Side Projects

Here will be side projects that will not feature in any books I will be publishing in the future.  

 A Tale of Two Dark Nights

This story ‘A Tale of Two Dark Nights ‘ was created from a task as part of a writers group I am in. The task was to write a short story, but the twist was to do a gender reversal on an established character. I chose my character and went to work and came up with this.   

“Caller 4, you’re through to Finger on the Pulse, so come on myth or fact.”

“Well, I’m not sure if…”

“Come on put it on the line the truth is out there, the light, the rumours, scared criminals…this ain’t no Charles Bronson death wish guy, this is a professional…you with me here?”

“Err you can’t.”

“Can’t my ass live in the now, the police deny it so must be real!! Line 5”

“Well, I think it is fact.  I have seen it.”

“It, you say, not a man or women?”

“I couldn’t see the face as the mask covered it.”




“Where did you see this?”

As Bill waited for the caller to respond he spun around on his old weathered swivel chair. His eyes glanced at the wall.  Newspaper clippings, copies of police reports all linked to sightings of the cities Vengeful Gallant, the Night Demon, the Dark Devil. Some newspaper clippings mentioned sightings of other vigilantes in other cities, the Red Streak, the Green Hood and the Amazonian.

“Well, it was near…”

“Come on don’t waste my time spit it out.”

“Near the water district tunnels.”

“Ok, ok, thanks, caller.”

“Is this Demon of the Night even human??? Line 3 you’re on the Finger on the Pulse!”

“Yeah, Bill what’s with this obsession…you’re a crazy son of…”

“Hey! Who let this guy on!?! Are we not vetting the callers anymore? Get the hell outta here…Next Caller!”

“Bill what about the Jester sighting?”

“God sake! Next!!!”

“Come on people let’s have a proper discussion of the things we want to talk about but don’t let’s not sit on the fence here. Something is happening to our city, is it what we want or is it what we need?.. You’re through to Finger on the Pulse, what’s your name, caller?”

“Hi, my name is Edyth Nigma, Bill.”

“Welcome to my show, Edyth, what do you want to say?”

“I think you’re right, Bill we need to talk about the conundrum is it what we need or what we want in our city.  Do we need to be scared to walk the streets at night or can we walk them with the knowledge we will be safe?”

“Edyth, we need to be safe but that is what the police are there for.  Is it right to have someone going around and acting like judge, jury and executioner? Do, two wrongs make a right?”

“Well Bill, are the police actually doing what they should be doing? I have heard lots of rumours regarding the police being bought, by the Family.  Maybe this Knight of the Shadows has had enough of injustice.” 

“If you collate solid evidence, Edyth, criminals will be punished.”

“But how many and who have been bought?”

“Well, that is all hearsay. But we must follow the legal process if not we will have a city full of costumed weirdos, nut jobs running around, and some innocent people will be hurt.”

“Aren’t the innocent being hurt now though, Bill?”

“Would love to chat all night, Edyth but we have other callers coming in. Thanks for the call…Line 6.”

“Bill, I spotted the Night Demon last week, it climbed the building the roof of the building facing my apartment.”

“So, how much did you see caller? And where did you see it?”

“I couldn’t see the face, the black mask covered it. I live in the Kubrick District.” 

“So, we are still unsure if this vigilante is male or female.”

“So, caller, do you think this character is a hindrance or a massive help to the city?”

Bill turned around and stood up and grabbed a black coloured pin, he moved his finger over the map then tapped it when he found the location.  He firmly pushed the pin and stood back to overlook all the sightings looking for a pattern. But nothing.  

“Well Bill, I honestly think it is a help. Maybe the Night Demon will deal with the criminals that have been flooding the streets.” 

“Another fan of the Night Demon, I see.”

“Thanks for the call.  So, do we think the Night Demon is what we need or what we want? Jump on the chat boards and let’s get a poll going. Finger on the Pulse will be back at 10pm, but before I go, I will leave you with the classical songs of Zins Hammer.”  

Bill swung his chair around and stared at the wall of mystery, this vigilante didn’t have a name, the press hadn’t settled on one yet.  Vengeful Gallant, the Night Demon, the Dark Devil were the most popular ones used by the citizens of the city.  He glanced up at the door and could see the light had finally faded behind the on-air sign. Bill grabbed his jacket and a file of papers, he left his booth and headed for the stairwell.  He wanted his favourite spot on the roof, a small sheltered space, that he could see the cape carmine and the start of the river than runs through the city. The sound of the night filled his ears, sirens and screams.  He loved the city for all it’s good and bad, but he found it hard to side with the winged vigilante.  Do two wrongs make a right, he thought. 

As he leaned into the door, he got his first whiff of the city at night.  La Mazza’s famous Meatball dish was to die for, Bill had managed to eat there when he interviewed Mrs Wayne, she paid.  He felt she was a beautiful woman, flowing black locks fell over movie star face but her eyes were always sad. People used to say her eyes sparkled but that died that night in the ally almost 10 years ago.  Bill remembered the meal well they spoke of the rising crime figures and how nothing was being done.  He thought of her husband who was a doctor, but also an investor who pumped his family fortune into rebuilding parts of the city that had been left to rot over previous decades. After he had finished the interview they carried on with the bottle of wine and delicious food.  Bill offered her his, jacket as he escorted her to her car, she accepted it graciously.

