Alfie Dog Fiction’s Featured Author of the Week: Iris Woodbury

Featured short story writer this week

Iris Woodbury author photo

Iris Woodbury

Iris Woodbury writes fantasy and children’s literature. It all started when, for her sister’s sanity, she was asked to calm down two naughty nieces who were fighting in the back of the car, Iris created a story: ‘Pixies in the Hedgerow.’ She told them about the tiny people who lived beneath the hedges, and how they had great adventures, and would do anything to keep their world secret from the Big Folk. From Bexley to Hastings, the two children were glued to the window, watching for the tiny pixies Iris promised were hiding in the shrubs. After that the two girls couldn’t get enough of their mad aunt’s stories, and Iris has been making up tales ever since. Her preferred genres are fantasy and children’s literature, though Iris has a special place in her heart for short stories.  She has four stories available for download with http://www.alfiedog.com which is one of the biggest short story download sites in the world.

She also writes pretty much anything that comes into her head on her blog, https://iriswoodbury.wordpress.com/

You can reach Iris at IrisWoodbury@yahoo.com.

Connect with Iris on social media. She always follows back.

Fake IDs – Iris Woodbury – 900 words (Children 7 – 10)

Three adolescent insects try to sneak into the Maple Root nightclub using fake-IDS.

Fake IDs

The Maple Root was the hottest nightclub of the underground.  All the best groups were there, The Beetles, The Locusts, even the Swarming Bees.  Two monster stag beetles stood guard at the entrance and checked all the IDs as the excited kids lined up for a party.

There was no way other way into the club and the two beetles looked awfully fearsome. “I don’t know how we’re gonna get in,” said Humbert the ant.

Mission Accomplished – Iris Woodbury – 820 words (Children 7 – 10)

A young orphan decides to build a spaceship to visit God.

Mission Accomplished

Reverend Joseph O’Donnell dashed out into the playground, waving a single piece of paper in the air.

“It really won’t do, Ella.” The sweaty Vicar stuck a plump finger inside his collar and loosened it. “What on earth do you need this stuff for?”

I laughed. “Relax, sir. It’s all good. I need it all for a project.”

“You need four sheets of aluminum, fireworks, ten tubes of factor three-hundred sunscreen and a pizza?”

Download to read more

This story is included in the collection Read It Again – you can find it HERE

final cover press

Six ‘5 star reviews’ on Amazon

20 stories to enrich the lives of children. This book contains stories for both younger and older children. Always have a story to read at bedtime, whatever their age.

This collection for children of all ages includes.

Stories include – The Colour Pixie – Tracey Glasspool, The Cheesy Feet’s Mission to Mars – Duncan Jones, The Colonel and Huffy Hedgehog – Christine Findlay, Monkey Business – Rosalind Winter, Monster Couch – Mary Raebel, Maggie Mulligan, Pirate Queen – Ann Burnett, The Crafty Fiddlers – Pam Ramage, Sugar on Snow – Ann Ingalls, He’s Weird – Annabel McKenzie, A Christmas Coat-Astrophe! – Joan Zambelli, Blue’s Christmas Eve Adventure – Maggie Jones, The Christmas Tree Fairy – Pat Boulton, The Whispering Pine Tree – Gerard Taylor Wallace, The Penguin Who Felt the Cold – Holly Stevens, The Boy Magician – A H Benjamin, The Mice, the Snow and the Magic Tree – Valerie Dawson-Miles, Mission Accomplished – Iris Woodbury, Carla, the Little Red Hen – Pat St Pierre, The Long Blue Hall – Teresa Howard, But Not My Gran – Greta Yorke

Rumplestiltskin’s Secret – Iris Woodbury – 8400 words (Fairytale)

In the midst of famine, a strange little man offers Queen Beitiris a magical choice. ‘Sacrifice your first born or your people will starve.’  Thinking she makes an empty bargain, the queen agrees to the stranger’s terms and prosperity is returned to her people. All her prayers are answered, including her wish for a child…

Rumplestiltskin’s Secret

Beitiris ached as the weight of the water-skin cut into her sun-burned neck.  She grasped the rough leather strap and swung the heavy bag from her shoulder.  “Might as well lighten the load with a little drink,” she thought. The cool water refreshed her parched lips, and she looked ahead to the horizon.  The sun was low in the sky, casting ominous shadows forward of the tall towers in her city. At a brisk pace she’d be within its walls in just a few hours.

