I love the short story, but it’s incredibly difficult to write. It’s something I intend to work on, however, as I am also doing with my poetry. I’d really appreciate any feedback.
This story was short listed twice in the Fish Publishing Memoir competitions 2012 and 2013. It is a true story based on my experiences raising my daughter Carys, who was born with Cardiofaciocutaneous Syndrome.
Cai came first, reluctantly thrust into the world three weeks before he was ready. My glorious, flame-haired, fiery-natured first-born son. He lay on my belly, still covered in the mucous of birth, his dark unfocused eyes swivelling. Overwhelmed, I stared back, bemused by this tiny human scrap of life. Just a few ounces and a few days the right side of being premature, his body was so small, it fitted perfectly into his father’s cupped hands.
Two years later, Malachy joined us, five days overdue and so keen to make up for lost time, he was almost born at a toll booth on the motorway. He arrived with a frown on his face. We wondered at it, but didn’t understand. We soon learned. He lay in his incubator, a giant amongst his peers, a tangle of wires snaking from his body to a bank of computers and monitors. His first year was touch and go, but he made it. My beautiful second-born, Malachy the comedian, the musician, the stuntman, always with the glass of life half full.
And then came Carys.Read more…
This story was long-listed in the Fish Short Story Competition back in 2011 (I think).
Kelly was raped on her sixteenth birthday in the back of an old Ford Cortina by Jem Battersby. He was quite a bit older than her, being twenty-four, and already married with twin eighteen month old daughters. He came from a large well-respected family. Kelly, on the other hand, was an insignificant nobody.
On this particular night, she had been celebrating in the local night spot with her friend Annie. All the girls fancied Jem, but tonight she seemed to have caught his eye, and he had been flirting with her on and off all evening. Perhaps it was the sparkly top and long slim legs which attracted him. Or perhaps it was the glint in her eye, and her broad smile.
Either way, she didn’t care. She revelled in his attention, accepted the drinks he bought her, got up close and personal with him on the dance floor a couple of times, and basked in the jealous glances she received from the other girls. When he leaned over and whispered in her ear that he would give her a lift home, she jumped at the chance, even though it was not yet midnight. Well, why did she need to hang around when she had already pulled? Read more…
The Warrior and The Witch
Ciara woke with a start. Around her, all was silent in the priestesses hut, but for the peaceful breathing of the other sleeping girls. Moonlight streamed in through the doorway where the deerskin curtain had been drawn aside to let in the cool night air. Outside, an owl hooted its cry of triumph as it pounced the unsuspecting victim of its next meal.
Far away, a voice whispered faintly. Perhaps it was just the sound of the breeze flirting amongst the boughs of the trees in the apple orchards. Ciara listened intently. She had been schooled long enough by the Lady of the Lake and the other eight priestesses of Avalon to recognise a Summoning when she heard one.
Strangely, she felt no excitement as she rose from her bed and hurriedly donned the rough clothing of the novice. Deftly, she bound back her long coppery-blonde hair, secured her knife to the belt at her hip, secreted her amulet inside the neck of her tunic, and slipped out into the night. Read more…
The Egg Stone
I wrote this story again in my early twenties for a writing circle I was part of at the time. At the end of the year, we published our stories in a little local anthology… it was the first time I ever saw any of my writing in print.
When I was seven years old, I was sent to spend Easter with my granny in the country. I loved Easter more than any other occasion, even Christmas and my birthday, although all were eagerly anticipated for the treats they would inevitably bring.
My passion, however, was for chocolate eggs, and of course these only came once a year, but in all shapes and sizes, and I would happily gorge until I felt distinctly ill, smearing all in my vicinity with sticky fingerprints, making my annual Easter mark on the furniture and the walls.
On this occasion, my mother was expecting the imminent arrival of my sibling, and experiencing complications, and so was admitted prematurely into hospital. I was not unduly worried; the excitement of a train journey, several extra weeks off school and the indulgence afforded me by my grandmother far outweighed my previous impatient interest in the new addition to my family.
Granny’s cottage was situated amongst open fields on the outskirts of a tiny village. The cottage itself was quaint, and antiquated with practically no amenities. Every inch of space was crowded with a lifetime’s collection of memorabilia, creating for me days of endless fascination. The fields round about were perfect for hunting wild man-eating bears, fighting scalp-hunting red Indians, chasing robbers and other boyish occupations far too numerous to mention. In those days, Wii and DS were futuristic fantasies, and few benefited from the luxury of television. Read more…
This story is an excerpt from a novel I began writing when I was fourteen, but never finished. The rest of the manuscript, hand-written and full or crossings out and re-writes, lurks in the bottom of my desk. Who knows, perhaps one day I’ll even finish it.
“Probably still snoring in his pit,” exclaimed the giant, Greybeard, disdainfully.
Heln’Or turned to the old wizard seated beside him. “Elramuin, go and fetch him. The rest of you, make haste. We have wasted enough time here already.” She put down her pack and staff, perched on a corner of a bench, and nibbled disinterestedly at a dry breadcake.
Sherel, faith healer and warrior woman, stretched and yawned. “I’m wearing all my possessions,” she commented, then sighed contentedly. “So finally, we are off! The Quest begins. I am looking forward to this.”
“Then you are a fool,” snapped Heln’Or, laying aside her half eaten breadcake.
“We are all fools to follow you into this danger.” observed Sherel, unperturbed.
“The only way to defeat this enemy is to strike at his heart. He won’t be expecting that,” explained Heln’Or, as if talking to a child. “We must take the battle to him.”
“Well, I’m only going along for the adventure, remember?” Sherel reminded her. “Your enemy is not mine.”
Heln’Or glared at her. ” You think so? I would not be so sure, if I were you.” Read more…