February 2018 Competiton

Fri, Feb 2 2018 08:44pm GMT 1
Purple witch
Purple witch
37 Posts

Have you made promises to others? Have others made promises to you? Are they easy to keep or impossible to fulfil? Do you know of a promise kept or broken that you need to expose?

However you choose to interpret it, now is the time to conjure up the darkest, wildest, most innocent , silly, or downright evil promise you can imagine.

This month topic is - The Promise

400 words max.

excluding title,.

Sat, Feb 3 2018 08:19am GMT 2
22 Posts

Fight with the Devil

Day one

This is easy I tell myself. I can do this…I need to do this.

Confidence emanates from my every pore. My stride is purposeful; I’m driven on by my acceptance, confident that my battle will soon be over. The thought of my new life ahead excites me. I won’t be beaten again.

Not everyone shares my enthusiasm.

‘You’ve tried before.’

‘You’re not strong enough.’

Today I won’t let the negativity of others stop me from achieving my goal. Fuck them! I know better.

I head into town, shaking my head dispassionately at the number of weak people I observe consumed by their addiction, oblivious to how stupid they look, uncaring towards the damage they are inflicting onto their already weekend bodies.

I needed this walk. I needed to see what I’d become, and what I needed to leave behind.

This is easy I tell myself. I can do this…I need to do this.

Day 2

I can do this. I want to do this.

I feel good today. I’ve had to change my routine but I’m sure I can manage. I already feel fresher…even healthier, which is an unexpected bonus.

First meeting of the day does not go well for me. My worked load has increased and I can feel my stress levels rising.

Why now?

Why when I’ve just started out on this journey?

I’m starting to feel anxious and irritable. I consume myself with work hoping to block out the darkness inside of my head.

Doubts start creeping in. Maybe the time isn’t right. What if the others are correct and I am weak, destined to always be a slave to my addiction.

I feel an emptiness burning away inside.

My phone rings, other problems to attend to. I’m snappy and end the call quickly.

I didn’t feel like this the other day. I was happy then.

I’m starting to analysis my doubts. What if they are right I think to myself?

The feeling of euphoria from the previous day is long forgotten. The doubt has now consumed my soul, my every thought.

I open the draw of my desk where I know my emergency hit is sitting awaiting my return.

Feeling like a weight has been removed from my shoulders, I reach into the draw, decision made.

I want this…they do not own me…it’s my life…my choice…I can stop smoking whenever I want…Just not today.

400 words excluding title - Sadly based on my recent attemt to quit
Sat, Feb 3 2018 05:02pm GMT 3
60 Posts

A Very Fraught Delivery

(a shameless homage to Lemony Snicket)

“I insist you must – ”

“But – ”

“Don’t argue. This is too important.”

“But there’s too much! I’ll never remember it all.”

“You have to. Repeat the terms to me.”

“First I have to go to the second oldest house at Danvers Street, slide the letter through the letterbox at precisely two minutes past three in the morning, according to … some timezone or other, oh, I can’t do it. And I forgot about getting the actual letter. Why do I have to do this?”

“Because Benchmembers won’t. Those are the rules.”

“Can I at least please write it down?”

“Don’t be ridiculous. If the Spearmen find out what you’re doing, we’re both goners.”

“Alright, alright. I’ll try again. Pick up the letter from Amacus at 11:43. Take the number 537 to Puerto, but I have to get on at 12:16, at the bus stop where there’s a man with a funny hat.” I stop. “But what if the man with the funny hat moves?”

“He won’t. Men with funny hats rarely move.”

“Great. That’s great. So I’m on the bus, I need to count seventeen dark blue cars, eighteen dark grey ones, and at least – wow, so generous – one black one. But it’ll be dark. How am I supposed to tell dark grey apart from blue and black?”

“Those are the terms of the promise. You know what you were taking on.”

“Yes, but I didn’t expect so many ridiculous demands.”

“You get to Puerto at what time?”

“One twenty-one.”

“I said: what time –”

“Two! Two twenty-one!”

“Good. The thirty-third Spearman you see, how will you greet him?”