Download to read more

The Wet Socks Party – Iris Woodbury – 800 words (Children 5 – 10)

When bad weather delays the season opening day for a community pool, a group of disappointed insects devise a way to have an opening party of their own.

The Wet Socks Party

Two stag beetles stood guard at the entrance to the community water park. Every year, as the big folk paid their admission fee to get in, Albert and Sidney buffed up their thoraxes and opened the doors to their smaller friends.

The beetles stood proudly at the secret insect entrance made from a broken eggshell, and hidden just a few feet away from the big people gates. The admission price was one piece of corn.

Thrice Upon A Time – Fairytale Collection – 47000 words (Fairytale)

coverThrice Upon a Time is a collection of 18 modern fairy tales for adults. Some retell stories written long ago from a different perspective, while others are completely new. Read what happens when a late night walk leads to a game of poker with the farm animals and learn the Queen’s side of the story in what it is really like to live with Snow White. Who is the cobbler who turns up in the village? And exactly how many frogs does one princess have to kiss?

Stories included: Thrice Upon a Time – Sheila Crosby, The Rat – Margaret Pearce, The Big Card Game – Paul Peppers, Rumplestiltskin’s Secret – Iris Woodbury, Hell’s Fairy – Angela Pickering, The House that Jack Built – Rosemary Sturge, Gavin the Afternoon Angler – Christine Genovese, Fairy Tale – Henry Mitchell, The Queen Bites Back – Rosemary J. Kind, The Kiss – Regan W. H. Macaulay, Modern Times – Linda Lewis, Hansel and Gretel – Sarah England, The Flowers Know Who Love Them – Peter Pitt, Playback – Jacqui Pack, The Legacy – Denise Jay, Away With the Faeries – Fiona Law, Strange Eyes – Joel Kaye, The Good Fairy – Edward Ahern

 

– See more at: http://alfiedog.com/featured-author/#sthash.yQQwUzO5.dpuf

 

Thanks again for stopping by! Please visit the main site for more links and book downloads!

Iris

Block – A Tudor Fan Thing – Free Short Story #asmsg

BLOCK

Anyone who knows me will know I’m an unabashed Tudor F-A-N-A-T-I-C. I can’t get enough of ol’ Henry and his naughty ways. Or his wives and kids.  Here’s a little piece I wrote a while back for flash fiction.  Oddly enough, a few people got the character wrong. Ha! True fans of the era will know.

 

Anne%20Boleyn%20beheaded

BLOCK

To many, it’s just a glorious morning in May. Elizabeth is not here, and she will not remember this day, yet she will never forget it. The blossom reminds me of my wedding day, but the thought brings me no comfort. Their sweet fragrance stabs at my heart for I shall never smell them again, or see such a beautiful sky, or feel the warmth of a spring sun.

 

My ladies spent hours combing my hair, making it shine. Funny. They said it was important I looked my best, and then hid it beneath a plain white bonnet. My dress is simple at least, no irony there.

 

So, I see the steps, and my legs are dull as weights as I reluctantly climb them. I mentally say goodbye to the grass as my feet leave the earth for the last time. They are waiting for me. The priest is here with his head bowed in modest piety. He knows my innocence, and I wonder which one of us he prays for. He doesn’t look me in the eye as I pray in front of him. Is that humility or fear?

 

I brush the hay from my skirt as I stand to address the people. The words come slowly, suggesting a dignity of address, though in truth I’m trying to delay the inevitable. No one listens, not really. They are waiting for the moment when my head leaves my neck. What a show. Will the executioner take it in a single stroke? Dull for them if he does; the more strikes the merrier. After all, they’ve waited this long for a performance.

