Monday, April 25, 2016

Thirty Minutes or Less

“One more cut and you'll bleed out.”

Chloe looked at the demon, her eyes narrowed. “That's not helpful, you know.” She rested the thin sliver of steel against her wrist. The lump in her throat felt the size of a football.

“I'm not trying to be helpful, just stating a fact. Hurry up, I haven't got all day.” It pulled a watch from its waistcoat pocket and checked the time on it against the digital clock on the bathroom wall. “It seems I have another seven minutes, mind. Your clock is fast.”

“Mum sets it that way so we're ready for school on time.”


“My brother and me.”

“I thought your brother was dead.”

“He is.”

“Squashed flat in an RTA.”

“Do you mind?” She cave an upward nod toward the instrument of her impending death.

“Not at all. Go right ahead.” It scrolled through its phone. “Are you going to be much longer?”

“I'm going to take the rest on my life.”

“Ha-ha. Clever. Only, if you're going to be another thirty minutes I'll order a pizza.”

“What sort of pizza?”

“All the meats.” It put the phone to the hole in its head which deemed to pass for an ear, then paused. “Why? Do you want one?”

“What? A last request?”

It smiled. “Sure. Got any money?”

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Official Caution

“Honestly, they look so easy to drive.”

Sergeant Wilde was in plain clothes, but she still had that air of official zealotry. You could tell she wasn't used to kids by her manner, half consoling and half cajoling, like a community sports instructor who's caught you having a fag at the back of the cricket pavilion. “But you've not had a lesson, have you? How old are you? Fourteen?”

“Fifteen. It was my birthday last week. Not that anyone cared.” Chloe folded her arms. One card, that's all she'd got, and that was from her aunt Ruska who'd put in a hundred hryvnia note. Chloe had been excited until she'd found it was worth less than three quid.

“So not even a provisional licence yet?”

“I had a lesson on my dad's building site. I learned how to drive it and work the shovel. It's harder than it looks but it's not exactly rocket science. There isn't even a steering wheel.”

“No, but there is a lever for raising the bucket, isn't there?”

“Obviously. I didn't mean to carve a six foot deep trench behind me. I wondered why I couldn't get any speed up.”

“The speed limit was five miles an hour.”

“So I wasn't speeding.”

“No. Not through the graveyard, anyway.”

Monday, February 29, 2016

Screaming for Blood

Jennifer Wilson got in a pre-emptive strike. At least, that's what she told Miss Simmons when the science teacher noticed the three-deep ring of teenagers in the top playground half way through lunch and waded in to pull the two girls off each other.

“I was in fear for my life, Miss. I'm allowed to strike first if I'm in fear of my life. That's the law, that is.”

Miss Simmons turned to the other participant who looked, if anything, worse off than Jennifer. “Is that true, Chloe? Did you threaten Jennifer?”

“As if.” Chloe Good's mouth snapped closed from what certainly appeared to be open-mouthed wonder. “I wasn't doing nothing.”

“See, Miss? Double negative.” Jennifer's best friend Holly Taylor Pointed at Chloe. “She did mean to do summat.”

“Don't be a smarty pants, Holly. I think you'll find the concept of the double negative has entered the OED as expressing an empathic negative.” She looked from one girl to the other. “Right. Both of you can go and see Mrs Hammond. I'm sure she can get to the bottom of this when she calls your parents.”

“It's all right, Miss.” Chloe wiped a smear of blood from her mother. “No need to call me' da. I started it. It wo're Jenny's fault.”

“That's good of you to admit, Chloe. Award yourself three weeks of after school detention.”

Friday, February 19, 2016

short forms 19th February 2016

formal warning
for excessive absence
she works on a way to freelance.

© Rachel Green 2016

spikes of rye grass
scintillate in sunlight
deep frost

© Rachel Green 2016

battling depression
my poetry use to improve
when I was down
Now I can't even get myself
to write at all

© Rachel Green 2016

malware detected
the same two instances every day
what adds them back?

if only I could scan
for what was wrong with me
remove infections

would it work for bigots?

© Rachel Green 2016

work to do. Her sagging jaw

© Rachel Green 2016

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Suicide Note

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

*Merry Christmas

Harold regarded the Christmas tree thoughtfully. The eight-foot spruce dominated the Great Hall and if one was very lucy, one could still find a hollow chocolate lantern or a crème-filled chocolate bear amongst the tinsel and baubles, even this late in the season. “Should we take the decorations down?”

Jasfoup snaffles a chololate snowman. “No hurry, is there? It's cheerful and you're not superstitious about twelfth nigh, are you?”

“Well...” Harold grimaced. “Mum always took it down on the sixth and it's the seventh today.”

“Just pretend you're Welsh.”

“Welsh? Why?”

“They still reckon by the Julian calendar. They don't take their trees down until the new year, and since the Julian calendar is thirteen days behind the Gregorian, that's not until the fourteenth.”

“Excellent.” Harold unwrapped a chocolate santa. “Nadolig Llawen* .”

Sunday, January 05, 2014


“Mummy, look! A princess.” Harold pointed to the horse-drawn cart rumbling past, a queue of traffic behind it. The dray had been decorated with white sheets and racemes of hawthorn and cherry blossom. On a garden bench sat a young woman, dressed in a simple white shift and a wearing a crown of ox-eye daisies and candytuft.

“Yes love.” Ada stood behind him to watch her trot past. “It's the May queen, off to give herself in honour of the Oak King.”

“What do you mean, 'give herself'?”

“It's symbolic, Harold. The Oak King will ravage the maiden and plant the new sun in her, then she'll give birth to it in six weeks time.”

“I thought it took nine months for a baby?”

“So it does, love. Nine long, arduous months. But a sun takes only six.”

“Were you hoping for a sun?”

“A daughter, actually.” Ada looked down. “Not that I'm not happy with my beautiful boy.”

“What does 'ravage' mean?”

“Making a baby. Or a new sun, in this case.”

“Mr Atkins says it's all superstitios rubbish.”

“That's your form teacher, isn't it?”

“Yes. He's ever so clever. Much cleverer than any woman. He told us. He says it's hardly even worth teaching the girls anything other than cooking and housekeeping.” He shut up then. He could feel his mother's fingers digging into his shoulders.

“Right, well, Mr Atkins believes a lot of rubbish himself and we know better, don't we? He'd be the first to complain if the sun didn't come up in the morning. Where are you off to?”

Harold looked round. His mum's friend, Mr Jax was pulling on a long green coat covered in rags and tinkling with tiny bones.

“I've a meeting to attend.” Mr Jax winked. “Don't wait up, eh?”

May Queen image by Emily Soto