Born To Be Wild

feral-cat

When people said that Jenny lived on her own, that was not strictly accurate. It was true, she didn’t share her house or her life with other people, but she was never lonely, she had her cats. Nobody was ever sure just how many of these furry creatures there were. She’d been taking in strays, injured and rescued members of the feline community for over twenty years. Every day the cats would come and go from her house via a cat flap in the back door. 

Jenny hadn’t always been a recluse. This obsession with the feline fraternity had begun shortly after the sudden death of her husband. As the cat population in her home increased and took over her life so her human friends slowly stopped visiting. Since she’d discovered online grocery shopping she no longer had the need to leave the house. She could spend all day, every day, with her beloved friends. The supermarket van would arrive at her house every Thursday afternoon and leave seven plastic carrier bags on her doorstep. One contained the few meagre provisions she needed to keep going the other six were full of cat food and treats.

When Jenny died nobody noticed, well nobody except the cats. She’d been trying to fix the cat flap that had jammed shut, when she collapsed with a massive heart attack. She cried out for help but only her feline friends heard her.

They finally found Jenny six months later. A neighbour complained to the local council about the terrible noise of screeching cats coming from number 13. The local council officer noticed a strange smell when he lifted Jenny’s letterbox to try to get her attention. The policeman, who was called to break in, was violently sick when he opened the front door and the stench of cats and rotting flesh hit him.

A team of RSPCA officers, in protective clothing, had to be called in to deal with the cats, all 103 of them. They all looked remarkably fit and healthy but were completely feral and extremely dangerous. It took nearly two days to trap each animal and sedate it.

The almost stripped bare carcase of their owner, their food supply for the last six months, lay by the cat flap where she had fallen.

MikeJackson©2014

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The Red Mist

hyperborea-ginzburg-smSome would have described him as intransigent, but not me. In my mind, Peter Myles was simply a fool. A pig-headed, bloody-minded, fool. His major weakness – not knowing when to keep his mouth shut. Whenever he got an idea into his head he had to share it with the world. I warned him time and again how dangerous this was but he wouldn’t listen. I tried my best to protect him, but there was only so much I could do.

The secret police had eyes and ears everywhere. You couldn’t trust anyone. Not even your closest friends and family. They had ways of getting people to talk. Fear cut across all relationships, however strong.

Peter’s problem was that he trusted everyone. This naivety was what made him so adorable but one day, it would be the death of him.

We all knew about the red clouds that appeared every day on the outskirts of town. They would emerge from beneath the snow, swirl around for an hour or two, then disappear. The state controlled media never mentioned this phenomena and nobody ever asked what it was or where it came from. Nobody that was, except Peter. Despite everything we said to him he decide to carry out his own investigation. He took samples, made detailed notes and was even foolish enough to take photos.

It was those photos and detailed notes that he had spread out in front of me as we sat at our usual table in the local pub. In a voice, much too loud for comfort, Peter said,

“I couldn’t figure it out at first, then it came to me. It was so obvious I still can’t work out why I didn’t see it earlier. I’ve been over my notes a thousand times and checked and re-checked the photos. I’m telling you Susie I know exactly what’s going on. I know what that red cloud is.”

The more enthusiastic he got the louder he spoke. I noticed  the drinkers close to us had nervously picked up their drinks and moved away. Jim, behind the bar, looked across at me, his eyes pleading with me to shut Peter up.

“Peter! Keep your voice down. You’re making people nervous. Why don’t you put that lot away and have another drink?”

“But Susie, you’re not listening! This is important. This is what we’ve been looking for. I know what’s happened to all those missing people. I know what’s happened to our friends.”

“Not here Peter! Let’s take this stuff back to my flat. You can explain it all to me there.”

Much to the relief of the other drinkers Peter agreed. He collected his papers and we headed back to my place.

The relief of getting his story off his chest, mixed with a bottle of red wine left him exhausted. I helped him to the bed we’d shared so many times and within minutes he was asleep.

I went back to his notes and his photos. It was amazing just how much he’d managed to put together. He was right of course, the red clouds did have something to do with the missing people. It was, in fact, the smoke poring out from underground incinerators where enemies of the state were disposed off on a daily basis. Nobody knew why the smoke was red. There was no scientific reason for it. In the end the authorities had stopped worrying, working on the assumption that none of the terrified inhabitants of the town would dare ask questions. None that was, except Peter.

The knock on the door came in the early hours of the morning. It woke Peter. I was already awake, sat in my dressing gown in a small chair, in the corner of the room. I knew who was at the door. I’d been expecting them. Without getting up I shouted,

“Come in. The door’s open.”

Three heavily armed policemen walked into the bedroom. The officer looked at me and saluted,

“Ma’am!”

I nodded and watched as they dragged Peter from the bed. Just before they dropped the hood over his head he looked at me and I could see from his eyes that he knew what I’d done. As they took him away I brushed away a tear, telling myself it was for the best. It was my job to help rid this world of the potential troublemakers like Peter Myles.

