Tag Archives: short story

Zombies on a Ship

Priti was excited as she looked around the departure lounge. She smiled as she saw the excited faces of families and couples, all checking and then double checking their passports and documentation.  Priti looked at her husband, her husband of 24 hours, this time yesterday they were standing in the church exchanging their wedding vows, with their families watching.

Arin hadn’t wanted to go on a cruise for their honeymoon, he wanted to go to The Maldives, in an all -inclusive hotel with the rooms nestling in the ocean’s water. But Priti had convinced him to stray further into the ocean and so they had booked this cruise, sailing from Southampton to the Mediterranean.

They boarded the ship and Arin had to admit he was impressed with the elegance of the atrium and before heading down to their stateroom, they decided to buy a cocktail. After a quick look at the drink’s menu, Priti decided on a Zombie: white and dark rum with lime juice, pineapple juice and a splash of grenadine, garnished with cherries and mint. Arin chose a Pina Colada, also with rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice.

“Wow, this is the life,” said Priti as she sipped her cocktail, “I can feel the stress of the wedding leaving me with every sip of my cocktail.”  Arin agreed, his cocktail was hitting the spot and he unbuttoned his jacket.

“What’s going on over there?” Priti asked Arin, “It looks like that lady has had too much to drink already.”  They looked over at the woman, who was doubled over and being sick, a waiter was helping her, leading her towards the ladies restroom and a cleaner appeared from nowhere and proceeded to clean up the vomit on the floor.

“Some people just can’t handle their drink,” mused Priti and as the smell of the vomit was quite strong, they decided to go down to their stateroom and get unpacked.

Their stateroom was on deck 10 and had a balcony, Priti walked out to see the view, not much to look at, just the docks, but it was full of activity, people seemed to be rushing around, she couldn’t make out what was happening as they were up quite high, but she did see that the walkways had been taken up, so she assumed they would be sailing soon.

“Shall we get ready for dinner? We’ve a reservation for six o’clock, and it’s already five,” she said to Arin, “Yeah, good idea,” he agreed.

An hour later, they were walking towards the restaurant, Priti had her new dress on, she was hungry and she was looking forward to her meal.  “I think I’ll have a steak tonight,” she thought and asked Arin what he was going to have? “A steak I think,” he said and Priti laughed, they were very well matched.

When they arrived at the restaurant, it was deserted, just a couple of waiters were hovering, waiting for the guests to arrive. “Table for two,” requested Arin and they were led to a table. “Where is everybody, I thought it would be busier than this,” Arin asked the waiter, whose badge said his name was Enrique, “There seems to be a bug going round the ship, a lot of passengers and crew have been feeling sick,” Enrique replied as he handed them the menus.

They were both pleased to see that steak was on the menu and so that’s what they ordered with a bottle of Malbec red wine to go with it. The wine was poured by Enrique and as they drank it while waiting for their steak, they noticed their waiter was doubled up in pain, he was groaning and clutching his stomach. Priti went over to him, his face was contorted and he was foaming at the mouth.  “I think you’d better go to your cabin,” she said concerned for him, “You must have caught what everybody else has got.” He made a noise, a sort of groan and walked towards the exit of the restaurant.

Priti looked around, there was nobody else to serve them, so she went to the kitchen to see if their steak was in there ready for collection. As she walked through the swing door to the kitchen, there were a couple of chefs leaning over somebody who had seemingly fainted. “I think this bug is worse than people are saying to us,” she thought and went over to see if she could help in any way.

When she approached the chefs, they turned to look at her, Priti couldn’t believe what she was seeing, they weren’t helping the person laying on the ground, THEY WERE EATING HER!

She screamed, they were covered in blood and the poor woman was motionless on the ground, her intestines strewn around her and her heart was on show, pumping blood onto the floor. Priti was paralysed, they were moving closer to her, making blood chilling noises from their throats, gurgling and reaching out to grab Priti.

She stepped back and ran back towards the swing doors, but Enrique was there in the way, she knew that he wasn’t there to serve the steak to her, he was moaning and lurched at her, she jumped out of the way and managed to go through the swing door without him reaching her. She ran over to Arin, he was still sat at the table drinking his wine, “Hadn’t he heard what was going on in the kitchen?” she asked herself, “Arin,” she shrieked, “We have to leave, I’m not sure what’s going on, but people are eating other people in there!” She was sure that would cause some sort of reaction, but no, nothing.

She walked up to him and he turned round startled, he had put his earplugs in and was listening to music, oblivious to anything happening around him. Priti heard the sound of the swing doors and saw the two chefs and the waiter entering the restaurant, their hands were outstretched, and they were heading directly towards them. She pulled out Arin’s earplugs, “Ow,” he complained, “That hurt, what did you do that for?”

Priti gestured behind her and Arin looked behind her, he saw the chefs and Enrique approaching them, only the day before he had promised to look after her till death do us part and looking at these…. zombies approaching, he hoped that wasn’t sooner rather than later.

Arin took her hand and they ran towards the exit. The atrium which only hours earlier was an excited hub of expectation of a wonderful holiday, was now filled with screams of pain, horrible groaning and glass smashing. A barman was smashing bottles of drinks over a zombie’s head, which had no effect until the barman seized a shard of glass and stabbed it in the zombie’s skull.

Arin wished that he had watched The Walking Dead, he could have picked up some tips on how to survive an apocalypse. As they ran along the atrium, a zombie guest dressed in an Hawaiian shirt made a grab for his legs, he was a portly man who was now hungry for his human buffet, but Priti was determined Arin wasn’t gonna be his first course. She aimed a kick at his stomach, which floored him and whilst he was writhing on the floor, she grabbed a steak knife that was on the floor and plunged it into his skull. Arin looked in amazement at his new wife, he didn’t know she was capable of these types of moves. Priti looked at him and winked, “I’ve seen The Walking Dead,” she told him.

