Flash fiction, short stories, poetry …
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The gods of editing smiled on me this week, so this story qualifies for #FridayFlash.

Less than a 1000 words? It must have been the adjectives I sacrificed. These are harsh gods: passive sentence construction is not to be tolerated; praise their economy of expression; beware their adverbial inquisition. Jihad your ‘darlings’.   

Yah. Now I’m off to break all the rules…


isa got arrested today for cruelty to animals – she said that dog was dead already, and those cats, but nobody believes her.

Then they found all this crazy mumbo-jumbo, Satanist crap in her bedroom, up on the walls. They’re doing tests on the blood right now.

Lisa says that she’s an honest-to-god werewolf. How’s that for an excuse? Woke up on the lawn outside her house – not a stitch on – and had to get her mum to let her in.

That’s crazy, right?

Sure she had a dog bite on her – I saw that frothy, old Alsatian go for her myself – but why make up these stories?

Didn’t that tetanus jab in her ass work?!

Lisa always was strange. Like those photos she stuck online of herself covered in blood –  said she couldn’t remember doing it; said the blood was ketchup or food-colouring, or something. But that ‘ketchup’ looked pretty real to me. She had ‘a look’ in her eyes – you could have checked out those snaps on Flickr if they hadn’t taken them down – that was sort of ‘revelling in it’.

Meanwhile, cherry pie all over her lips, down her neck.

So a bunch of people took exception and decided to picket outside her house; neighbours and such. They said a lot of cats went missing, and it’s Lisa.

I was like, ‘OMG, Lisa, what the hell are you playing at?’

The police found a decapitated dog in her garden, all burned up. She said she woke up with it one morning, in a flower bed – it was right there next to her; no idea where it came from. So she covered it in petrol and torched it.

Neighbours complained about the fatty smoke drifting up over the fence.

Now she’s getting death threats and people have started all these Facebook pages, saying she’s a pet killer. The local authorities think she’s disturbed. The local newspapers have all run stories on her – a bunch of her photos made it on to the front page of the Aklington Examiner, for God’s sake!

A pathetic attempt at attention?

I don’t think I know her anymore. Lisa is a good looking girl – you gotta look – but all that art-house shit with the blood isn’t right. They found jars, too: her old appendix floating in fluids. That’s really not right. How do you even get to take that home with you?

Lisa’s parents are trying to play it down. Her dad got into a punch-up with a cameraman, and her mom has drawn a line across their gravel drive. Cross it, and she calls the cops.

There’s a fricking picket line round her place, right now.

You see what she calls herself, online? I mean, ‘Wolfgrrrl’? She’s been at this some time. Totally batshit. Or is that wolfshit? You should read some of the posts she has on there; some of the fantasies; some of the followers…

827,699 ‘likes’?!


But you know what is really crazy – and there is no way I’m going to ask her why – I found a bunch of Lisa’s clothes out in the garden this morning. I found her cammy top and leggings, soaked in dew, hanging off the old rose bushes. They were totally shredded, and there was red on them. I’m not saying blood, but they were ‘redded up’.

This shit’s Lisa’s because we both went shopping, and that’s the outfit she got last weekend for Embassy Studio.

Her sizes.

Her perfume.

So what the hell was she doing in my garden, shedding clothes? Stalking me outside the patio doors? Sussing me an’ the folks out, while we watch Who Wants to be a Millionaire on widescreen?

Then I start thinking about Mr Pickle.

Do you reckon she did for my cat?

I mean he was old, smelled, yowelled a lot at five a.m. – I had to water-pistol the old git on a regular basis – but I still wouldn’t want some crazy chopping his head off and cremating him!

I’m beginning to think I didn’t know Lisa at all.

And I’ve still got her iPod. So when does that get dropped off?

A lot of kids at school have gone anti-Lisa. It’s the animals: people can forgive a lot – give a serial killer a certain morbid respect – but decapitate one dog…

Ha. That does sound bad.

She was in my house. Do you reckon they can do medical tests to see if she has dog in her? I mean, in her stomach?

That’s so gross; it doesn’t even bear thinking about.

I’ve just been online and the *******madwolf site got pulled. The provider’s saying it’s due to, ‘inappropriate content that contradicts their usage agreement.’

That’s Lisa, right?

I’m really thinking she did for Mr Pickle.

My mum’s friend came round – Janise (wa, wa, wa, what a chatterbox, fringe like a ginger Afgan). She was talking about Lisa (along with the rest of the planet). She saw something – not sure when or where – but a figure, running like a dog, on all fours. This was weeks ago. I was like, sure… I mean, surely you’d mention that at the time, wouldn’t you? But now – guess what – it’s ‘gossip gold’ with Lisa all over the news.

Still, this revelation was enough to make my sister, Lotty, cry. She doesn’t want to get eaten by the ‘four legged’ Lisa, and is now hiding in her room under her duvet. She’s got Take That playing really loud, but I imagine Garry and Robbie would have no hope at protecting her from a were-Lisa.

Which is just bullshit, by the way.

In fact, I’m sorry I brought this up.

September 25, 2011   10 Comments


There is some moderate swearing in this piece, so if you’re easily offended look away now.

Still here?

Great. Time to talk about Celebee…



elebee knows she is a monster. It’s just that she can’t express it; get it out there.

She comes home each day, opens a carton of milk – briefly considers drinking it straight – but then sighs and gets a glass. Pours it out as normal.

One, normal glass of milk.

There’s nothing on the telly she particularly wants to watch. So what? She watches it late into the night until only static is left, and then she keeps on watching it, wondering what’s on the flip side of static – what other land belongs beyond that digital waterfall – envisaging, half in dream, the straight, powerful ride of a grey Trans-Am, plunging along the road. Thing is she can’t get her head up to see the horizon, so just follows the vision of that car as it increasingly wobbles along – until it’s doing a steady forty-five, top down, nobody at the wheel, slewing from one lane to the other.

Yeah, well, what’s it to you? Why should steak care about the cooking fat?

She has a bath. Tries to make it nice. Burns candles, dreams of flowers, pours in the thick, blue loop of bubble bath and exotic herbs, but her muscles remain as taught as iron and the water cools too quickly, and the bubbles vanish. Her breasts slop around as two inverted comas, adding ironic disgust to her already distorted body.

Her neighbour bangs his door and coughs – a young cough, maybe twenty five or six; there’s a lot of information in a cough – and presumably goes down stairs. She hears nothing more.

Scrubbing at her sparse frame until the water clops, pumice stone bloody, she follows the scars that run across her body from one side to the other, like a transcontinental railway. Slash after slash – self inflicted, animal brutality.

After all, she opened the door.

She remembers the skin punctures, the press of hot breath and teeth. The rake of long, scraping cardboard that was also talons, dragging and bucking across her thigh, back; fingers now smoothing across the raised rails of it all.

A blow here to the cheek, blood on her teeth picture-framing the enamel, wondering at the raw taste of copper and nausea.

The ripping sound of silk, a smooth, papery sound, as those miniscule threads parted in a red wave, sliding from her skin, one long strip hitching on blood, until – she’s running – it slopped to the floor, dragging out a long red streak like a flag.

Glass in her face, nostrils, mouth. Hanging there – funny really – over the brass shell of the glass coffee table.

Surfaces from the bath, lashes dragging, lips pressed, eyes and hair a liquid.

A towel, rough and blue, folded over like a cat’s back.

Towelling and too much talcum powder. Feet and legs duck-kneed, pretending to be a librarian.

Glasses she doesn’t need.

Walks along the street swinging a bag, in the way that she assumes other people pretend to be happy (as nobody can really be happy, can they?) skirt bouncing, wide-eyed and innocent; when in actuality, she can feel their pulses like waves, as if she had an ear uncomfortably close to them in sleep, and the sound is washing around in her inner ear, hearing her own pulse combine.

Sighs. Pushes up her hair. Tick-tacks across the foyer, nods and smiles – all canines – at the guard and heads for the tellers.

Stands for two minutes, nobody saying anything, until a woman with a pushchair says, “Hey, you gotta need a ticket.” She says it kind.

“Ticket?” Oh rat’s ass. Some electronic thing. Says thanks to the woman who is wearing low camel riders, a crop top and smooth, rounded pumps.

She shrugs and commiserates with a look.

Celebee grinds off to the ticket thing. Says no to the endless adverts and options to sniff about in her business, and gets a number. The exact digits are not important. Machine smells of ‘new’ and electrical burn – hot circuitry.

Back at the sofas, picking over the bank magazine, wondering at that huge wall of tellers and nobody up there. Feels a scar tugging at her leg; shifts uncomfortably and stretches another on her backside.

Chucks down the magazine.

Woman with the kid is up at the counter shouting out about the 1KO she’s got in her pocket. Everyone looks away as if they might be the one to steal it.

Finally she leaves, and the teller just sits staring into her monitor.

“Come on,” growls Celebee, dragging her bag to her thigh. Inside: a half brick because she thought it needed some weight on the way over.

Electronic voice says one more than C56. And she’s up, skating across the floor.

“What can I do for you today?” A wide, broad, smile, that is as perfect as a sea wall.

“Well, uh… Dianne, I’d like you to put all the motherfuckin’ money in the motherfukin’ bag.”


Dumps the half brick. It clunks onto the desk with a scatter of cooked red clay dust.

Woman stares at this offering.

“Werewolf’s gotta eat.”


Even now, staring the brick in the face, she’s incredulous. It’s a word she associates with bullshit and stories; maybe her boyfriend’s favourite film, though mostly so he can watch the tits and ass and hear the changes happening on a kitchen floor, bones cracking like a macabre celebration of Christmas.

“I says, I gotta eat.”

This woman is wising up to the lack of obvious, pointy weaponry and is moving to press something with her foot; a delicate move in a pale-blue stiletto, which is a bullshit shoe to wear day-in-day-out behind a bank table.

But then, this bank is so open plan, about five other ticket holders are all in on this farcical robbery. They look at each other, but nobody joins in. Ticket machine ain’t said so.

When Celebee changes, right there in front of the cameras, right there in front of the late C50’s and the low C60’s, right there in front of the daily, insipient shit her life has become, it isn’t even a relief. It’s a nothing – one wide open howl.

I should be a librarian. A good girl. Not a bad dog.

Instead, she says, “Now put the whatever in the whatever before I rip your head off.” Bad motherfuckin’ dog.


June 7, 2011   8 Comments

Lucy is a Werewolf

Werewolf school sign


ucy is a werewolf. She has long shaggy hair and pricked ears and big teeth. And then she turns into a werewolf. Ha, ha!

I think she hunts most nights around the full moon, but sometimes she just sits in with me and we eat chips and dips and watch old episodes of Weakest Link on her DVD player. Ann Robinson might also be a werewolf.

I asked Lucy why there aren’t other types of were-creatures, like were-hamsters or were-guinea pigs. Wouldn’t that be cool? We could keep them in school as pets, but not let the primary ones and twos look after them, in case they got bit.

I asked my dad if I could become a werewolf, but he said, “No, don’t be daft.” I don’t think he believes in werewolves, but I believe in Lucy. She’s my best friend, though she’s sometimes naughty. Like yesterday, she went hunting on a neighbouring farm and the farmer chased her with a gun. He was wearing pink wellies.

Then another day, I think she might have eaten Kensington, my neighbour Daphne’s pet cat. That could be a bit unfair. Lucy says she doesn’t think she did, but I did find Kensington’s cat medal wedged down the back of her mom’s sofa. Poor, pretty cat.

I think sometimes it must be hard to be a werewolf.

Tonight, after we’d done our homework, she couldn’t get out of the house. There was lots of whining and scratching, and my favourite program was on – Time Team, with a Special from York. I sighed a lot and had to go get the lead. Stupid Lucy, I thought.

We went round the block a couple of times and I let her off the lead, but only after I’d bopped her on the nose and told her not to go and bite anyone – except the crappy kids that live three doors up. They stole my trike when I was three.

Lucy slipped the lead for a while and came back smelling of pizza. I think she’d been rolling in garbage again. Worse when she rolls in poo.

I think looking after a werewolf is a big responsibility, just like dad said. He said, “You’ll have to look after her,” and that-was-that.

Handy, though, that I can go to school with her in the morning and she’s my best friend, especially for maths. She’s good at maths.

September 23, 2010   Comments Off on Lucy is a Werewolf