His eyes

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He was staring across the restaurant. A hard stare. Eyes wide, looking directly at the woman three tables away. She had not seen him as she was sitting side on to him, but her partner caught the look. Who’s the jerk over there? He said to her. I don’t know, she said, glancing across. The man was still staring and she felt uncomfortable under his gaze.

The couple had their meal in silence. Neither knowing what to say to the other. And both of them kept checking what the wide eyed man was doing. He in turn was drinking a beer, then another one..

I’m going over said the woman’s partner. She grabbed his hand, please don’t, she said. We don’t know who he is but he’s big, he could hurt you! She glanced worriedly at the man.

Then she realised he had signalled the waitress for the bill. He might come over and say something, she said as the man paid for his food. Ignore him said her partner. But she couldn’t, who was he. Did he mean to say or do something?

The man stood up, picked up and put on some sunglasses. Come on Jess he said. His Guide Dog stood up from under the table where she had been sitting, her harness jingling. Home Jess, he said, and the dog led him out of the door.

Cat on mat

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The cat lay on the mat,

Looked up with her big eyes. Feed me she thinks. I want catfood.

The cat stared straight at me, eyes so bright, gazing up lovingly a slight purr issuing from her throat.

Just wait a minute hon. I will be finished with the computer soon.. The purr increased, her eyes narrowed as if she was going to sleep. I turned back to the screen. Then the sharp pain hit me, stabbing through my mind. My ankle, then my leg, cat claws climbing, embedded in my flesh. As she reached my shoulder her mouth snapped shut on my nose! Teeth sinking into soft flesh. Claws striking out at my eyes.

Fish trapped in glass

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‘I  admit it’ , she said, ‘ I am a hoarder’ .

‘We are concerned about your safety’, said the officer. ‘I have to tell you that, unless you clear up, your home is at risk’.

She closed the door as he left, and thought about what he had said. ‘this is my home’ she thought. ‘But everything I have means something, I love all my nic nacks, my ornaments’.

Reluctantly she started to look through her things, ‘this is the glass cat with the fish, nan gave it me, what shall I do?’

The knock on the door a fortnight later jarred her out of her reverie. ‘who is it?’, ‘your housing officer’ came the reply.

‘Go Away!’ she shouted. ‘I don’t want to see you!’

‘I’m afraid you must. I have a notice of seeking possession here if you won’t work with me!’

‘Work with you? All you did was come round and tell me off!’

‘anyway’ she said ‘I’m buying the house’.

The officer was confused. ‘What do you mean?’ he shouted through the letterbox.

‘My nans glass cat! – turns out it belonged to someone famous, priceless, they called it on the antique street show’.

Silence.

‘I’m rich she said, now Go Away!’

Moon up

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Yet when they looked back, the gods saw the world was beautiful.

They flew on into space, leaving the blue planet, its fascinating surface, watery and dry, cold and hot.

They had seeded it with bacteria and viruses. They had given it a satellite, called Selene. So the water flowed back and forth, and would eventually encourage life to flow onto the land.

They knew billions of years would pass and agreed to return when, and if, a major species grew up and made efforts to fly beyond the world.

They called the planet Earith, home, Gaia, and waited to see if their seed bed grew.

In May 2020 they returned.

They saw the oceans polluted, the mountains denuded of snow. They saw the glaciers melting and the oceans rising. They could see all the problems.

But they were gods, they could will things to change, eradicate the major species, allow the wilderness to return.

They agreed that this was not possible. Man must learn from its mistakes. Let us return in two millenia and see what has happened they said.

They left, wondering what they would find on their return.

X

Staring at me…

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Lined up, their beady eyes staring at me..

Two owls, mock leather and fake jewels. They sit on the sofa and look back at me. Is there a glint if evil in their eyes. If I fall asleep, will there be a great flapping of wings? Will they peck my face?

They are mocking me, watching me, sitting ready to pounce once I have closed my eyes. I just know it. Nightmares fastening their claws into my arms. Beaks ready to stab at my ears, eyes and mouth.

I remember being paralysed by the fear of them. Black and gold feathers brushing my hands. Their talons raking my veins, tangling in my hair.

How can I escape their gaze. Looking back at me. My reflection in their eyes? I want safety. Instead I may be trapped inside them, in their black lined guts. Lost forever in their gaze.

Angel cat

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“Remember Felix?” she said.

“Yes, he was a good cat”, he said.

They sat quietly and remembered their adventurous cat.

“Remember that Saturday, when he came through the cat flap with a sirloin steak?” he asked.

“yes” she replied “I had to take it off him!”

“And a week later he came in with half a chicken?” “yes, I think it was from the neighbours?, I couldn’t tell them, and I think they blamed their own cat!”

“I still miss him, he was cheeky”.

They looked at each other.

“I bet he’s in heaven”, he said.

“You don’t believe in that stuff do you?” she said.