Their cabin was three floors below the restaurant, they both knew their best chance of survival was to get there as quickly as possible. They reached the lifts and pressed the button, most of the lifts were on floor 14, but one was making its way down. They stood outside and willed the lift to go quicker, a few zombies had seen them standing there and were making their way towards them, the lift number hung tantalizingly at the floor above them.

Arin looked around for a weapon, Priti had removed the steak knife from Hawaiian zombie’s head and was brandishing it like an apocalypse warrior, all he could find was an abandoned walking stick with a duck head sculpted at the top. He joined Priti alongside her, waiting in anticipation for the advancing zombies.  

The ding of the lift sounded like a chime from heaven, the lift door opened and out shot a couple of zombie cleaners, this took Arin by surprise and he was attacked from behind. He managed to flip the zombie over his shoulder and strike him several times with the walking stick, in the meantime, Priti was in the lift and fervently pressing the lift button for their floor after having quickly disposed of the second zombie cleaner.

Arin stepped into the lift and the doors shut with a satisfying clunk. The silence was deafening and they both looked at each other in disbelief, what exactly had just happened? They assumed their positions as the lift doors opened and were pleasantly surprised when they weren’t met by any zombies.

They turned into the narrow corridor which led to their cabin, to be confronted by a zombie housekeeper, she wasn’t very tall but she was snapping and snarling at them.  “I’ll deal with this,” Arin told Priti, “Stay back,” and he rushed at the zombie, picked her up and dumped her in the housekeeping trolley along with the towels and dressing gowns. Her arms and legs flailed as she tried to get out, but to no avail. As they rushed past, Priti took a handful of toiletries, you never know when they’re gonna come in handy.

They entered their cabin and quickly shut the door, “What on earth is going on?” Priti said, not really expecting an answer from Arin, “What are we gonna do? We’re trapped on this cruise ship.” She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, her dress was torn and it was covered in blood, she looked at Arin, his shirt was covered in blood and his jacket was ripped at the seams, he had never looked sexier!

She changed into her leisure suit and Arin put on some jeans and a t-shirt, this was much better zombie fighting gear. Priti opened the sliding doors onto the balcony and stepped out, she took a look over and could see passengers running along the deck screaming, being chased by zombie crew members and passengers, it was like a scene out of The Living Dead. The ship was still sailing though, heading out towards the ocean, breaking through the waves without a care in the world.

Then they heard the communication system fire up, it was a little crackly, but a voice resounded through their cabin, “This is your Captain speaking, as you are probably aware we are experiencing a few problems on board today, so we have made the decision to abandon ship. We are going to load up the lifeboats on deck 7 in 20 minutes, so those who are living can you please try and make your way to them. Godspeed and be safe.”

So, they had to make it down to deck 7 in 20 minutes, could they manage that? Well, it was their only chance, they had no choice, they had to do it.

“I think we should go down the stairs,” suggested Arin, “We can’t afford the time to wait for the lifts, they might not even be working now.” Priti agreed, it was only three decks to the lifeboats, surely they could do this. A quick drink from the mini bar, well, they don’t have to pay for it now and they were ready for the fight of their lives.

Arin opened the cabin door and peered outside, he could see that the housekeeping zombie was still in the trolley with her legs flailing up in the air, but apart from her, all was quiet. He turned round and quietly signalled to Priti that all was clear. She nodded and they both left the sanctity of their cabin.

The corridors were long and narrow, not ideal if you meet a crowd of zombies stumbling in the opposite direction, so they made their way quickly to the opening where the lifts and stairs were and immediately heard a commotion on the floor below. Priti stooped down and tried to see what was going on, there were zombies, of course, but she could also make out another couple who were fighting the zombies and were fighting a losing battle.

“We have to help them,” she said to Arin, “They need our help.” Arin wasn’t too keen, why should they risk their lives to help people they don’t even know? Priti could see him hesitating, “If we were in that position, we would be very grateful is someone helped us out.” Arin had to agree, so on the count of three, they raced down the stairs and started attacking the zombies.

They were outnumbered two to one, but between them they eventually put down all the zombies, it looked like a bloodbath, all the zombies were strewn over each other. The woman looked at Priti, “Thanks so much for that, I’m Kate and this is Paul.” They greeted each other and decided to go to the lifeboats as a group and proceeded to descend the staircase, quietly and stealthily.

The next floor down looked quiet, they couldn’t see any zombies, but then they heard the ping of the lift, the lift doors opened and a lift full of zombies stumbled out. The survivors carried on down the staircase, zombies can’t do stairs, right? The zombies all turned towards them and as they reached the stairs, they started to fall down them, falling all around, one of them landing on Paul. Kate screamed, “Get them off him, quickly,” and Arin sprang over and dragged the zombie of of him, finishing the zombie off with a blow to the head.

“Thanks dude,” said Paul, “No problem,” replied Arin, “Let’s get going, we’ve only got one more floor to go.”

They arrived at deck 7 and looked for the door to go out onto the deck. “There it is,” Kate shouted, but between them and this door was what seemed like hundreds of zombies. “How on earth are we gonna get past them?” asked Priti, looking around for an alternative route. They all stood there, contemplating their next course of action when Arin suddenly had an idea…

“We could distract them somehow, make them move towards the other side of the ship, so we could then get to the doors,” he suggested, “How about getting some bottles of alcohol from the bar, put a rag in it, then set it alight and throw it over there,” said Priti. “Yes, that’s a great idea, come on, we can get to the bar over there,” Kate replied.

They made their way behind the bar and began plugging the bottles with serviettes. “Where can we get matches from?” whispered Paul, “There’s an office there, have a look in the drawers,” Arin said, “I’ll keep a watch out for you.”

They watched as Paul made his way to the office, one zombie had strayed over in that direction, but Paul took care of him and proceeded to search the drawers.  He stood up smiling with a box of matches in his hand, the others heaved a big sigh of relief and beckoned him to come back to them as quickly as possible.