“Thank you for the interview and the meal, Mrs Wayne.”

“It was a pleasure and I enjoyed the company; it was nice to not wear a mask.”

“What do you mean? If It is ok for me to ask.”

“Well we all have to put masks on throughout the day, don’t we? We act a certain way in front of everyone. I do it for meetings and interviews, but not this one. You got the real me.”

“I can understand that, Mrs Wayne.”

As they got to her car, her chauffer had the door open.

“There you go, Mrs Wayne.”

“Thank you, Alfred.” 

“Good evening, Mr Kane.”

“Good evening to you too, Mr Kane.” 

As his mind came back to the present, he found his spot on the roof and sat on the bench. From it, he gazed out over the rooftops. He always felt the city had two faces; the day was easier to handle but the night was when all the crackpots came out to play. The rise of the Night Demon brought with it some crazy people, someone who left a playing card at all her crimes, alleged man-sized crocodiles in the sewers and numerous other weird sightings.  What would this city be like in the years to come, Bill thought that it was the start of a new era, one never seen before.  He sat under the shelter and blocked the city noise out and opened the file, his inside man at the police station who owed him a favour, brought him some old reports. Each report was from all the sightings of the Night Demon, given by all the criminals that had been brought to justice and locked up by Eva Dent, behind the tall walls of Blackgate Penitentiary.  Reports read, that the Night Demon, had black wings and a black mask, moved in the shadows. He glanced at the medical reports to, some of the beatings the criminals took had them in the penitentiary hospitals for months after.  Bill thought the Night Demon had to be former military and would chase up if any soldiers had been discharged in the last 10 years.  He pulled a packet of cigarettes from his pocket and flicked his lighter. As he continued to flick through the pages of the report, he began to take drags of the cigarette. He started to cough on the smoke as he came across a name Joseph Chilton, but what caught his interest more was a previous case connected with that name.  The name hit him like a bullet to the head, the Wayne Murders.  That was the night in the alley, where her husband and son died in her arms.  The police had looked for Chilton but no sign of him anywhere in the city or neighbouring ones.  As Bill combed through the page, he heard a thud on the roof of the shelter, seemed too loud to be a bird, maybe something bigger.  He closed the file and placed it on the bench. Bill edged out of the shelter and wondered if he would be attacked by an owl or something.  As he looked up nothing was there, he looked down the side, but it was empty. But as he looked back to the bench, the file was gone. Bill moved back towards the door to the stairwell and as he reached for the handle something moved past him and stuck in the door.  His heart raced as he looked towards the door and a shiny piece of metal glistened in the moonlight.  He stood tall and turned around, then he saw it, the black cape, and a black mask.  Bill could feel his bladder empty as the eyes stared back at him, he could see the anger and rage in them.

“I haven’t done anything wrong!”

“Procuring copies of police files is a crime.”

Even with the mask on Bill could hear the words clearly and the night demon had to be a man.

“Someone owed me a favour and I collected. His debt is paid now. Bit rich from you to be here saying I have committed a crime.”

“So, you’re not a big fan of my work?”

“I agree that the streets a rife with crime, but who gives you all the power.”

“I am giving back to the city. I am what the city needs right now.”

“What it needs?”

“Yes, the city is full of disease, and I can cut it out and help heal it.”

“Can you now? By wearing a mask and a cape-like Zorro.”

The Night Demon pulls a gun from its belt and points it to the roof of the building behind Bill.

“Well, we all wear masks throughout the day.”

And as the last word hits Bills ears the Night Demon flies over his head and into the darkness. The words bounce around his head like a pinball but then he realised he had heard those words before. But nobody would believe him, he had no proof to back his claim up and give it to the police.  He ran forward and spun around, he gazed into the darkness but nothing.  As Bill looked back towards the shelter, he could see the file on the floor, he rushed over to it and on top of it sat a note weighed down with another piece of metal.  He looked at the note. 

I ask you for a favour burn the file, carry on questioning the citizens on what I do and my ethics. This city needs my help, and with your help, I can hide my identity. 

The Bat.

The Coffee Wars:      A New Blend 

A trilogy of short stories all set around an independent coffee shop. Each story is filled with numerous references from one of the two things that opened my mind to the world of creativity.

A New Blend

He fumbled with a napkin as he looked at his text message again from Jade.

‘See you at the coffee shop at 4pm, will be wearing a Star Wars t-shirt. x’

His inner geek cheered with joy as he read the last part of the message. As Lucas stirred his coffee for the sixth time, he spotted the look on the face of one of the two men on the opposite table. He looked at Lucas with a friendly gesture of “please don’t do that”. Red faced, Lucas apologized and fumbled with his phone to check the time. He typed a message to Jade.

‘Would you like me to get you a drink? x’

The bell above the door rang as it opened, he looked up in excitement. Which disappeared when he saw an old man with a long brown hooded coat, who walked in and made his way towards the counter. He pulled his phone from his pocket, no new notifications. His eyes wandered around the shop to calm his nerves. A giant of man in a thick woolly jumper called George sat in the corner and let out the loudest yawn. Which startled everybody in the coffee shop. Even the owner behind the counter banged his head on the coffee machine, he grabbed the counter as he steadied himself. The old man removed his hood and peered over the counter at Mr Kessell.

