-Feline Guardians- A J Hawkins

A Flash Fiction Piece

Amber sat on the kitchen counter, staring intently at the corner above the far cupboard. Her keen eyes allowed her to see the faint shadow moving in the darkness, waiting to pounce… but she would be the one who did that. It was her job. She would be damned before she’d let such a thing anywhere near her Mummy or Daddy.

Amber gracefully leapt across the gap between the two counters and quickly scaled the cupboards, cautiously approaching the ethereal thing, which seemed to be afraid of her. Good. It should be. Amber crouched, never taking her eye off it, when she heard the sound of Mummy’s car outside. She had to act before it was too late. She wiggled her rear and pounced, grabbing the shifting, struggling thing between her front paws, quickly and greedily devouring it, which was always difficult.

The taste of these things were vile, nothing like those tasty birds she liked to chase in next door’s garden. Amber had once heard Mummy and Daddy talk about a dog that had eaten a blanket, and she had wondered why any creature would do such a thing. Dogs were stupid, sure, but maybe it mistook the blanket for one of these terrible, wayward things. Amber imagined this was what eating a blanket would be like, chewing and swallowing, chewing and swallowing, seemingly no end in sight. And after all that would come the horrible sensation of both hunger and nausea that would result in her endlessly washing herself to build up an almighty hairball to get its remains out of her, before they made her ill.

Jaffa didn’t often get one of these things, she was far too fat and lazy for that, but when she did, she preferred overindulging in biscuits to expunge the remnants. Whatever worked. Finally, Amber finished eating the darn thing just moments before the kitchen door was opened. She leapt down onto the fridge, then the kitchen table, mewing enthusiastically for attention as Mummy and Daddy greeted her, safe in the knowledge that she had once again saved them from a wayward spirit, looking for a new body to conquer. After all, they looked after her. It was only fair that she returned the favour.

Gleaning Truths from The Fifteen Houses, a Novel By Jeanne Claire Probst

17274257Julianne Marguerite

Julianne Marguerite was one of many children born to her parents, Gerard and Edith. Unlike her other siblings who were always active and engaged in living their lives, Julianne Marguerite was a child who preferred the atmosphere around her to be silent…and rightly so for many reasons. One, she did not hear like her other brothers and sisters, and two, she liked being alone…it was quiet…and there was moments of contentment that came with being able to think while she observed the world around her.

Born into a bi-lingual family, hearing impairment made it difficult for Julianne Marguerite to make either language one she could call own. Although she was able to master her languages, it was done at great cost to her image as Edith would often punish her for not being able to repeat her lessons as quickly as her siblings leaving her to struggle with low self-esteem and feelings of shame.

With the aid of a hearing aid and being a visual person , as Julianne Marguerite grew, did master a language of her own, one that involved the words she did hear , body language and facial expressions and most importantly…the other person’s lips. She learned early on in life that even the eyes have a language all of their own.

When she became a teenager, Julianne Marguerite was given a guitar. At first, she had no idea how to make the strings work together to produce the music as she could hear it on the radio. Just twangs and more twangs. The guitar was a burden for her at first because it was another something she did not understand, and any sounds made were heard differently than when her siblings were hearing the same sounds.
It took a while, but with the aid of a music book with chords illustrations for guitars, Julianne Marguerite was able to learn where her fingers should be placed, how the strings should be strummed and eventually the miracle of these newly found sounds made their way to her heart. Finally, she had something that would allow her to express her feelings, good or bad. Even better was the fact that the guitar did not ridicule her because she played a wrong note or chord.

Julianne Marguerite was now also able to put music to words she had written and created her own songs. When she sang these for others she reaped a sense of joy and pride that comes from knowing you have something to offer to others…she had a “gift.” In time her sisters Chloe and Aude and eventually her mother Edith joined her when singing these songs together. It was the only thing they ever did that made them “look” or “feel” as if they were a family. It was the “strings” that allowed them to break down the barriers that prevented them to bond when they were younger…music.

The quite times Julianne Marguerite once enjoyed were now spent with her best “friend,” her guitar. Placing her ear on the body of the guitar when she played allowed her to feel the notes and when she learned to sing along with these, there was a kind of peace that only could be had when a person found something that they could connect with.

