Friday Flash Fiction – Novel

‘Are you alright Laura, you look worried.’

‘Oh Jason, I wasnt expecting you. Yes I’m okay, just having a genre crisis. She doesn’t know whether she’s writing Orange Booker or chic lit. I don’t know whether to talk about my tortured past or shopping.’

Jason massaged her shoulders. ‘I know the feeling; am I the romantic lead or the hapless victim in a darkly comic thriller? We just have to go with the flow.’

A sharp rap on the door broke into their thoughts. Jason opened the door and a man of about forty, with a crumpled suit and close cropped hair, marched in uninvited.

‘Sergeant Jenkins, CID; am I addressing Mr. Jason Wood?’

‘Yes’ replied Jason curtly.

‘Do you own a vehicle?’


The sergeant frowned. ‘That’s one line of enquiry gone. Do you recognise the man in this photo?’


‘His name would be…?’

‘I only know him by sight’ replied Jason, suddenly gasping as he felt a sharp pain in his head. He sat down and closed his eyes, trying to ward off the dizziness. Laura gently laid her hand on his arm.

‘Its okay, she just wiped that scene off the screen, you’ll feel better in a moment. Come on, we’ve got to get to the tube station.’

‘Why, where are we going?’

‘I don’t know,’ replied Laura ‘but she wants us out of the office.’



Ten minutes later Jason and Laura were running down the escalator, squeezing past others less hurried. As they approached the archway into the tunnel they heard the rush of wind and squealing of brakes that heralded the arrival of another tube train.

‘Mind the doors.’

They were too late to push through the jostling crowd on the platform. Jason swore in frustration, but Laura pointed to the indicator board.

Circle Line 2 minutes

‘That will do, but I don’t know how she expects us to be there in ten minutes.’

‘That’s her problem, not ours’ Laura reassured him.

The couple squeezed onto the next train and stood pressed together near the door. Laura smelt the sweet scent of aftershave and sweat; she smiled to herself, she was going to enjoy this chapter. They clattered along and at each station it was a struggle to stay on the train as passengers pushed past getting on and off. At last Jason motioned to the door and grabbed her hand as they stumbled onto the platform. They surged with the crowd to the long escalator and finally arrived at the station exit, but as they stepped with relief out onto the street a familiar face appeared, Sergeant Jenkins.

‘Perhaps you would both care to accompany me to the police station.’

The couple hesitated, tempted to make a dash for it, but settled for playing it cool and followed the policeman to his office.

‘Don’t know why you two are so nervous, I just need your help; private detectives can be very useful.’

Jason and Laura looked at each other in surprise, but before they could protest he handed them a piece of paper and a set of car keys. Jason frowned as he read.

‘Cornwall? We’ll need a map book.’

‘Sat-nav in the car,’ replied Jenkins, ushering them out of the door ‘you’ve got my mobile number.’

‘What are we letting ourselves in for?’ exclaimed Lara as they got into the car.

‘I don’t know, but I’m up for it,’ Jason winked ‘perhaps a weekend in the country is just what we need to get to know each other better.’

The sat-nav voice was irritating, but the long journey was pleasant.

‘Strange,’ said Laura ‘I’d forgotten it was autumn.’

‘What happened to summer?’ replied her companion.


As they drew up outside a little cottage the couple felt almost in a holiday mood. The key was under the pot and they looked around carefully as they entered.

‘What are we supposed to do now’ pondered Jason.

‘I remember’ smiled Laura putting her hands on his chest.

He wrapped his arms around her.

‘Oh Jason, I’m really warming to this scene, I’m glad we came here.’

She felt his hands ardently exploring her body and began to undo the buttons of his shirt. He slid his hands inside her blouse.

‘How far are we supposed to go?’ he murmured.

She did not answer, instead she closed her eyes and let her hands slide down further.

Suddenly Jason clasped her hands and pushed her gently away.

‘What’s the matter?’ she asked huskily.

‘I’m not sure, its too soon… I’m sorry, I think Im suffering from performance anxiety.’

Frustrated Lara turned away. ‘You’ll just have to fake it then, otherwise we’ll have to start the whole chapter over again.’

The tension was broken by the sound of the door being thrust open violently. A wild eyed scruffy man waved a pistol at them. They stood paralysed with fear.

‘You won’t get hurt if you just tell me where the stuff is’ said the stranger.

‘We don’t know anything,’ pleaded Jason ‘let her go, she hasn’t done anything wrong.’

The gunman turned his head as they heard the sound of tyres on gravel.

‘Put the gun down’ said Sergeant Jenkins, standing in the doorway, unarmed.


The stranger pointed the pistol and fired. The policeman lay crumpled in the doorway as the gunman stepped over his body and escaped. Jason fumbled for his mobile, while Lara knelt in the spreading pool of blood. She tried to apply pressure to the gaping hole in his side.

‘Just hang in there. No that sounds like an American movie. Don’t try to talk, the ambulance will be here soon.’

‘Laura, where’s that piece of paper, the control room want to know where we are?’

She held the hand of the policeman as he struggled to speak.

‘Sergeant, we don’t even know your first name.’

‘I dont have one,’ he groaned ‘we never do in novels.’

‘Of course, I’m sorry, I should have realised.’

‘Jason, tell them to hurry, we haven’t got much time’ she pleaded as the sergeant closed his eyes.

She prayed someone would press SAVE before it was too late.


Novel is one of the flash fiction tales in Someone Somewhere







Covert Coves and Continuity


We once stayed for a week at a secluded Scottish cove where I was glad to discover there was no reception for mobile phones, nor was there a landline in the cottage. At the very top of the cliff, if you held your phone high in the air you could be lucky and get reception. A peaceful place for a holiday and proof for authors that there are still settings where mobile phones cannot be used; where characters can escape without being traced or where persons in peril cannot call for help.



The plots of crime fiction, spy thrillers and romances changed for ever when mobile phones became ubiquitous. No running along dark lonely roads or knocking on strange doors to fetch help, a quick call on your mobile and an air ambulance or armed response unit could be with you in minutes. No wonder authors enjoy putting their heroes and villains in spots where there is no mobile reception.


But you can’t always trust your characters. Reading through the third draft of one of the novels in the Brief Encounters Trilogy  I realised several of my leading characters, in several scenes, had casually used their mobile phones when they knew perfectly well there was no mobile phone reception at Holly Tree Farm. Some minor plot changes were needed for the fourth draft.

Proof reading and editing the manuscript of a novel is not just about lost commas, the wrong ‘their, there and they’re’ and ‘from’ turning to ‘form’ when you’re not looking. Continuity is just as important as on a film set.

Holly Tree Farm nestles in the quiet Wiltshire countryside; when Nathanial inherits the house it offers a refuge for his new friends and their secrets, but they never could have guessed the rambling old farm house had secrets of its own.

Read the first book in the trilogy for 99 pence.

Silly Season

2018 looks set to be as doom filled and gloom laden as 2017 and the actions of our leaders as silly and unbelievable as ever. Individuals feel powerless, but the beginning of a new year is the time for individuals to get their own lives in order, a more achievable goal perhaps. But what is taken seriously by one person might seem plain silly to their family or Facebook friends, the latter being the ones who will have to read ad nauseam about their lofty aims. If you became healthier and wealthier after Sober October, perhaps you will be inspired by Veganuary. While millions waste money on annual gym membership for one assessment, a few laps of the pool, a sit in the sauna and a go on the cross trainer that resulted in a pulled muscle, others might decide this is the year  they train for a marathon, or seven marathons in one week across Africa…

Why don’t we just have a silly season instead, to brighten up northern winters or celebrate southern summers. What would your sillutions be? To acquire more Facebook friends in North Korea or Antarctica, to take up guerrilla knitting and dress all the lampposts in your street or why not turn your house inside out; bring the garden indoors with artificial lawn, trees in pots, house rabbits and free range parakeets?

Or you could spend January in the world of fiction and enjoy strange surroundings and events without annoying those you live with. I hope to be busy writing, finishing my latest novel, which has some very strange events and penning a few short stories. In the meantime ‘Someone Somewhere’ will take you into spring and summer with two strange novellas and other weird tales.