 

I requested a special swordsman, and he stands there, his eyes hidden behind a mask. I don’t need to see his face. I never knew him in life and have no desire to be intimate with him at the time of my death. I look instinctively for the block, and then recall there will not be one; I couldn’t bear the thought of an axe. I saw how it cleaved the head from my brother’s neck, and later my husband’s friends. My heart bleeds for them. And for myself. They say this swordsman is good, and death will come swiftly.

 

I have nothing more to say. Though I am innocent, I kneel one last time and my hands come together in prayer. I pray to God for his mercy. My time is done.

Rumplestiltskin’s Secret #AMSG Alfie Dog Fiction Only 49p!!

Rumplestiltskin’s Secret

In the midst of famine, a strange little man offers Queen Beitiris a magical choice. ‘Sacrifice your first born or your people will starve.’  Thinking she makes an empty bargain, the queen agrees to the stranger’s terms and prosperity is returned to her people. All her prayers are answered, including her wish for a child… –

rumplestiltskin

Like many people, I enjoy an old favorite told in a new way.  Unlike the traditional tale illustrated above, my Rumplestiltskin tale depicts a powerful heroine, who’s as likely to beguile her enemies as be beguiled herself. So pop on over to Alfie Dog Fiction to check out this, along with my other children’s short stories. Click here to get to a great story, at a price both little and big pockets can afford.

Thanks and enjoy,

Iris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CREAMY CRAZE CUSTARD

CREAMY CRAZE CUSTARD

Perky, and fit to burst, Winnie Carbuncle, Creamy Craze Custard’s new Quality Control girl stood ready for duty. Fresh faced in her shiny white uniform and white mesh hat, she almost jumped out of her regulation factory shoes. Seeing her mentor, Derek, approach, she slipped her cell phone out of sight into her uniform pocket.

“I’m so excited,” Winnie confessed to her mentor. “I hope I do well.”

“I’m sure you will.” Derek sighed and stared at her pocket. “You should know we don’t tolerate cell phones or texting during work hours. It’s company policy, total strict adherence, pain of death, that sort of thing.”

“Understood.” Winnie smiled.

As she hopped from toe to toe, Winnie tried hard to look over Derek’s shoulder to see what he was writing on his clipboard. He pulled the board to his chest to conceal it from view. Derek nodded towards a clipboard hanging on the wall by the vat. “Take that one.”

Winnie looked over the rows and columns, too excited to absorb what she read. “So,” she continued, “You’ll be looking after me for the next week?”

“Yuuuup” Derek said. “The whole week.”

Winnie looked around her. Though two vats were churning the custard, she’d seen no-one else in the building. They were alone. Derek had interviewed her earlier that morning, and explained the crew worked at different times so as not to disturb production. “It would be just a few hours each evening but you’ll find the pay is good,” he’d reassured her.

So here she was, super eager to please, hoping Derek wouldn’t regret giving her a chance.

“And the person before me; what were they like?” Winnie beamed.

“Alright I guess. He did a good job.”

“So why did he leave?”

“He died.”

“Oh.” Flushing pink, Winnie turned her attention to the clipboard. One of the boxes read taste test. “So, we actually have to taste the custard?”

“Sure. You grab a ladle, spoon a thimble full into this small plastic cup here. Use the spatula to take a sample and check it tastes okay.”

“Why?”

“We don’t want to put out salty custard, that’s why they call if Quality Control.”

“Try this one,” Derek sighed. He nodded towards the closest vat while handing her a ladle.

Winnie did as directed and sampled the custard. It tasted like, well, custard, and she didn’t quite know what to say. She didn’t want to look stupid, but felt she ought to say something. “Nice.”

“Then check the box, there.” Derek indicated the place on the form with his fingers. They moved onto the next vat.

Winnie liked this job. It seemed pretty easy and she was confident she could get the hang of it. She noticed a wheelbarrow by the side of the vat. She wondered what it was for. “So what did my predecessor die of?” she asked. She brought the next ladle of custard to her lips.

Derek waited until she swallowed before answering. “Cyanide poisoning,” he said. His eyes opened wide with approval as Winnie fell dead to the ground. “Ooops, another bad batch!” Derek said. He recovered her clipboard and replaced it on the wall. He hoisted Winnie into the wheelbarrow, and whistled as he pushed her up a ramp hidden behind the vat.