It would be thirty more years before Julianne Marguerite was able to understand her hearing impairment. With reconstructive ear surgery and the support of her doctor, she came to realize that she was not “deaf,” as she was often made to think. She was also not “stupid,” she had to learn differently. She was hard of hearing and simply did not hear as the rest of the people in the world around her. This knowledge had a profound impact on her future. More importantly there was the liberation from the chains of the lack of self-esteem and shame that encased her like a pea in a pod for most of the earlier part of her life. Music allowed Julianne Marguerite the strength and courage to eventually find the “real” person she was meant to be. The truth and her bond with music had set Julianne Marguerite free.

Jeanne Claire Probst
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War of the Words by Ellen Mae Franklin

Carol BondProse was a pretty thing with dark hair and brown eyes whose smile lit the world around her. This day found her hard at work. Sheets of paper lay scattered on the desk and floor, screwed up balls of the unwanted stuff littered the room and the quills that she so loved to write with – her most treasured of possessions – were spread out before her in loving array. Feathers and inkpots, scrolls, and the ability to create infinite worlds belonged to this dedicated writer, Prose was proud of every word.


“I have finished! I have finally made my mark.” Prose leapt out of her chair. “It is done at last, my very first story. It’s a pearler and once it’s published I know it will go straight to number one.” She hammered on the wall with her fist and the scraping of a chair on the other-side followed, then a came a knock on her door.


“Come in, come in Ink and hurry up.” Prose shouted, well aware that every writer in her building would be frowning at the interruption. Every time a writer placed the last dot on the end of a tale, indicating that the manuscript was ready for other eyes there was a celebrated shout: disrupting the usual quiet that enveloped her building.

  Continue reading

Tech Death 2040


BILLIE GAZED AT THE STUMP where her hand used to be. It was an old wound, yet it still ached when it caught her eye. Her memories tended to blur together, but not this one. The horror story behind the loss made it seem fresh and painful, a trauma that refused to heal, even with therapy sessions and several daily shots of Jonny, of which Billie was sitting at her table slamming back now … with her left hand. The warm liquid was giving her a nice little buzz.

Missing a hand was like missing an old friend, one that left long ago, and would drift in and out of memory forevermore. Maybe it was the difficulty in the everyday task of kneading dough the way she once did, with two strong hands, taking for granted the punching and pushing, the simple strength of forcing something soft to soften even further under pressure. She made bread with one hand now, like many others went about their day attempting to complete tasks to the same degree at which they used to, and never quite getting there. The postman and taxi drivers who learned to drive, teachers and students learning to type one-handed like they did in primary school, lawyers, stockbrokers, supermarket check-out-chicks, all a little more encumbered and heavy with the burden of life. Then there were those who had dared to purchase tech to replace their hands. Craziness. Continue reading

Confession by Chris Kaye

Out of PrintThere are advantages to maturity.  You can, if you are clever enough, get the jobs where you spend your days in charge of others:  You have to keep your wits about you, of course.  Sloppy checking of work would soon ruin a position of authority.  People are less likely to question you about your past, as well.  Age brings with it a sense of inbuilt privacy that few would dare to breech.

You could hear her singing from two-thirds of the way down the long corridor.  Sturdy, mostly soundproofed, doors decorated the walls on either side.  Each was equipped with it’s own hatch, and spy-hole.  From certain angles at each end, it created a strong optical illusion:  like stacked dominoes.  The temptation was often to stand there, half close your eyes, imagine just nudging the nearest one, and watch them all come tumbling down.

Maybe I’ve been working here too long.  I don’t think the patients are getting to me but … well:  I wouldn’t be the first.  I must watch my thoughts more carefully:  we’re supposed to refer to them as our ‘clients’, rather than patients.  It won’t be for much longer anyway.  In many ways I’ll be sad to leave, but another week or so and I’ll have worked out my notice:  time to move on. Continue reading

When is it too late to say sorry? By Ellen Mae Franklin

‘We were happy once? Weren’t we?’

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Diablo asked herself this question every day. But nothing ever changed. It always came back the same… a burning anger, so bright that it matched his strutting brilliance and that only made her angrier. God, the almighty, sanctified divinity and his constant holier than thou lectures. Her husband was a pompous fool, whose faults were even greater than the obedience he demanded from everyone.

