Dear Mr. and Mrs. Spencer,

Can I begin by offering you my sincere apologies for the disgraceful ransom note you received yesterday. It was extremely crude, both in terms of its layout and the vulgarity of the language used. Unfortunately, it was the work of my rather stupid associate. A loyal employee, but not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Rest assured he has been severely spoken to and has promised this will never happen again.

In his defence, I believe him when he says he was trying to help by taking some of the workload off my shoulders. Unfortunately his somewhat poor home background, deprived childhood and unsatisfactory schooling, came to the fore and you were the recipients. Once again please accept my profuse apologies.

Despite his shortcomings, my colleague does possess certain qualities that I find indispensible in our line of work. Personally I would have been a little less graphic with the threats. Unfortunately he does have this annoying habit of saying things as he sees them, though his choice of words leaves much to be desired. So when he wrote, and I quote, “Pay up or I’ll cut the little bitch up real nasty.” I’m afraid that is exactly what he meant. I’ve seen him at his work and, while not pretty, he is very good at what he does.

Once again I feel that I must offer you my sincere apologies for the manner in which this information was delivered to you. Procedures at this end have been tightened up considerably to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
In conclusion, may I remind you that the ransom deadline draws near and my associate grows impatient. I look forward to an early conclusion to our present business.

Yours faithfully

Your Daughter’s Captor


Fashionable Pets


“Oh Melanie, what a quaint little creature! Where did you get him? I must have one. I just love the way he fits into your shoulder bag like that. And that green, mottled skin of his matches your new hair colour so beautifully. Does he have a name?”

“I know, he’s adorable isn’t he? He did come with a name tag but it was some alien name I couldn’t pronounce so I just call him ‘Thingy’. The man in the shop said that he shouldn’t grow any taller but if he did I could take him back and swap him for a pink one. How good is that.”

“Can I stroke him Melanie? He won’t bite or anything, will he?”

“Go ahead, he’s fine. His skin was a bit dry to start with but I’ve been rubbing him down with moisturising cream every day and he feels much better. Just don’t go near his mouth, his little teeth are a bit sharp. I’m thinking of having them taken out.”

“Ooh Melanie, he feels lovely. I think he likes me. Look at the way he’s looking at me with those big eyes of his. I must have one! Did you say they did them in pink? I love pink. Where did you say you got it from?”

“The Monster Supplies Shop, just off Hackney High Street. Ask for Jimmy, tell him I sent you. You should be in luck, he told me one of them alien spaceship things crash landed only last Tuesday, so he’s got a fresh lot in. I’m sure he’ll be able to find you a pink one.”


Time For A Change


The latest report on planet Earth made very distressing reading. Despite repeated warnings the people on this insignificant planet were still making an unholy mess of things. Wars, famine, greed, lust – all getting worse by the day. It was as if history had taught them nothing. He wouldn’t have minded so much if he hadn’t cared, but he had. He’d lost count of the number of warnings he’d sent them over the years. There was that great flood, for instance, with that chap Noah. You’d think that would have been warning enough. Then there had been no end of plagues and famines, but still they didn’t learn. He’d even sent some of his best people down to them offering advice and guidance, but  most of it fell on deaf ears.

The powers that be, had lost patience with him, he was being replaced. His ‘Saving Mankind’ project had been declared a failure and he was being moved on. The new job title sounded fancy but everyone knew he was being side lined, made a scapegoat for Earth’s failings. Within hours of his resignation a new creator had been appointed. Some young thing, keen to make a name for himself. The word was that he’d  already sent in a specially trained Angel task force, who had successfully implemented a scorched earth strategy. Everything on the old Earth had been eliminated, ready for a fresh start. The young creator had some radical ideas about what the new Earth would look like.


Dear John



Dear John,

You are probably surprised to be getting a personal letter through the post, I mean, it’s not the way people  communicate nowadays, is it? It’s more likely to be a quick text, a phone call or an email. I thought a proper letter would be more intimate for I feel that I already know so much about you. But wait, I’m sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself, I’ve just realized that you have no idea who I am.

My name is Suzie. Well actually it’s not, but for reasons that will become clearer later I thought it best I didn’t use my real name. We met last Monday, on the train. I assumed you were on your way to work. You won’t remember me, I made sure of that, but at one time I was standing right behind you. You were busy reading the paper, The Financial Times I think it was. Anyway that’s when I relieved you of your wallet and mobile phone, some might say that I stole them but I think that’s such a vulgar word, don’t you?

