Cindy Sage Went To The Dance

From a series of short form fictions taking inspiration from collage

“You’re not going to the forest dance party tonight Cindy, I forbid you!” Sean Murphy glowered at his young girlfriend, recently showered and now towel-wrapped stood in front of him. In the six months of seeing each other, these were the first crossed-words that had passed between them.

“I’m sorry Sean, sorry for you.” She turned away, proceeding to wipe condensation from the bathroom mirror. “You don’t have control over my decisions. I’ll go wherever I choose. I don’t require your permission or approval.”

Jealousy rose up inside him – a familiar sensation of coldness he wished would leave him forever. He watched as she leant forward slightly over the hand basin, massaging a light moisturiser in circles across her pinked cheeks.

“They’re all Hippies, there’ll be drugs and everyone will be getting drunk. You could get into all sorts of trouble, probably set-off a wildfire.”

Sean…” Applying eye-liner, Cindy examined her reflection closely. “You may have met some of them in passing, but you don’t actually know my friends from college. They don’t do anything more than smoke a little weed. And, you can’t really enjoy a good night’s dancing if you’re completely off-your-face drunk.”

He fell silent. He had no response. He knew he was being unreasonable and Cindy had intuitively sensed his conflicted internal struggle.

“Look,” she said, adopting a conciliatory tone, “why don’t you come along? It’s a beautiful evening for it – have you seen how wonderful-looking the sunset is? You can start to get to know my friends better. Mary, John and Peter will be there – I’m sure you’ve met those three before briefly, and Peter is a great talker. He’ll talk to anyone!” Cindy cocked her head to one side and beamed an affectionate smile to Sean.

“I don’t want to come along. I don’t want to ‘get to know’ your friends and Cindy, I don’t want you to go tonight.” These were Sean Murphy’s final words on the matter.

Can I Really?

From a series of short form fictions taking inspiration from collage

“Can I really? Can I stay to help you? Will you let me?” Although Princess Marrigova hardly knew the young man, a mystery concealed within his gentle gaze gave reassurance. Today, she thought, would be the beginning of a new chapter in her life.

“Your Royal Highness, your father be King. He is Head of State across three-quarters of the Developing World and ownership of all these isles. Has he not controlling interests in leading industries, are not universities and schools dedicated to his name? This land is his land and all the land as far as we can see, stood still right here.” Hooking a wayward straggle of blue hair back in place to the rear of his earlobe, he continued. “Ma’am, if you want to pick up litter with me on this chilly morn, you need not ask. I merely say nod your head once like a pony and it is done.”

The young man was correct in his assertion relating to the temperature. Marrigova held herself each time a cold breeze whistled by, barely managing to preserve a gracious smile all the while.

“What is your name?” she asked, “On many occasions in the past I have heard it called across the courtyard, yet have never quite caught it clearly.”

“Antonius, Ma’am.”
“An-tone-nius. What a delightful name! I will refer to you as so from this very moment forward!”

Marrigova clapped her hands together above her head in excitement and spun around until she wobbled unsteadily on her feet. With all the deft of a fit, young ballerino’s footwork, Antonius slid behind the princess – thus defying gravity of it’s wicked way. Instead, the princess fell gently backwards and into his waiting open arms.

“Ma’am! I have you!”

Marrigova felt the strength of hands devoted to the tasks demanded by manual labour. Each finger exuded sublime confidence, while in unison they firmly encircled her rib cage and offered safety. At that same moment, despite his inscrutable countenance giving little away, Marrigova knew this man to be her future husband. It would be this man – her darling Antonius, who would come to father the numerous children she’d planned for – ever since she’d been but a child herself.

“Antonius! Antonius!” she cried aloud, “My love, Antonius!”

Different To The Others

From a series of short form fictions taking inspiration from collage

“Are you following me?” He called out, in an off-hand manner.
The voice – familiar as it was, sounded close behind me. I turned around startled, “Am I, following you?” I said, conveying a degree of the confusion I felt regarding his question. “I could ask you the same, Peter.” If I didn’t know him, if at that moment I hadn’t felt an immediate and inexplicable chemical attraction towards him, there – stood staring down at his shoes with his hands in his pockets… I would have described the situation as unnervingly creepy. “I’m going to the show. Peter – what are you doing here?”

I Can Explain

From a series of short form fictions taking inspiration from collage

“I’m not accustomed to being referred to as ‘Love’, thank you very much.” Samuel Shepherd, sheep-herder ancestral, turned away from the headstrong young man. “And, despite your good luck with herding the flock this afternoon, I’m sorry Henning, but I do not see the future of sheep farming being assisted by rotary wind aircraft.”

Frustration simmered inside the rookie pilot’s guts, but he knew if there was any chance to win the old man over, gentle diplomacy was key.
“Okay, but please – at least let me try to explain. What say we go back to the farmhouse, have a discussion and if after ten minutes of chatter there’s no change of heart, I promise not to raise the subject again.”