They lit up some of the serviettes and starting throwing the bottles over in the opposite direction of the lifeboats, the explosions they made was enough to wake the dead, only they were dead! The zombies immediately stopping milling around and started shuffling towards the explosions.

“Come on, now’s our chance,” Arin shouted and they ran out towards the deck and towards the salvation of the lifeboats.

They saw the Captain and some of the crew, who were standing next to the lifeboat and fending off zombies, the group helped despatch the zombies, but by now, the ones they had distracted were walking through the door which they had left open to the deck, “Come on, it’s time to go,” the Captain told them, and they all agreed it was time.

They jumped into the lifeboat and a member of the crew pressed the button for the lifeboat to automatically lower. They all sank into the seats, not quite knowing how they had survived, “I’m sorry to have to do this,” the Captain said, “But I need to check you all for bites.”

Paul was reluctant to comply, which immediately made the Captain suspicious. “Come on, I need to see,” he insisted, but Paul just sat in the lifeboat staring into space. “Paul, have you been bitten?” asked Kate, “Please tell me the truth.” “No, no, I haven’t,” he replied, “But I know that you have been.”

Kate took a sharp intake of breath and looked around at the others, it was true, she had been bitten whilst she was fighting a zombie. She pulled up her shirt, there were teeth marks on her stomach and the wound was pulsating. “I’m sorry,” she apologised, “But I love Paul and I wanted to be with him.”

“You need to get off the lifeboat,” the Captain told her and signalled for the crew member to stop the lifeboat lowering, “Yes, I understand,” she replied, “Goodbye Paul, I will love you forever.” “Yeah, whatever,” Paul said without any emotion and Kate alighted from the lifeboat which was next to deck five by now. She was immediately engulfed by zombies, but she didn’t utter a sound.

“I’m so sorry, Paul,” Priti said, “How long had you been married?”  “Married?” questioned Paul, “We’re not married, I’d only just met her a couple of hours ago at the bar, I hardly knew her.”

Priti, Arin, Paul and the Captain and his crew members were the only survivors of the ship and as the lifeboat floated on the sea, the ship carried on towards the open ocean, probably only stopping either if it runs out of fuel or runs aground.

“Right, where are we going?” asked the Captain, “Straight on or are we turning back?” “Straight on,” they all said as one, “Maybe this virus is only here, maybe the rest of the world is okay?” said Priti hopefully.

And maybe it’s not…

The Winter Statue

I entered this story for a short story competition, unfortunately I wasn't chosen to go into the next round. I wasn't expecting to progress any further in this competition, but I was interested in the feedback the judges would give me. I was pleased with the feedback I received, it was very encouraging and some of the points they made regarding creating a back story for Billy, made complete sense to me. 

When you look at Billy sat on the bus, earplugs in, listening to his music, he looks like any other person on the bus, wearily making his way to and from work, life set out in a monotonous routine, gazing blankly out of the window watching the London landmarks race by. His eyes are his best feature, they are green, deep, deep green and are hypnotic, when you look deep into his eyes, you are willing to do almost anything.

But, if you looked at him extra carefully you’d notice that these eyes are darting back and forth, every time somebody gets on the bus, he quickly assesses them, steals a look in their plastic bag full of groceries from the supermarket and suddenly, in a flash of lightning, the bar of chocolate from that person’s bag is suddenly in Billy’s pocket. Nobody has noticed a thing.

The next person alights the bus, Billy takes a liking to their sweet dessert, in a flash, Billy is reading the instructions on how to cook it.  He smiles to himself, humans can be so stupid sometimes, they are so absorbed in what’s going on in their own pitiful lives, they don’t notice what’s going on right under their own very noses.

Now, if you were a passenger on the bus and you were wondering where your lovely cake was that you were sure you paid for just ten minutes ago and were looking forward to eating with a cup of tea later on tonight, then you should look very closely at Billy’s activities. You may think you’ve just seen a black mist, swooshing around the bus, you may think that it’s nothing important, but it is, it’s Billy, he’s perfected his spell and he can move faster than the speed of light.

You may have already guessed, but Billy is not a human, he looks like a human, dresses like a human and acts like a human, but he is in fact a warlock. His real name is Vlyvius, but that would raise suspicion, so he decided on Billy. He had seen the name Billy on a poster, Billy Smart’s Circus, and he thought that this Billy had sounded very clever, so Billy it was.

Billy spends his day as humans do, he has a job, he goes to the gym, he travels on public transport and he loves going to the cinema, especially when there’s a new fantasy film released, he likes to laugh at how the humans perceive his world. His favourite food is lasagne together with a nice red wine. Contrary to popular belief, he doesn’t eat rats tails or drink the blood of small sacrificial animals, maybe they did in the past, but they definitely don’t do it now.

He leaves the bus, with a few more items than when he first got on and heads towards his home. A very average house, but with an added bonus for Billy: it has a cellar.

Once home, he changes into something more comfortable, a robe, trousers, black shirt and black leather boots, “Ah, much better,” he says as he makes his way down to the cellar.

There are test tubes bubbling on the benches, a cauldron filled with oily black liquid and his prized possession is in the corner, patiently waiting for its master to beckon it, his broomstick.

Billy looks around the cellar, as well as his materials for conjuring spells, there is an assortment of bits and bobs laying around, he looks at his latest acquisitions, three garden statues that he has stolen, they come from a set: Summer, Autumn, Spring and Winter. Summer is a young girl with a basket, carrying apples and fruit. Autumn is another girl with a collection of acorns and leaves in her basket and Spring is a young boy with a sheaf of wheat in his hand. He just needs Winter to complete his collection, for what? Well, that doesn’t matter, Billy just enjoys the thrill of stealing.

Laying scattered around the cellar are reminders of past crimes, things he has stolen, which apart from the memory of how he felt when he stole the item, they mean nothing to him.

He looks at his Book of Contemporary Spells and asks it, “Where is the final statue that I need to find? The one that is Winter, show me a sign?”