“Don’t worry you will be alright, Bob.” Said the old man.

“Nothing like a good coffee machine, Ben, this is better than your franchised coffee shop rubbish.”

“That it is Bob, that it is, you bring balance to this crazy world we live in.”

With his clammy palms, Lucas unlocked his phone, his head dropped when he saw the time, 3:56pm. He heard a beep but nothing on his phone, but he then saw an old man pull out his phone. The bell rang and he stood up but he saw a man dressed in a black suit, who placed a briefcase on the counter. As Lucas sat back down, he heard the conversation unfold.

“Welcome to Millennium. How can I help you?”

“Hello, I am Vincent Adder here on behalf of the Empire Coffee, I have been tasked with the job of offering you a sizeable amount of money to bring you into the franchise.”

“Well tell that greedy, son of…”

“Bob.” Cautioned the old man.

“Sorry, Ben.”

“The offer is a great one Mr Kessell, I would recommend you consider it.”

“No and that is my final decision Mr Adder, now can I ask you to kindly leave?”

“We have ways and means of persuasion, Mr Kessell. We will be back.”

“My decision is final.”

As Mr Adder left the shop Lucas heard some cups get slammed down on the worktop. The doorbell rang again, Bob welcomed the customer to Millennium Coffee.

“Please, can I have a Java with milk?”

“I am really sorry but we’re out of Java at the moment. Could I get you something else?”

“A latte please, large.”

“Coming up.”

Again Lucas unlocked his phone screen, still nothing. In the corner of his screen, he saw the clock turn 4pm. His head dropped in disappointment, he just wanted the ground to open up and swallow him whole. The bell rang again, Lucas didn’t move this time, he had a bad feeling.

“Welcome to Millennium, oh hey Jade what are you doing here?”

“Who was that guy?”

“He’s from Empire Coffee.”

“I hope you told him where to go?”

“I did, what are you doing here?”

“I’m here to meet a friend?”

“Is it one of your geeky friends?”

“It’s a boy if you must know, Dad.”

Then Lucas heard the soft tone in the response, as he turned, he saw her. Average height with curves, short chestnut brown hair, wearing Star Wars – A New Hope’ t-shirt. He smiled and she smiled back then walked over to him.

To be continued………

The Coffee Wars:      Empire Likes It Black No Sugar  

Empire Likes It Black No Sugar.

Lucas looked out of the coffee shop window, the hustle and bustle of the street flowed by him. He looked up when he heard the doorbell ring. Mr Baker walked in and moved in short strides to the same table he always sat at, he then removed his jacket and threw it on the chair. Lucas had seen this happen daily for the last month.

“Good afternoon, Mr Baker.”

Lucas was shocked that he didn’t get a response. With his slender frame, Mr Daniels moved around the tables like a reed in the wind. He stopped at the table Lucas occupied.

“Good afternoon, Lucas. I want to apologize for Mr Baker’s rudeness, he has something on his mind. How are you today?”

“I’m good thanks. There’s no need to apologize. Hope he solves the problem that troubles him.”

“I am sure he will figure it out. What are you doing here?”

Lucas tapped a key so that his laptop didn’t go into sleep mode, a word document appeared titled, Drexler Chronicles.

“Just beginning my novel Mr Daniels, I have been thinking it over for the last few days.”

“What is it about? If you don’t mind me asking.”

“Not at all it’s about an intergalactic private investigator and the cases he works.”

“Well, I will leave you to it and good luck.”

“Thanks, have a good day Mr Daniels.”

Lucas began to type away on his laptop, occasionally he sipped his coffee. Something caused a big bang from the storage room that broke his concentration. As the door opened Jade appeared her uniform covered in what looked like blue milk. He watched Mr Kessell as he turned away from his coffee machine and looked at her.

“What happened?”

“Knocked into the shelf, smashed a milk carton and a jar of food colouring. Why do we even have food colouring? Dad.”

“You never know. Oh, Lucas is here.”

Lucas smiled at her, as she turned around.

“You got some on your face still.”

She began to blush as she walked over, then she gave him a peck on the cheek and ruffled his blonde hair. He smiled at her as she turned and walked away.


“Yes, Mr Kessell.”

Lucas turned and saw Bob point to the fresh coffee on the counter. As he walked over, he saw a man on his phone just outside the shop looking down the road. With his hot coffee, he sat back down and began to type up his story on the laptop. As his fingers clicked away he heard the doorbell go, but he didn’t stop typing. He heard Jade humming to herself as she came from the storage room.

”Mr Kessell.”

“Yes, how can I help you?”

“I am DCI Hutt, this is DCI Mayhew. We are here to shut you down, it has been brought to our attention that you have been money laundering. Please come with us willingly? We don’t want to use force.”

“That’s not true, that’s impossible.”

“It is useless to resist, Mr Kessell.”

“I will be contacting my lawyers, this is a joke.”

Jade rushed towards the counter.

“Dad!” Said Jade.

“Everything will be okay, Jade.”

Lucas turned around when the words broke his concentration. The shock hit him when he saw who uttered the words.



Lucas stood up from his table.