I just wanted to say a very big thank you for the money. The cash was useful, I treated myself to a cooked breakfast at the station and a great lunch later at a nice pub I know in the city. More importantly though I must thank you for the credit cards. You made my life so much easier by leaving your PIN number alongside your credit cards, and keeping the same number for all of your cards was a godsend. I managed to get almost £3,000 out of your accounts before you’d even realized your wallet had gone.

I want you to know that the money will be well used. You probably think I’m going to waste it on drugs and booze but I’m not that sort of person. You may be pleased to hear that the money will be going towards some new shoes for the children and  this term’s school fees. The school they are attending is a lovely place, pricey, but as I always say,  quality costs. I have great hopes for their future. Of course it means I will have to keep on working for a few more years yet, you wouldn’t believe how much their uniforms cost, that’s why I’m so grateful to benefactors like you.

While we are on the subject of money I wonder if I could impose on you one more time. The eldest is keen to go on the school exchange to America and the youngest has recently started private violin lessons. To be honest I’m a bit short, about £5,000 to be exact. Before you say no can I just remind you of the interesting photos you had on your mobile phone.

I was intrigued by the very cheeky emails you and your wife Patsy have been exchanging. It was only when I looked at the photos in you wallet that I realised your wife’s name is Deborah. Then I found the photos of Patsy! I must say that she does look very young, and are you sure that a man of your age should be doing things like that? Forgive me, I’m really not in any position to preach but I must say I feel for Deborah, she looks like such a nice woman and a good mother. Does she know about Patsy? I’d hate to be the one to tell her, but I’m sure it won’t come to that.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. You can contact me on your own phone. Once again many thanks for your continued financial support.








I sit in the classroom area analysing my strange surroundings. It is less than 24 hours since I entered this host body and I’m still assimilating its strange thoughts and bizarre behaviours.  Suddenly I’m aware that its name, my name now, is being called out by the human adult at the front of the room.

“Peter! Have you completed that homework yet?”

I found myself replying, “Sorry Miss, I’ve forgotten it.” A phrase, it appears, my host had used many times.

“Oh Peter, you’d forget your head if it wasn’t screwed on!”

I look at her suspiciously. How did she know I could do that with my head?



Dream Sellers


“This your first time mate?”

“To be honest I don’t think it’s any of …”

“Thought so. Can always recognise the first timers. It’s the way you sit there, confident like. Think you’ve got it all under control. If only you knew. So, what you selling?”

“I’d rather not …”

“I bet it’s dreams. It’s always dreams for your first time. That’s how they hook us in. They keep it nice and simple. I mean what’s a few dreams to the likes of you and me. Then there’s the money they’re offering. You’d be daft to say no. Was it their special offer you responded to?”

“Well actually it …”

“Thought so. That’s how they get to most of us. They’ve a knack of knowing who’s in need of a bit of extra cash. I bet you didn’t notice the adverts at first, I know I didn’t. Just sitting their  on your screen, tucked away in the background. They’re clever like that. Next think you know your phoning that number and some sexy sounding woman on the other end of the line is booking you in here for an appointment. Have you signed anything yet?”

“Only the …”

“Bloody hell, you have haven’t you. Don’t know why I’m sounding surprised, we all do it. That charming girl on Reception told you they just needed your signature for their records. You were so busy looking into those pretty eyes of hers you would’ve signed anything. How were you to know you were actually signing a contract? Don’t suppose anybody explained the contract to you?”

“Well, actually …

“Of course they didn’t. Why would they? I know when I asked they said I was simply giving them permission to harvest a few of my old dreams, ones I no longer had any need of. Course I had no idea then about what they were really after. By the time I did, it was too late. I’d signed on the dotted line and was all theirs. They could take whatever they wanted. Who you with?”

“Dr. Peterson but …”

“Peterson! Bloody hell he’s the top man. I don’t know what you’ve got hidden inside that head of yours mate but it must be important. Been nice chatting but I must go, having a scan to see if I’ve any nightmares they think are worth having before they check out the state of my internal organs. Hopefully see you around sometime. Good luck with Peterson, you’ll need it.”





The holographic message, high above the city skyline, gave us a glimmer of hope.


But the bombs continued to rain down, people died in their thousands. Tyranny was replaced by anarchy and lawlessness. The strong survived at the expense of the weak. At the end, the holograph started to decay. Now the message in the sky simply read,