Just before her limp body disappeared into the custard forever, Derek whipped out the cell phone from her pocket.

Gloop! As the giant air-bubble popped, Winnie went under the liquid and sank to the bottom. He poured in a whole bottle of white liquid labeled formaldehyde then threw the empty bottle in after her.

Happier than he’d been all day, he almost danced back to his office, a healthy spring in his step. He hung Winnie’s cell phone like a trophy on the office board, next to fifteen other such phones, each with a single name printed underneath. Under this one, he wrote “Winnie.” He wrote the date on his clipboard and hung it by the phones. “Oh.” He’d forgotten one last thing. Derek took down Winnie’s cell phone and removed the battery from the rear, then replaced the shell back on the board. He threw the battery in the trash can which landed squarely, resonating loudly against the sides of the metal can. He raised his hands over his head like a basketball star. “Another cell phone bites the dust,” Derek shrieked to the imaginary crowd.

He left that night with a whistle on his lips, and grabbed a sign that said “out of business” which he hung happily on the factory door.

Strange Objective

OBJECTIVE

The wet washcloth made the black chalkboard super shiny. The sergeant made sure not a trace of what he’d written could be seen.

“Good luck boys, I know this is a tough assignment but I trust each and every one of you will make me proud.”

The four foot soldiers crossed their camouflaged legs and stared at each other.

“Errr sergeant, I’m clear on our objective, but do we have funding for this? I mean, tax payers money and all that.”

The soldier to his right gave him a sharp kick under the table. The sergeant raised a stern eyebrow and stared hard into the foot soldiers face. “Are you questioning my authority here, rookie?”

“No sir, well, yes, I suppose…”

“Johnson is it?”

“Yes Sir.”

“If I were you son, I’d take a tip from your corporal who just kicked you and know when to shut up.”

“Yes Sir.”

“Are we clear, Johnson?”

“Yes Sir.”

“Excellent. Anyone else have any questions before you’re all dismissed?” Only the footfalls of the drill exercise beyond the wall could be heard. “Group dismissed. Rendezvous back here at twenty hundred hours.”

The four men rose and hurried from the room. A few moments later they huddled outside to discuss their mission.

“This ain’t what I signed up for,” complained the rookie. “I mean, I never would have dreamed I’d be asked to do this sort of thing.”

His more experienced corporal pulled a cigarette out of his pocket and lit up. It was his first in hours and he took a moment to suck the wonderful smoke down into his lungs. “You’ll do what you’re bloody told or answer to me,” said corporal Kensington. “That’s an order, Johnson.”

Foot soldiers Lehman and Webber had no scruples about their mission. “Fuck ‘em all I say,” said Lehman. I’d take on every last one of them.”

Webber snickered. “I don’t doubt it.”

Corporal Kensington looked up to the night sky. The sun was low on the horizon and in less than an hour it would be dark. “Right then, we have to be quick. We need a jeep, I can trust you to get that for us,” he said to Lehman.

Lehman nodded casually, twisting his lips as if he thought his task a piece of cake.

“Good. Meet you over by the gate in five.”

Lehman was as good as his word. He appeared in three minutes, and was rewarded by a stern nod from his corporal.

“Good man. Jump in everyone. We’ve no time to waste.”

In less than an hour the jeep could be heard returning to the barracks.

“Shut your mouth or there’ll be trouble,” said Kensington. His request was strange, since all of the soldiers in the jeep sat in silence, and only the whir of the engine could be heard.

The jeep was not checked at the gate but all soldiers were required to identify themselves. The four men held their breath and if the sentry had paid attention, he’d have noticed his colleagues were unnaturally stiff and not their usual jovial selves. But he didn’t pay attention, and the four passed back inside the barracks without incident.

The sun had set now, and the four men drove over to the briefing room where four figures clambered from the vehicle. A moment later the car whizzed off and under cover of darkness, they all slipped inside the dimly lit building.

Their sergeant waited by the black board, his impatient eyes betraying his desire to learn the outcome of their mission. “Corporal Kensington, make your report.”