“DCI Mayhew is your dad? Lucas.”

“Yeah, why don’t you have the same last name then? Your last name is Hamil.”

“My mum remarried, Jade, back when I was 7 and changed my last name then.”

Lucas walked up to his dad with a confused look at what was going on and a shocked look as he hadn’t seen his dad for over a month. Jade stood beside her dad who winked at her. Lucas glanced at Jade, he could see she was upset, he then threw a look of anger towards his dad.

“Why are you doing this dad?”

“I am under orders. We have been given substantial evidence to prove this.”

“I have been coming here for weeks and haven’t seen anything suspicious happen.”

“The evidence is conclusive, son, photos, detailed financial reports.”

“Please, can you do something, Dad?”

“Sorry son, I am following the clues and evidence.”

“Yeah, you’re a real hero, dad.”

Lucas walked passed Jade, his head dropped in disgust at his father’s actions. He sat back down at the table. He watched as Mr Kessell turned to Jade and winked at her, she nodded and headed for the counter. The doorbell rang and in walked Mr Adder dressed in his black suit, he turned and held the door open, behind him was another man with a large frame who walked to the counter. Lucas watched as Mr Kessell pointed to his father and partner. He watched as chubby DCI Hutt stepped forward.

“Hi, Mr Kessell, is this a bad time?”

“Who the hell are you?”

“My name is Evan Cornelius. I am here to offer you a deal personally. Are you willing to talk business? But first, could I trouble you for a coffee black no sugar.”

“As you can see I am a little busy, with these officers, Mr Cornelius.”

“Never mind them, Mr Kessell, let me deal with them,” Said, Mr Cornelius.

Mr Cornelius turned towards DCI Hutt, he then whispered something, before the officers turned and left the coffee shop. Mr Adder closed the door behind them and then stood there silently. Mr Cornelius removed his gloves, hat and placed them both on the nearest table. Mr Kessell then began to pour a fresh coffee and placed it on the table before he sat down.

“We would be honoured if you would join the family at Empire Coffee Store. If you join us, we could become the most powerful Coffee franchise In the world.”


“Think of your daughter’s future, because if you do not join with me I will destroy your business. What will your answer be, Mr Kessell?”

Lucas heard the door rattle as the man in the woolly jumper banged his chest in frustration at not being allowed into the shop, Mr Adder stood firm and stayed silent. He turned when he heard Jade as she began to talk on the phone.

“Oh Ben, you must help. You’re his only hope.”

Lucas watched her smile as she put down the phone before she disappeared into the back of the store. He turned and watched his dad through the window as he argued with his partner. Lucas could feel the anger grow in his heart and he began to rise up from the table. But a voice from the table called out.

“Let go of your anger, it only leads to suffering.”

Lucas turned to see Mr Baker stood behind him, he then sat back down. A crash came from the storage room and as the door opened, in hobbled Ben, who began to shout.

“It’s a trap, don’t do it.”

“Aargh. We meet again old man.”

“I recognised your handy work, Evan. You’re a fool to think you can succeed.”

“So who is more foolish; the fool, or the fool who follows the fool. Mr Kessell or you.”

“Don’t underestimate me, Evan, I am changing the deal.”

Lucas watched Ben as he placed his hand on Mr Kessell’s shoulder who turned and looked towards Jade as she stepped forward.

“I love you”

Mr Kessell looked down at her his daughter.

“I know.”

Jade wrapped her arms around her father before he was escorted away by Hutt and Mayhew. Mr Cornelius and Mr Adder followed behind them Lucas walked over to Jade, she tapped Ben on the shoulder.

“This is your plan?”

“It’ll all work out.”

“Really…coz I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

“Now Jade I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

Jade walked off into the back of the store.

To be continued…

The Coffee Wars:      The Return Of The Java 

The Return Of The Java 

Lucas held Jade in his arms, he moved her hair and placed his hand on her face. He smiled at her and her smile beamed back. They both turned when they heard a tap on the window. A slim face squashed against the glass, as it pulled away it became clear who it was, a soaked Mr Daniels. As he approached the door, he looked down and could see that Mr Baker was eager to get inside as he tapped his foot and checked his phone. Mr Daniels took hold of the drenched umbrella and shook the rain off as Mr Baker stepped through the door.

“Hello Mr Baker, how are you doing today?”

“Very busy, very busy.”

Lucas watched him walk to his favourite table against the far wall, Mr Baker then opened his laptop and began to type with ferocity. As Mr Daniels placed the umbrella in the bucket near the counter, the door swung open, in walked George in his brown woolly jumper. Behind him was Mr Adder dressed in his black suit. Lucas wondered if he wore anything else, he looked out of the window to see if Mr Cornelius was behind him.

“Can somebody get this walking rug out of my way!”

George turned and growled something that Lucas couldn’t understand, Mr Adder did not flinch and he just sat down and stared out of the window. Jade walked from the counter and placed a fresh cup of coffee in front of George before she headed for the storage room. Lucas picked up his phone as it beeped, another message appeared on the screen.

‘Please, can we talk son.’

He hit delete and placed the phone into his pocket, then the phone behind the counter rang. Lucas ran to the storage room and pushed the door open.

“Jade, it’s for you.”

The phone was snatched from his hand, as he turned away from the door Mr Daniels called him over. He walked to the table.

