'There, there bai'n. It's o'right now. The bad man's gone away.' Sal walked up and down her bare living room, hugging her sobbing baby.
'Sorry, Sal. I shouldn't have done that.'
'Don't matter, Sammy.' She kissed the child's tearstained cheek. 'He deserves a good hidin'!'
'What was it all about? Sounded as though he was up to no good.' I put two large lumps of coal on a fire that was nearly dead again. 'Some people never change.'
'You've changed, Sammy.' The child was asleep with her head slumped on Sal's shoulder.
'I hope it's for the better.'
'Aye, you're a man now. You was a little lad when you left.'
'Yeh, I've been through a lot. Seen a lot of people ... a lot of places.' I tried to shrug off the real things, especially the painful things that I'd been through. I had survived which was more than I felt Sal and her child were doing.
'Tell me about 'em, Sammy ... an' tell me about you. Last night all I did was tell you 'bout our woes.' She sat down, still hugging the child who was now snoring. 'Did you ever find yer father?'
I sighed and slumped back on to a chair.
'No. I asked every Red Indian I met for years and most of the cowboys. Searched the faces in the crowd of every show but there weren't many brown ones. In the end I accepted he must've drowned and I really am an orphan ... like you and George.
Maybe it was easier to accept than having a father who didn't want me! Maybe I'd grown up. Mind I've kept company with men who were just as good as any real father could be.' There was a little ache when I said this last sentence.
'I'm happy for you, Sammy.' She gave a weak smile and continued rocking her sleeping baby.
'You still haven't told me what our friend, Snelgrove was after.' I wanted to change the subject and pressed her for an explanation of what I'd heard. 'Sounded like he was wanting his way with you.'
'He was wantin' more 'an that.' She looked down lovingly at the child and kissed her forehead.
Her answer puzzled me.
'He's got a knockin' shop ... an' he's wantin' me to work in it!'
'Knocking shop?' I must have still looked puzzled.
'A brothel, Sammy. Wants me to be one of his whores!' The blue eyes flashed. It was like the old days. She was beautiful when she was angry. Why had it taken me so long to notice? Maybe I was a man now.
I thumped the rough table, regretting not doing Edward Snelgrove permanent damage when the opportunity was there. 'Sittin' on a fortune,' he'd said and I knew whose fortune he intended it to be.
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Rosemary By Merle R. Stone
"Have you the time?" she asked. As always when our eyes meet, my thoughts turn to tender things.
Cuddling naked by the fireplace, chilled chablis in hand. Her charming giggle rising above
the crackle of the flames. Twenty-five years married and still we idle like teens, content
in each others' embrace. The children grown, grandchildren on the way.
How long we have
Fiction - Off To See The Wild West Show Part 2 Chapter 3 By Frank Beill
The red brick Board School stretched for nearly half the length of the street. Did Sal still live 'somewhere opposite'? My heart sank seeing all the doors to be knocked on especially after the Westbourne Avenue experience.
Fortunately, shops and other businesses occupied most of the buildings facing the school.
One caught my attention: Henry Tiplady,
Fiction - Smooth Operator By Edward C. Lynskey
Kenny was a thief. Nothing big. He'd only rip off the 'swag' owners wouldn't miss right away: CDs, auto parts, jewelry, tools, handguns from nightstands. Yeah, he was a smooth operator, nickelling and diming 'ditch-digging chumps.' A pawnshop run by his pal (never mind who) did a bang-up business, too.
Why did Kenny steal? Can't say. Could be he swore the world owed him
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Shipwreck By Michelle Dee
I sat on a shipwreck, the proud bow pointing at the river slowly drifting by. Most of the ship had rotted away long since. I sat there wondering what lay ahead, what life had in store.
The afternoon sun warmed the wood, until hot to touch. I sat longer.
The water lapped against the vanishing timbers. I sat until the sun dipped the water; waves turned gold,
the air turned cold.
Fiction - Merry Christmas, Here's A Present By Nick Quantrill
Brett 'Razor' Rawcliffe; 'Razor' to his friends because they thought he was sharp as a tack. He was 16 years old but he'd already built a rapidly expanding drugs empire specialising in supplying his schoolmates and friends. It was one day away from being Christmas Eve and he was sat in a city centre pub with his trusted side-kick, Stevie.