A mist rises above the Book, it surrounds the three statues and Billy strains his eyes to see what is happening. The mist forms the figure of the fourth statue, it is a small boy with his coat collar pulled up to keep him warm and he has some firewood in his arms. The mist then forms the words, “The Berkley Mansion,” and then disappears.

Billy goes to his computer, (not everything is done by a spell nowadays, sometimes the internet works just as well) and he discovers that Berkley Mansion is a few hundred miles away in Scotland. Billy takes out his pocket watch, “Hmm, midnight, I should be able to make it there and back before dawn,” he thought. He looks at his broomstick, which gives a little shudder, it is ready to go whenever he says the word. So, he says the word, well four words actually, “Let’s go to Scotland,” and Billy expertly jumps on and they fly out of the bottom window of the house.

Up in the air, Billy looks down as he sees the landmarks rush by, The London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace all flash by and soon they are heading out of the city towards Scotland…

Pica is upset, she doesn’t know why, she just has a feeling that something wasn’t right, as if something was going to happen that she was powerless to stop, which was pretty surprising as she actually did possess some powers.

Her mother taught her all she knew, but Pica struggled to learn all the different spells, it was like a completely new language to her. Sometimes Pica wished that she didn’t come from a family of witches, it was a lot harder than people thought to control the spells, many times she had inadvertently cast a spell in the middle of a supermarket, when the frozen chips had flown into her shopping trolley by themselves, but so far no-one had noticed this happening.

But tonight didn’t feel like a usual night, she looked up at the sky, she couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Perhaps it was something she had ate and that had made her stomach feel jumpy.

It was late, but she walked into the garden, hoping that some fresh air would sort her out, she went to her favourite statue in the garden, The Winter Boy. She would spend hours sitting next to it, trying to imagine what his life was like, what his name was and if he had any friends. Pica would talk to him, telling him her problems, her successes, her failures. She had even tried a few spells to see if she could bring him to life, but none had worked.

It was getting cold and Pica stood up, ready to go inside her home, when suddenly a noise caught her attention. It was a gentle thud of someone landing on the lawn. She turned around and saw a male, he had a broomstick in his hand, she realised that he was a warlock and he was stunningly handsome.

“Hello, can I help you?” she asked him, half expecting him to mount his broomstick and fly off, “What are you doing in my back garden?”

Billy looked at Pica, he certainly hadn’t been expecting to see anybody in the garden this late, how on earth was he going to explain himself and he could see the statue right behind her.

“I’m sorry, I seem to have landed in the wrong spot,” he lied, “Is this Brownheath Farm?” “No,” replied Pica, “This is Berkley Manor, and you’re trespassing.”

Billy sighed, this wasn’t going to be easy, but she seemed like a nice enough girl, so he decided to turn on the charm. “What’s a lovely young girl like you doing out on a cold dark night like this?”

“I’m just talking to my statue,” she replied, “I know that sounds stupid, but I do feel like he listens to me.” Billy had to agree that it did sound stupid, but he didn’t say that out loud, but instead replied, “No, that’s not silly at all, I totally understand, I talk to my cat all the time.” “But I’m sure your cat understands you,” she said to which Billy had to agree that his cat, Hex, probably did.

“Anyway, what’s your name? I’m Pica and I live here with my parents, I’m pretty sure you’re a warlock, aren’t you? Which is fine, because I’m a witch, but not a very good one.” Billy nodded, “Yep, you’re right, I am a warlock and my name is Vlyvius, but you can call me Billy. What do you mean, you’re not a very good witch?”

“My spells have a lot to be desired, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t and sometimes they just have a mind of their own,” she admitted. “I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it, it took me a few hundred years to get mine right,” Billy sympathised with her. “Here, let me show you a simple spell,” and he waved his arm up and down, chanting, “I need some food to eat tonight, some juicy pears that I can bite.” And immediately some succulent pears appeared on the floor in front of him.

Pica was impressed, the most she had conjured up when she felt hungry was a few grapes. “Show me something else,” she urged him, “Make this statue come to life.”

Billy hesitated, this was the statue that he was going to steal, he wanted it to finish his collection, but her face was full of anticipation, so he gave in. “Statue of this little boy, come alive, don’t be coy.” The mist rose up and surrounded the statue, weaving in and out of its body, then suddenly the boy shouted, “Hey! What do you think you’re doing?”

Pica and Billy jumped, they didn’t expect the boy to have such a loud voice.  “We’ve brought you to life,” Billy explained, “It’s a spell.”

The boy looked at Billy with a hard stare, “I was quite happy standing in the garden with this lovely lady for company, how dare you ruin that?” Billy stepped back a bit, this statue had a bit of an attitude. “Well, if you don’t want to be alive, then I’ll just change you back.”

Pica stepped forward and said, “Hi, how amazing is this, that after all this time you can talk to me and I can answer you.” She smiled at him, but he didn’t smile back, “I want to be a statue, I was happy the way it was, you talking to me and me not having to answer you.”

Billy thought that enough was enough, “Statue of this boy so fowl, back as a statue, I beg you, now!” And just like that, he was a statue again.

“Oh, what a rude little boy,” Pica said bitterly, “I don’t think I will ever speak to him again.  I wish he would go away.”

Never one to miss a chance, Billy quickly said, “If you’re really sure about that, I could take him home with me, I have three other statues that make up the set.”

“Of course you can, I don’t think I want to see this statue ever again.”

So Billy waved his arms and said, “Statue come and join me in my home, it’s in London, not in Rome.” Billy immediately apologised to Pica for his rubbish spell, but it was the best he could think of. And with that, the statue disappeared and Billy mounted his broomstick.

“Goodbye Pica, it’s been great to meet you,” and he flew off into the distance.

When Billy landed back in his cellar, he saw that the statue was lined up with the other three, Billy felt a sense of achievement, he didn’t know why, he had no use for them, he didn’t particularly like them, but it had been a challenge to steal them, except for the last one, that one was the easiest one.