“I will say: the Dustmens’ Union has requested the pleasure of Origuez’s company at the Cody Pig!”

“What next?”

“I then … something to do with a contract?”

“What? What do you do with it?”

“Read it … upside down! No, backwards! I read it backwards, maintaining a terrible sense of rapidly ticking time. This is insane.”

“Where do you find the contract?”

“In a puddle.” I put my hands to my head. “On the floor.”

“Good. Next?”

“Then Danvers Street.”

“What must you do on your walk back from there?”

“Count every paving stone like a fucking loony.”

“While carrying the what? Last question for Phase 1a.”

“The, er, bag of flour!”

“Which you got from the – ”

“The … four-hundred-and-twenty-seventh Spearman? Oh, fuck, I totally forgot about him.”


Sat, Feb 3 2018 05:03pm GMT 4
60 Posts
^oops language warning!
Fri, Feb 9 2018 09:47pm GMT 5
73 Posts

I Made Myself A Promise

I made myself a promise.

She would not see me cry.

I would not let her lose hope, no matter how hopeless it got.

‘Mum,’ she called to me in the woods, her voice crackling like white noise.

‘Quiet.’ I whispered, ‘they’ll hear you.’

I rushed towards her and covered her mouth with my palm. The dry leaves were rustling all around us. We were not alone.

I guided her to the ground, the cradle of my arms offering no comfort, but slowing her descent. I pulled the tarpaulin over us, the rough fabric scraping at my neck as I covered my head. I felt a clawing at my hand. The panic had driven me, I had been gripping her with force. She stayed silent though, she had learnt from her mistake.

The men came closer. The pounding of their feet sent vibrations through my entire being. Or was that just my heart? As eager to escape my chest as I the woods.

They spoke softly, as if trying not to wake the dead.

‘One last esimorp and we can go home.’

What was this word? They used it over and over, like it meant something. Even at the camps in our cages they would not tell us what it was, this word that meant we all deserved to die. This word that meant we could be hunted for sport without repercussion.

They moved on, the camouflage had worked. The ground was littered with the tarpaulins, ours looked like any other. Only under ours, the bodies still had life in them.

‘Come. Quickly. Now.’

I pulled her out from under the cover once the footsteps had faded. She held on to my arm with a vicelike grip and ran with me, back the way we came, but away from the danger. Her chest had grown tight again. I could hear it in her breath, polyphonic, almost musical. The steroids had run out, we had to slow down. It would kill her just as fast as the men could.

I sat her down, her back against the thick trunk of an old oak tree. She looked at me with those wide, desperate eyes.

I did not cry, not on the outside.

‘Will…we...make…it?’ she asked between gasps.

A rustle of leaves.

‘We will.’ I replied as the bullet struck her.

I had kept my promise.

393 words

Sun, Feb 11 2018 09:56pm GMT 6
dyslexic of dartford
dyslexic of dartford
122 Posts

The Trap

You know they say don't make promises you can't keep ? Well, I promised Lara that everything was going to be alright. I shouldn't have but she'd been crying and both of us were sick with worry. And that's why I'm sitting at a table in the back room of the Worlds End.

Trying not to let the desperation show, I sized up the opposition. Business men, small time crooks and wannabe card sharps. All trying to psych each other out under the haze of cigar smoke that hung in the air like a toxic cloud. No one to worry about, I'll just play a few hands and quit while I'm ahead.

A voice from behind me sucked the air from the room and I shuddered.

'Good evening gentlemen.'

Tony bloody Harrison, the local Mafia. Flanked by a couple of his goons and with a smile as wide and toothy as a great white shark. Oh Christ this is his game. I'll be lucky to leave with all me limbs intact should I win too much.

Well, win big I did as one by one all of the saps folded, leaving only Tony and me.

'Word has it you've had a bit of bad luck,' he said warmly.

'I'm sorry ?' I replied trying not show emotion.

I swear he could smell my fear and smiled his shark smile again.

'Can't be easy loosing your job with a wife and kids. Tell me how are you getting on with the mortgage ?'

'Well I.'

He put up a finger to stop me, 'I'm starting a little property empire of my own,' he said. 'And as I'm in a good mood I'm prepared to make you an offer you can't refuse.'

'Oh ?'

'I'll bet you on the cut of a card,'he looked serious now 'you win, you keep the money on the table and I'll pay your mortgage. I win, I take your house.'

'I don't know about th,' is as far as I got before he cut across me.

'When I said you can't refuse!'

I felt the weight of one of his gorillas on my shoulders as I tried to stand. I was totally out of my depth.

'Highest card wins, I'll cut first.'

He reached across and cut the pack. A seven.

I couldn't stop my hand from trembling as a reached for a card.

Wed, Feb 14 2018 08:55am GMT 7
826 Posts

Song of the Grandmothers

Until this day arrived, my skin had been deemed perfect, the fairness of it attracting the son of a chief. And so I was promised to him, after I was marked by ritual, for until then I was still but a child.

‘Will it hurt?’ I asked the grandmothers as I was welcomed into their hut.

‘The things we most treasure are earned through pain,’ a toothless one said as she beckoned me to the inking chair. ‘This you must feel if you are to pass into womanhood.’

‘And in silence if you are to honour the passing with bravery,’ the ink-mother’s stern voice reminded me. The first sting came from the combs with which she pinned back my hair.

The grandmothers chanted through the ritual. ‘The pains of womanhood are many,’ they sang as they sat around the central fire.

‘The throes of passion are entered through pain,’ I heard beyond closed eyes which I tried hard not to clench. I could not share the glee that rang in their voices.

‘And the children you bear will be born from many agonies,’ their song continued. ‘But the love they bring will live beyond death.’

Trickles, warm like tears, ran from the rawness that bit into my temples and the voices became a blur. I thought the ritual would never end.

Finally, the pricking ceased. I flicked my eyes open to see a wall of lined faces all peering down, examining the ink-mother’s work.

‘Your prettiness becomes a womanly beauty,’ they proclaimed. ‘Your husband will be the proudest man, when you exchange vows on the morrow.’

The grandmothers let the moon alone guide me as I left them for the solitude of the woodland stream, where I cast my offering to the water goddess. With it, a promise that this new woman would be true to her vows.

And I would.

It was my father’s word that promised me to Latoban. Neither sought my assent. And it was the girl who promised to return home after the age-coming ritual.

I was a woman now.

A woman who had already felt the pain of first passion, and found a love which would outlive death. It was a love, and a passion, that I could never promise to another.

Neither could my beloved.

We fled the village before we were missed, the burn of the needle-bites still hot upon my skin.

399 words (excl title)

Wed, Feb 14 2018 09:00am GMT 8
826 Posts
Pah! Cloud have 'edited' my line-spacing again - sorry folks.
Thu, Feb 15 2018 12:00am GMT 9
838 Posts
Language warning!

No Regrets

I allus knew my lad’d choose right. Her song is playing, echoing off all the empty seats around the chapel. Of the quick, there’s only the priest, and my brilliant son. Mind you, it didn’t need Sherlock to work out what to play, not after hearing it a million times when he were little.

I don’t regret that, why shouldn’t I play it all the time, in her memory: for his mum?

If there’s owt I regret, … Nah, tell you later.

“Hey, mister!” The first words my Jude said to me.

And mine back: “Yeah, what?”

She glared like she weren’t sixteen. “You finished?”

I never were finished, not back then, not like now.

Remembering how she looked that first time makes me shiver. Skinny like her clothes were holding her bones together, face ghost white, hair a wispy halo when the light were behind her, and not right good at acting like I wasn’t watching her. Knew she was a hard worker, cos she fair stank of honest sweat and fags.

I liked her.

Funny how it worked out.

I drove her home that night. My place, you know. Then next morning I found a new place for us up on the moors, no-one else for miles, apart from heather.

Jude didn’t find that joke funny either. I reckon she wanted me all to herself.

Work took me all over the place, and wherever I was I could always imagine unlocking the front door and her being there, her pale face with that little smile like she was right glad I’d come home, that meant she’d always be there to look after me, whatever happened. Always, like she’d never leave.

