He said on the phone to meet him in the bookshop. Had I known it was one of those trendy coffeehouse places, I might have suggested a quieter location. He’s always late. Always. My curiosity prevents me from getting up and leaving.

A young girl fetches my tea. It’s in one of those ridiculously large mugs with what looks like half a pint of milk in it. I narrow my eyes at her and grumble “I said black.” She visibly wilts and I look back to my book as she scurries away.

I’ve read this book countless times, but it’s the reason I’m here in this wretchedly pleasant place. This work must be completed. I study the tome translating each phrase as diligently as the first time I picked it up. 

A young man brings another cup of tea, this time with no milk. I give him a vague nod as he places it on the table and cheerily apologises.  He wanders off, muttering some sort of insult as I turn my focus to the task at hand.

I’m just grumbling to myself over the quality of the tea as the shop door swings open. In he breezes, bright smile and blonde hair streaming in the sunlight. “Hey!” He calls.

Fishy Mission

Heavy foot steps thumped down the hallway. The vibrations thrummed through the floorboards making Cheddar feel as if he was jumping with every thud. It hadn’t been like this in training. There had always been some sort of cover, something to hide behind. This hallway though, was barren. There were paintings on the wall but nothing useful to blend in with. 

Blend in, don’t be seen. Don’t get caught. The instructions were clear. He couldn’t get caught on his first mission. It’d be back to the alley for him. Oxford, his mentor had told him that he’d been chosen specifically for this job. He couldn’t understand why.

The sound of the foot steps got louder, they’d turn the corner any minute. Cheddar looked around again as if a plant pot or bookcase was going to magically appear. His ears flattened and he looked down at his feet. 

Feet! His feet were the same colour as the floor. Blend in! He studied the floor boards and fixed their shape in his mind. With a quick flip all his fur flattened and he lay flat on his back, trying his best to look like a floor board.

The over sized human rounded the corner and promptly sneezed with a thunderous ATCHOO! He stopped and sniffed, then sneezed three times more. ATCHOO! ATCHOO! ATCHOO!  

Phlegm spattered the hallway, stringy tendrils flew down all around.. Cheddar held his breath and clamped his mouth and eyes shut as some of the gloop stuck to his fur.

“Caaaats!” The man scowled. “Where’s the cats?” He turned on his heel and stomped back the way he came.  In a flash, Cheddar was on his feet. He started his run towards the door at the far end. Timing was everything and he’d already wasted far too much. His feet slipped on the polished floor, as he tried to compensate his back legs seemed to overtake his front and he skidded towards the door in an orange ball of fluff. 

From the other side of the door there was a terrible ruckus. Sounds of pans and tins clattering and china breaking echoed through the house. There were  high pitched squeals that sounded like either angry cat and and a scared woman, or possibly an angry woman and a scared cat. 

The door flew open. A screeching banshee of a woman had Oxford by the scruff of his neck and black fluff was flying everywhere. The orange fur ball flew at her with teeth and claws and a loud “Mraaaow!” The woman wailed and batted him away, dropping Oxford in favour of a frying pan. “WHERE’S THE CATS?”  The man bellowed as he stomped in to the room.

The two cats tumbled in to the corner their eyes fixed on the large rainbow trout on the counter. “Ready ol’ chap?” Oxford tilted his head to the fish and the open window beyond. He sprung up, not giving Cheddar the chance to answer. Cheddar scrambled after him, the pair yowling and hissing to ward off the humans.  This is the plan? Cheddar thought. This is it? He grabbed the tail of the fish while Oxford took the head and they tumbled out of the window. 

The woman tore the back door open and flung the frying pan after the cats. “It’ll be the rat poison next time!” She screeched. 


The little row boat bobbed gently on the lake. Nell shivered and rubbed her mittened hands together. “Well?” She demanded. Neville yelped and gave her a hard shove. She reeled and spluttered in to giggles. Her laughter sounded surreal as it broke the cold eerie silence of the island.  Neville muttered to himself and started rowing again. “I can feel it watching me.” He complained.

