The Bitch (and other micro-stories)

The Bitch

The evening sunlight wrapped around her curves like a lustful caress. What seductive, desirable, intoxicating infatuation.

Yes, she’d let him down constantly, but he’d always forgiven her. With the excitement she’d provided, how could he not? Tracing his fingers over her contours in a last, lingering touch, he knew the deep, carnal knowledge of their intimacy would never leave him.

That first time was a revelation. She’d trembled beneath him as he’d caressed her to perform for him. Her screams like music in his ears as he rode her mercilessly. And afterward? Well afterwards he knew he was in love.

But now she was history. She’d finally let him down once too often. Now someone else would delight in her charms – and curse her capricious nature. He’d found a new love, a new mistress to take care of, and she was waiting for him impatiently.

Smiling, he threw his leg over her, switched on the ignition, and rode off.


Such a sweet girl, but boy, could she pack a punch. 
My head rocked and my skin burnt as she hit me again and again.

‘Don’t you DO this to me, you bastard!’ she screamed hysterically.

I didn’t want to do it to her, but I was helpless and remote, unconnected, floating somewhere in a corner of the room, a spectator.
Watching through closed eyes, I saw them drag her off me and out of the room, still screaming, still trying to strike me.

Then a nurse appeared. I saw her look at me, shake her head and turn away. She began removing tubes, cables and switching off machines.

Pain lanced through my chest as I coughed and drew breath. Turning in shock the nurse dropped her tray and above the harsh metallic clatter of spilt medical instruments, I heard her cry:

‘Doctor! Doctor! He’s alive!’

The Wall

She drew on the thin hand-rolled cigarette, watching as the tip flared incandescent. The room glowed. It was best seen this way, she decided; briefly and from the light of a cigarette. A borrowed apartment, undecorated, uncared for. It meant nothing. This was about enjoying a secret pleasure, a one-time indulgence, a needed satisfaction. 

Her hand rested against the wall, illuminated blood-red from 
the thin, burning erection held stiff between her fingers. It was impossible not to think in those terms. She could still feel that heat, that other glow, deep between her thighs. Nearby on the bed, she knew he was watching. 

Within soft monochrome shadows lay the outline of his body, resting, sated. Drawing hard on the cigarette, she watched as his eyes caught and threw back the sudden flare. Glittering points of fire in the darkness. 

There had been no time for words, for gentle kisses. 
No time for her to run, to change her mind, to talk, to doubt. Pressed against the wall, its cold hardness biting into her skin,
the heat of him, his hardness pressing into her, she embraced
abandonment and surrender. 

Her legs encircled his waist, drawing him into her even as
he held her impaled, her hands pinned high above her head,
his mouth smothering her cries. She ground the cigarette
into the wall, watching the embers flare and cascade to the
floor, the flame extinguished. 

It was time to return to the those watching eyes, and the fire

(The above story came 3rd in the writing competition hosted at the Clarity of Night). 

The Argument

The car became a symbol of his anger. She said nothing. Each gear rammed home like a punch to her face, the rev-counter dove into red-lined fury.

“Slow down Tom, you’re acting like an idiot,” she spat, her voice tempered by fear, leavened with contempt.

Tom ground his foot to the floor, the engine snarled back its enthusiasm, its headlights lancing blindly into the onrushing blizzard. They spun, the car pirouetted, snow flakes dancing alongside.
Screams merged with tearing metal and wailing rubber, terminated by the gunshot of heavy impact. 

Silence engulfed them but for the tears of falling, shattered glass.

Alongside her in the snow, unable to speak or breathe, Tom watched a snowflake land upon his wife’s cheek, melting into a tear. No condensation formed in the cold night air from her parted lips – more than just an argument had been lost.

The Killer

Tom inhaled and held his breath, body braced for minimum tremble.
Measuring the pulses of his heart, he took aim, timing the shot for that lull, that pause between beats.

When it came, his shoulder welcomed the rifles recoil as if from a lover’s caress. Yet deep inside, his conscience reeled.  The inner confict raged and insanity beckoned.

Through the gunsight, a heartbeat and half mile away, a head exploded.

There was no more glory in this.
Once he had loved the chaos, the thrill of war. Now, he needed reasons.
Yet no one had provided answers he could trust. 