MikeJackson©2014

Posted in Flash Fiction, Short Stories | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Winter’s Secret

Must admit, the thaw’s come sooner than expected. Caught me by surprise a bit, but I’ll manage. Was hoping the big freeze would go on for a few more weeks. Would’ve given me a bit more breathing space. Still, I reckon I’m ready. The village pond should be clear of ice by this time tomorrow. That’s when they’ll find her body. Bound to come knocking on my door, considering who she is. Course, they won’t find any traces of her here, not now. As for an alibi, mine’s watertight. You’d expect that though, considering I know exactly when she died.

MikeJackson©2014

A 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers

Posted in 100 Word Stories, Flash Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Nativity Story

kids
Right children, if you’re all sitting nice and quiet I’ve got an exciting story to tell you. No, Johnny, it’s not about zombies. Billy, please don’t do that to Melanie’s hair, there’s a good boy. Now, this story happened a long time ago in a little town called Nazareth. What’s that Susie? You’ve been to Nazareth. Have you sweetheart? You went on a train to see your Aunty Joan. That’s nice dear but I think it might be a different town to the one in our story. This Nazareth is in a very hot country, a long way from here. It’s where a girl called Mary lived. No, Sam, it’s not your big sister. She’s in Class 5 isn’t she? That’s not in Nazareth is it? Billy! I’ve told you before, Melanie doesn’t like you doing that. Stop crying Melanie, I’m sure he didn’t mean to hurt you. Billy, I think you need to come and sit here in front of me, don’t you? Sally, dear, can you move over a bit and make a space for Billy. Thank you darling.

Now where was I? Oh yes, Mary. Well Mary was engaged to be married to a man called Joseph. What’s that Jenny? You’re never gong to get married. Well you’re a bit young to be thinking of weddings. You’ll probably change your mind when you get older. Pardon darling, what was that? You’re not going to get married because you’re mummy says all men are bastards. Oh dear, I don’t think you should really be using words like that my dear. Remind me to have a little word with mummy at home time. Did you want to say something Billy? Speak up dear. Your daddy says you’re a little bastard. I’m sure he doesn’t mean it dear. Remind me to have a little word with your daddy when he picks you up.

Now back to our story. One night, before Mary and Joseph were married, an angel came to see Mary. Does anybody know what an angel is? What was that Benjamin? Your uncle is a Hells Angel and rides a big motorbike. Well that’s nice dear but I was thinking of a different sort of angel. This one was a messenger from God. Pardon Benjamin? It couldn’t have been your uncle you say, because he’s in prison and doesn’t know anyone called God. That’s a shame dear.

No, the angel in this story was someone very special with an important message for Mary. What was that Lisa? Why did God send an angel, why didn’t he just send Mary a text? Well dear, back in those days they didn’t have mobile phones. What’s that Sally? Your Gran has just got a mobile phone, that’s nice. Oh, she doesn’t like it. Can’t get it to work. That’s a shame dear. Old people do find these new gadgets  a little difficult sometimes. What’s that dear? Your Gran’s not old, she’s younger than me. That’s nice dear.

Anyway, the angel told Mary she was going to have a baby. No Penny, the angel wasn’t the daddy, God was. That’s right Simon, Mary was engaged to Joseph. No, he didn’t know about the baby. Yes, I think he was quite angry. No, he didn’t go and have a fight with God.

What’s that Lucy? You’re big sister is having a baby. That’s nice dear. Oh, it’s not nice you say. She won’t tell your daddy who the father is because he says he’s going to kill him. I’m sure he doesn’t mean it, dear. No, Simon, I don’t think God is the father of Lucy’s sister’s baby.

Let’s get back to the story. Billy, put my shoe back on, there’s a dear. The other foot please Billy. Benjamin, don’t wipe your nose on your sleeve, there’s a darling. Come and get a tissue from my box. No, Billy, don’t throw the box the Benjamin. Oh dear, now look what you’ve done. Stop crying Annie, there’s a good girl. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that much.

Goodness gracious me, look at the time. Time to get your coats on ready to go home. We’ll finish this story tomorrow. Billy, what have you done with my shoes? Now be a good boy and tell me where you’ve hidden them. Billy, come back here!

MikeJackson©2014

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Don’t Put The Blame On Me

blame-gameIt was three weeks since I’d thrown Giles out and in all that time I’d heard nothing from him. No phone calls, no text messages, nothing. At first it had seemed strange, so unlike him but after a few days of silence I stopped caring. It was time for a fresh start, a new life. One without Giles. Then, out of the blue, there he was on my front door step.

“I’m telling you Giles it’s over. We’re finished. And if you think you’re leaving that with me, you can think again!”

We both looked down at the large black and red blame he was holding. I could feel it staring at me, pleading to be taken in.