Her face was in the papers, you know, and on the tele. Missing. Police couldn’t find her. Some sick bastard must have done it. I never told my lad that was why he didn’t know her, just said one day she weren’t home.

I loved her more than all the others, and promised to look after her right, but she never said owt about loving me. I reckon she did. Must have.

Nah, I’m not going to tell you what I regret, not when the lad might find out. They say you can’t take it with you, but what I’ve got ain’t money, it’s far more precious, and that’s the truth.

The music’s finished. Got to go.

Bye, son.

Thu, Feb 15 2018 12:08am GMT 10
240 Posts

Life is a Scientific Method as an Ongoing Process

I watch from the bedroom door as your tanned shoulders disappear under a crisp white shirt. Sensing my eyes on you, you turn around, offering me the smile that always melts my heart quicker than steel in nitric acid. I ache to pull that shirt along with your body into bed. An unscheduled change, a derailment of this evening’s agreed field experiment, so I don’t. I’ve made you a promise: no more hypothesis and predictions, tonight’s the night for validation and confirmation.

“Don’t be so worried, it’ll be fine.” Do you read my thoughts in the pull of my brow, or do you just know me so well? “Now stop looking at me like you’re starving and I’m dinner and get ready.” Just know me so well.

“Yes, boss.” I smile.

Parking was a nightmare as usual, but I’m glad for this little reprieve, delaying the inevitable. I will take all I can get. You’re walking slightly ahead, the hand not holding the bottle of wine, pulling me along. I stay silent, busy running further simulations in my head on how the evening might unfold. But there are too many unknown variables, and missing data for an accurate set of likely outcomes. I’m so engrossed in simulations and thought experiments, I almost miss the next critical step: the front door.

“You’re going to have to open this if you want us to get in.” You laugh.

Inside, we are immediately greeted by the scent of warm custard and cinnamon — the smells of my childhood.

“Hello.” I send the word out like a search party looking for signs of life.

It works, and the natives come out to welcome us. The critical event is looming now, my body buzzing like an accelerator full of subatomic particles, colliding. I’m Schrödinger about to open the box: two possibilities reduced to one reality. In that moment, your fingers lace with mine, your hand giving me a “don’t-worry-it’ll-be-fine-I-promise” squeeze. The scariest thing in my life isn’t so insurmountable with you by my side.

“Hello Hannah. How’s my favourite Applied Physics undergrad?”

“Good, mum.”

“Who is this you’re bringing then, darling?” mum asks, wiping her hands on a tea towel as dad joins us.

Incoming new data to test predictions. “Mum, dad, I would like to introduce to you, Sophie, my girlfriend.”

386 words (excl title)

Fri, Feb 16 2018 07:58pm GMT 11
dyslexic of dartford
dyslexic of dartford
122 Posts
Mon, Feb 19 2018 09:47pm GMT 12
T B Carter
T B Carter
33 Posts

Time for Diplomacy

“Morning Brand, what’s up?” I asked the young man who looked rather serious.

“Sorry to disturb you Governor but I have a problem, you did promise to help if I ever had a problem.”

“Just one problem. Lucky you.” I grinned at him, uncharacteristically he didn’t grin back. “Well, I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what it is.”

“When I was in Bergraz, before I took my knight’s vowels, before I killed the dragon, I fell in love.” I tried not to smile, I really did.

“Did she... or ahh... he feel the same?”

“Oh, yes she did, there probably wouldn’t be any problems if I’d fallen in love with a man.”

“You got her pregnant didn’t you?”

“Yes. I only found out today. I have a son.” Brand sounded proud and slightly stunned.

“Congratulations. So, I take it your lady love tracked you down and wrote to you... either that or her family did.”

“She did. No one else knows who the father is. She’s caused quite a scandal.”

“Does this mean she’s quite err... high born?” I asked, my socialist roots cringing at the phrase.

“She’s a Princess... she’s the Emperor’s sister. My son is next in line to be Emperor of Midriver.” I looked at the young knight whom I’d seen face down half an army. He was almost trembling. I tried to keep my face straight.

“I take it claiming the son as your own and marrying the princess wouldn’t go down well.”