Billy went upstairs to get ready for bed, he had a long day at work tomorrow, he undressed and put his hand in his pocket to fetch his pocket watch. “Where on earth is that?” he thought, “I know it was in there when I left the house tonight.”

Pica watched Billy fly away until she could no longer see him, she felt a feeling of emptiness, she opened her pocket and took out Billy’s pocket watch which glinted in the moonlight.

She went upstairs into her bedroom and put it with all the other items she had stolen through the years, well she wasn’t called Pica, from the family of Magpies, for nothing!

Autumn Leaves written by Natasha


My first guest blogger is Natasha, whose blog, Neutral Words, is well worth a visit.  I reached out to her as I knew she wrote short stories, something that I love to do and she very kindly sent me her short story, Autumn Leaves. So sit back with a cuppa and enjoy….

Autumn Leaves

The temperature was dropping, a fragrant smell of damp gravel, leaves, and musk was strong in her nose. Halloween had passed and in a blink of an eye, it was already coming to the end of November. Where has this year gone? She was sad that her favourite season would be over in just a few short months, the excitement of festivities washed away to a memory. She had just finished a very long and tiring shift at the tiny café just placed by the top of the hill which overlooked a scenic park, adorned with wobbly wavy trees, piled with dead and vibrant red, orange and yellow leaves below. The wind would continuously blow the leaves around, painting a new scene every day. No matter how many times a gardener would try to straighten them up they would always rebel by dancing away later, feeling free across the gravel pathway.

Forgetting her gloves and scarf, she only had a coat to wrap around her torso, locking in as much heat as possible. Sadly, it wasn’t proving to do much as her teeth chattered away like a wind-up toy bouncing across the table with great force. Although she was fighting through the icy chill to return home for a much needed bath, a smile remained on her rosy face. She loved to spot the different coloured leaves, trying to find some hard crunchy ones to jump on. The street lights came on as the sun set further in the sky, it truly was a typical and beautiful autumn evening.

She sniffed as the air laced around her nose and ears, nipping as hard it could to get her sneeze or shiver. Already looking like Rudolph the red nose reindeer, she was now desperate to get in that bath. It was quiet, the only noise she could hear was her feet scuffing through the 2-inch piles of leaves, the naked branches whipping around and … a dog whimpering. Slowing herself down to a stop, she focused herself to try and discover where the source of the whimpering came from. It wasn’t far away, but it wasn’t very close either.  It was difficult to see as the sky grew close to black, the only light source was the streets lamps illuminating the path.

Looking out beyond the trees, she saw a pile of leaves in a peculiar shape. Smothered slightly under it, appeared to be a cardboard box. With her heart thumping slightly due to her speed walking and the air nipping at her, her instincts were telling her to go further on and look in the box. Taking cautious steps into the dark area of the park, her eyes darted around to watch out for any sign of people watching her. Now a foot away from the box, she stopped again to listen for any noise. There it was again! A whimper and baby bark came from the leaf covered box. Now with adrenaline pumping, she let out a breathy gasp and threw herself onto her knees, hands scooping up the leaves and throwing them in any direction. She uncovered the box as fast as possible, a motherly feeling welling up inside her. Her eyes grew one size as a smaller pair looked up at her, sad and watery. It was damp, muddy and cold. Its fur was mucky yellow colour, long and unkept. A small golden retriever puppy. It wasn’t until she saw the drop land on the small dogs head that she released she was crying. Taking a deep breath, she gently held out the back of her knuckles for the tiny creature to smell and gain some trust towards her.

“What monster could leave you here?” Her voice shook, the cold and her emotions overwhelming her. It was supposed to be just like any other day. Go to work, serve some old ladies some tea with a slice of cake, walk home and go to bed. Not today apparently! Today she would find an abandoned dog in the park! It let out another whimper, shivering and padding its feet against the soggy cardboard. Gently scooping it up, she sat back on her bottom, not caring that the leaves were going to soak through her clothing. Now discovering that the puppy was a boy, she continued to look him over to make sure he didn’t have any injuries or another other sign of neglect. She unbuttoned her coat, tucking the bundle of matted fluff in her jumper, trying her best to provide him some warm. She stood carefully, buttoned up her coat once more and headed towards the lit path. Now seeing him in the light, she let another tear fall. All of her childhood, she had wished to have a puppy. Fate finally decided to grant her an early Christmas gift. She felt a small licking under her chin, setting her off into quiet giggles. The puppy was happy in her jumper, a noticeable bond beginning.

“It’s almost Christmas and looks like you’re my present this year… I’m gonna called you Nicky, after good old Saint Nick.” She muttered, avoiding any eye contact with others as they passed her through the park. Gently stroking the top of his head, she grinned again. An unexpected turn of events gave her a happiness that she didn’t think was possible to experience. She reached into her coat pocket and pulled out her mobile. Finding the number she needed, she pressed call and held it to her ear…..

“Hello, Mary?…, Hi It’s Lucy!… no no, I didn’t leave anything at the shop. I’m just calling to say that I’m not going to be able to make it to work tomorrow morning, there’s a family emergency that I need to attend too… No, I’m fine! Thank you!” She hung up, taking a satisfied breath. She reached the end of the park, now breaching the loud high streets of London. Gently hushing him as he whimpered slightly, she crossed the road and reached her block of flats. She was thankful once she stepped into her hallway, the flash feeling of warmth hugging her skin like a welcoming from a loved one. With ease she took off her coat and pulled her jumper off, cradling Nicky in her arms. She made it her task to get him cleaned up and bathed before taking him to the vet in the morning. He sat quietly and still on the counter as she slowly and nervously snipped away the clumps of matted hair away with some scissors she had in a sewing kit that her mother got her a Christmas ago. She did her best to make him presentable, giggling a little at how smily he was. She forgot all about running a bath for herself, her priority being him. He loved the warm bath, the splashing and the shampoo she used to clean him.  He looked like a normal puppy now and she couldn’t wait to get him to the vet to get him checked up.