“Mission accomplished, Sir.” Corporal Kensington stepped aside to reveal a figure concealed under a khaki blanket. He gave the figure a quick poke with his forefinger. Just as he shifted, Lehman opened the door and joined his companions.

“Sorry I’m late boys, hope I didn’t miss the show.”

“Not at all. Please dim the lights.”

Lehman did as instructed, and as he did so the mysterious figure under the blanket giggled.

“You can come out now,” ordered the sergeant, and as he spoke the blanket slid to the ground, revealing the Turkish belly dancer beneath.

Lehman pressed ‘Play’ on the stereo, and with their money still in her hand, the floor show commenced….
__________________

MEADOW LOVE

Okay, I confess I didn’t send this one out to too many publishers. It made me laugh writing it, and it’s a whimsical barnyard take on Romeo and Juliet.  If you fancy a bit of a giggle, read on:

MEADOW LOVE

BAAAA!  All the rams were hot for Lemon, the prettiest ewe of the season.

Apple was the strongest young ram of the flock with a strong inclination to make Lemon his own.

BAAAA! He cried, as he ran about the enclosure, showing off his fine legs and curly horns.

Yet Lemon dreamed of something more. Something about Apple just didn’t give her that mint jelly and mutton feeling her mother told her to expect from love.  Instead she stood by the enclosure fence, and looked sadly to the horizon.  BAAAA!

One day, there was a change.  The enclosure next door was left fallow for a year, but Lemon had seen carpenters build a new stable.  Today, a truck arrived and a whole herd of llamas trotted off the ramp and into the field.

Strawberry was the youngest boy llama.  He had a long neck and a very creamy coat. HUMMM shrieked all the young girl llamas, as he strutted off the van, wiggling his bum.  BAAAA whispered Lemon, from her field, enraptured. One look at that long neck and she was smitten.

Over the next few weeks, Lemon and Strawberry grazed ever closer to the fence between them. At last their noses bumped as they chewed on the same blade of grass.  They looked into each other’s eyes.  BAAAA  Lemon blushed.  HUMMM  Strawberry winked.  Lemon skipped away, her young heart a-flutter.  Strawberry watched as the ewe of his dreams frolicked in the meadow.

The elders of both camps were affronted. BAAAA the elder rams screamed.  Such a love was forbidden – nothing good could come from it. Jilted, Apple was the loudest protestor  How could she do that to him! Wasn’t he the most handsome ram in the flock?

The elder Llamas were incensed Lemon was so brazen. They let out an unbelievable HUMMMM!!!  The lady llamas were incensed.  A ewe indeed. How silly!

Strawberry was a clever llama. With his long neck he could see further across the pastures than his shorter ewe-love.  Perhaps in another place they could be together without offending the warring flocks.  Within these fields he knew they could never be free.  One night, as they secretly chewed the same blade of grass he told Lemon of his plan. BAAAA! She cried, afraid to leave the flock she loved and the pasture she knew so well.  Strawberry was determined and whispered sweet HUMMMMs to her all night.  She loved him and had to agree.

They snuck out through a small gap in the fence, near a young maple tree. Ahead of them was uncertainty, but at least they would face it together. Lemon felt sad about leaving her flock but this felt right. This was the mint jelly and mutton her mother had told her about. There would be no more jeers, and no more rules about who to love. At last, they were free.

Information

Okay, by popular demand, here is my latest piece of Flash Fiction. It was inspired by a prompt at Absolute Write (http://absolutewrite.com/forums)

I hope you enjoy my sneaky twist at the end…

INFORMATION

The old woman gazed into her crystal ball, then, after a minute or so looked up and smiled her toothless grin.“I know something you don’t know.”

“Well of course you do, you’re a bloody fortune teller.”

“Watch your mouth woman, or I shan’t reveal the path ahead.”

Marsha threw a five pound note on the table. “Let’s see if that loosens your tongue, old hag.”

Undaunted, the old crone picked up the note and with a wrinkled nose sniffed if from left to right. “Money alone can’t buy the information you seek.” She smiled again, but didn’t pocket the note. Her eyes remained cold and calculating. Marsha threw down a tenner and the woman picked it up quickly.

