio. Not even Marion, Indiana, where at least they have the ghost of James Dean for company.

‘Don’t give him crap to eat; it’s not good for him.’ I presume she must’ve sprayed donut as she had a mouthful when I took half of it from her. Shame it didn’t fall backwards.

‘Start taking some of your own advice sweet cheeks and lemme think.’

‘The hell you think you’re talking to? I’m your wife and dammit you better treat me like it.’

I jump with a start as horizontal water turns to horizontal hail, big enough to bring joy to any gin tonic. My reflection mopes back at me in the now-black glass. The overheads come on full and an announcer’s muttering something through a wall of static. Hell you say boy?

‘I said, you skinny son of a bitch that you’d better treat me like it.’ A sugary paw that seems to be growing around the wedding band given aeons before pinches my shoulder and scatters refined fat-powder over my jacket. Enough weather watching. I drop my shoulder and spin round, nose to donut-crusher. The view outside was better. The rustle of the donut bag plays me in.

‘We flew to Cincinnati and we came here to this forsaken land of the corn, to see your father who doesn’t know who you are, your mother who’s too drunk to remember who you are and your shit-for-brains farmhand brother who doesn’t give a ding-dang-doodly who you are. Any why? Because you get…’

A chubby hand with weight behind it pushes me up against the window. A spray like a winter gritter truck fans out to great me. I blink.
‘You leave my family outta this.’ Another push and a podgy finger wave. ‘You leave my poor daddy outta this. Ma mama’s worked double shift trying to bring up Billy and care for pa.’ Tears somehow found their way around her ample cheeks. She’s a-hurting. Not as much as she will be if I lose my job and she has to cut back on her pastries. Hell, this is her fault anyway. Even the lack of rental cars is her fault.

‘Start eating three, yeah just three square meal a day and maybe, just maybe, you could get your ass in the car and travel further than the KFC before you start complaining and threatening to throw up. If we’d brought the car we would’ve been halfway to Chicago now.’

‘Maybe if you had yourself a decent car I’d be able to travel in it; that thing stinks and makes me sick.’

‘It stinks from the shitty Marlboros you smoke and the greasy food you eat. And what about my frigging presentation tomorrow?’ I bang my hand against the window, punctuating every syllable, raised voice barely audible over the wind trying its best to rip the roof off and the windows out.

People start to give us some space and make an unconscious ring around us. Great. End of the world weather outside. Hey honey; let’s watch the Laurel and Hardy couple go hammer and tongs in this excuse for an bus station lounge.

‘Maybe if you were the sort of husband you should be, I wouldn’t eat so much.’

‘What? I do 12 hour days in the studio to keep you in ices and him in diapers.’

‘You don’t know what it’s like bringing up a kid on your own, cos your husband ain’t there half the time.’ Thank God for small mercies. I take a series of deep breaths, my eyes blaze fire. She steps back and takes her hand away.

Noses and glasses peered over sports pages. To hell with them; I have to get out of here. I look around just as a gust hammers the window. Suddenly a garbage bin, the size of a small car, spins away from its post and heads toward the window. A communal intake of breath: even we’ve taken second billing now. I push my wife away from the window but she takes it badly, falls over on her ass and curses me to the four winds, except I think there are more than that outside.

Mr “it’ll blow over” comes over to me, holding up a key. ‘Son, we ain’t going anywhere yet. I got a cousin down in Columbus, you can take my car and leave it with him. You can get a plane from there; sure as hell get you there quicker.’

I liked the sound of down. The storm came from the north, from the lakes. Maybe it wouldn’t get that far. My wife, still sat on the floor, looks at me and shakes her head.

“It’s the job or us,” she says, without a hint of emotion.

I take the key and thank the man, and promise to fill up with gas when I get there. The address of his cousin is written on a torn flyer for a nearby agricultural show and tucked in my back pocket. I go over and ruffle Tommy’s hair and bend down to kiss him.