“Can I help with anything, Mr Daniels.”

“Yes, please could we have two fresh cups of coffee?”

“Sure not a problem, how hard can it be to make a coffee.”

“The froth is strong in you.”

Mr Daniels began to laugh, even Mr Baker chuckled, but he didn’t do for long. Lucas couldn’t control himself and he busts out into a cackle.

“I’m sorry young Lucas, I couldn’t resist.”

“It was a brilliant, Mr Daniels, that will tickle me for days.”

“It will for me too. How are you doing?”

“I am good thanks. I have been meaning to ask, Mr Daniels, what do you and Mr Baker do for a living?”

“We both run a company called ILM. We assess businesses, sounds flash but it’s not it’s all binary really.”

“Sounds interesting, if you need anything else just give me a shout.”

“That we will. Thanks, Lucas.”

Lucas watched as Mr Baker on his laptop as he punched the keys with purpose. He heard Jade on the phone as she reappeared from the storage room, as the call ended she punched the air.

“Why you so happy?”

“We have an order of Java coming in at some point today.”

Lucas held the tray by his side and looked at Jade, she tilted her head at him and smiled.

“You don’t have to help out to impress me?”

“I know I don’t, but you were busy, I thought the retailers were out of stock.”

“Well, luck has it that they have been able to get hold of replacement blend of the Java we originally ordered.”

“That’s great news. Heard anything about your dad?”

“No, not yet.”

“You will. I can feel it.”

The doorbell rang and a man walked in with a plastic box under his arm, he walked directly over to the table occupied by, Mr Baker and Mr Daniels. Lucas and Jade looked at the man as he passed by them, his slight round figure wobbled with each step. In his plastic tub were what looked like muffins. Mr Daniels and Mr Baker greeted the muffin man with a handshake before he set next to them. Lucas watched them as they whispered and pointed to the laptops. Jade looked over towards Mr Adder, she picked up an order form and walked over to him.

“Mr Adder could I get you anything?”

“No that won’t be necessary, Mr Cornelius will be here shortly to give you the final offer, you hold the key to your father’s life.”

“Why? My Dad told you we won’t be selling…ever… isn’t that clear enough?”

“Everybody has a price, Miss Kessell. Everything is happening as it has been foreseen.”

“We’ll never join you!”

“Search your feelings you know this is the only choice.”

“Why you… womp rat!”

Lucas stepped passed Jade as she stormed away, he could see she was hiding the anger and tears. She grabbed his hand and stopped him, her grip tightened. He watches as the emotionless face of Mr Adder returned to the window and the world as it passed by. The phone rang and Jade answered the phone, Lucas watched her face light up.

“Is your dad on his way?”

“He has been released and cleared of all charges. He is a few minutes away.”

“Brilliant news.”

They both looked, at Mr Adder as he opened his jacket and removed his phone. A look of panic filled his face, Jade smiled along with Lucas. In the corner, another phone rang and Mr Daniels reached across the table and answered the call, as Mr Baker carried on a conversation with the muffin man.

Lucas watched, Mr Adder as he stood and walked to the front of the shop, just as a car pulled up. He opened the door for the arrival of Evan Cornelius. He carried a briefcase as he was escorted to the table Mr Adder had occupied. Mr Cornelius opened the briefcase and placed it on the table, along with a pen.

The door swung open to the storage room and out walked Bob. He gave Jade a hug, a peck on the cheek, then winked at her. She had a confused look on her face.

“What’s going on dad?”

“I have just made a deal that will keep Empire Coffee Store out of here forever.”

“I am confused, dad.”

“I will explain.”

Lucas stood by the counter and watched it all unfold. Everybody gathered around the table in the centre of the shop, except George who stayed in his seat. Bob sat down and faced the confident looking Evan Cornelius.

“Mr Kessell over the years I have been bringing shops into the fold of the Empire brand, you will no different. Everybody has a price.”

“I think I am going to say no thanks, Mr Cornelius.”

“Your thoughts betray you. Search your feelings. If you join the circle will be complete.”

“The answer is still no.”

Bob stood up and walked away from the table but paused when he Mr Adder stood in front of him. Mr Cornelius placed his flat cap on his head and fastened his jacket.

“Please think about the deal, Mr Kessell, it would be a mistake to walk away.”

“I think you will find that it is you who are mistaken..about a number of things.”

“This is the only deal available to you.”

“No, it’s not, there is another. You have my decision and that’s final, now please will both leave my coffee stop.”

Lucas could see the anger in Mr Adder and Mr Cornelius as they exited the shop. Before they left, Mr Cornelius turned and tipped his hat.

“Don’t underestimate the power of the Empire brand.”

As the door closed Bob turned and saw Jade stood confused. He smiled at her and held his arms open. Jade hugged her father and looked up at him.

“Who have you made a deal with?”

“My new silent partner.”

As Lucas and Jade turned, Ben stepped out from the storage room with a smile on his face. Mr Kessell shook Ben’s hand again.

“Thanks again, Ben.”

“One more thing, can I introduce Mani Boffin, of Mani Boffin Muffins.”

Lucas turned and saw the round figure of Mani step from behind Mr Daniels and Mr Baker. He had a big smile across his face as he approached Bob.