“…and yet,” began the witch, “I see…”

Marsha interrupted, sarcasm coating every word. “Let me guess, a tall dark handsome stranger?”

“…A child.”

“Bollocks. I hate kids; there are no brats in my future.”

“The child is a boy. He’s riding a tricycle…”

“There will be no children. I’m going to tie my tubes next week to damn well make sure of it. This is not my future. You’re a bloody fake.”

The old woman looked more intently at the ball. Marsha rolled her eyes. “I can’t believe I let my friends talk me into this.”

“There is no mistake. I see him again. It’s a beautiful child, like you the hair is fair, but the eyes are haunted. The child cries.”

“I came in here to find out who my future husband is. If there’s a child, there has to be a man. Tell me about the man…”

“The child has grown now, the child’s in trouble.”

“Enough!”

Marsha grabbed her purse, now lighter by fifteen pounds. “Well that was a bloody waste of good money.”

The old crone didn’t bat an eyelid. As Marsha left she looked more intently at the ball. Her toothless smile returned as she watched the image forming in the crystal.

The child was young again. Benny pedaled furiously on his tricycle towards the end of the empty pavement. Behind him, two women chatted and failed to notice as he reached the end of the road. Nor did they see the handicap ramp leading from the pavement to the highway.

Somewhere nearby, a car door slammed and an engine started abruptly. With a screech the BMW X5 pulled away from outside Madame Seer’s Psychic Palace. The driver failed to see the tricycle as it left the pavement; it was hidden behind a row of parked cars. Too late, little Benny saw the car as it raced towards him. But at the last second, the driver saw him.

Marsha screamed as Benny pulled out in front of her. For the briefest moment their eyes locked. The image of the blonde-haired boy burned into her irises as she veered head-on into the oncoming traffic. Benny’s eyes opened wide in terror, eyes that would forever be haunted by the horror in the young woman’s face just before she met her death.

The old crone merely nodded. Two wrinkled, blue-veined hands picked up a velvet cloth, and carefully covered the sphere in front of her. It had not failed her, and never would.

Unfinished…

I didn’t hear the lawnmower stop. It was late September, and the farmer out back was busy cutting the harvest corn. The flat drone of the combine overwhelmed the quiet rumble of my grass-mowing husband. So I missed the moment when the little John Deere veered off the lawn and into the hedges.

Then the harvester moved on and there was silence. I ate potato chowder and squeezed concord grapes for jamming. I became lost in thoughts of sugar and spices while the best part of my world grew colder and colder on the smartest ride-along we could afford.

I grew tired of skinning the little purple fruits and wondered how long it’d be before you could help me. All was quiet, but I noticed the lawn was still unfinished. Six beautiful strips of manicured lawn, wedged inside a wilderness of dandelions. A good cut can hide a million evils. Where is that lazy bastard? No doubt you’d be chatting to Joe, our neighbor, I thought, the one with the zero-turn radius mower. Fancy equipment, but totally out of our price range of course. Funny, isn’t it, how a lawn mower can define your economic status. I think these thoughts and pop more concord grapes, and I note the sun is setting a little earlier now. I feel sad, and figure you won’t finish the mowing tonight.

Then I see Joe jump into his classic Ford pickup and head off down the road. I wait for the annoying drone of the mower to restart, but there’s nothing. Curiosity overwhelms me and I wash my hands and step outside onto our property. We don’t have a huge piece of land – just a few acres, bordered by trees and shrubs, set in something of a maze to give us some privacy from the road. At first I don’t see you, but then I see the rear of the Deere-green tractor wedged inside the dense and overgrown hedgerow. I‘ve asked you to cut that back so many times, it’s annoying. You say I nag, I say you’re a procrastinator.

Out of gas too, maybe, I wonder? And then I see it. Your silly straw hat lying a few feet away, abandoned on the grass. I see the strange cut in the lawn, not a straight line, but a swervy angle where the mower veered right when it ceased to be manually guided. Oh God, Michael, you’re wedged inside the mix of holly and mulberry bushes; your body slumped across the wheel, your face deathly white. Blood stains your handsome face; the vines cut you cruelly when you went into the hedge, but I later discover you felt nothing, you were already dead by that point.