“Without my job there’ll be no us. Now get up and get going.”

She pulls Tommy away from me and holds him close. “Get away from us you selfish piece of shit.” The last word spat with cobra-like venom.

Against the advice of a security guard I head outside. The door is almost ripped out of my hands as I step out and hail rips into my body as I look for the brown pick-up. It’s sitting 50 yards away, rocking on its springs. I’m finding it hard to breath but tuck my head down and try to run. I fall over twice before getting to the door, fumble with the key in the lock and get inside. I turn the ignition and the truck starts straight away. Even with the lights on visibility is difficult. I head out onto the back roads trying to find my way onto Route 23.

I manage about a dozen miles, the last two through a black wood, without seeing another vehicle, which begins to concern me a little. I think back to my wife and kid sitting there in the airport, no doubt wondering how I can be so callous as to leave them there. Lost in thought I don’t see the fallen tree until it’s almost too late and I slam on the brakes. That was a close one. Now what shall I do?

I’m sitting here feeling the will drain out of me and join the puddles of water around my feet. A head-wrenching ripping sound comes from outside the car and I look up, and see a huge, dark shape crashing down in my direction.

Flash Fiction Friday 113: The Third Rail by Christopher Farley

Thank you Morgen.

Damage Limitation

The crack appeared; tiny, hairline; barely noticeable.  The scalding liquid started to spread upwards towards the crack, seeking, soaking and finally seeping into it, weakening it; the weight becoming too much to bear.  I watched, unsure of my next move.  Speed was the only way to avoid total destruction.  Damage limitation they call it.  I had no option, I couldn’t just sit there, impartial, unwilling.  I breathed in, preparing to move.  My hand shook and the liquid still rose and seeped in.  It was too late.  Whatever I did now would have consequences. The silence of the room waited with me in anticipation.


With a hot splash the biscuit, my last Digestive, fell into my tea.

A Wing and a Prayer

Originally to be called Angel Wings when I wrote it yesterday, following a thunderstorm after work, just as I got on the motorbike…nice..  However at 4.30am this morning that title seemed like an old UK advert for a sanitary towel (Sorry Ladies…).


This has to be the quietest flight I’ve ever been on.  Even the kids have stopped squabbling.  Thank Heavens for small mercies.

The television screens are showing the ocean beneath, from the cockpit camera.  It’s very blue out there in the tropical sunshine.  Every now and again a ship, possible a huge oil tanker or bulk carrier will pass by, appearing tiny from this distance.  Have you ever looked, I mean really looked, at the ocean from a plane?  The way the sun creates 10,000 mirrors on the surface and how you can see the wave ridges, even from this height.

I’m stuck between members of the Ipod generation.  The skateboard guy to my left has Green Day blaring into his ears, he must be going deaf.  The girl on my other side has some awful rap stuff.  I don’t know what’s worse.  I’ll just go back to looking at the screen.  The book on my lap, The Outsider by Albert Camus, lies upside down and open.  I know it’ll ruin like that but I’m otherwise occupied.

My wife’s in the row behind with the kids.  Every now and again her hand reaches over and caresses my shoulder or my neck.  I reach over and put my hand on hers, giving it 3 squeezes. It means ‘I Love You’.  We’ve always done it.  I’d like to change places with one of my children but they want to stay close to Mum.  I can’t blame them.

An hour ago the pilot took us up to over 40,000 feet to avoid a storm.  40,000 feet!  That’s like sticking the Eiger on top of Everest.  We’re out of the thunderstorm as well, so I guess that’s another small mercy.

This has to be the quietest flight I’ve ever been on.  We were just under a hundred miles from Miami when the storm knocked out our engines.  The guidelines tell us our plane can glide that far.  I continue looking at the screen.  I hope they’re right.


