short stories & flash fiction

Playing Melody

Sunday Express S Magazine

‘And action!’

Melody (Karen) pulls the pint and pushes it across the bar to Niall (Will), like she’s done a thousand times before.

Apart from that New Year’s Eve, when Karen stepped in after the barmaid at her local twisted her ankle on a packet of pork scratchings, she’s never had a bar job in her life. She posed for a lot of photos that night. People found it hilarious that Melody Mackay off the telly was serving them their drinks. Her friends left early. She walked home alone through the thin southern snow, stone cold sober.

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After Angie came back from the workshop, she wasn’t quite the same. I heard them lay her down in her room, next door to mine, and at first it was so quiet, I figured that she must have been turned off. But after I had sat still for a while, focussing all my energy on my ears, I could hear her humming. No one had been in to check on me, so I carried on with my sewing, half my brain wondering why Angie wasn’t doing anything. 


Do you ever stand, toes at the threshold of that yellow line and imagine some nutcase is going to push you in front of the train? I always do. Every time the warm assault of air whips the hair against my cheek, I cast a furtive glance over my shoulder and judge.

Charcoal suit; not crazy. Blow-dry; not crazy. Skinny, pale, dressed head to toe in leather; maybe crazy.


Black Market


Cambeth is a tall man, cool as a cucumber (his wife says) and with eyes as green (she has not said that for a long time). He cuts a solitary figure amongst the closing stalls of Brixton Market. He runs his fingers over the woollen gloves, but a close observer would notice that he is actually looking sideways at the woman in the doorway; the colour of her skin obscured by tattoos and the dark of the night.