short stories

19 - Breakdown

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15 - I Killed Moonbeam

Man, I really didn’t mean to do that, you know? It just, like, happened so quickly. We were out in the field, talking about this year’s crop and he started going on and on about how we had to get serious and have, like, a business plan and shit. I mean, that’s not my scene at all, so I thought I would just let it go, but he kept on and kept on and before you know it, we were having a fight. That’s a real step back for me, you know? I left all that violent shit behind me years ago. Anyway, words turned to shoves and before you know it, I’d grabbed the pitchfork and, well, now he’s got three holes in his chest and he isn’t moving.

14 - Parts and Labour

When I get to the garage at 6:30, I see Dad’s yellow Peugeot parked outside. He doesn’t wave or raise a hand as I pull in to park, nor does he say hello when I get out of the car and walk over. The only affection he shows is towards my dog, who bounds over to greet him. 

“Hello Tyson, hello boy,” he says, scratching the bull mastiff’s ears.

“That’s Buster,” I say. “Tyson was the dog we had when I was little.”

13 - Programming Your Killbot

In previous chapters we’ve covered the preparation, assembly and control of your Killbot. In this section, we’ll explore the basic principles of programming and write a simple control script. Programming your Killbot has a number of advantages over manual control, as it allows the Killbot to operate to peak efficiency, leaving you free to deal with other tasks.

10 - Full Disclosure

Freddie Jacobs didn’t know what Mr Perskine looked like, but he recognised him all the same. There was no mistaking a buyer, particularly the wet, pliant sort. They were Freddie’s favourite kind. He smiled to himself as he took a last drag off his fag, flicked it out of the window and sprayed some deodoriser to mask the smell. When the scent of Alpine Forest had spread through the car’s interior, he switched on the engine and drove over to pick up Perskine.

9 - Safety

At 11:22 PM on Friday evening, PC Beresford and PC Dalton arrived at 18 Rose Hill Gardens to investigate reports of a disturbance. Neighbours had heard a commotion and the sound of a woman screaming. The house appeared quiet on approach, with a single light on in the first floor window. After ringing the doorbell several times,  the door was finally answered by Shirley Cobham, a petite woman in her early 50s. She was wearing a silk kimono and appeared indifferent to the arrival of the police. 

8 - Salt In The Wound

“Morning Detective,” Gregory said. “Lovely morning for a murder, wouldn’t you say?”

“You’re sure that’s what it is?”

“Well, unless he’s a blooming contortionist, I don’t see how he could have stabbed himself in the back like that.”

Durban shrugged. He never ruled anything out unless he had to.

6 - Dr. Kenner's Journal

Day 187
Johnson’s really starting to get on my nerves. I know it’s inevitable, given that we’re alone together in the Antarctic studying ice samples, but I really am beginning to find him quite tiresome. He keeps making the same jokes over and over again. If I hear him say one more time that he’s just popping out to the shops for a pint of milk, I think I might snap.

4 - Last Christmas

Jim and Toby had both worked in the health service long enough to know that you took Christmas when you could. Jim was a radiographer and was rostered on-call for the 24 hours spanning Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, while Toby was a paramedic working the graveyard shift of Christmas Day evening to noon on Boxing Day. They resolved, therefore, to have their own little Christmas on the 23rd, in Jim’s flat, while everybody else was still shopping and making last minute preparations. It was early days in their relationship. They had been introduced by mutual friends at a work function some four months earlier and while neither of them were quite ready to say it, both thought that this could be something special.

3 - Bitter Tang

When the phone call came, the staff at the Orange Blossom Palliative Facility tried not to get excited. The hospice had been home to several notable figures in their final days, but none of them had warranted a phone call from the White House. As much as the staff wanted to be around to eavesdrop, they recognised that this was a moment they could not intrude on and left the patient to have his conversation with the president in private.

2 - 'Til Death Do Us Part

I told myself it was only ten minutes. Ten minutes was nothing. There were any number of reasons why a person would be ten minutes late. The cab could have got a flat tyre. There could be roadworks. She might have spilled something on the dress and stopped at a dry-cleaners. Really, when you thought of all the things that could prevent a person from arriving on time, it was a miracle that anyone ever got anywhere. I wasn’t worried. I knew she would get here. It was only ten minutes. 

1 - The First Time

If I were to tell you that I have been interested in murder from an early age, you would probably conjure up an image of me as one of those gloomy, sallow youths who cowered in the shadow of the popular boys and wanted nothing more than to be left alone. The truth is, however, that that I was rather popular at school. While I would never be in contention for Head Boy and I didn’t have a place on the first XI, I had a reasonably well developed circle of friends and could pull a decent stroke whenever circumstances dictated that I should put on the whites.