From what was a normal simple day turned into one of great surprise. Nicky was a surprise and a memory that would last for a long time.

Life is a Lottery – Part Seven

person using green typewriter

It was easier than Sam expected to get Debbie’s interest on the online dating site, Love Mate, he had put on an image of a sports car as his profile picture and had invented a whole new life story for himself, even calling himself Samir. He had always fancied himself as an investment banker, he liked to keep an eye on the stocks and shares but had never had the courage or money for that matter, to participate himself.

His conversations with Debbie were mainly around the morning, when he had gotten into work and late afternoon when he was about to leave work. Their conversations had been generalised, but she seemed happy enough to chat with him.

One day, out of the blue, she asked him for some investment advice, this was what Sam had been waiting for, he had dropped enough hints about stocks and shares to her and now she had finally taken the bait and was asking his advice. So, Sam started with small amounts, some of his tips worked and she made money and sometimes she lost money, but she didn’t seem to particularly mind either way.

All the while, Sam did feel hurt that she felt the need to be on this dating site, he wondered if he was the only one messaging her? At home, things seemed to be the same as usual, though Sam had to bite his tongue a few times when the subject of paying bills came up.

Over the next few weeks, Sam started to turn on the pressure, encouraging Debbie to invests more and more money until one day he decided to go for the big one and he messaged her:

“I have a hot tip, but it does require quite a bit of money to make it worth your while.”

He gasped when she replied to him:

“Just let me know how much and I’ll put the money up for you.”

Sam held his breath as he wrote:


And he couldn’t believe his eyes, when moments later she had transferred the money into his personal bank account.

He quickly closed his online dating account, feeling a twang of guilt, but she had deserved this, she hadn’t told him about the win, they could have enjoyed the money together, gone on holiday, paid their mortgage, live a happy and wealthy life, but for some reason she hadn’t found it necessary to inform him.

The next morning he got out of bed, grabbed his computer and said, “I’m off,” to Debbie, “Okay, darling,” she had said, “See you tonight,” to which Sam informed her, “No, I’m off, I’m leaving you,” and he walked out of the door.

It was the hardest thing he had ever had to do, but he couldn’t trust her anymore and besides, Sandra was waiting for him at the end of the road, keen to start their new life together…





Life is a Lottery – Part Six

person using green typewriter

Sam looked at the balance of Debbie’s account is astonishment, how on earth did she get that much money? Did a relative die that he didn’t know about? He scrolled back through her transactions, she certainly had had a great time spending this money, she had spent money at shops that normally they wouldn’t even venture in, knowing they could never afford their prices.

Sam scrolled down a bit further and saw a transaction that made his gasp, “One million pounds transferred from Camelot,” he said, “She won the lottery and failed to mention this to me!” He was transfixed by the screen, trying to come to terms with what he was seeing and not quite believing it.

He scrolled down the history on the computer, she had browsed lots of different cruises, “Well, she hasn’t gone on one of them, I’m sure I would have missed her if she had,” he thought bitterly, she had Googled cars, played online bingo. “Hey, what’s this?” he exclaimed, “She’s signed up for a dating agency, Love Mate.” He leant back in the chair, “Why would she do that?” he couldn’t think why, he thought they were okay, but obviously she didn’t.

Sam closed the laptop, he was in shock, he didn’t know which was worse, the fact that she had hidden the fact that she had won the lottery or that she had signed up for a dating agency.  He closed the laptop and minutes later, he heard a key turn in the lock and Debbie entered the kitchen, smiling and asking what he wanted for tea.

The next day Sam was in his office, he had tried to act as normal last night and hopefully Debbie was non the wiser.  He logged onto his work computer and Googled the Love Mate dating site and when he found it, he joined. Sam started going through the members until he came across Debbie’s profile, at first he didn’t recognise her, her picture was obviously a photoshoot, he began to feel that he didn’t know her at all.

When Sam had joined the site, he had used a false name as he didn’t want anyone to know he was on this site, but as he scrolled through Debbie’s profile, he began to hatch a plan…







Life is a Lottery – Part Five

person using green typewriter

After what seemed like forever, Sam and Sandra had completed their stocktake, he was eager not to spend any more time than necessary at work on a Sunday, so he was pleased with the progress they had made.

Sam said goodbye to Sandra and drove home, hoping that Debbie had made one of her roast dinners that he enjoyed so much.

Yes, he was in luck, as he opened the front door, there was the unmistakable smell of a roast dinner wafting from the kitchen. After a quick shower, he sat at the dining table with Debbie as she asked him about his day. “Good day at the office?” she had enquired, “Yeah, we got a lot done today, I’m pleased with how much we accomplished,” he said as he put a roast potato in his mouth, there was no need to tell Debbie about Sandra crying in his office and him having to comfort her. Debbie had questioned “We,” and he told her that Sandra was there.

They had sex that night, Sam wanted the feeling of togetherness with Debbie, after Sandra’s revelation that her and Pete were splitting up, he wanted the assurance that they were still close.

The next few days were fairly uneventful, they went on with their daily routines, but Sam did notice that Debbie seemed to be wearing different clothes from her usual ones, they seemed better quality with a better cut and once when they were out, one of their friends had commented on her shoes, asking how Debbie could afford the Gucci shoes she was wearing to which Debbie had replied that they were her charity shop bargain.

One day, Sam got home early from work, he wondered where Debbie was, but then remembered that she had told him she had a hairdressers appointment, “Again,” he thought, “She’s always either at the hairdressers or the salon recently, she must be getting a steady stream of work lately to pay for all this.”

He wondered into the kitchen to make himself a cup of tea and whilst waiting for the kettle to boil he noticed Debbie’s laptop on the kitchen table, it was still on, so he reached over to grab it and switch it off.