I recently submitted a piece to the quarterly The First Line, for the fall edition.  This time round the piece was rejected – no worries.  I found the site by accident one evening, and I wrote the story upon seeing the first line – which has never happened.  It was a great exercise and so I’ll put it on here, simply for that fact, to remind me I can do it.  I’m glad I tried and, after all, rejection is one step away from acceptance.  Anyway, here goes:


A light snow was falling as Charlie Reardon left the diner and made his way down Madison Street.  The cheeseburger, fries and large coke were weighing heavy on his stomach and for one queasy moment he thought he would throw everything back up.  Leaning against an old Camaro he took a series of deep breaths, letting his head clear a little before moving on.

“Get your hands of the car man”.

Charlie lifted his hands and turned toward the voice.

“You heard him, get your hands off the car”.

“They are off” mumbled Charlie.

“What you say boy?” came the reply.  He turned toward this voice, to his left.  A fist crashed into the right side of his head, whilst another hit him just above the kidneys.  Feeling his legs give way he was spun round and a forehead was planted in his face.  His world turned black.


“Hey pal, are you OK”?  A light push on his shoulder.  “Hey buddy, can you hear me”?  The voice slowly filtered through to Charlie’s semiconscious brain.  “Jeez, this guy’s taken a hell of a beating.  Say Sam, should we call the cops or an ambulance”?

“No way, leave him Steve, we could be next.  What if they’re watching him?  I wanna go get the beers and run man, this stuff disturbs me.  Let’s get outta here”.

Steve looked up and down the dark street, seeing no one but now fear started to slowly knot his stomach.

“Sam, what if he…”

“Forget it buddy, it could be us”.

Looking down at the prone body Steve got to his feet.

“I guess you’re right man”, through gritted teeth as he fell into step with his friend.


Charlie lifted his face from the wet asphalt, feeling a sharp tearing pain as if the skin were still stuck to it.  He tried to open his eyes but only the left one responded.  The pain above his right temple seared through his head when he tried to move, and, giving it up as a bad idea he laid back down, feeling the snow fall in his ear. Somewhere a siren wailed, fading into the distance.

“Not coming for me then boys” he thought.  The pain in his head intensified.  He could feel unconsciousness slowly wash over him.

The snow started getting heavier.  Charlie couldn’t feel it.


“Look mama, is that man drunk”?  The kid’s whiney voice cut through the evening street sounds.

“If he doesn’t get up soon he’ll catch his death in this” said the kid’s mother, looking up at the sky as large flakes of snow descended upon them.  “Speaking of which, we’d better get you inside little man” she continued, tugging the boy’s arm as he continued to watch the man lying in the road.

“Shouldn’t we help him Mom”? the kid asked.  “In Sunday School they told us about a good Sama…Sama…Sama’ton.  Shouldn’t we be like him Mom?”

“Not if the man’s drunk, junior” she replied.  “Drunk people can be mean honey”.

“What if he’s dying Mom?”  His nasally whine was beginning to grate on his mother’s nerves.

She stood by her son and looked closer at the body.  She couldn’t see blood, which, she thought, was a blessing.  However this then strengthened her view that the man had been on a drunk and had come to harm because of it.

“Well go inside honey, and we’ll call an ambulance.  Is that good enough for my little Samaritan?”

“I guess so Mom” he replied, letting out a sigh as they turned for home.

The got through the door and the boy’s mother, true to her word, called an ambulance immediately, before taking off their coats and shoes.

“It’s out of our hands now” she said, feeling relieved but concerned at the same time.  She laid newspaper down by the door and placed their shoes upon it.  Urging her son to go and “get his ‘jamas on” she made her way to the kitchen.  She thought about having a glass of wine then remembered the man outside.  She poured some water into the kettle, deciding on a cup of tea instead.  The ambulance, its siren shredding the night air, arrived.


A light snow was falling as Charlie Reardon left the diner and made his way down Madison Street.  Surprisingly, he felt extremely light, almost as if he hadn’t eaten.  As he continued along the sidewalk he saw an ambulance parked against the curb.  A crowd stood round something, or someone lying in the road.

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