A list of things I cannot hear


A list of things I cannot hear. All because of the tinnitus, the high frequency noise that whistles in my ears. I am oblivious to crickets in the wildflower. The hiss of our central heating. Dripping taps in other rooms. The hum of anything electrical. Chinese whispers passed on by children. Interference on the radio. The early signs of a storm. And late at night, consumed by these lists, I can barely hear myself think.


This 75-word story first appeared on Paragraph Planet


You can wake from any dream if you want to

you can wake from any dream if you want to

You can wake from any dream if you want to. My son tells me how over breakfast. He has a technique to use when having a nightmare. You click with three fingers on the back of your neck, and the dream will instantly stop. He tells me it works without fail. I try it for myself, clicking as he describes. Click! Everything vanishes, and I am back in the house where I have no son.


This 75-word story first appeared on Paragraph Planet


Somewhere there is a memorial bench with my name on it

somewhere there is a memorial bench with my name on it

Somewhere there is a memorial bench with my name on it. Has to be with a common name like mine. My research finds several, and so I pick the nearest, where I sit and pretend to be a ghost. I wait all day for people to come and ask, waiting to surprise them with my big reveal. But no-one asks, no-one comes to the stranger on the bench, who may as well be dead already.


This 75-word story first appeared on Paragraph Planet.


Monsters in the Closet

monsters in the closet

We spend our days playing in the closet.

In our imagination it is a spaceship, a doorway to other worlds, a portal that can travel through time. In the darkness we act out our fantasies, constructing the characters of our narrative. We play with the treasures that surround us – costumes in boxes, paperwork on shelves, trinkets that remind us of our parents.

We play all day in the closet, waiting for the door to be unlocked once more.


The Observers

We watch her from the safety of the forest.

Every morning she wanders out into her yard, placing the cups on the three fence posts before returning back inside. Here they remain untouched until nightfall. No animal ever comes to drink from them, and no human ever visits the cottage where they are placed.

Continue reading “The Observers”


Wake-up call

The message wakes him with a start, glaring at him like some terrible urban legend.

On his bedside table is a slate mug, and on it a message written in chalk. Normally the message is written by his wife as she leaves for work, something for him to wake up to and keep for the rest of the day.
Continue reading “Wake-up call”

Coming in from the Cold

It’s been a year, she says to herself, as if she could forget.

The day has been pleasant enough. Phone calls to her children and grandchildren. Visitors from the street with kind words. A small bunch of balloons released in the garden.

Simple but exhausting.


Somewhere not far away, a gravestone rumbles. Two hands stretch from the earth, followed by an attached corpse, climbing out of the dirt.

It staggers out of the cemetery, stinking and damp.


She tidies up the kitchen, puts flowers in a vase. Homemade cakes and cards will wait until morning. Opening the fridge she instinctively goes for the milk, to prepare a late night drink.

Years of practice, now going to waste.

She switches off all the downstairs lights, and turns in for the night.


The figure wanders into the road.

An oncoming car narrowly misses him, clipping his thigh at thirty miles per hour. It spins him round, fragments of his leg carried away by the vehicle, forever staining the paintwork.

He grunts – part laugh, part choking on his own fluids.


She climbs into bed, simple but exhausting, thinking how she will feel one year on from today.


The figure reaches the front door. A small trace of its former self kicks a gnome to one side, and takes a key from underneath.

Inside the house it slips across laminate, trips over the cat who sniffs at his ankles, who licks at his meat.

He takes a glass, and milk from the fridge, before going into the front room, and sitting in the chair where no-one else sits.


She wakes from an unpleasant dream.

Downstairs she hears noises – the cat miaowing, items falling on the kitchen floor, the television playing, groans and squelching from the lounge.

Not sure if she is still in her dream, she puts on her dressing gown and goes downstairs


Hello, this is 911. What is your emergency?

This conversation continues, their favourite television program, american real life crime, reenacted in dramatic detail.

She reaches across from her armchair and takes his hand, making sure not to grip too tightly, conscious that his form lacks cohesion. Maggots fall onto the carpet. Specks of his skin float across the glare of the television.

On the nest of tables, between the two armchairs, are two glasses of milk, just before bedtime.

Ninety-five percent of my anxieties are unfounded

Ninety-five percent of my anxieties are unfounded. She tells me at our weekly breakfast. To focus on the genuine five percent. The following week I do so, spending ninety-five percent of my time on it. When we meet again, I know ninety-five percent of my anxieties are founded. Focus on the new five percent, she says. And so it goes on, worrying about worrying, and how to tell her I no longer enjoy our breakfasts.


This 75-word story first appeared on Paragraph Planet

A sad face appears at the window


A sad face appears at the window. On the first day of spring, sunlight highlighting the
dirty glass, revealing a face in the dust. Thumbprints for eyes, a grin drawn with a smear, the unmistakable work of a child. He examines the face, his nose almost touching. His past self would yell, and tidy up behind them, but today he leaves the window filthy, as he did last year, and the many summers before it.


This 75-word story first appeared on Paragraph Planet

Off the Rails

I have something new on Spelk today. It’s called ‘Off the Rails’




Things to delete before I die


Things to delete before I die. Everywhere. My laptop and tablet. An old PC  in the attic. My phones with their obsolete connections. And now the cloud, and social media. My blueprint on data warehouses. Years of work all going to waste. Nothing illegal or shameful. Embarrassing perhaps. Private insights, internal things, the things we all keep secret. So much stuff and so little time. And this paragraph. You must remember to delete this paragraph.


This 75-word story first appeared on Paragraph Planet