Eight by Pete Brammer

A canoe paddled by natives headed through mangroves and giant water lilies, towards the village of Puntagalula deep in the Amazon jungle. Here, Father Percy Whitaker would be taking up his ministerial work with the missionaries and two nuns. He had left his parish over a week ago. A parish in Devon that he simply adored. But God had called him, and Gods will must be done. He was twenty four, single and devoted to his calling, so it wasn’t too difficult to leave behind, all the friends he had made.

Housekeeper, Mrs Blades cried as she had handed him a leather shopping bag. Here Father, I have packed you some treats for your journey. I know you are bound to get peckish and love my baking and homemade lemonade. The bag may also come in handy for picking bananas or maybe coconuts and things that grow there. Even though there are no shops where you are going you could need a bag”. She wiped away a tear with the bottom of her apron. “I wish you didn’t have to leave us. You will take care, won’t you?”

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Scar by Michael Keeble

Every scar has a story.  Some scars are disfiguring, some may be unobtrusive, and some may be hidden, but they all tell a story.  There are those scars that are perceived to enhance the wearer, but that is usually because those observing them want to know the story.

Anyone who knows me will know that I have a scar that runs for about 3 inches down the left side of my face from the top of my cheekbone towards the corner of my mouth.  My friends have often speculated about how I came to get this facial feature, but I have never told them the true story.  My late wife knew the truth as she was there when I got it,

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“Röslein auf der Heide” – by David R Graham

For a mere second the soldier closed his eyes and succumbed to sleep’s black embrace. It was long enough for him to shuffle off the rain-slicked duckboards; off that narrow avenue between places of fragile safety.

He landed on his back on the thick, bomb churned mud.

Staring wide-eyed at the grey, rain-filled sky, he screamed a muffled cry of commingled anger and terror at his fatal mistake.

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The Brindley Manifestations – by Michael Keeble

Day One

I can’t remember exactly how we four lads from Sheffield decided that a cruise down the Chesterfield Canal might be a good idea, but for me at least it became one of the most memorable trips I have ever taken.  The boat was called the Brindley after the man who kicked off the building of this waterway in the late 18th Century and was a four-berth boat based in West Stockwith.

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A Sea of Troubles – by Andrew Bell

Ladies and Gentlemen, members of this awesome dissembly,

It is my privilege to shriek to you today through the medium of space, without rinsing my worms; to look back to our future; to explore how we may embrace a sea change in our shrinking, free from excessive red tape, pies in the sky or other porkies and assorted paper tigers; to discover, here and now, where we need to stand firm, but also, to find those moments when we need to move on to better timing. And above all, I urge you, with all my sinews, to hold up your palms, especially to this sea of bubbles (and its associated cant and froth), and by opposing, see it off. For, when all else fails, we need to stand above the crowd, cut through this jungle and tangle: all those lies embedded in convention, to reach an avon of peace and contention.

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Scratch by Michael Keeble

“It’s just a scratch” said my wife

Of course, when they say that in the movies, they have endured a barrage of bullets from any number of generally incompetent antagonists and at least one of them will have penetrated a useful limb.  Having been thus injured, hero would reach for his rolled up newspaper and put them off their already poor aim by using it as a blowpipe to blast the nearest gunman with peanuts from a handy nearby bowl.  Having dispatched all his enemies with deadly peanuts and newsprint jabs, he uses his newspaper to bind up the flesh wound that has rendered his left arm useless, and coolly makes his way out of the building and into the crowded streets. 

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child – Flash fiction by Kaye Locke

It felt incongruous sitting there on the bandstand steps in the sunny park, half a dozen of their friends messing about around them, oblivious.   Drew was holding her hand the big faux gold chain on his wrist digging into her arm, replicating the pain.  He was sucking on a roll-up and the smoke blew towards her making her cough.

‘For god’s sake Mel, stop makin’ a fuss. I ain’t gonna stop spliffin’ just fer you, so yer can give that up right now.’

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