“Are you listening to me Giles? Whatever thoughts or words you have put together in that bundle of blame have nothing to do with me. It’s your problem, you deal with it.”

He blushed, no doubt feeling guilty but still he didn’t move. I glared at him. I knew exactly what he was up to. So typical of him. We’d been through this charade so many times. We’d argue, I’d throw him out and then he’d be back. That sheepish, vulnerable look on his face and before I knew what was happening I’d find myself sharing the blame for whatever had happened.

But not this time. I was stronger now, less gullible. Any love I may have felt for him was long gone. It was over and he had nobody to blame but himself.

He shuffled awkwardly and went to put the blame down on my doorstep.

“Oh no you don’t! You’re not leaving that here. I know what you’re doing Giles and it won’t work, not this time. If you think I’m going to feel bad about this blame just sitting there and take it in, you’re very much mistaken. You’re just going to have to take it home with you and learn to live with it.”

I closed the door and went to the flat window. Minutes later I saw Giles stagger across the road laden down with his burdensome blame. I had no regrets.

MikeJackson©2014

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A Writer’s Life

Irritated! Of course I’m bloody irritated. Calls himself a writer but where is he when the hard work is taking place? Off on some fancy golf course with his mates, leaving me, his overworked muse, to get the book finished. Bet it’s not my name he puts on the front cover!

MikeJackson©2014

A short story for Five Sentence Fiction

Lillie McFerrin Writes
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A Lost Race

Torso in Metal from 'The Rock Drill' 1913-14 by Sir Jacob Epstein 1880-1959

“Wow! Did that thing really exist dad? I’ve heard lots of stories about them but was never sure if they were true?”

“Believe me Jimmy, they were real enough. Back in the 2020’s, before you were born, these things were on the verge of taking over the world. At one point we thought they were going to wipe out the whole planet. For a while the Earth looked doomed.”

“Were you a soldier, dad? Did you fight these monsters?”

“We were all soldiers, son. We had no choice. Even your mum ended up fighting. There were days when we did nothing but fight, one bloody battle after another. Looking back, it’s a wonder we survived.”

“Where did they come from, dad? What did they want?”

“Nobody knows for sure. We just woke up one morning and the sky was black with spaceships. Their spaceships. It seems their planet was dying and they needed somewhere new to live. Maybe if they’d come to us peacefully we could’ve shared our world, but they didn’t understand the word ‘peace’. They wanted the whole place to themselves and they were quite happy to destroy us out to get it.”

“So what happened, dad? Where are they now?”

“Completely wiped out, son. Extinct. We fought for weeks. Hundreds of thousands died on both sides. We tried to get them to agree to a cease-fire and talk but they wouldn’t. All they knew about was fighting. So that’s what happened. The killing went on and on until they were all dead. Now all we’ve got are these models to remind us of those dark days.”

“What were they called, dad?”

“Do you know Jimmy, I’ve no idea. We never got the chance to talk and find out about one another. Of course we had lots of names for them, none of them very nice. But nobody ever knew what this race of strange creatures were actually called. All I do know son is, if we hadn’t won that war, we wouldn’t be standing here right now. Those creatures would be living on Earth and we, the great Pterodactyl race, would have been wiped out. We would have been reduced to nothing more than models in their museums.”

MikeJackson©2014

 

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Top Of The Pile

“Excuse me, can you tell me what’s going on? I shouldn’t be here. Yesterday I was gracing the wheels of a Ferrari California T and today I’m on this pile with you lot.”

“We’ve all got stories mate, some fancier than others, but around here they count for nothing. Make the most of being top of the heap, it won’t last. If you want to know what the future holds, have a word with Charlie. He used to be the wheels of a posh Bentley. You wouldn’t think so to see him now. You’ll find him somewhere near the bottom.”

MikeJackson©2014

A 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers.

Posted in 100 Word Stories, Flash Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Anybody Listening?

We’d clambered up to the highest point of the roof. The water continued to rise, lapping at our feet. We held on tight and prayed, just like mum had told us to.

Seems he was too busy making rain – he never replied.

MikeJackson©2014

 

Posted in Flash Fiction, Short Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Almost Time

PHOTO PROMPT -Copyright-Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

PHOTO PROMPT -Copyright-Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Almost Time

“Is that it Captain?”

“Yes Commander. That’s Earth. Our invasion is planned to begin in twenty minutes.”

“It’s smaller than I was expecting. And what on earth are those ghastly lights and buildings? They’ll have to go.”

“As you wish, Commander.”

“What about the inhabitants? Do they know we’re coming?”

“I’m afraid not, Commander. We’ve tried communicating with them but their technology is far too inferior.”

“No matter, Captain. It was merely a matter of protocol. Have them destroyed and any remains tidied away. I’ll be in my quarters. Inform me when the place is cleansed, I’ll make a visit.”

MikeJackson©2014

A 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers.

Posted in 100 Word Stories, Flash Fiction | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments