No-one was more shocked by the sudden death of Dessie Reilly than his wife, Biddy; even as she stood over his twisted body, blood dripping onto the lino from the chef’s knife in her hand.

“It’s only me!” the singsong voice came a second after the front door opened and slammed shut and just before Joan McGuire came face to face with a scene she had never expected to see in her neighbour’s kitchen.

“Jesus! Biddy! What the… what the fuck have you done?!” Joan fell to her knees, slipping in the congealing pool of Dessie’s blood, pressing her hands onto the puncture wound in his throat. Her face was contorted in shock and horror as she looked up at her friend, still standing there, motionless, holding the knife.

“BIDDY!” she screamed, “BIDDY!?”

Joan knew he was gone; there was too much blood and her fingers could detect no pulse under his unnaturally white skin.

Pulling herself up from the floor, her knees sticky with Dessie’s blood, she stood eye to eye with Biddy, although Biddy’s eyes were clouded over and staring down at her husband’s corpse.

One last hiss, “Biddy!” and Joan struck, leaving a crimson handprint on the other woman’s cheek, finally snapping her out of her stupor.

Biddy dropped the knife and began to cry.


Copyright, 2017,

All rights reserved.

Heads or Tails

The words on the screen blurred as she downed another gulp of neat vodka, wincing at its bitterness.

She toyed with the coin in her trembling hand – heads or tails – it was to decide her fate.

Her eyes, although bloodshot, remained dry; she was well past tears. Thinking of all that she had lost and what she had thrown away, she flipped the coin. She watched it spin in the air, letting it fall to the floor with a tinny ping before taking another mouthful, holding her breath, in no hurry to look at the results.

Closing her eyes, she felt the tension in her shoulders, muscles burning, her head felt too heavy on her delicate neck and she struggled to sit upright.

Her head will hurt tomorrow…

She opened her eyes and looked at the coin – tails – and smiled a slow, sad smile, thinking, “No hangover then”.

Popping open the dark bottle, she shook out a handful of tiny white pills, swallowing them all at once with the remaining vodka.

She looked to the computer and hit Send –

“I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”


Copyright, 2017,

All rights reserved.


Reality Bites

Silver sunlight sparkles on the still surface of the water as the bow of the boat slices smoothly through it. I hear you approach from behind. You rest your hands on my shoulders, gently massaging them, “Coffee? Wine?”

I smile, “Surprise me.”

Long, heavy, leaden branches droop lazily into the canal, overburdened with foliage and blossoms. A verdant paradise of scented sensory stimulation. I close my eyes and inhale the perfume, listen to the soft lapping of the water, feel myself lightly rocked by the motion of the barge.

I hear you sink into the chair next to me and I turn to open my eyes and look at you. You are holding out a glass of sparkling white wine, cloudy condensation dripping down the glass. I take it and raise it in the air.

“To you,” you say.

“To us,” I reply and we clink a toast.

Its effervescence tickles my nostrils as I take a sip; sharp bubbles bursting on my tongue and catching in my throat making me cough slightly. Giggling I swallow and watch you as you look out at the scene before us; ducks and swans swimming amicably alongside us, green tendrils trailing beneath the surface of the water.

I feel content, relaxed and happy. Everything is just how it should be. Everything feels right.

A loud voice shatters my peace, “Now then! Time to take your vitals again, up you sit,” the strong, forcefully cheerful Dublin accent of the nurse breaking through my dream. Unwelcome, familiar pain floods my body as I struggle to sit up, my mouth parched, lips cracked.

Reality crashes in.


Copyright, 2016,

All rights reserved

Coming Home

“Will you just GO?!” she giggled, pushing him away as he leaned down to kiss her one more time, “You’ll miss the train!”

“Ok, ok! There’s always another train anyway… but ok,” he smiled and lifted his bag, turning to unlock the front door. A blast of icy air hit her bare legs; she hopped and jogged on the spot.

“Fuck! Gotta scrape the windscreen,” he sighed.

“See? Now you really will be late! You should listen to your wife… she always knows best.”

“He! Yeah I got a genius one. Get your ass back up to bed, it’s cold.”

She reached up and squeezed him in a hug, “I love you, have a good day.”

He kissed her, not allowing the fact that she tried to wriggle out of his embrace because she hadn’t brushed her teeth stop him, “Love you too, gorgeous.” He locked the door behind him and she tapped on the glass; a code they’d shared forever, before hurrying back up to bury herself under the still warm duvet.


Her eyes heavy, sleep just starting to envelope her, she groaned at the sound of her mobile buzzing next to the bed.

 “Feeling shitty. Turning back and coming home.”

She was surprised to see only fifteen minutes had passed but she smiled at the thought of having him home for a day, even if he was feeling under the weather.

“OK, see you soon x”

She ran to brush her teeth so she could kiss him properly when he got in.


She heard his key in the door and pulled his baggy fleece over her cami top to keep her warm as she went down to greet him. His face was pale, eyes bloodshot; he did not look at all well. “What’s wrong love?” she asked, touching his forehead to check his temperature; his skin was still cold from the frosty air outside.

“Killer headache and I feel a bit off… think I’ll head back to bed and maybe get a later train.”


His face went even more ashen and he shook his head, “No thanks, just bed. You come back with me?”

“Try to stop me!”


Snuggled under the duvet together, he wrapped her in his arms and kissed her again, “Love you, gorgeous. I wish I was feeling better,” he sighed, “I just wanted to come home to you.” She soon heard the low buzz of his heavy breathing, and smiling, she closed her eyes and relaxed against his chest, knowing she would not sleep again once his snoring really took hold.


An hour passed until her stomach prompted her to get up and make breakfast for herself, deciding to let him lie on a while longer. She watched his face, so peaceful in sleep; the deep creases that routinely marked his forehead unusually softened. He looked completely relaxed.


Wincing at the cold kitchen tiles under her bare feet, she regretted not wearing socks, but didn’t want to risk disturbing him again. With a smile, she watched the little robin busying himself on the patio as she waited for the kettle to boil. She noticed the garden was still under a heavy blanket of frost and ice. She shivered and wrapped his fleece tighter around her, thinking she would eat her toast under a blanket watching breakfast TV and then would check on him.

Carrying her tea and toast through to the TV room, she was irritated by a knock on the door. Not even 9.00am; too early for the postman – not wanting him being woken by more knocking, she hurried to open the door.


“Mrs. Johnston?”

Her vision blurred at the sight of two uniformed officers on her doorstep; a tall man and shorter, slightly portly younger woman, “Yes. I mean no. I’m… I didn’t take the name… what are you here for?”

“May we come inside?”

Irrationally, she snapped, “No! What do you want?”

The couple exchanged a slow look and seemed to come to an unspoken agreement that the young woman would speak, “Ma’am, are you married to a Mr. Tom Johnston?”

“Yes… why?”

Her mind reeled. What had he done? Was he in trouble?

Looking at the strangers at the door, and across her driveway, something in the back of her mind registered as not quite right about the scene before her.

“We are very sorry to inform you…”

She wasn’t listening.

The car. Where was his car?

“Your husband was involved in a car crash earlier this morning, at the train station junction. I’m afraid it was a fatal accident, Mrs… Um Miss…”

She slammed the door closed and whirled, taking the stairs two at a time, screaming, “Tom! Tom!”

Flinging the bedroom door open, she fell, scraping her bare knees as she skidded across carpet, taking in the thrown back duvet, wrinkled sheets and pillows; the empty bed.

She felt gentle hands on her shoulders, pulling her up. The young female officer lifted her to sit on the edge of the bed, as she murmured, “No. No, he was here. He was here…”

“I’m so sorry, Mrs… sorry, what is your name, love?”

She couldn’t speak.

Her eyes locked on the hollow indent on his vacant pillow.


Copyright, 2016,

All rights reserved

*at the risk of “dissecting the frog“, this story came to me a couple of weeks ago when the OH texted exactly that and came home to me rather than go to work. I was haunted by the idea – what if a ghost came home instead of him and couldn’t quiet shake the thought. I am a bit morbid that way…

Incidentally, the morning went 100% as described, (even down to the glass tapping code… yeah we do that),  although I am happy to report he is still in the land of the living!


Lynn gave us ‘Security‘ as our nudge today… As usual, I take a dark angle!

Coarse rope fibres dug into her skin, her tongue rough and dry against the rag wedged into her mouth.

He admired his handiwork. She was going nowhere.

The dressing room door stood open, revealing rows of designer clothes. Her perfectly manicured fingernails caught the sunlight in the mirror as she applied foundation to cover the bruises. The price of security.



Copyright, 2016,

All rights reserved.


They came just after dawn. We watched them approach across the field, in their mid covered trucks. We saw the flames of our neighbours’ houses and outhouses. We heard their cries. We heard the shots.

Papa grabbed the shotgun, passed it to me and bundled me down into the cellar, eyes wide in panic, his finger pressed hard against his lips silently ordering me to be quiet. He grabbed my face in his rough calloused hands and kissed me fiercely on my forehead before closing the hatch and leaving me in the dusty darkness, peering up through the gap in the floorboards.

They crashed through the door like the brutes they were. The one in charge, wearing a grey and black peaked cap and ridiculous looking trousers, stepped out from behind the others and slammed the butt of his pistol into my dear Papa’s face. I bit down on my fist to muffle the cry of horror that threatened to break free from my lips.

“Wer ist da?!” he barked into Papa’s bloody face, “Wer ist da?!”

Another one stepped forward and spoke, “Qui d’autre est ici?” (Who else is here?)

Papa shook his head, “Personne. Je suis seul!” (No-one. I am alone!)

The soldier translated for his superior who then snapped some orders in his guttural voice and I watched as the others dragged my father from our farmhouse.

The one who spoke our language remained and cast his eyes around the kitchen, from ceiling to floor. As his eyes surveyed the wooden floorboards I involuntarily flinched. He stilled instantly and crouched down to peer through the gap in the strips, his eyes brilliantly blue and searching.

I froze, holding my breath, wishing I could make myself invisible. A small smile played on his lips as he rose back to standing, his head inclined in the slightest of nods and he turned to leave.

I remained in the cellar until my overwhelming need to use the toilet drove me from my sanctuary. I hesitantly opened the hatch and peeped out. All was silent. I crawled out of the cellar and quickly used the toilet. Once relieved, I searched the farmland and outhouse for Papa but he was gone. The smoke from our neighbours’ farms hung black on the horizon and I sank to my knees and wept. I was alone.

Exhausted from the morning’s events, I fell into a troubled sleep on the day bed in the kitchen, tossing and turning only to awake with a start, screaming from the nightmare that invaded my slumber. I sat upright, sweating and shaking, tears once again flowing down my cheeks. A sound from outside startled me – surely the sound was footsteps, very quietly at the other side of the door.

I hurried, as soundlessly as I could, towards the cellar hatch but the door swung open before I reached it.

He stood silhouetted in the light of the open door as I crouched by the hatch, like prey about to be captured.

“Haben Sie keine Angst, mein Kleiner, Ich werde nicht schaden,” he spoke softly before sighing and shaking his head, remembering that I could not understand him. His eyes skyward as he tried to find the right words, he spoke again, “Petit, ne soyez pas avoir peur. Je ne vais pas te faire du mal.” (Don’t be afraid little one. I will not hurt you.)

He squatted to my level and smiled at me, his long black leather boots creaking as he crouched. He took from his backpack some bread and cheese wrapped in wax paper and offered it to me. The kindness in his pale blue eyes conflicting with the insignia on his chest and everything it stood for.

This was how it began. The affair with the man that saved me, the man that protected me and hid me until the day, one day, when he never returned to my farmhouse.

My Franz. The man I came to love over the course of that summer before the Americans came, with their cigarettes and chocolate, to save us.

The man, whose bright blue eyes gazed back at me from my daughters face as I held her to my breast in the spring.

Copyright, 2015,

All rights reserved.

Thanks to my consort of consultants… T, C and of course F x

Originally posted to: FFC

FFC #3… Meeting You

My amazing best mate Felicity has a fantastic new meme going called Friday Flash Challenge.

I cannot encourage you all enough to visit her site here and join in the fun! Each week she will provide a prompt that is sure to stretch you as a writer. It is always good to move outside our comfort zones, isn’t it?

Come on! Do it!


I have waited so long to meet you! All my life I think…

I have longed for you, imagined you, dreamt of you, craved you… and now here you are before me, as perfect as I have ever pictured you to be. Beyond perfect!

I have no words to express how fast my heart is beating, how hard it is to breathe looking at you, how full of love I feel, fit to burst at my seams.

Your eyes scan my face as I drink you in, imprinting this moment into my memory forever, knowing I have finally met you.

I feel we know each other already, intimately.

Our souls already are entwined. I am struck in awe and wonder at the depth of my feelings for you, even though this is the first time we have ever seen each other, touched each other, inhaled each other’s scent.

Getting lost in your deep, dark blue eyes, feeling your body against mine, the warmth of you against my breast, I ache inside. This pleasure and joy verges on being painful. I never expected to feel this much.

I have never known love before. I know this now. Everything else I have ever felt pales into insignificance compared to this. I know in this moment, without doubt, without hesitation, that I will do anything to keep you safe, to protect you.

Your tiny, doll-like fingers wrap around mine and squeeze with a strength that belies your size. Your beautiful eyes squeeze closed and you open your perfect rosebud lips to release an indignant roar into your new world.

You demand to be fed and I smile with unbound bliss as I submit to your call.

My heart belongs to you, my daughter.

I am so happy to meet you!

Copyright, 2015,

All rights reserved.