As he did so, the screen burst into life and a bank account appeared, it was Debbie’s personal account and as he peered to look at her balance, what he saw was about to change his life forever…










Life is a Lottery – Part Four

person using green typewriter

Sam let out a groan when the alarm on his iPhone went off, surely it couldn’t be half six already, it only seemed like a matter of minutes since he had gotten into bed.

He grabbed his iPhone off the bedside table, he didn’t want to wake up Debbie, she was sound asleep next to him, so he quickly stopped the alarm. He grabbed his jeans and a t-shirt and dressed in the bathroom, after having a quick shave and wash.

On his way downstairs, he glanced at Debbie, she was still asleep in the bedroom and he crept out of the front door. Mission accomplished, he didn’t want to wake her as she had been out with friends and had got in late last night. 

Sam drove his car to his workplace, he was a General Manager at a printing warehouse, they were always busy and once a month he had to stocktake and unfortunately Sunday was the only day he had the time to do this. Debbie never made a fuss when he had to go into work, she understood that he had to do this and she accepted it. Their relationship of 26 years was still going strong, they were comfortable with each other and Sam felt that she was his best friend.

As soon as he arrived at the printing warehouse, Sam had the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. His assistant manager, Sandra, was already there, she had volunteered to do some overtime with him, he had heard rumours around the warehouse that she wasn’t happy in her marriage, so he wasn’t surprised to find her crying in his office.

“What on earth is the matter?” he asked her, “What is wrong?” “It’s Pete,” Sandra cried, “I’ve found out that he is cheating on me, with a girl from the local supermarket,” she exclaimed.  

Sam wasn’t very comfortable in this type of situation, he never knew what to do or say for the best, but she looked so vulnerable that natural instincts took over him and he reached out and pulled her into him, wrapping his arms around her waist, her head sunk into his chest as she cried and Sam let her cry for as long as she needed to.

It seemed like a long time until Sandra was ready to release the hold, Sam felt relieved as he felt the hug was going on a bit too long for comfort and he was beginning to feel uneasy about the situation. “Thank you so much,” Sandra said, “I feel a bit better now, perhaps working will take my mind of things, what do you want me to do?”

Sam told her what needed to be done and she left his office with his instructions. Sam returned to sit at his desk, deep in contemplation and thanking his lucky stars that his relationship with Debbie was rock solid…..








Life is a Lottery – Part Three

person using green typewriter

Over the next few days, Debbie had a ball, she went through the pretence of having her breakfast before going upstairs to her office, making Sam think she was still working and as soon as he left for work, she was driving to beauty spas, having massages, getting her nails done, going for fancy lunches and of course, shopping for shoes and clothes. If Sam had looked in the boot of Debbie’s car, he would have seen more high brand clothing items than a reality TV star owns.

She nearly got caught out once, when a girlfriend of hers, asked in front of Sam, “How on earth did you afford those Gucci shoes? They are super expensive.” Debbie managed to mumble that she had found them in a charity shop and they were her bargain of the century, which seemed to satisfy Sam.

But, shopping all day and getting your hair and nails done, turns out, can be quite boring and so Debbie found herself staying indoors and sat at her computer. She started playing online games like bingo and Candy Crush, but that too, became boring and one day, she happened to see an advert for online dating and still feeling hurt and betrayed by Sam’s work affair, she signed up for one.

She found it fun to write her little bio at the top and she had had a photo professionally done, so she used that one as her profile picture. She filled in her likes and dislikes and what she looks for in a man and it wasn’t long before she was getting virtual ‘winks’ from some men and messages from others. She looked through the messages, quickly being able to delete the lewd ones, the weird ones and the nerdy ones, until she had a core of men she was chatting to. There were a couple that Debbie particularly liked, one was called Tim and the other was called Samir, both she felt a certain connectivity with.

All was going smoothly with Tim, until he let it slip that he was married and Debbie couldn’t do that to somebody else, she knew how it felt to be betrayed by someone. So Samir was the one that she turned her attention to. They messaged each other first thing in the morning and again in the late afternoon, which suited Debbie as she didn’t want to be messaging when Sam was around.  Once he had told her he was an investment banker and so one day, she cheekily asked for some advice, which he freely gave her, she invested and made a little bit of money.

This had carried on for a while, sometimes she would make money and sometimes she would lose it, but to Debbie it was all part of the mating ritual, she would love to meet him sometime, but they hadn’t gotten to that point yet.

One day, Samir messaged Debbie stating: “I have a hot tip, but it does require quite a bit of money to make it worth your while.” Debbie was excited, she was loving the risk involved with trading and readily agreed saying, “Just let me know how much and I’ll put the money up for you,” and she gave a little gasp when the reply came back: “£800,000.” “That’s all I have left from the million I won,” she thought, “But I trust Samir, he’s not let me down before,” so she agreed to this and sent the money to Samir.

A few days passed and she heard no word from Samir, no word on how her investment was doing or even a message from Samir, full stop. For the first time Debbie was nervous, what if it was a scam? But Samir could never have known that she had a lot of money, as she had never told him, he was probably just sorting the deal out. So, she waited another few days, still nothing then she was dealt another blow, Sam left her.

It was out of the blue, he got up for work as usual, he got dressed in his suit and tie as normal, picked up his computer bag and said, “I’m off.” “Okay darling,” she had said, “See you tonight.” “No, I’m off, I’m leaving you,” and that was it, he was gone. Debbie was shell-shocked, what had she done? How could he leave her, especially after what he’d done?

Debbie turned her attention to the money, she tried tracking Samir down on the dating site, but he had completely disappeared, no profile, nothing. She looked on Facebook, no account that she could see, Twitter, Instagram, nothing, it was as though he never existed. Her money never appeared in her account and she never heard from Samir again.



Life is a Lottery – Part Two

person using green typewriter

By the time Debbie had driven home, she had formulated a plan in her head.  She logged into her Lottery account and hit the ‘Transfer Funds’ button, this money now went straight into her personal account, Sam would have no idea about this money and after what she had seen, that’s what Debbie wanted.

