80 Kidnap


(Credit: Vaughn Pinpin AKA Hatboy on tumblr)

The wet leaves muffle my footsteps like a soggy, brown pillow, as I walk through the silent forest, looking for the next one.

I wonder whether they are happy when I catch them, whether they see me as a new friend or as a kidnapper tearing them away from friends and family. Why would they fight for me though if the latter were the case?

Do pokemon have Stockholm syndrome?

78 Drink


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Maude lifted the cup to her lips. The drink smelled strongly of mint with a hint of citrus. It did not look especially magical. The ticking of her kitchen clock seemed abnormally loud. She lowered the cup without drinking.

‘So I just have to drink this before midnight?’ She asked the devil, who was still standing in the darkest corner of the room.

‘Yes,’ its voice rasped.

‘And that’s really all there is to it?’ Maude raised her eyebrows.

‘There is always a price.’ The eyes of the devil glinted from the shadows.

‘But what will the price be?’

‘The price will match the power you receive.’

As Maude raised the cup, the devil took a step out of the corner and some of the shadows followed it. Maude sucked her teeth, then lowered the cup again.

‘Will I be able to make myself smarter with the power I get?’

‘You want to use your powers to modify yourself?’ The devil’s eyes flickered to the clock, then back to Maude.

‘Yeah, I mean, I could ask for more brains, but then I thought: What if come up with an even better wish right after getting what I thought I wanted? So I want power to modify my wish, so to speak.’

‘You’ll be able to, if you just drink,’ said the devil, claws twitching.

Maude lifted the cup and took a deep breath. Ginger and apples filled her nose. There was a sigh from the devil as she lowered the cup again.

‘It smells different now,’ she said, ‘did you change it?’

‘The drink is whatever you want it to be,’ said the devil, ‘you changed it.’

‘What, but then it’s the same problem,’ said Maude, ‘I have to be absolutely certain of what I want before I drink.’

‘Wishing for power to change your abilities, should serve you just fine.’

‘But what if I find out that what I really want is to change something outside myself?’

‘Don’t worry too much about it,’ said the devil, ‘just drink.’


‘The clock is ticking.’



Maude snorted.

‘No,’ she said.


‘I don’t like your tone.’

‘I don’t have time for this,’ growled the devil.

‘Well I,’

‘I’ll pour it through your nose if I have to!’ the devil strode towards Maude and she threw the drink in its face. The devil stopped in its tracks as the now clear odourless liquid made the shadows boil.

‘What,’ the devil stumbled, ‘what’s happening?’ the shadows began melting away.

‘It seems the drink turns into anything I want it to be,’ said Maude, ‘even if I want it to be holy water.’

When the clock struck twelve, the devil was a puddle on Maude’s floor.

76 Broken Pieces


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Picking a piece of china from the floor,

Half a woman with a parasol in blue ink.

Would life be tidier if she were on her own?

Or emptier?


Picking a piece of mirror from the sink,

Six dark rimmed eyes stare out at her.

Would life be simpler alone?

Or lonelier?


Picking a shard of glass from her cheek,

She dabs at the blood with a Kleenex.

Would life be less painful?

Or more so?


Picking a shard of abuse from her mind,

She would never find anyone else.

Would the world be brighter?

Or would she be swallowed by the darkness?

74 Are You Challenging Me?


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My tongue burns from the tea I drank too quickly, but the burning from you insult is worse. Sitting there with your can of Monster energy drink like it is nothing. What are you saying with that? You open the can with a click and a fizz and I can already smell the sickly sweet additives polluting our breakfast. Are you saying that I will not dare say anything to you? Well, you are wrong mister.

‘This is MY house, we play by MY rules here, and don’t you forget it!’

You stop with the can at your lips. You lower it. ‘What?’ you say, raising your eyebrows.

‘Get that affront to everything out of here.’

You look at the can in your hand. ‘What, this?’

‘Don’t you act all surprised,’ I say, ‘you know perfectly well how I feel about stimulants.’

‘But it’s just an energy drink,’ you shrug, ‘what about coffee?’

‘Coffee’s traditional. Now get it out of here before I ground you.’

You pick up your school bag and the Monster can. I hear a ‘whatever’ before you slam the door behind you, and I know that the war is not won yet.

About Father Christmas


(Credit: FionnKidney on Flickr)

I sat on the hill and watched the house of Mr and Mrs Clem as the world drained of colour. Comfortable in my large down jacket, I waited as the temperature dropped and Mrs Clem read a goodnight story to the children in their upstairs bedroom. I had overheard Mr and Mrs Clem tell their twins about Father Christmas in the playground that day, and I imagined them asking all sorts of questions about him every time Mrs Clem stopped for breath.