It was decided. He wouldn’t continue, dumbly succumbing to myth, spin, Queen and country.

It was time to retreat; to leave this war.
He would return the Queen’s shilling.


Doctor David Marshal shook his head. The cold water had pushed back the fatigue, but not his mood.

The stranger in the mirror scowled. Thickening jowls matched the heavy bags below bloodshot and watery eyes. Nearly sixty, mortality was clearly tapping him on the shoulder. He tore the paper from the dispenser, smothered a muttered curse, dried his face and stalked back into the maelstrom that was the emergency room. 

‘Christ, what’s the bloody point,’ he muttered to no one in particular as he surveyed the dregs of humanity washed up on his shift.

‘You suddenly found religion, Dave?’

Marshal turned and glared at the fresh-faced, cock-sure Doctor alongside him.

‘Piss-off, Jim. Look around you, there’s no God.’

‘Hey, you just gotta have faith. We’re here for a reason.’

His scowl deepened. ‘Jesus Christ, Jim. I really hope to fuck you grow out of that shit’. 

‘What? And be like you, you mean?’

Marshal absorbed the contempt and bit his tongue. He was too tired to argue.

‘Yeah, Jim, just like me. Is everything ready?’

‘Just about. The ice bags are all here. You think it’ll work?’

‘Well, you gotta have faith, Jim …’

Jim opened his mouth to answer but just then the ER doors crashed open as paramedics rushed the body of the girl in. Doctor Marshal took control, barking commands to his team as they began to attempt the impossible. He sighed inwardly, the girl could be no older than six.

As his team worked, Marshal checked her eyes. Un-reactive pupils lost in a sea of blue, perversely matching the colour of her skin, stared blankly back at him.

‘Core temperature?’

‘Marginal, still no pulse.’

‘We need more ice around her head!’

‘How long had she been in the lake?’ Marshal demanded.

‘We’re not sure, but it took us nearly thirty minutes to find the body under the ice. Must be 40, maybe 45 minutes. She’s dead, Doc.’

‘Maybe,’ Marshal muttered. ‘Nevertheless, I’m not giving up yet, start warming … slowly.

As they worked, water droplets from melting ice cascaded onto the concrete floor around their feet. Six times the small body convulsed under resuscitation charges. Finally, it was Jim, who spoke for the team.

‘It’s no good, it’s been too long …’

Marshal stared angrily at him. Everyone, and most of all Jim, knew he had no ‘Faith’. He shook his head. No whispered prayer would bring this girl back to life. Science might have. But he’d done everything he could. What harm then, in a prayer? With a sigh, he leaned close to the face of the dead child and closed her eyes. He placed a finger against her lips, a parting touch, and saw a wisp of condensation form in the cold air.

‘No … Again! Shock her again, God dammit! NOW!’

The silence in the room was shattered  as once more the tiny body twisted, but this time, this time the mouth opened… and took a breath.

‘We have a pulse!’ Someone shouted.

‘Keep warming her, slowly bring her back,’ Marshal said, then turned to the dumbfounded paramedic alongside of him. 

‘It’s the cold. The ice is her real saviour. There’s no miracle here, she’ll be fine, you’ll see.’

Marshal turned away and muttered a silent thank you, and wondered why.

The Fateful Question

The barman slid Bret’s refilled pint towards him carelessly, the precious contents slopping over and forming a pool around his glass. Bret studied the man behind the bar with resigned hopelessness.

‘Do you take cheques?’

The barman paused and before answering, adopted the expression of a man who’d just stepped on dog-shit.

‘Do I look like a fucking bank? Two-fifty.’

Bret counted out the last of his loose change to the exact amount, carefully placing it directly into his personal puddle of beer on the bar.

Scowling, the barman picked up the wet coins and turned away muttering, ‘Fucking cheapskate students …’

Bret downed his pint in one long gulp, then, feeling like a marionette controlled by an incompetent puppeteer,  walked unsteadily over to her.

He’d fueled his courage, now the challenge was simply to speak. In a strangled, slurred voice he barely recognised, he managed to ask the fateful question:‘Would you like to dance?’


The ship was dead.

Old and crumbling, its one remaining mast pointing up into the glare of the sun,  the wreck held her entranced in its lost glories.  Suzy grasped a frayed rope, pulled, and allowed her mind to wander.