She smiled despite this, for she had to admit there was great satisfaction in upsetting him. A single finger raised and from the shadows came a man, not nearly as perfect as she, but darkly handsome none-the-less. Continue reading

The Warrior’s Code – A Peacekeepers X-Alpha Thriller by Steve DeWinter

Chapter 1

Angela cut herself on the razor sharp edge of a box and inspected the tip of her finger. The cardboard had torn a miniaturized version of the Grand Canyon through her fingerprint and it took a few seconds for the blood to well up.
She promptly stuck the finger in her mouth before a single drop splattered on any of the objects arranged in front of her.
Dressed in a herringbone-patterned short skirt, a sheer beige blouse over a black camisole, and black satin two-inch heels, she looked out of place in the basement. With her fiery red hair done up in a bun, she looked like she should be rubbing elbows with the elite at the cocktail party in the rooms above her rather than standing in the middle of the impromptu mail room, sucking on her finger.
Wes was twenty years her senior, but the deep wrinkly crags on his face made him look more like eighty years older, shook his head. “I keep telling you Ang, you gotta wear gloves when handling these recycled boxes. Never had this problem back in my day. Cardboard made from trees, as God intended, is better.”
He wrinkled his nose at her in disgust. “And I wouldn’t be sticking no finger in my mouth after touching these things. Lord knows if they washed all that poop paper before recycling them into boxes.”
He emphasized the word “recycling” with air quotes before grabbing another package off the mail cart and slicing it open with a box cutter. Continue reading

The Big City by A J Hawkins


John walked down the slowly quietening street. It was a pleasantly warm spring day, though the sun was now sitting at that annoying height where it was impossible to shield one’s eyes from it, and shops were preparing to close. It had been a long day, but he was still smiling widely. The meeting had gone far better than he’d expected. He couldn’t wait to get home and begin making the necessary preparations.

But he could’t fight that nagging feeling that he had forgotten something… maybe it was just paranoia. He patted his pockets to be sure. Train tickets, check… wallet, check… keys, check… phone… shit. Continue reading

“Let Down Your Hair”

12453094Ruth snuggled more deeply into the hollow between her mother’s arm and her side. They were just getting to the good part, the part with the prince, and Ruth always liked to get all cozy at the good parts.
“Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your hair,” her mother read.
Rapunzel lowered her hair down, and the prince started climbing up. Her mother’s head jerked toward the window, bonking Ruth on the head, and she let out a loud, “Ow!” right in her ear.
“Mom! Stop yelling in my ear!”
“Ruth! Stop pulling my hair!” Claire said at the same time.
“I’m not pulling your hair!”
Claire’s face smooshed into Ruth’s as her head was jerked toward the window again. It wasn’t until that moment that they realized they were no longer in Ruth’s bedroom but in a round, stone room with only one window and no door. Claire’s hair, which had been only shoulder length moments before, was now trailing out that window, a long, golden braid snaking, ropelike, across the windowsill.
Ruth thrust her head through the opening and yelled, “Stop pulling my mom’s hair!”
Claire threw one arm against the window sill and another around Ruth as her head was, once again, jerked violently toward the window, and she slammed into Ruth from behind. If not for her arm around Ruth, Ruth would have gone tumbling out of the window.
“Mom, look!” Ruth pointed down, “The prince!”
Claire looked, and, sure enough, there was a “prince” climbing up her hair. He looked just like the prince in the book they had just been reading before she flung it across the room to keep from going out the window. Of course, he looked like any prince from any children’s book or any Disney movie, for that matter. Lots of reds and purples. Flowing cape. Gold circlet around the brow. The thing that made it creepy, though, was that he looked he disturbingly both like and unlike her husband, Will. The face was his, and, yet, it was not his. The expressionless eyes and maniacal grin probably had something to do with that.
“Mommy?” said Ruth, “Is that daddy?” She looked both repulsed and intrigued.
“I don’t think so,” said Claire. “The more important questions is what are we doing here?”
Ruth blushed, “I’m sorry, Mommy. I didn’t mean to!”
Ruth wiggled out from under her mother as Claire braced herself with both arms, the prince continuing mindlessly up her hair.
Claire gasped out, her head twisting around from the weight of the thing hanging from her hair, “I know you didn’t mean to… You have to mean not to!” Continue reading