“bet he wangled his way in, and there’s a big ginger cat up their sporting a pair of wings?”

“maybe” she smiled.

Five minutes to save the world

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Time marched on. Suzanne looked up into the blue sky and saw a bird up high. But the bird was blowing a line of smoke from its back and its wings did not flap. What was it?

She remembered her childhood, when the Great death came. Each of her grandparents, and her mother were gone in a week. Her father tried to raise her, but he had to work and earn money. So he was always away in the woods, cutting and sawing for people who could not gather firewood. They lived in an old house. Central heating did not work, no one knew how to fix it, and there was no longer a gas supply.

She looked up again, the bird, or whatever it was, had flown over the horizon, and the smoke was disappearing into the beauty of the blue sky.

Over in Omereca, a man stood by a screen, his hand hovering over the red button. Yes or no? He had the choice. The clock was running down. Would he press and destroy everything?

His aide ran in as the clocked ticked to 11.55pm.

Sir, he said quietly, the plane, its come back! They have images, there are people there, they saw woodsmoke.

The Restidebt took his hand away slowly from the button. Now we start to rebuild he said as they left the room together.

Negative dawn

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The bright green sky shone out beyond the white branches of the treeplynths.

Flinners sang in the plynths, making booming noises and screeches. The star rose above the horizon, deep red in the sky.

Veleno watched the dawn, Earthship Orion would be leaving soon. The journey to Betelguse had been stressful, but they had found this beautiful and bizarre planet circling the red giant star. But now it was time to leave. The return journey to earth would take centuries, but the Red Giant was going to go super nova soon. If they didn’t get a fair distance away from it in the next fifty years they would not survive.

Veleno took a few more images of the dawn. The whole star rise thing took about three Earth hours. He looked at the rising star, moving so slowly, what would it be like to stand here and see it explode? No, he could not imagine its immense effects and size. Time to leave.

Snakes alive

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As Sara reached out to throw the dice she saw a flicker on the Snakes and ladders board. Something had moved quickly on the surface. She saw it in the corner of her eye.

It’s your go, said her partner Jamie. Are you going to throw the dice?

Sara picked it up and threw a six. Across the board, six spaces. Her partner took the dice and threw a three. Base of a ladder and up to the fifth row. He chuckled.

Beat that he said. She threw again and again, always missing the ladders.

It’s not fair, she said.

He was almost on square one hundred now, top of the board. Sara was getting fed up.

Then she saw a flicker again. She looked at Jamie. Did you see that? No, what? He said.

Next throw, two, oh no! As she placed her counter onto the head of the snake, ready to move it down the body back to the bottom row she saw the Snakes tongue protrude from the board. It flickered against her fingers. She froze, shocked into a paralysis. She felt its fangs pierce her index finger, saw its mouth open into a black void. With impossible speed the snakes mouth raced up her arm, gaping wide it covered her head, with one single swallow her body disappeared into it.

I told you I’d win, said Jamie quietly, as he chuckled.

A tail….

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Last week she had ended up halfway up a tree, and this is the story of how it happened.

She had woken feeling tired and the base of her spine was sore. Like she had sat down hard, or fallen over and bruised herself. They had been to a party, got ‘slightly’ tipsy, and come home. The rest was hazy. Something about Halloween, and trick or treating, and What was that all about? Then each of them had drunk from a cauldron, yes that was it, sip a drink from the cauldron of fate and see what happened? Except that she had knocked back the whole glass full. Then she had felt really squiffy, fallen over, yes, and hurt her spine. Ow.

Now it was the morning after, and she felt awful. A proper hangover. But it was time for work now, better get ready.

It was when she was showering that she felt a lump down at the base of her spine. She rang the doctor for an appointment. She was scared it was a tumour?

Two days later at the surgery, she was told it was some sort of bony growth, but the surface was covered in skin, and it was not any form of cancer the GP had ever seen. She had told her that they would probably need a biopsy, but that would take a few weeks to arrange.

She had gone home, wondering what the hell was going on. The ‘thing’ was growing at a fast rate, she couldn’t face calling it a tail. She realised she had control of it, like a prehensile tail of a monkey? Why?

The tail continued to grow. She had to wrap it round her waist to hide it under her clothes.

It was after about three weeks that she made the mistake of telling her friend. He laughed, serves you right, he said. You upset the witch! He said. Drank the cauldron dry. He laughed again. Wait till I tell the others. She must have cursed you.

The next day they came knocking at her door, ‘ let us in’ , ‘ show us your tail’ ‘you’ve been cursed’. Things were getting out of hand. She ran upstairs and opened her bedroom window. The group were hounding her now.

Suddenly she jumped. She was falling…. Then the tail snapped out around the branch, holding her weight, she swung back up to onto her feet. Using her tail for balance she clambered and swung into the trees. It had saved her life. Perhaps it wasn’t such a bad thing after all…..