Samuel’s whistle contained a precise rise and fall in pitch. Laid prone on a patch of lush grass, his dog cocked her head anticipating a new instruction from the farmer.
“Cybill, time for your teatime. Good-girl!”
A second whistle and she tore-off ahead of the two men, following the muddy path leading back to Ovis Farm.

“You need to understand that life is different here in the countryside. The people are different. What might work in the city-“
“Oh, your daughter has told me so, many times Mr Shepherd.” Henning shook his head, feeling the weight of his task begin to sink in.
Watched over by a pairing of red kites mapping circles above the field, the farmer came to a stop and proceeded to button-up his coat.
“A slower rhythm, patience, time taken, these characteristics don’t mean we’re backward. Do you understand what I am saying?”
“Of course I do, but if work can be accomplished more quickly, more efficiently – utilising technology, what have you got to lose?”
“Look around you. You can’t see I have anything to lose?”

The farm cottage came into view, pale wisps of smoke drifting from the chimney stack. Henning felt a sudden desire to be inside, for a strong coffee and for a piece of the shortbread Mrs Shepherd had been preparing earlier, before they’d left.
“The temperature has really dropped, hasn’t it?” He said, hunching his shoulders together and thrusting his hands deep into his trouser pockets. Up ahead, he could make out the form of the farmer’s wife, framed by the kitchen window. “How long have you and Mrs Shepherd been married?”
“Dolly and me? Thirty-seven years next spring. Darling buds of May we were – and still are to this very day. How long have you and Mary known each other for?”
“Um, well let’s think. It must be reaching something like… six months now?” Looking skyward into the grey, Henning wondered if it might rain again. He pulled out his phone, tapping in the digits for his date of birth to unlock the screen. “We worked for the same PR company, you might know that?” No signal. A weather report would have to wait.
“No, I did not.”
“Right, okay, well, same company, different offices. I was based on the South Bank, Mary – West Hampstead. We first met at a launch event for an environmental group about to announce a new manifesto – or something. Mary had been involved, although to be honest, I’d just gone along for the champagne.”
“I see.” said Samuel Shepherd, sheep-herder ancestral, “I see.”

Some Kind Of Sick Joke

The third instalment from a series of short form fiction; inspiration taken from collage by pedrov_dog

That was some weird experience. One minute I’m at Susie’s party, dancing – with Susie and Beth under the disco ball and the next, said disco ball – without warning, falls from the ceiling, lands on my head, knocking me out cold.

Then, I’m waking up in this rainbow world and there are two guys looking exactly the same as each other. Twins? No, you might think so, they were dressed in identical naval outfits and they both had a cut in the same place on the face. They were dead ringers! There’s no doubt about that.

Well, I know how this all turns out, so I’ll quickly explain and tell you – they were duplicates.

This is what they told me, they said a character appeared shortly after their arrival, calling himself ‘The Guide’. He tells them, that when you’re knocked out – when you lose consciousness, you transport to a timeless world of rainbows. Timeless being the key word here.

What happened with these two? Well, it’s complicated to explain, not least because they have come from a different time period to me – and I mean different by decades. These two, they were serving on a battle cruiser in the North Sea during the Second World War. Except – you see, they were one person… I said it was complicated!

Okay, so according to what the guide dude told them, this is the big picture surrounding what happened to them. In a surprise attack a British submarine torpedoed Wolfgang’s ship with two direct hits, virtually splitting the vessel in two. In the immediate aftermath, the main mast holding the radar equipment collapsed and Wolfgang took a blow to the head.

In a case of double calamity, in that last possible moment between consciousness and unconsciousness, he took a second blow to the head.

The guide says their teleportation duplication was an error on his part, like an involuntary double-tap or something. But basically, that’s why the two of them were there. The worst part of it, they were both really nice guys – I mean really nice.

And, by worst, I mean, this rainbow world, it’s temporary. It’s just where you go when you fall unconscious. Although Wolfgang made a point to say it’s only when you’re seriously unconscious. Not like when you fall asleep, or faint, or whatever. But like when it’s – BANG! You’re completely out, like a mini coma or something – but not the same as a proper coma, that’s another place you go to, with a tunnel, a bright light, blurry moving images and enhanced sensory hearing, apparently.

So, the big thing is, it’s temporary. After a while – don’t ask me how long, you go back, go back to where you came from. And for me, of course this was Susie’s party. I woke up – regained consciousness on Susie’s Mom and Dad’s bed.

For Wolfgang, well, I guess you can imagine where he went back to : (

Her (flash-fiction)

“Look!” Janine says, “I’m sure it’s her.” Maria glances across the café over the heads of the seated and towards those seeking free tables, trays balanced in their hands. “I wonder what she’s doing in here.”
“Who? Where are you looking,” inconspicuously, Maria scans each female face, “who am I supposed to recognise?”
“Over there – she’s got her back to us now.”
“All I see are people getting breakfast and coffee.”
“Wait, you’ll see who I mean when she turns around.”