'Where are you living?' the old man asked.
'I'm in a caravan at the back. I'm sharing with a couple of lads who have just started on the dodgems.'
'It's cold and dirty. Apart from that, it's fine.'
'It's the lifestyle, son. Part of living on the road. One day you're here, the next you're out somewhere nice and warm in Europe.' The old man laughed and shrugged his shoulders.
'There has to be some drawbacks, doesn't there? You can't have everything. And that includes running water.'
The two men kept walking, turning back to the outskirts of the fair. The noise level receded behind them.
'Have you met Ronnie yet?' the old man asked.
Jimmy shook his head. 'No.'
The old man pointed at the stall. 'Kick the football through one of the holes and you win a shirt. Not a bad prize, I reckon. I don't know how Ronnie makes a living, giving away prizes like that.'
Jimmy watched a group of teenagers try their luck. They all missed. 'The ball's flat, right?' he said.
The old man smiled. 'I couldn't possibly comment.'
Jimmy laughed. 'Do you ever get homesick, though?'
'I've been on the road so long, truth is, I don't even know where home is anymore.'
'You must have a home.'
'This is my real home. Look at it. The colours on the night sky, the sound of kids enjoying themselves, the older people like me reminiscing. This is what it's about.'
'And the smell of fast food, the mess it leaves behind and the hordes of drunken teenagers?'
'Yeah, well, you can't have everything, can you? All the fun of the fair, I suppose.'
'I suppose it might grow on me.'
They walked on. The old man pointed to the Ghost Train. 'This where you work?'
'That's the one.'
'You didn't say it was Mike's Ghost Train.'
Jimmy shrugged. 'I didn't realise you knew him.'
'I know everyone. Me and Mike go way back. We've always looked out for each other.'
'It's what you have to do here. You keep your mates close and you look out for each other.'
'I hear you' said Jimmy.
'Are you back on shift, soon?'
'Any minute now.'
'See those teenagers at the back of the queue?'
Jimmy followed the old man's finger. 'I see them.'
'They're the ones who jumped me. I told you I'd recognise them.'
Jimmy followed the old man around the back of the Ghost Train.
'Give me your outfit, son.'
'Your skeleton suit.'
Jimmy stepped into the back of the ride, found the outfit and handed it over. The old man climbed into it, pulling the zip right to the top, obscuring his face.
'You're going to scare them?' said Jimmy.
'Better than that' said the old man. He took out a pair of knuckle dusters out of his pocket. 'All the fun of the fair, son.'
So I ran.
I ran, and I ran, and I ran.
Nothing means anything when eagerly anticipated phone calls never come.
All those wasted Sundays slumped beside the phone add up.
Ah, heartbreak. You've got to hate it. But you've also got to take it.
The hardest thing of all is resisting the urge to break the ice, to ring first,
to put words into your mouth
Fiction - Too Late To Call By Sarah Ann Watts
The bus pulls out of the station. I check my watch - I am not too late. I close my eyes, pretend to sleep.
The witching hour is yet to come. I told you I would be home by midnight. You like to know where I am. I tell you I can protect myself and you shake your head in doubt. 'Be careful. It isn't the same world.'
I laugh at your fears and paint my lips and smile.
Fiction - The Day By Danny Swain
Ray turns the CD player off as he answers the phone. The sound of waves crashing against a beach fills his ear. Jenny wipes the plate and puts it on the draining board. A man appears at the kitchen window. Benjamin pulls the car into the drive and gets out. He hears a noise in the garage.
Mary locks her front door and buttons up her coat. Read more...
Fiction - Blood in the Bath By Leah Scarpati
It was Halloween night and the weather suitably matched the mood of the evening. Like a parody of a horror film, the wind howled at forty miles per hour, blowing the dried up autumn leaves up into mini tornadoes down the deserted and dimly lit street. The odd raindrop fell from the sky, threatening to pour down but unable to carry out the threat to its full potential.
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - A Scene In Suburban Hell By Laura Fry
Nothing unusual ever happens in Sandwalsh. People don't tend to move away to pastures new. They know their neighbours, even if they are not exactly friends.