“I... I don’t know, the Emperor would at least hear me out, we are friends well, we were. I don’t know what we’ll be when he finds out I slept with his sister. Then there are the Knights, they won’t be happy, especially Sir Arthur. Then there’s the Lords of Midriver, and the court...”

“Sir Brand, in situations like this a certain phrase comes to mind.”

“What’s that?”

“Fuck ‘em all. Let’s go to Bergraz, let’s be diplomatic. What’s the worst that could happen?”

“We are all assassinated and there is another Civil War?”

“That’s what anyone says whenever I propose doing anything interesting. Now go to the infirmary and get Dr Cathy to tell you all about contraception. You may be the finest swordsman in Midriver but you really need to know when to sheath your sword.”

388 Words.

Mon, Feb 19 2018 09:52pm GMT 13
T B Carter
T B Carter
33 Posts
Is there any way of editing posts? I wanted to call it 'A Dragon Ate My Diplomatic Bag'
Tue, Feb 20 2018 01:50pm GMT 14
826 Posts
Sorry, TB, but once posted they're not editable. I've made the same mistake before of posting then wanting to edit. Sometimes the ether messes about with spacing and tabs too, again irreversable.
Wed, Feb 21 2018 06:02am GMT 15
2198 Posts

Dire Straits

Mark Knopfler said it first.

At least, it was in his voice, his words, I heard it: ‘I promised you through thick and thin’. And it was because there was something in your voice – and you walked like I imagined Mark Knopfler did, in a loose-limbed way that made me think about how bones worked, about how femurs rotated in the pelvic bone – about your pelvis, rotating –

It was your voice I heard first.

That same huskiness that caused something to twist inside me, like wringing out sheets only they’d be silk sheets, not the centre-seamed ones on my bed then. (My parents’ worn thin doubles, turned edge to middle.)

You were talking about a car or something, laughing with a couple of mates and, the humour of ‘You nearly give me a heart attack’ fresh in my mind, I attributed the same light-heartedness to you. Likely also the way the streetlight outside the club brightened your hair to a similar shade, though a lot of it was subliminal. Not that I knew that word then. Means under the surface, sort of. A change, an impact you don’t realise is happening.

What did happen, of course, is I let on to a friend I’d noticed you, like, really subtle: ‘Who’s he? Just come in the door. Talking to that other bloke?’ She didn’t know but made it her business to find out. (Which is probably why I asked, though I don’t think I can claim to’ve been quite so subliminal with that.)

Next Friday, you looked straight at me, so I knew it had got round. (I’d’ve liked to’ve played cool but my face went hot and where I was stood you couldn’t miss it.) Then the usual pattern; what my friends said was usual, I’d not got this far before, not any way near, because up ‘til then there’s been no-one fanciable. No-one who matched up to Mark.

You didn’t either, of course, but it took me a while to admit it.

Thinness came first. Your hands on my waist; me so skinny my jeans always were a bit loose. The sharpness of hip-bones, bumping. Of vertebrae against hard surfaces.

Then thickness. My waist, then belly. Your voice in anger saying the same of me.

I should’ve remembered the song was about Romeo and Juliet. And we all know what happened to them. Not that either of us died.

[400 words plus title]

Thu, Feb 22 2018 10:06am GMT 16
22 Posts
Sorry all. What does BUMP mean?..... seen it on a few posts over the past few weeks and have no idea what it is refering to.
Thu, Feb 22 2018 10:52am GMT 17
John Alty
John Alty
46 Posts
Bumping is adding a post to a thread specifically to send it back to the top of a group of threads. To show you've deliberately done this you write BUMP or, if you're in playful mood, BUMPETY BUMP.
Thu, Feb 22 2018 12:03pm GMT 18
22 Posts
Thanks John
Thu, Feb 22 2018 01:54pm GMT 19
1444 Posts

A Twinkle in the Sun

Look towards the window my dearest. See how the sun bursts through the chintz and brings the colour to life. It's time my love, just as we promised all those years ago. Do you remember? You lay on the warm beach then, Mappleton the place was. Me hovering over you as now, and I looked deep into your ice blue eyes. Bright in the sun they were just as they are at this moment. And that same twinkle when we heard the news. The war is over.