I don’t scream or cry out. My feet become dream-like, and I have difficulty moving forward. It’s like my brain is recording every moment, every last second between one phase of life and another. Try as I may I’ll never be able to put this moment into words. The man I fell in love with, married, had children with, laughed with, struggled with, his journey has ended. I feel the loss of him in my belly, and a primeval knot swells inside me. Stupidly, I run forward to try and pull you out of the hedge, but the mower will not reverse.

I call out, no one comes. We live remotely, so that’s no surprise. I run back into the house and call 911. Later, the sirens and flashing lights draw everyone from their homesteads. In a short while everyone will know about this, I won’t have to say a word. It’s better that way. As the EMTs cover my dead husband’s face, something inside me dies. Whatever it was, I will never get it back.

By the time we climb inside the back of the medic the sun has set. I have loved the harvest moon, but not this one. This one stares sadly down at me like a large sphere of dull, tasteless cheddar. I remember how we like, I should say, liked to stare at the stars here. So far from the town the night sky is clear and unpolluted. We’ve lain side by side on the gravel and stared into the heavens. I laughed at you then. You looked so daft, staring up into the sky. Chances of being run over by a car out here were slim but there was a chance. Still, I’d join you anyway.

This private memory brings no comfort, only tears. As they close the back door of the medic I catch the moonlight on the few strips of mowed grass. It was your last unfinished business. The smell fills my nostrils, and I cry at last. I know I’ll never be able to bear that smell again. You are dead, and like the lawn, I feel our story is incomplete.

MY HUSBAND’S EYES ARE BROKEN

MY HUSBAND’S EYES ARE BROKEN

My husband’s eyes are broken. I noticed at the weekend when my friend Kate came over. Adam couldn’t raise his gaze above her breasts. She plied him with conversation but I think the damage is too far gone – he couldn’t get them past her Victoria Secret B-cups.

I think it’s infectious. The pair of them disappeared for a few hours that same day. Kate asked Adam to go with her to get her truck serviced. She said having a man with her would make all the difference. My husband agreed instantly. He’s so thoughtful. When they returned, I knew something was up. Kate couldn’t raise her eyes above her feet. I dunno – maybe it’s like contagious conjunctivitis or something. Well, I stayed out of their way and got on with making a lovely gooseberry pie. I washed my hands of course. You can’t be too careful and I don’t want to get whatever bug they have.

Anyway, I think there must be some kind of epidemic. A few days later I was out with my very young friend, Abby. She asked how things were between me, Adam and Kate. I thought it odd that she grouped the three of us, but Abby’s always been a bit weird. She has a unicorn tattoo on her neck. Thing was, she couldn’t raise her gaze above my neck-line, either. She mentioned she saw Adam and Kate coming out of the ‘Bunny Love” motel – which happens to be right next to the service station so maybe they went in for a quick wash.

“Perhaps they were both feeling a bit dirty?” I suggested. “Those service stations can be nasty.”

Abby nodded.

Come to think of it, when Abby saw them she was all the way across the street, so perhaps the infection is airborne? I mentioned this thought.

“There’s something in the air alright,” Abby agreed. She’s so wise for her years.

This afternoon my sister Joanna and I had our regular Friday Skype session. She lives all the way across town but I noticed she had trouble looking at the screen. Well it seems the bug has made it over there now, too. She asked how things were with Adam. Wow, news travels fast. Oh, the joys of living in a small town.

“I’m sorry to say Adam is much worse,” I said. “He barely spoke two words over breakfast and can’t take his eyes off the floor. He must really be suffering, poor thing. I told him to call the doctor but he just turned away, shook his head and grunted. He’s so brave.”

“He’s certainly something, Deidre” Joanna agreed.

“Not to worry,” I said. “I’m sure he’ll be back to his old self in no time at all.”

“Whatever he has might take a while longer to fix than that,” Joanna snorted. She always was a pessimist.

Me, I like to look on the bright side. Everyone might be broken for a bit but they will get better. I will count my blessings as I have the full use of both eyes and see everything perfectly clearly.