When Mr Clem went upstairs to say goodnight, I slipped down the hill, jumped their garden fence and snuck into the backyard, my surprise tucked snugly under one arm. The frosty grass crunched under my boots, but there was no snow to steal my footprints.

I took the ladder from their shed, they always leave that shed unlocked, and used it to climb onto the roof. I crawled slowly up the gentle incline. When I reached the chimney, I straddled the roof and pulled the duct tape out of my pocket. I secured my surprise to the chimney. The black boot was excellent at holding it all together. I picked out the fuse and threw it down the roof.

When I was securely back on the ladder, I lit the fuse, then hurried down and then up the hill to watch the fireworks.

The explosion was not as loud as I had imagined it would be, but it was loud enough. Mr and Mrs Clem rushed out the front door as the red glow faded, and just as the twins appeared in the doorway a smoking black boot, half a candy cane and a burning Christmas hat landed in their front yard. I thought I could even smell the cinnamon and cloves, which I had put in the hat, and I smiled.

Now Mr and Mrs Clem would have to tell their children the truth.

70 67%


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That’s the title, really?


How am I supposed to write anything about a percentage? And calling it a bit more than two thirds doesn’t help at all so don’t even go there.

I need something with essence.

Something with soul.

Something with poetic potential.

Like a sunset over a mountaintop.

Or a radiator.


Remember: Radiators and Is There Anybody Out There?

Getting Rid of Things


(Credit: reslife.winonastateu)

I can’t get the red stains out of the floor.

They must be from her red wine, but people will likely think someone was murdered here, and how am I going to sell the flat then?

Then there is the carpet. That old mop of black and grey stripes will send almost anyone running and the rest will be out the door, when they see the cat hair sofa.

No, it is not actually made of cat’s hair; there is cloth under there somewhere. I think.

I should never have told the estate agent that I would sell the place furnished, but I just want to get rid of it all at once.

The flat,

The furniture,

The cats,

The oven, which smells burnt from my first cookies,

The memory of the long dark evenings huddled around the radiator,

And her rasping voice telling me of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland or her cats’ adventures in the forest,

And the Earl Grey, too sweet from all the sugar cubes, the oversized cup warming my cold hands.

It is too much,

And it has turned bitter in spite of the sugar,

And I just want to pour it all out in the sink.

77 Test


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She raises one eyebrow and studies the man on the other side of the table. Is it a test, she wonders. Maybe a trick question? His jaw covered in its nine o’clock shadow is set in a serious expression and his voice when he asked her had been level, but the question itself had seemed so obvious.

‘Nnnooo…’ she sits back in her chair, ‘I do not think that it is all right to lie.’

He sucks at his teeth.

‘In my opinion,’ she continues, ‘one should always tell the truth. Always.’

‘So what you have told me here today…’ he stares her in the face.

‘It’s all true,’ she stares back, ‘every bit of it.’

He pulls a hand through his hair.

‘You don’t believe me?’ she asks.

‘I believe you should be locked away forever for what you did to your family.’ He sighs and gets up, pushing the metal chair away. ‘But after what I’ve heard, they’ll probably just throw you in a loony bin a couple of years.’

‘It was just a couple of pranks,’ she smiles, then giggles at the red memories.

He shakes his head and slams the door to the interrogation room as he leaves.

79 Starvation


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A skull half covered in sand.

Daffodils bound with a blue ribbon.

Both in front of a beach house.

The waves crash, agitated.

He must have known that daffodils are her favourite flower,

But it did not help him.

The wind picks up, uncovering more bones.

She did not throw him even a single scrap.

And he starved.

69 Annoyance

Angry old man

I am most certainly not just an angry old man, I just need people to stop being such idiots around me. I mean, look at this, all my toast is ruined. How am I going to make a cheese sandwich now?

I don’t care about her age, if she’s old enough to toast bread, then she’s old enough not to burn it.

I could have had more bread, but someone couldn’t read a shopping list. I put three things on that list, and white bread was very first one. Three things. And you came home with all these lichen fruits or whatever they’re called and pomegrenades and no white bread. Not a single slice.

Well I can assure you that I will do all my own shopping in the future.

Hopefully they’ve got those machines now, so I can pay without having to deal with those imbeciles they put behind the counter.

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