Paulie limped painfully across the broad tidal flats of this barren windswept bay and struggled to recall his Granny’s comforting voice. The simple act of breathing the strong salty air hurt his badly injured ribs. The tide had pulled the weak little wavelets way, way out; miles out it seemed to him – and hanging there, motionless above the grumbling of the waters, loomed a huge ochre moon. Beneath its baleful radiance the sea was nothing more than a distant threadlike slice separating sand from sky. (more…)
WARNING: Stories on this site may contain mature language and situations, and may be inappropriate for readers under the age of 18.
Betrayal, revenge and murder; lovely meaty sounding terms, eh? They’re such thrilling, blood dripping and juicy words that I’ve always loved, but only in fiction of course. I mean… I never thought, not for one second, that I’d ever become the central character in such a terrible story myself, but I have. And that’s the thought that runs through my mind as I move sneakily up behind Tommy O’Brien to push him over the edge of this high sea cliff. (more…)
For over sixty five years now – nearer seventy – ever since we were kids in the street, me and Ben have been joined at the hip. When we were young we were reasonably fashion conscious, mostly in our efforts to get girls, but nowadays we’re like dirtied up versions of Gandalf and Radagast, facial hair and all. It’s a kind of a disguise, you see, as our unwashed, shuffling, old man movements can sometimes fool the Dead into thinking we’re them. Except when we’re on our bikes, of course.
In recent years, in this suburban desolation, we’ve had to avoid corpses entirely because we can’t defend ourselves too well anymore. Bad joints and malnutrition have made us slow and feeble; Ben even more so than me. His arthritis barely lets him walk. So for us its eyes peeled all the time and ears open all the time, but this morning we dropped the ball. Not a single whiff of danger registered on our radars. I mean, with our experience we really should have seen them coming. It just goes to show how charmed we’ve been all along. (more…)
How did I meet Rosie? Well, it wasn’t under normal circumstances – the world being the way it is. It wasn’t through mutual friends for example, or in a nightclub or at a party. No, I met her in a romantic slime filled ditch. She was the one in the ditch, by the way. Not me. (more…)
A TEMPORARY PATCH JOB, PART 3 OF 3 by Kevin Fortune
March 10, 2012 Longer stories Tags: Ireland, Kevin Fortune
I watched as a patch of bog, brown on brown, oozed like lumpy liquid from a drainage ditch. It took me a moment to recognise it as human. I wasn’t sure if it was some lost, crawling corpse or if it was that little teenage waste of space. To my joy it was the latter. I didn’t realise it but I’d actually been looking forward to this. I moved deeper into the shadows and watched him crawl across the open ground and into the trees. The eejit must have thought he was invisible because of the mud; John feckin Rambo. I let him come.
Once again the pine needles dampened my footfalls nicely as I ran at him from behind, but at the very last second he heard me and turned; startled. He only had time to raise his machete in self-defence before I shattered his wrist with the bog oak. The blade went flying. I rotated with the swing and burst his nose flat on the return journey. He hit the ground without bending and didn’t move after that. (more…)
A TEMPORARY PATCH JOB, PART 2 OF 3 by Kevin Fortune
March 9, 2012 Longer stories Tags: Ireland, Kevin Fortune
I hadn’t pumped near enough juice to keep us in the air for more than a few minutes. We could land safely anywhere; in a nearby field or something, but we’d never take off again with empty tanks. We didn’t want to lose the Cessna so we had to return and finish our refuel. Weeks beforehand we had discussed the possibility of this very situation and we developed a procedure to deal with it.
“D’you remember the plan?” Greg shouted. I sat on the floor where the right hand seat should have been and tightened my leg straps. He poked at the fuel gauge to illustrate the gravity of our situation. “Just coax them away from the runway long enough for me to land. You’ve already kung-fu’d over half of them so the rest are probably quite demoralised already. Keep out of their mitts and I’ll be down directly!” (more…)
A TEMPORARY PATCH JOB, PART 1 OF 3 by Kevin Fortune
March 8, 2012 Longer stories Tags: Ireland, Kevin Fortune
I’m Richie, and this is my little brother Greg. I’m the eldest and he’s the youngest. We’re all that’s left of the five Byrne brothers – but you know the way it is; you know the story. The other three are dead I imagine; dead and wandering in Canberra, in London and in Vancouver, along with their families. But I try not to think about it; it’s too unsettling.
We’re in a bit of a mess at the moment, Greg and I. I’m sitting in the pilot’s seat of our parked Cessna 206 and I’m waiting for the first glimmer of light to wash into the eastern sky. When it does I’ll attempt to drag this aircraft skywards for one final flight. Hopefully to a place where Greg can get some help. He’ll be okay if he’s seen to; he’ll pull through, but I fully expect to be dead by this afternoon. Thankfully he’s out cold, I think, and unaware that I’m fatally damaged, but I can’t turn around to see. Quite frankly I don’t believe I’ll ever leave this seat alive, no matter what. (more…)
A deadly unstoppable tide is approaching and the only way to avoid it is to run. But as I prepare to fly out from Kildare to the Azores in the Twin Otter I’m haunted by thoughts of Della. I can think of nothing else as I worry for her safety. I think about Ralph Patterson, her idiot husband and I wonder, as death closes rapidly in on us all; does he have a survival plan and will it prevent me from ever seeing her again?
Ralph is my sometimes business associate. He’s a money making genius on the Trading floor but outside of that he can be a gobshite of biblical proportions. He has a brain of course, and I hoped to god he was using it instead of performing some sort of headless chicken routine. This was the possibility that planted misgivings in my head. (more…)
The following handwritten account – found in a farmhouse in Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare – was initially accredited to flamboyant Z War hero John Fletcher as it had been signed with his name.
At the time it was widely discredited as a forgery as its manner and tone did not reflect Fletchers famous idiosyncratic style, nor did his apparent timidity in the text match the warriors’ well known ferocity. However, new anecdotal evidence has recently come to light that hints at this documents possible authenticity.
The following abridged version, appearing here in print for the first time, was originally intended for inclusion in the biography: “John Fletcher: Corpse Killer!” but was excised by the publishers who feared that this unverifiable adventure would leave them open to litigation should it prove false. Also, Fletcher’s controversial actions during the War might subsequently have become open to serious revisionism. (more…)
They flock- no, they don’t flock, that would signify some sort of protective group instinct – they gather, they congregate, they brood. They stand crushed by their rearmost fellows against the reinforced ornamental gates and stare silently into the grounds of the Light Station. Whether their eyesight allows them to see as far as the Lighthouse or not, I just don’t know, but their very existence gives me the heebie jeebies. Their distant faces are absorbed in contemplating me. It’s like I’m their magnetic north. I’m a nervous wreck. They never leave. They never wander off. They just stand there quietly, almost politely; patiently. (more…)
Ray Wilkins finally became a human wreck within weeks of the world ending.
“My Raymond is going to end up in the gutter if he doesn’t pull his socks up.” His mother once prophetically stated, never dreaming of the circumstances in which her words would come true. At the time of her pronouncement the rest of Ray’s large family sat round the dinner table and nodded their heads respectfully in agreement. (more…)