Perhaps they cry into their IKEA pillows every night, out of boredom, depression or sheer frustration, but if they do, they most definitely hide the unfortunate fact from public view. What people think is
Fiction - Career Opportunities A Joe Geraghty story
I was sat on an amplifier in the band's rehearsal room on Wincolmlee, secreted away on Bankside, a decaying industrial area of Hull. In front of me was the city's hottest band, Witham, presumably named after the area on the edge of the city centre.
Talk about a lack of imagination. From the way they were lounging around the room, I assumed I
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - The Hand that Rocked the Cradle By Lin Whitehouse
Hearing his mother's footsteps, the boy climbed out his bedroom window. They were both angry. He wanted to run away but it was a long drop and he might hurt himself.
She shouted when she saw him, sitting on the tiled roof, suddenly scared and remembering a time she had climbed out of a similar window.
He hugged his knees not wanting to look at her; she could not look away
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Resurrection By Leah Scarpati
The rhythmical drip-drip of condensation echoed around the cave. Kate couldn't see her hand in front of her face, were her eyes even open? The fall had shattered her torch as well as her ankle; as the pain continued to bite, panic rose. She couldn't feel her toes.
Hours of calling for help had been swallowed by the chasm of darkness,
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - The Latter-Day Luddite Saves the Day By Laura Fry
The police were on a coffee break, at a loss. Despite all the technology, the wanted man had got the better of them. They didn't notice the young woman at the opposite table with an old-fashioned tape recorder, on her way to teach a friend's child German.
She had found the man who had just left the café somewhat suspicious and pressed record.
This latter-day Luddite was able to tell
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Lost Property By Manuro
My dreadful husband died at an elephant hospice. To this day, whenever I see a sick elephant I feel a rush of overwhelming joy! I changed my name in 1979 and never foresaw the problems this would entail - car insurance, washing machine hire purchase agreements.
Women are named through male lineage: we disappear over time, our identity the property of others.
Fiction - Two Sides of the Same Tattoo Needle. By Leah Scarpati
Well I can certainly say I've learned my lesson! Mummy had always warned me about expressing myself through body art, tattoos, piercings and such like; but the more she told me not to, the more determined I became to disobey her.
"It's just not what people like us do dahhling," she purred in-between a long drag of a cigarette and a sip of her dry martini. "Just because
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Beginnings and Endings By Lin Whitehouse
It's a hypothetical question, what if - my father hadn't died in June - I hadn't known about my husband's girlfriend - I hadn't looked up when I did?
I was caught in a web and struggled to avoid his gaze, felt myself flush. I drowned in his smiling eyes. Could he see my outer sorrow, sense the inner excitement I concealed?
It's funny, funerals signify an end, but I felt something was
Fiction - Hangover By Leah Scarpati
The day ended as it had begun - disastrously. From the minute she opened one sticky mascara eye, then the other and the hangover woodpecker began to tap-tap-tap at her head; she knew the day was a right off. Her head hurt so much she could she feel her hair growing, her tongue was dry like an arid river bed and was fixed to the top of her mouth;
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Say No More By Joe Hakim
I'm on my way to the shops. I don't see him until I nearly step on his head.
I look down at the man on the floor, and notice he's on a bike - crotch on seat, feet on pedals, hands on handlebar. Like he's been zapped by a super-villain's freeze ray and toppled over.
I look around to make sure it isn't some kind of prank.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," he replies.
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - A Depressive and a Botched Suicide By Laura Fry
And once again boats sail down the Danube, but you; don't worry about me any more, I'm like leaves, the wind blows me away, wolves die alone...
The mourners read the translation of the deceased's beloved Croatian song. The male voice booms from the CD through Hull Crematorium, bringing additional shivers to the late autumn Yorkshire morning. The European flag
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Fun and Games By Shep
It was easier than he thought. Several swings of the bat and his problem had disappeared like the last drag of his cigarette. He looked at the windows adjacent to where he stood; half expecting to see the neighbours looking on with horror and disgust, but there was not a face in sight.
He smiled to himself and walked down the garden path back to his front door. Read more...
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Conversation In A Small Room By Manuro
'I went to the shops
And bought a new toffee
Hammer. The old one got
Damaged during the 'incident'
With those burglars.
You remember, waking up with
Some Burberry-capped thug in