The Flu Gremlins


The squadron of Flu Gremlins lay in wait, watching as their intended victim got into bed and settled down to sleep. It wasn’t long before she was dozing peacefully, her blankets tucked under her chin.

The gremlins hopped onto the pillow and faced their mission. The prospect of another night of pillage and mayhem had them psyched up. Their eyes were shining and some of them had tongues protruding from between their sharp, long fangs.

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Nobody was here this morning. Nobody was here yesterday, too, and the day before, and every other day this week. Nobody makes sure to get in touch, say hello. Nobody will listen to my fears and worries without judgment. Nobody can assuage my anxieties with reasoned argument and point out my past achievements.

Nobody can make me happy. Nobody is unique. Nobody is better than everybody else. Nobody has no enemies – it seems that nobody is liked by everybody. Nobody is without fear or flaw. Life is easy for Nobody. Opportunities fall at Nobody’s feet, just waiting for the taking. Nobody will get through life without having to make any effort at all.

But, whatever else happens, I can rest assured that Nobody cares.


Inspired by: Daily Prompt.

Not everyone’s pleased for Woody Allen


Daily Prompt: Ripped from the Headlines

Click over to whatever website you visit most frequently to get news. Find the third headline on the page. Make sure that headline is in your post.

Not everyone’s pleased for Woody Allen

Once their car had backed out of the Jenkins’ driveway and had started driving down the street, Julie let loose a massive sigh of relief.

Her boyfriend, Matt, glanced at her in surprise and laughed. “What’s that about? Did you not have a good time? I thought you liked Ben and Marie.”

“I do,” said Julie. “They are lovely, lovely people. It’s just…is Ben even aware that people besides Woody Allen have made films?”

Matt chuckled. “Well, Woody Allen has made an awful lot of movies.”

“Yeah, and most of them are awful,” Julie shot back.

“Woody Allen is one of the greats,” protested Matt. “Would you rather be watching some dumb Fast and Furious 237 or something?”

“Don’t be facetious,” said Julie. “It’s just not everyone’s pleased for Woody Allen to be force-fed to them every time they go visiting. I’m beginning to dread going over, knowing that sooner or later the DVD wallet will be brought out and I’ll be asked to choose one. Then it’s another two or three hours of boredom until the bloody thing ends.”

Matt chuckled away to himself as he listened to Julie’s rant. “Will we take over some DVDs the next time then so you don’t have to suffer the Woody torture any more?”

Julie turned towards Matt as much as her seatbelt would allow her to do so. “Are you laughing at me?”

“No…heh heh heh.

“Well I’m glad you find it amusing. Is it too much to expect to have a conversation when you’re invited round to someone’s house, instead of a DVD being turned on almost before you even have time to sit down???”

“Ah now, he always pours you a glass of wine before he turns it on.”

“Oh, you’re impossible,” said Julie huffily but trying not to let the smile on her face sound in her voice. “I’m sneaking my iPod in the next time. Catch up on my TED talks.”

“How rude!” said Matt in mock horror. “Don’t hit me, I’m driving…”

Heroic behaviour


Zadie Perkins slammed the gossip mag down on the kitchen table in front of her husband’s bowl of high fibre cereal. The sound echoed round the cavernous room in their faux-Georgian mansion.

Her husband, Karl Van Berger, looked blearily down at the magazine. Its front cover was gaudily plastered with large headlines and paparazzi photos. But he nearly choked on his mouthful of cereal when he saw the main headline: “NINA SAYS KARL’S THE DAD”.

“Is it true?”, demanded Zadie, her face contorted with rage.

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In or Out?


Every Sunday afternoon, the goths reclaimed their territory. They gathered from all directions to feed off each other’s rebellion and gather strength for the week’s battle to resist normality. Here, they were normal. They did not have to maintain face against the sniggering of the masses or fight off attacks from the socialite gang leaders and their cronies. Even adults feared to challenge them at their weekly convocation.

They refused to be part of the crowd, to fit into a box. They embraced their inner freak and put it out there on show for everyone to see. If it repulsed people, then even better – the depths of the darkness within probably would have broken any puny little minds that didn’t belong there.

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The colours of life


Red light flooded her eyes as she slowly became conscious again. She opened her eyes a crack to see the sun streaming in the window on top of her as she lay on her bed. She luxuriated in its warmth and in the comfort of the duvet. But she had napped most of the afternoon away. Now it was time to get up.

She stretched her long limbs and yawned lazily. Finally, she opened her eyes fully and came back to reality. Her mouth felt dry; her tongue was pasted to the floor of her mouth. Her thirst now became the driving force, strong enough to propel her off the bed and into the kitchen.