“Nice to finally meet you, your shop is cosy and friendly, I am looking forward to our alliance. Only if you want to Mr Kessell.”


“This deal will help you both. Join forces and fight against the franchise of the Empire.”

Bob and Mani looked at each other and then shook hands. Jade grabbed the hand of Lucas and walked him outside the store. The rain had turned to drizzle now but it was cool on the skin. Jade turned to Lucas and pulled him close and kissed him, they held each other. A white van pulled up beside them. Jade looked at the side of the van, in a large black font it said, T16 Trading, she turned to Lucas.

“Jade, what is it?”

Then the window lowered and a voice called out.

“I have a delivery, will I be ok parking here?”

“Yeah, I will just go and get my father. Lucas do you mind giving him a hand.”

“Yeah sure.”

As the driver exited the van Lucas saw that he had a false right hand.
To be continued……..(Maybe)

Arms Wide Open

The picture below was posted on a group called Writers Unite. The member who posted it stated, write a short story, of no more than 500 words. So I took the challenge and I wrote the story below. Hope people like and all feedback is welcome. 

Arms Wide Open

As he fell into her arms, she could hear his punctured lungs slowly giving up the fight. Every inhale caused him to wince, but he did not scream in pain. She fell to the ground holding him, as they knelt there she bit her wrist and spat her broken flesh onto the ground. With one hand she held him and with the other she let the blood fall into his open wounds. As their blood mixed and fought for dominance, she felt his heart rate slow down, this wouldn’t take long. He took his last breath as she placed him down on the ground face first. She stepped back and gave him some space, then the shimmer came over him as his soul parted his body. The look he gave was a mixture of shock and disbelief, one she had become all too familiar with, but over the years had stopped counting. He looked down at his prone body and back at her, she gave him the nod, the signal to the recently deceased warrior that he was passing over. With arms wide open she waited till he embraced her and then he faded away. As more bodies fell she made her way searching for the next soul to take. 

A Letter From Laura 

A  Letter From Laura 

Michael sat at the kitchen table, his palms drenched in sweat. He just wanted to get up and pace but knew his knees would buckle. The lack of sleep had taken its toll, as dark chocolate pupils peered over his heavy eye-lids. His eyes strained to focus on Laura’s letter that lay on the table, the same one that delivered a bad punch line a few weeks earlier. As he moved his hand towards it, pain tore through him, like the very essence of his soul had been scorched by the presence of it. Michael rubbed his eyes, as he saw a green glow coming from beneath the letter. As if it was his own personal kryptonite and he was powerless.
Michael knew nothing about Laura’s letter that was brought to him by the family solicitor a few days after the funeral. A passage in the letter started all this chaos of emotions, changing his sorrow and loss, into anger and pain.

But now I feel you should know the truth, baby. You will no doubt hate me for this,
all I can say is I am sorry. So many times I tried to tell you, but could never find the right words. I am so sorry, do you remember that time we had a break back in ’99.
I know we have looked back on it over the years and laughed and cried, but something happened whilst we were on that break. I didn’t mean for it to happen, but I was so angry with you, baby. I don’t even recall his name or what he looks like. There is no other
way to say it, but I am sure Clark is…

The remaining words of the passage had been branded into his mind, but he did not want to think about them.
From the Kitchen table, he could see into the living room. Photo albums covered the coffee table, all opened at different pages. Empty beer bottles were scattered around the room. The couch had doubled as his bed for the last couple of weeks as he could not face sleeping in their bed, alone. Every time he stepped into their master bedroom, he felt the presence of her slipping away piece by piece.
Michael knocked back the last bit of beer and placed the bottle on the table, as he stood up. His soul screamed as he reached for the letter, once in his hand the green glow disappeared. Without looking, he folded the letter and tucked it into his shirt pocket. He walked over to the fridge but paused as he caught his reflection in the glass cupboard. For days he hadn’t bothered to look in a mirror, he recognised the eyes, but something had changed. Stylish stubble was now a bushy beard, his dark brown hair that once flowed looked flat and greasy. He had become his shadow self.
Magnets covered the fridge door, holding up a shopping and jobs to-do list all written by Laura’s hand. In the middle, held up by a heart-shaped magnet, was the last photo of her, taken a few days before she was diagnosed with the brain tumour. He stared at her hazel eyes, but the more he looked, he began to see how Clark looked like Laura. The same big smile, brown freckles and cute dimples. The rest of the family said Clark got his height and hair colour from Michael’s genes, but something had always bothered him and since Laura’s letter he thought of it more. Clark’s blue eyes. Michael had read about the possibility of two brown-eyed parents conceiving a blue-eyed child and the odds were slim. He wondered if anyone else had doubts about him being Clark’s father.
With a cold beer in his hand, he headed into the living room. The bottle opener was lying on the floor, but as he reached for it, he caught sight of a photo in one of the albums. It was of the day Clark was born as he lay in his cot in the hospital. He wore a little light blue baby grow and around his wrist was his tiny nametag, his small hand wrapped around Michaels’ finger. A tear rolled down Michael’s cheek as he began to look through the rest of the album; with every memory captured, he could see Clark grow.
Michael heard faint laughter coming from the front of the house, he moved to the hallway and it changed to a snorting laugh. Just like Laura’s, it always made him smile. As he stood in the doorway to the front room, he flicked the light switch. As the light grew, the room became clear. Christmas stockings hung from the mantelpiece, red and gold tinsel was draped around the tree set-up in the bay window. Mountains of presents hid the base of it. Clark and Andrew were arguing over a nameless gift, both of them adamant that it was on their pile then Laura appeared and damped the growing tension. Michael saw Laura throw a look back in his direction as if to say, are you just going to stand there or are you going to give me a hand. As he moved, the memory faded and the tree was replaced by the TV. The laughter carried on up the street.
Michael moved towards the staircase. A dozen letters lay abandoned on the bottom step. As he put his foot on the second step, a squeak filled the silence. Number two on the things-to-do list, Laura had nagged him about it for months. He went up a few more steps and stopped. As he sat down, he pulled the letter from his pocket and began to fiddle with it. He thought of the photo where Clark’s hand was wrapped around his finger, whether it was by blood or not, there was a bond that could not be broken. Michael toyed with the letter then placed it back in his pocket, as he looked around; he saw a photo on the wall. The Fishers and Keaton’s family caravan holiday in Wales. Laura’s keen eye had caught Michael and Frank sat on a wooden bench, Pippa was carrying a tray of snacks. Andrew was lying on a recliner listening to his I-pod and playing on his PSP. Michael recalled that it only ever left Andrew’s hands when he was eating. Corey and Clark were chasing each other around the caravan.
It was on their second holiday together when Michael found out that Frank and Pippa had a secret. The Keaton’s spoke about the IVF treatment.