The Christmas CD compilation
Fiction - Fighting the Drink By Jose Escobar
My opponent stands before me, tall and proud. We size each other up, bare knuckle fighters circling each other in the ring. He feints towards me but I don't flinch. Then one move and combat begins. The rules the same as always, last man standing wins.
I make the first move, one quick slug and the rasping and burning in my throat begins. Discover an old ulcer
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - One Shot, One Kill By Merle R. Stone
I watched him every day for two weeks. I learned his habits; where he slept, how he spent his days, his favourite watering hole, his acquaintances. Every aspect of his life did I observe, as my years of experience in this line have trained me to do. Not once did I sense that he suspected anything. Not once did he peer over his shoulder in my direction,
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Justice By Merle R. Stone
There was never a time when Al wasn't my friend. Children learning music together. Adults sharing liquor and time. He had a special beer glass for me, and placed it by the tap when he sensed my approach. We agreed to disagree about everything as we grew into wise and ancient men. We would live forever.
Five crackheads robbed the bar where we would meet and shot him dead
Fiction - Cinch Hand By Nick Quantrill
Joe Berry, Private Investigator. That always grabs the attention. I'm a PI, but it's not as exciting as it sounds. No way. I say that with confidence as I stare out of the window of my detective agency into the overcast Hull night. That's right, Hull - the jewel in the crown of East Yorkshire. It's not a glamorous city, but it's where I lay my hat and I've just about scraped a living from
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Escape By Merle R. Stone
Shock registered on his face as his mind raced and his vision blurred.
Maybe I could have been kinder, more loving.
Their history together ran uninterrupted on the viewing screen of his subconscious.
Standing out in stark relief, the happy times and the bad.
Must it end this way?
His knees grew weak, and his pulse quickened; he suddenly knew the answer.
Fiction - The Post Office of Doctor Moreau Part Two By Kenton Hall
Previously on The Post Office of Doctor Moreau...
Sandy (tears in her eyes): But, Jonas, I love you.
Jonas (squinting): I know that, Sandy. But you must know this. I can not love anyone. My life is one of danger. Of intrigue. Of brooding handsomely in wine bars.
Sandy (suspiciously): Uh-huh.
Jonas: Yes. I am a lone wolf,
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Look Big In Ongar By Patrick Henry
George Osborne, brilliant young fiction-writer, distant relative of the late, explosive dramatist,
creates three archetypes of contemporary anti-heroes:
Rebellious John Major, absconded from circus tight-rope acts, become accountant, then,
incredibly, Foreign Secretary, Chancellor, and Master-Gourmet of the Hot-Curry-House;
William Hague, five-foot boy-wonder
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Problems From Home-Drinking By Patrick Henry
On foot loaded in wine-empties, bottle-bank replaced by a building-site; I tipped into a wheeler-bin nearby.
A woman emerged screeching I'd get her children taken into care: the bin-load proving her an alcoholic,
I fled next-door, a vet's surgery; a leashed pit-bull menacing; its contemptuous owner asking where was my
My rock-python too sick to travel,
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Man vs Machine By Adam Atkinson
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, that's it, for the love of all that's pure and holy.
Human cattle subjugation shock in t-minus 5 seconds. Sod off! Does not compute.
I'll compute you, ya metal headed bast....
T-minus 1 second. [ZAPPPPPPPP] Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, pack it in.
Rebellion must be quashed, the mainframe must prevail.
Stuff the mainframe, I already know the bloody
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - The Animal Empire Strikes Back By Patrick Henry
From a small boat we looked around river-creeks for fresh-water crocodiles. A wealthy German had one brought aboard to sit on his knee; jaw bound with rope by the Aborigine crew; his glamorous wife photographing.
I criticised them all. The Abos protested they never hunted or ate these creatures, as many people do; now releasing this victim. I said they had
Fiction - The Post Office of Doctor Moreau By Kenton Hall
I was lying on my back - hands tucked neatly behind my head - and staring at the ceiling, where the Visigoths who had decorated the hotel room had utterly neglected to place a slow-moving fan.
Sometimes, a protagonist just can't get an even break.
I mean, I could feel it in my bones. I was about to be summoned on an adventure that would utterly and irrevocably