They had been born in this house, though Neville had been very young and couldn’t remember living here.  Their new house was a modern marvel of the new age, where as this was just a forgotten haven for rats and ghosts.

When they reached the shore, Nell jumped out, sloshing water everywhere. She darted up the slope that led to the porch of the old derelict mansion. Neville dragged the little boat ashore and trudged after her.  She waited for him at the front door, gleefully bouncing on a rotten floor board and making it squeak and whine. “Stop it!” He hissed. “You’ll wake the dead!” His eyes were wide with fear. They widened further as he watched her raise her hand to lift the rusted door knocker. “Nooo…”


They both shrieked and grabbed on to each other. The whole house shuddered and seemed to shake off a shroud of dust. Nell guffawed in delight. “You should have seen your face!” She howled. “You were scared too!” Neville protested. Nell untangled herself from her brothers vice grip and reached to lift the knocker again.


Before she’d even touched it, the door slowly swung open. It whined painfully as it invited them in, barely hanging on its hinges. Nell boldly stepped forward crossing the threshold and stepping in to the house.

“Don’t go in there!” Neville wailed. He watched his sister as she started to dance around the large entry hall. “You should have seen the parties and dances we had here.” She burst out. She circled the room, dancing with an imaginary partner and tunelessly trying to sing a tune. Neville edged closer to peer further inside, but his feet remained firmly on the outside of the door. “Nell I don’t like this.” He moaned. He leaned in further still but was greeted with a great whoosh of dusty air then BAM! The front door slammed in his face. It showered him in dry splinters and dust.  

He screamed and stumbled back, cupping his battered nose. “NELL!” He hollered and started to pound on the door with his fist. The house shuddered with each blow, shedding more and more dust and splinters. It gave a great sigh and then with a final heave it collapsed in on itself. 

Neville scrambled away, dodging flying boards and bits of masonry. “NELL!” He screeched as he got clear. “Nell! Nell! Nell!”  He was met with nothing but silence and the occasional  crack and groan of the house settling in it’s grave.  He let out a sob and made for the boat, his heart thumping as he fled back to their new home and their parents.

Mother was in the hallway of the grand house, gracefully greeting her dinner guests. Neville burst in, cold, wet and grubby. His face was streaked with dust and tears.  “Mother, Nell is trapped, she’s hurt!”  His mother’s face turned ashen in horror. The woman grabbed him by the arm and steered him to a side room. “I’ve told you never to go across the lake.” She scolded. Her eyes flared with a quietly bubbling anger. “But Nell..” He began, the tears brimming over again. “Nell is gone, Neville.” She said in a flat tone. “I won’t have this nonsense any more. Now go clean up and put yourself to bed. 

Neville cried himself to sleep that night, as he drifted off he was sure he heard a distant voice, giggling quietly in the night.

Tidal Wave

It was like standing on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean during at storm. She only needed to topple and fall and the currents would devour her. The crowd roared at her. She closed her eyes feeling the eddies and currents of the screams as the concert hall worked itself in to a frenzy. The band stood silent, poised and waiting in the darkness. The ocean subsided. The storm settled. The depths instinctively waiting for the land to scream back.


She struck a loud harsh chord, tearing through the silence. The ocean erupted again, wilding thrashing in answer to the taunt.


A satisfied smirk pulled at her mouth. Her gaze shifted, a low glance to the lead at her left. The spotlight struck him and he began to play. Intricate themes spilled from his guitar, his fingers dancing over the instrument with such skill and finesse , he was like a symphony all on his own.

She gave him several bars then brought in her base. Soft deep undertones echoed his theme at a lazier cadence. The high hat behind them ticked a hushed rhythm. The ocean swelled, a towering wave rushing towards the cliffs.

Boom! Boom! Boom!

The bass drum thundered and the drummer rolled each percussion away. The ocean roared at the land and land roared right back