“Four times we tried, Michael.”

“Yeah, but it obviously worked, look you got Corey.”

“We did get Corey, and we wouldn’t change him for anything, but.”

“There is a but, don’t tell me he is an alien!”

“No, he isn’t, we adopted him after the IVF failed.”

“Well, I would never have guessed it. What was it like when you got him?”

“Corey made us feel complete, like a family, exactly like what you have got Michael”

Michael watched them the next day and could tell this was true. Nobody questioned Frank and Pippa about Corey, everybody just accepted it. He thought the same should be said for Clark, nobody needed to know.
Michael climbed the rest of the steps to the landing. Every part of his body felt drained and he could not remember the last time he had a good nights sleep. Frank and Pippa had kindly taken the boys away for the week, he was grateful for that as he didn’t want anyone to see his shadow self. But he knew he had to get himself right for when they returned.
Michael stood at the door to the master bedroom and paused. Every time he had gone into their room, he felt her slipping away. He knew that he had to let her go, not just for his sanity, but for the boys too. She wasn’t coming back. He started to think of the boys and how they may have felt, over the last few weeks. Michael reached for the door slowly; he took a deep breath before he tightly gripped the handle. He pulled, it clicked and then he pushed the door open. As he stepped into the darkness, he closed his eyes and flicked the light on.

“Please be there!”

All he wanted was to see her and hold her one more time, just to see her sitting on the bed or at her dressing table, with that smile of hers. He felt the light fill the room and for a moment as he opened his eyes, he thought he caught a glimpse of her but the lack of sleep and alcohol had caught up with him now. The room was just as Laura had left it, no mess, everything had a place, which was how she saw most things.
As he shut the door Laura’s dressing gown kissed his hand, he unhooked it and sat on her side of the bed. He held it to his chest and inhaled, it smelt of her. The bed felt soft but he was heavy. Blindly he reached for the alarm clock but he caught the button to the CD player and his eyes welled up, as the silence was broken. Each note played painted the picture of the funeral in his mind, all the handshakes and kind words came flooding back. His tears flowed and he saw them glisten like diamonds on the floor. For the first time, he listened to the lyrics and could see why she picked it, not because it was her favourite artist but part of the lyrics cut deep into his soul. Two lines of the verse played over and over in his mind cutting deeper and deeper.

To me, you lived a life of burden.
And the pain was yours alone.

For the first time he thought, what must it have been like for Laura? How painful it must have been for her, not once, did she show the pressure that burdened her? Did she just forget, let it lie dormant or did it fight to be heard. As he closed his eyes and drifted off, he knew that she was free. As her secret had found a new host.

By the Sword 

I saw this picture on a writers' page on Facebook and thought I would write a short piece based on the image.  I hope you like it.

By The Sword

They backed into the middle of the square as Emile and his men approached them from both sides.

“If only you had listened to me,” said Barrin.

“I know I went left instead of right. But you enjoy this don’t you?” said Leona.

“I do,” Barrin said with a wry smile. “But I just hope, Bruno gets to us before these finish us both.”

“He will, he always does, do you have it,” said Leona.

Eight in total cornered them, Emile who had a cut above his eye looked at his men, he pointed his sword towards, Armel who moved forward. Barrin reached underneath his cloak and pulled out a small musket, he aimed it at the approaching brute, he was built like a bear and hairy like one too. This made him stop dead in his tracks, Barrin winked at him before he aimed it to the sky and fired. As the bang echoed, a red cloud of smoke filled the sky above them, the gentle breeze carried it higher. The rest of the men moved around them, each one drawing their swords. Leona held her sword firm and with her free hand, she unclipped a small parrying dagger with a serrated edge.