And now, another battle will soon come to a close. To celebrate our long and loving life I've made up a special Champagne breakfast, I know the fizz tickles your nose—that's why I've put a straw in your flute. Sip it gently my sweet while I flick through the photo album.

Here. Look. This is us clambering the cliffs when the tide came in quick. Lucky for us your brother hung onto his Brownie when the big waves began to hit the shoreline. How we all laughed when his wife, Peggy, lost a shoe and we watched it bob in the surf. That was Flamborough Head I think. And there was that be-spectacled man with the handlebar moustache. On the tricycle. With a big umbrella over it selling ice cream cornets. Do you remember—so we all bought one? And you made an ice cream moustache under my nose.

This one. This one here. Look. On the first day of our honeymoon on the donkeys at Scarborough. What a week that was. Do you remember the funny little waiter in the hotel? "Heckscuse me modom. Would you like ta-ta sauce wiv your fish." Then afterwards I made the joke and said he couldn't roll his tongue around his Rs.

Oh, my poor love, I'm making you tired. Close your eyes my darling and I'll clear the glasses away and wash them.

There we are. All done. I've finished my glass and washed that too. Now, before we go I just need to tell you that I know these last two years have been difficult—more than you know, but I know also that, from now on, we can be together forever and a day. As I lay beside you holding hands let's both be that twinkle in the sun. Goodbye, my darling—

Word count = 395

Fri, Feb 23 2018 12:36pm GMT 20
Little Wol
Little Wol
4 Posts


He looked contemplative for a moment. A bit troubled.

‘What is it?’ I asked.

‘Tonight, when I was in the pub. She was there,’ he said.

I felt my chest tighten, ever so slightly at the mention of her. But I didn’t say anything, just waited for him to go on.

‘I was having a moment of serious doubt, about whether you were coming back, and the obvious thing to do was to get drunk and try to forget about it. I knew it was now or never.’

I squirmed uncomfortably at the thought of what must have been going through his mind. He went on:

‘I kept looking at my phone, but there was nothing. So I started drinking faster. I was feeling pretty cynical about the world in general by this time, pretty pissed off. But I knew I probably shouldn’t be in there with her on my own, so I told her I was going. She tried to make me stay; said she didn’t want to drink alone. I was tempted - I mean, really tempted. It was getting late and I thought you weren’t going to call. I just wanted to get so drunk I wouldn’t feel anything anymore. She offered to buy me another drink, and I so nearly said yes. But then she said, if I just had one more drink with her, she promised she would let me go home. She promised. And I thought…. we both know that’s not true. If I stayed for another drink, I would stay in there all night, would probably end up going home with her.’

Ouch, that hurt. But I was glad he was being honest with me.

‘And then she said it again. "I promise". I know it was only a flip remark. People say it all the time without ever meaning it, but I thought: why say that when it’s not true? And that made me think of you, and how you would never say something like that, unless you meant it. Not even just a casual comment. You would never promise something you didn’t mean. That’s when I knew you were coming back, no matter what. If it was at all possible, you would be here. I knew that was the truth. So I left. That’s when I found you on the bridge.’

I took his hand.

‘Thank God you did,’ I said.

Word Count: 400

Sat, Feb 24 2018 05:08pm GMT 21
5 Posts

A Dollar Promise.

I made a promise and yet here I stand, alone, with no one to help me with a story I fear no one will believe. It began with Christina. I went to school with her, a small girl, and black square framed glasses. She had brown hair and was always smiling.

The only way I can describe her is as a dollar bill. Everyone knew her, most liked her, though some didn’t, but they tolerated her, which you can’t judge them for.

I got on well with her, probably better than most, which may have led to some rumours, though they were all complete lies. We lived relatively close to one another so most days, if she was around, we would walk home together, talk about our day, like an old married couple.

She was quiet. She didn’t talk about her family, much. I occasionally saw her Dad, I’d say fifties, but he looked older. I never saw her mother and she was an only child. – Where was I?

