Window Watcher

The cat chattered, clacking her teeth, fur rising.

His gut clenched.

‘Elsie, come away,’ Fear made his song-song tone brittle. He half-crouched toward the window.

Elsie smacked the glass with a velvet paw.

‘Come here, sweetie.’

She chirped once, then hopped down from the windowsill.

He cradled her against his chest. Her purrs were so loud, he could almost ignore the moans of the shuffling horde outside.

It wasn’t easy to have a housecat in the zombie apocalypse.

Image by StockSnap, used under Pixabay License.… Read more

Churchyard Meeting

She’d heard that on a certain day, at a certain time, you could meet your own ghost haunting the graveyard at St Mary’s.

In the hour before dawn, she stood beside the church’s yew tree, hands tucked under her armpits, cloudy breath mixing with the pre-dawn mist. Her gaze hovered uncertainly on every shadow and shifting light.

When at last the ghost appeared, it was as a being of trailing fog with eyes like fire, but a familiar face.

‘I’m sorry,’ the girl whispered. ‘I didn’t know — I needed someone to –‘

Gently, the ghost embraced her, one spectral hand stroking her hair, the other gripping her shoulder.… Read more

The Royal

Every day, she saw them out of the corner of her eye. A person, crowned, in robes of sweeping gold.

Sitting in the empty chair in her office, leaning in the kitchen doorway, standing in the cinema aisle. Always vanishing on a closer look.

She feared the royal, at first. They made a question of her sanity, or else of her safety.

But one week passed, then two, then ten. They became familiar. A company felt even when unseen.

At last, returning home with tears on her cheeks and a black feeling in her chest, she whispered to her empty home: ‘Are you there, royal?’

She thought she heard a whisper, but could not make out the words.… Read more

The Pattern

The knitters were delighted to see a young woman at the craft.

She looked to them for advice and techniques, watching and solemnly repeating.

She spoke little but listened much. To their triumphs and disappointments, their loves and their tragedies.

Quietly, she would knit a chance meeting, or purl a healed heartbreak. When she dropped a stitch for an unwanted memory, the old women would tut.

When they passed, she would add a new colour to the pattern of the world.

Image by SaskiaAleida, used under CC0.… Read more

The Girl With Chickenfeet

A longer microfiction for Mastodon.

People were cruel to the girl with chickenfeet. ‘She’s hideous!’ they would cackle in her face.

‘The poor, ugly thing,’ others would whisper behind her back.

She bore it all with hunched shoulders and a leaden heart.

At night, she would stare at her feet and flex the long, scaly toes with their talons, and she would try to picture them smooth and bland and ordinary.

Every time she did, she grew a little smaller, choked by silence and shame.

She could pluck her feathers and hide her arms in long sleeves, but nothing could disguise her chickenfeet.… Read more

Terrifying, Beautiful

‘I love winter,’ she would say as the wind chapped her cheeks.

She loved winter when she had to wade through snow and she loved winter when she came home soaked through with rain.

She loved winter when she cuddled under a blanket and when the steam from her hot chocolate fogged her glasses.

People would question that she loved winter when it broke the electrics in her car or froze her pipes, and she would laugh.

‘Love doesn’t have to be easy,’ she’d say. ‘I love winter even then.’

When she opened her door to a figure in a flurry of snow, she paused.… Read more

Looking

Another microfiction for Mastodon.

She pricked her finger on the crooked needle and let the blood drip and swirl into the bowl below.

It clouded pink, then cleared.

She gripped the sides of the bowl with tight hands as an image resolved. A tatter-eared dog trotted through fields of smoke beneath a white sky, then paused and sniffed the air. It looked right at her, and barked, ears coming forward.

‘I miss you,’ she whispered.

Then came shouts and shuffling feet. She overturned the bowl and fled.

Image by Yuri_B, used under CC0.… Read more

Someone To Talk To

Another microfiction written for Mastodon. I hope you enjoy it!

‘I just wish I had someone to talk to,’ I said to my reflection.

‘Me too,’ she replied.

I froze. A hundred horror scenes came back to me in a rush, a thousand alternative world plots-turned disaster. But she looked as tired as I felt, and my own hope was reflected in her eyes.

She put her hand on the mirror. I took it, and drew her through. She gasped like she was surfacing from deep underwater.

We talked long into the night. Our troubles were much the same, but viewed from different angles.… Read more

Clever

Another microfiction for Mastodon, with thanks to my Ko-Fi supporters.

She brought him the usual gifts at first. A mouse, a bird. A ribbon for him to play with.

She would run up with her gift in her mouth and prrt cheerfully around it. And he would pat her head and tell her she was a good and clever cat.

Then it was a coin with strange markings. A pendant, warm to the touch. A piece of lightning-struck wood.

He never knew of the shadowy figures that followed him, but neither did he have to fear them.

She was a good and clever cat.… Read more

Campfire Stories

Another microfiction for Mastodon, with thanks to my Ko-Fi supporters.

‘OOOO!’ said the ghost.

The girl poked at the fire. ‘I’m not in the mood for ghost stories, thanks.’

‘Ooo?’ The ghost’s head tilted.

She jabbed the fire more savagely. ‘I didn’t like them anyway.’

Shrieks and giggles emerged from the nearby cabin.

‘ooOOOooo.’ The ghost bobbed sympathetically in the air. It floated over to hover beside her.

After a moment, she said, ‘Maybe … maybe one ghost story, actually?’

The ghost shook its sheets and began its spookiest ooo.

 

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors, used under CC0.… Read more