She put some water in the kettle and leaned against the counter, waiting for it to boil. Right in front of her, sitting in the middle of the table, was the fruit bowl. A large orange was sitting on top of the pile of fruit, looking plump and juicy and inviting. She could almost taste the juice from it in her mouth just looking at it. Resistance was futile. She pounced on it, dug her nails into the thick skin and began to tear it off. The skin came off easily in large chunks. Inside, the segments were large and well-defined. They tasted sweet, with just a hint of orangey tartness, and were indeed dripping with juice. She had the whole fruit devoured within minutes.

She made her cup of tea and went in search of her mobile. There were a couple of text messages from friends saying they were meeting up at their favourite beer garden to make the most of the glorious sun. She showered quickly to freshen up after her nap, and put on some fancier clothes. At the back of her wardrobe lay her yellow sandals. They hadn’t been worn since the previous summer, but she reckoned it was time to drag them out again. Summer had arrived.

She slammed the front door closed behind her and walked down the street. Her footsteps echoed in the empty street, but it was bright out and she was glad of the chance to see her friends before the weekend ended. Their favourite beer garden was out the back of The Green Room, which fortunately was only a five-minute walk away from her house. It was big and spacious, and the smokers in their group always appreciated the garden; there were space heaters in cold weather and great tables for when the weather got warm, like today.

She was greeted by a cheer from the corner table when she walked in. It seemed some of her friends had been there for a while as there was already quite a collection of empty bottles and glasses on the table. She went over to say her hellos, but soon returned to the bar to get herself a drink.  Inside, she stood at the bar, deliberating over what to get. The blue lights from the fridges stood out in the dim interior, and a cool, refreshing drink seemed like the right choice. She ordered a bottle of lager and re-emerged into the cheerful garden.

Eventually, all their gang arrived. It was a great evening; relaxed, fun, with everybody on form. Arun was boasting about his past sexual conquests, Jade told about her recent holiday in Malta, and Amber sat in the corner, sketching everyone in the beer garden. Her fingers ended up dyed indigo when her pen got walked on. She even ended up with a smear on her cheek. But that was her normal appearance: while some people had nicotine-stained fingers, Amber’s were always ink-stained.

They did not over-indulge though, as each had a week of work ahead of them in the morning. As dusk fell, they separated and wished each other well. By the time she got home, she was already yawning. She made herself another cup of tea and sat down to read her book for a while. When she looked up again, it was dark outside. She uncurled herself from the couch and crossed the room to close the blind. Outside, there was a full moon hanging in the violet night sky. Its light was so bright it almost rivaled the sun. She could not bring herself to shut out that beauty completely, so she fell asleep in a room silvered by moonlight.

Inspired by:

The wags


I drove the car in the front gate, brought it to a halt in its customary place beside the house and turned off the engine. But I continued to sit there in the car; my hands braced against the wheel, my head tilted back against the headrest, my eyes closed. Every limb on my body felt heavy with exhaustion and my jaws were still locked. I could feel a headache coming on.

It had been another horrendous day in work. As the downsizing escalated, the atmosphere was becoming more and more poisonous. Everybody feared that they would be next for the chop, so they tried to highlight the weaknesses of the people around them in the hope that doing so would deflect attention away from them. Not that people in there ever needed much reason to make life miserable for their colleagues.

Finally, I pulled myself together and got out of the car. I took my laptop from the backseat and walked though the spitting rain and wind to the back door.

As soon as I opened the door, my dog’s head and ears jerked up and his tail began to pound the couch where he was curled up. But not for long, because he had hurled himself off and scampered over to my feet before I had managed to close the door behind me. His nails thundered on the wooden floor and his entire body wriggled as he did his welcome dance.

He jumped up and put his two front paws on my legs. He could only reach to just above my knees, but it meant I could pat him on the head without bending down. “Hello, hello, hello!” I said to him, and he whined in excitement in reply.

I put down my laptop bag and hunkered down to a fairer height for him. He squirmed against my legs as I tousled the hair on his back. Then he slid downwards until he was lying on his back, his four paws in the air. He twisted and turned from side to side when I rubbed his stomach.

I saw a pair of human legs standing beside us and looked up to see my partner, Colm, watching us bemused. “The kettle has boiled,” he said. “I heard your car drive in so I switched it on. Tea or coffee?” “Tea, please,” I replied.

I stood up to go and hang up my coat. My dog was upright again in a flash and trotted out to the coatrack ahead of me. He had calmed down slightly, but his tail was still wagging hard.

Back in the kitchen, I sat down at the table and watched as Colm filled the teapot and placed it on the hob.

“So, how was your day?” he asked, still with his back to me. My dog arrived back at my feet, his teddy in his mouth. He dropped it on my feet and stepped back to watch expectantly, panting slightly.

“Ahhhh,” I said, “fuck it. It’s over for another day. Let’s concentrate on happier things.”

And I threw the teddy for my dog.