But to her, the ship remained beautiful and elegant, even in death.

So she went higher, finally wrapping a possessive arm around the crumbling wood at the top of the main mast, sensing the minute vibrations from the hull far below. She lingered there, feeling it whisper dark secrets to her alone, until it was time to leave.

Letting go, she allowed herself to fall; spiraling down into the blue, flying through broken lanyards, free as any bird.

The deck came towards her in languorous slow motion as she turned lazily, gazing upwards at the dancing shafts of sunlight filtering down through the azure sea.

She could stay here forever, but the surface demanded her return.


They think they can’t be seen.

Pressed against the sea wall beneath the pier, she pulls him closer; painted fingernails grasping his hair, eyes shut and mouth open.

Her skirt rides higher and a flash of skin as pale as a lost memory transfixes me.

In a creaking deckchair, the sun drying my skin, my joints aching, I drag my gaze away and stare at the empty horizon.

Trying to remembering that feeling.

Oh, Shit.

I turned away.

Eyes shut, teeth clenched, I grimaced, fighting the panic, the desire to bale-out and run. But what to do? I was trapped.
I took a breath, a deep, chest-bursting breath and tried to exhale the fear. It didn’t work. My balls were crawling inside my body for protection and my heart was pounding. Palms were treacherously clammy as I wiped them on my jeans and grinned insanely at the on-lookers.

What could I do? Resign myself to my fate, that’s what and hope my daughter didn’t see this, the evidence of my cowardice. A man can’t show girlish weakness in these situations, he has to show bravery and leadership, to stupidly live up to his off-spring’s delusions for as long as possible.

I sighed. Commitment follows bravado like a depressed lemming. The decisions been made, the edge of the cliff and awful reality, appears.

Next to me, she’s unconcerned, full of excitement.

Oh! The invulnerability of youth. Or perhaps that’s her own bravado? Was there behind that confident exuberance the same search for an escape? To avoid, to run away screaming, No! No! No!

No, not a chance. She looked at me and grinned.

“Ready, Dad?”

Ready or not, I was jerked forward as the highest and fastest roller coaster in the world, began its ascent.

Sun Dial

Sunlight upon stone,
stealthily warming;
is quick beyond

Heat is lost, remembered if allowed,
as memory clouds.

Take a chance and feel the fire;
burned, scorched, then seared in mire.
Is it easier or worse, to live a lie, to
and die?

Is it right to play with fire,
or wrong
to never aspire.
To touch those delights
that make it right;
it’s part of living, to run or fight.

No monk in me to tithe the lawn,
to seed the grape,
safe in the certainty
called faith.

An easy path to take,
sunlight warm the stone,
forgetting dreams unborn.

Life has little meaning,
what’s the point.
Ask that monk, but silently,
in the dark.

Work the job and do the work.
The shadows stabs its dark command;
religiously pay, forever and a day.

Rational reasoning to the fore,
heed, never cut,
hearts that need.

The shadow shifts,
warmth returns;
was it only yesterday
that we were born?

Alabaster Shell

I don’t want …
The world to see,
This mirage of emotions.
Its shimmering fire,
Bursting within the light.

I don’t want …
Anyone to know,
Behind the smile
A darkness hides,
Where the spirit dies.

I don’t want …
People to grasp,
Behind an alabaster shell
Cracked and pale,
Nothing dwells.

I don’t want …
Frailty exposed,
Desires inflamed.
Or broken trust,
Reborn within the flame.

I don’t want …
To let go,
Fall and be free,
No parachute,
With me.

I don’t want …
To cry and embrace,
The colours that tear
This gossamer shield,
Bringing nightmares to bear.

But madness knows,
Painting pictures in my mind,
What I don’t want,
I need.


It was the sound.

The finality of that soft ‘click’.

Peripheral things that stick in the mind.

Inconsequential yet remembered, as detail fades.

The release of the school bell, not the lesson.

The swish of the cane, not the crime or the pain.

The tinkling of a girls charm-bracelet, not her mocking rejection.

The ringing of the phone, not the message.

The screech of rubber on wet tarmac, not the siren.

The clatter of medical instruments, not the words.

The rustle of papers, not the written contents.

The closing of the coroners briefcase, not his sympathies.

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