– The promise. It’s something I swore to never to tell anyone, though, I think I should. I kept it to myself, which was a mistake. One night Christina called me out of the blue. Usually she text. She was sobbing and wanted to talk. She told me that her father was abusing her. He would lash out and beat her. I suggested the police, but she begged me not to and told me that everything would be fine. I didn’t believe her, but I took her word for it and I promised her I wouldn’t say anything. A few days later she called again, but as she cried and pleaded for help, the line went dead. I rushed down to her house, and forced my way. I found her on the ground, blood everywhere, her father was in the corner, knife wound in his stomach, the knife on the floor. She was dead… broken neck. I cradled her in my arms and that was when the police showed up. They saw the broken door, bruises on her body, the knife and the old man. They arrested me and began asking questions, about our relationship.

You put two and two together.

‘Times up.’ Yells a voice in the back, as he places the phone back on the hook and walks away from the glass and his lawyer.

Word Count: 398

Sat, Feb 24 2018 10:57pm GMT 22
1084 Posts

Out of me, slip-sliding, raw,

Bruised and headlong-hurled,

You come and ask for nothing,

But I promise you the world.

I hold you close, against my heart

Skin-on-skin so warm,

I’ll shelter you, I’ll wrap you round

Protect you from all harm.

I’ll keep you safe for always.

You’ll never need to fear.

I’ll be your guard, your guide, your rock,

No danger will come near.

I’ll fight for you, I’ll rage for you,

I’ll stand and never fall,

I’ll never let the bad things come,

I’ll save you from it all.

And I promise, oh I promise,

I promise till I ache.

I hold you close, against my heart,

And pray that it won’t break.

I marvel at your starfish hands,

Your tiny, scrunched-up nose,

Your rosebud mouth, your old man’s frown,

Your perfect, new-born toes,

The milky whisper of your breath,

Your eyes – dark-ocean deep,

Your soft and scented downy head,

Your free-fall into sleep.

And I promise, oh I promise,

I promise till I weep.

You’ll never ever need to fear

For I will always hold you here,

Close against my beating heart

My beating, hoping heart.

Sun, Feb 25 2018 07:25pm GMT 23
13 Posts
Contains strong language.

People We Trust

The sound of a text alert drifts through the fog of my morning brain. Christ what time is it? The screen of my phone glows in the otherwise dull room. 11.04am. I push the button and try to make sense of the message from Nile.

‘Sam’s been arrested.’


‘Charged with the murder of some old biddy’.

Shit. A memory of after Lily’s funeral surfaces. Hadn't Nile’s ten year revenge plan just been drunken words? Why had Sam and I agreed?

‘You or me next?’

Bloody hell.

‘Don’t listen to Nile.’ Mum’s voice is so real she could be in the room with me. I grab my whisky bottle. Shit I need to get away from bloody Barnbridge.

Seven years later any mirror tells the tale of my neglected life. I huddle in a deserted shop doorway. Bloody hell I’m cold. The clack of stiletto heels hitting the pavement is followed by the thud of heavy boots. My heart begins to bang. How many times have I watched drunken arguments? I heave myself from my sleeping bag and follow the pair like a moth towards light. The scream stabs my body. Tonight is different. If only someone had helped my sister she may not be dead.

‘Leave me alone.’

In the park a man stands over a woman. I’ve heard you can smell fear, is it wrong that I can’t? The taste is sour.

I grab his neck and feel his veins throb against my fingers.

‘Run. Get the hell out of here.’ My voice cracked.

Mum doesn’t ask any questions when I arrive on her doorstep. She organises rehab and counselling.

It took two years but I finally have a job.

In the village square The Barnbridge Brass Band play Hark the Herald accompanied by carol singers. It’s been a long shift, I turn away and head down the alley towards home. I grip mum’s Christmas present, a brooch, white lilies. We’ve had such a journey. It’s time to move on.

‘Remember me?’

I turn and my chest pounds. ‘Nile.’

‘The ten years are nearly up.’

‘Yeah I know. But I’ve done it. There was a woman in a park and I saved her.’

‘You stupid shit,’ said Nile.

‘What? We swore to save or kill.’

‘It was me you stopped.’ In Nile’s hand a blade glints in the moonlight. ‘I always keep my word.’