“Are you ready?” said Barrin.

“By the sword!” said Leona.

“By the sword, indeed!” said Barrin.

Barrin lunged towards Armel, who was in full swing, their swords clashed and the sound rang around the square. His cloak glided through the air as he spun round to attack Armel. They blocked each other’s attacks but kept going, neither one giving up ground. Leona blocked the oncoming attack of a dark-skinned man, she had seen him around but never seen his sword skills. But she loved a challenge the harder the opponent, the more she flourished in the fight. She trapped his next attack with her dagger and swung her sword and caught the cheek of the man. He wiped the blood away and attacked with venom.


I saw this picture in a writer's group on Facebook and thought I would write a short piece based on the image. I hope you like it. 


The three of them stood there under the moonlit sky, frozen with curiosity and a handful of fear. They looked at each other before they stared intently at the old weather-worn book, that was placed on the fallen tree.

“You did say it right didn’t you, Alex? I don’t want to be chased by some crazed demonic badger or some shit like that.”

“Yeah, yeah, I said it right, I am the one studying Norse mythology aren’t I.”

“Shush you two, I can hear something.”

As they held their breaths, they heard the sound of something crush the underbrush of the forest. They squinted as a small mist travelled from the tree line. It engulfed the ground before them, but it only came to waist height.

“What are you doing Mitch?”

Blake watched as Mitch reached for the mist, it was thick but his hand moved through it like a tree falling down. He grabbed his shoulder and pulled Mitch back.

“What’s your problem man? I was just curious.”

“Something might have grabbed you.”

“Behave will you. That’s crazy talk.”

From the mist footsteps became louder, then out of the shadows strolled a brown buck with large antlers, it made its way into the clearing.

“It worked, it worked, amazing.”

“Calm down man, you will startle it.”

It moved a few more steps and tipped its head, Alex bowed slowly, Mitch followed then closely by Blake. The Buck then rose up on its hind legs and when it landed, it began to change colour. The dark brown turned to a light auburn, then flames started down its left-hand side. But the grass didn’t burn it was unscathed, as the Buck raised its head and lowered it, what remained was another deer’s head but this one was covered in flames. Then the deer split in two, one covered in flames, the other the brown Buck, it didn’t seem to pain the animal.

“What the hell, it is turning white now?”

“Shush, Mitch.”

Alex watched a second deer split from the Buck, but this one was covered with Ice and glistened in the moonlight. The Buck that remained began to blend in with the grass and surrounding shrubs. In front of them stood three bucks now, the incantation had worked, Alex looked at Mitch with a smirk. Blake took a step back, his fear had grown more than his curiosity. The Bucks begin to walk then trot towards them all, as they jump the large fallen tree they turn into small clouds, one of ice and one of flame fly into Mitch and Alex. Blake watched as they hit the floor and passed out. When he turned back towards the Buck that remained, it looked at him then turned into green smoke and hit Blakes chest. The fear left as a voice spoke.

“You are one with me now. We have work to do now, Blake.”

Final Battle 

I saw this picture in a writers' group on Facebook and thought I would write a short story based on the image.  I hope you like it. 

Final Battle

Chalu stood in front of the large blank screen his long flowing cloak covered his frail frame. He moved slowly towards the keypad and pressed a symbol.

“Come here, PD1.”

“Yes, father.” Said the droid calmly.

“We have one more to do. Then we sleep.”

“Is it that time already.”

“You have learnt the art of humouring my child.”

“I have been studying father.”

“I am very proud of you.”

They both watched the screen fill up with bright colours. Chalu placed his hand on another symbol, he took a deep breath but found it hard. As the screen began to move, he watched PD1 focus on the image like that of an infant, one eager to listen and learn.

“Now my, child this was the final battle that we have been building up to over the last 300 cycles.”

“Is this the day we won.”

“That we did, but it did come at a great cost.” he coughed.

“Sit father, rest, we can do this another time.”

He coughed again into his hand, as he looked down, Chalu could see the blue blood on the rag. He was the last of his generation, this was what he was born to do, prepare his race for their rebirth in the new system, one that matched the one that they had to leave behind.


“Yes, my child.”

“Listening to you talk through the history of our race. I am left wondering if we did all that we could to stay and rebuild our homeworld.”

“My child, after the battle we came to realise that they had released something into our water supply.”

“They took the one thing, that we need, to live.”

“They did, I watched our world die over the 10 cycles that followed.”

Chalu stumbled and PD1 caught him and guided him to the bench. He coughed again but the inhale set his lungs on fire. PD1 grabbed his hand gently.

“I can help with the pain, Father.”

“No, no, I want to feel the eternal sleep, like all the others that have had to endure before me.”

“I know you do father, but I watched you suffer for the last 20 cycles.”

“I know you mean good, my child. But I need to do this.” he coughed.

Chalu coughed and blood fell to the floor. PD1 helped him to stand and walked him back to his quarters. They stepped through the door.

“I have said all I need to say, that was the final battle before we travelled into the open space of the galaxy.”

“I will tell them when they wake, of their history, I will tell them about you. You will live on.”

“Thank you, my child.” he coughed.

PD1 sat there, with Chalu’s hand gently held in his,  his scan showed that he did not have long left.

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