They had been married for 26 years, they were both 20 at the time and even though some people said it wouldn’t last, her own mother being one of them, they had, in fact, outlasted most of their friends. The only thing they had never managed to do was to have children, it was just never to be, but they did have two nephews and a niece that they could spoil.

Debbie thought they were happy, okay, it wasn’t all passion and spice, but after 26 years, perhaps it wasn’t supposed to be like that anyway. They loved to go out for meals, go to the theatre and the cinema and they made each other laugh, so why would Sam do this to her?

The money wouldn’t clear in her account for another few days, so Debbie decided that she wouldn’t confront Sam until at least then and then she could hear what he had to say. She knew she wouldn’t be able to “splash the cash,” around else he would get suspicious, so she would just have to be clever with how she spent it.

Sam arrived home at about five o’clock.  Debbie had been to the supermarket and picked up some food for tea, she had made a roast chicken dinner, one of his favourites. “Good day at the office?” she enquired, searching his face for any reaction, but he just said, “Yeah, we got a lot done today, I’m pleased with how much we accomplished,” and put a roast potato in his mouth. “We?” Debbie asked, “Who’s we?” knowing full well who he was referring to. “Um, Sandra was there as well, she’s a good worker, really knuckles down to it,” he replied. “I bet she does,” thought Debbie, but just smiled at him in reply.

That night they had sex. Debbie was very surprised at this, she wasn’t expecting it, but despite what she had seen, she was excited about the money and this new found wealth was something of an aphrodisiac for her and perhaps he was still turned on from his day spent with Sandra, “So it’s a win, win, situation really,” Debbie reasoned.

The next day Debbie checked her bank account, yes, the money had cleared, much quicker than she had thought, she just sat in the kitchen, drinking a cup of coffee, staring at the balance.

Debbie worked from home and Sam had already left for work, so she went upstairs to her office and sat down at the computer, waiting for her work to come online. She started Googling cruises, world cruises, Caribbean cruises, cruises around Britain, any cruise really. She Googled houses for sale in her area, hot tubs and how much does it cost to have a swimming pool built in your back garden?

“Don’t be silly, you can’t do any of this,” she said aloud and then went online shopping for clothes. “Now, this is easier to get away with,” she thought, “He doesn’t know what clothes I have or don’t have,” and she spent a very enjoyable half hour ordering clothes from the internet until she heard the ‘Ping’ of work being delivered to her In Box.  She clicked onto it, there was a lot to do, “Do you know what, I don’t have to do this anymore,” she said to no-one in particular, “I’m going to hand my notice in,” and that’s what she did, straight away.

“Wow, that feels good,” she thought, “I’m free to do whatever I want now,” and she did.

Life is a Lottery – Part One

person using green typewriter

Debbie woke up, the sun was cutting through the gaps in the curtain, showing the promise of a beautiful sunny day.  She squinted her eyes as she looked at her alarm clock to see what the time was: half past nine, she hadn’t slept that long in for ages. Debbie rolled over and saw at once that his side of the bed was empty. She wasn’t surprised Sam was working on a Sunday again, he had to stocktake and because he was so busy at work, this was the only time he could do it.

She rolled back over to face her bedside cabinet, grabbed her glasses and automatically reached for her mobile phone. Debbie glanced at the screen, some Whatsapp messages from her groups of friends that she had spent last night with, some Facebook notifications and what was this? An email from the Lottery:

“We have some good news about your ticket.”

Debbie immediately sat up when she read this, “Wow, it’s about time, I’ve been doing it for years and only won the odd £10 here and there,” she thought as she excitedly logged into her account, “I’m pretty sure it will be about the same amount this time as well.”

As she nervously waited for her account to update, she wondered what it would be like to be a millionaire, not having to worry about money every again… Her total funds in her account had definitely updated, it was now £1 million!! Debbie couldn’t believe her eyes, she had won a million pounds, that kind of thing never happened to her, she had never won anything, not even in the local church raffle. She updated the page again, feeling sure it would show her usual, £0.05 credit, but no, it still showed the million, well, one million and five pence to be exact.

Debbie exited the account and called up Sam’s phone number, she should tell him as soon as possible, he’d be so excited, they could give up work. As she pressed to call him, she suddenly thought better of it, “No, I think news like this should be given in person,” and she jumped out of bed, pulled on her jeans and a jumper, pulled a comb through her hair, grabbed her car keys and practically ran out of the house.

Driving to the printing warehouse where Sam worked as a General Manager, Debbie’s mind was full of what the future now held for them. They wouldn’t go mad, perhaps a nice holiday, a bigger house, they could both have nice cars and perhaps leave their jobs, or they could go part time.

Even though the journey usually took about 20 minutes, today the traffic was horrendous and it seemed as though every traffic light on her route was waiting for her to approach it and then turn red at the last second. She couldn’t wait to get there and share the good news.

When Debbie arrived, she went to the back door, it was normally open for the cigarette smokers who, on a normal work day, congregated there to smoke, chat, gossip, flirt or do whatever else smokers do whilst smoking.  But today, apart from the stale stench of tobacco it was deserted and Debbie walked through the door, from the bright sunshine into the comparative darkness of the corridor.

Her eyes took a few seconds to adjust to the darkness and when they did, perhaps it would have been better if they had stayed blinded as what Debbie saw made her whole body freeze and her mouth drop open. She could see into Sam’s office from where she stood and there he was, his arms around Sandra, his assistant manager, embracing her, his hands around her waist, her head in his chest, they were lost in each other. Debbie felt like she was intruding on a very personal moment and wasn’t sure what to do for the best. So, she quietly walked back up the corridor, back out into the sunshine.

Once outside, Debbie took a deep breath, she had come to give Sam the most amazing news, life changing news and what she had seen had now changed her life, forever.