397 words excluding title.
Mon, Feb 26 2018 07:25am GMT 24
2403 Posts

THE BOY IN THE BED (391 words)

The room is grey and soft-lit, silent except for the cheeps and whirrs of the machines that surround you, and insulated from the bustle of murmured voices and measured footfall in the corridor beyond the door.

You lie so still, pinned to the bed by a stiff cotton sheet, and only the slowest, featherlight breathing lets me know you’re still alive. I stand alone - unnoticed - in the shadows by the door, dried blood crusted on my cheek, while Mum dozes in the chair beside you, her mouth slack, and a trail of black, spidery footprints down her cheeks where the tears have deposited her mascara.

Beneath the bruising, your face is pale, eyes tight shut against the pain. And the fear. You seem less somehow, as if the bed is swallowing you. My heart rat-a-tats, and an alarm sounds from one of the machines.

Mum jolts awake and her phone slides from her lap onto the floor.

Dust motes swirl around me as the door swooshes open and a nurse appears in the gap. I shrink back from the bright light and the noise behind him.

‘Everything all right in here?’ He spots Mum’s phone and moves forward to pick it up. Mum pats her hair into place, then holds his gaze a second too long before she takes the phone.

‘Oh, heavens,’ she says, ‘I must look a fright.’

The nurse gives her a sympathetic smile. ‘Perhaps a drink will make you feel more human?’

‘A drink?’ Mum’s voice etches the air as she grasps at the offer, and the nurse flinches.

‘Only tea or coffee, I’m afraid.’

He knows.

Mum turns her face away from him to deflect her weakness and fumbles in her pocket for a hanky. Her glance slides over the boy on the bed, then back to the nurse.

‘How is he doing?’

‘At the moment, he’s holding his own.’

‘They’re saying my Steve did this to him, but that can’t be right. They get on like a house on fire.’

Oh, Mum.

Even now, nothing’s changed. I remember what brought us here.

‘You little sod!’ Steve yelled. ‘Defy me, would you? It’ll be the last time, I can promise you that.’

There’s no reason for me to stay. I turn to leave, and the tone of the machines change to one of alarm.

Mon, Feb 26 2018 08:35pm GMT 25
67 Posts

Promiso, <400


‘I promoso get you train set.’

1982 I remember my dad has farewell parting as he boarded Vouchel Bologarna Antarctic vessel.

He was sailor away to kill the Britisch empire. You know the dirty Britisich who take the Malvinas over 200 years ago and they put the most Britisch Britisch peasant on the tiny islet in the Atlantic sea? Over century they grew and grew mutton more Britisch even. By 1982 they were very Britisch, today they are the most Britischpeople you ever witness except for the Britischer in Espana. They are most Britisch also, why is this you priminster you mister Reesmog & fuhrer tell me?

I waited for the Christmas and my train set eight month away, we hear over letter thayt my Daddy was send in helicopter to defend Evita Atol, formerly knewed as South Sandwich Island. Single-handed he defends South Sanwich island with a brick becauses nobody bring him back. Nobody give fuck about South Sandwich island, or maybe is North Sandwich island and my Dad is over there? We have Evita you Britisch fools. But thats no good because my Dad there masking love to elephant seals on his own. What kind of life is it with elephant seal on his own? And my train set never comes.

Now I am big I became entrepreneur of train sets because of my feelings of losing and my daddy I think he like blubberbetter, those bitches and fat lying around on snow every week of the day are cows. So I sit in my toy shop and the Flying Dutchman is on my train set with eight carriage, I control it single-hands like my Daddy and his sandwich. And my mummy she comes see me in my famous shop, it is called train shop.

‘Why don’t you get my daddy?’ I say.

‘I don’t like your daddy,’ she say, ‘he stay in Sandwich, is funny to me and that is good enough. I have Frederico, he is more handsome. Dos not your Dad write his internet?’

‘Sandwich North is unrecognised in meteorlogical circle, you know that,’ and we fight, the woman falls on my train.

So this is the year I will find him, kickstarter him I think and find him and Sandwich. He owes me train. I love you Daddy.

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