And.... breathe!

And... that's all folks.

The flood is over for another issue, and you can flop about on the sand, gasping for breath, and waiting for the waters to return.

For now, thank you for reading.

Until next time...

'Ten Reasons to Write' by Dorothy Rice

It’s more socially acceptable than talking or muttering to yourself.

If you write with a pen, pencil or quill, or alternate hands on the computer keys, it leaves one hand free for the candy bowl.

Your family and friends will label you the, “quiet, serious” type. When called upon to join in on a conversation you’d rather not be part of, you can look up and say, “Oh excuse me, did you say something?” eyelids fluttering as if you’d just emerged from a fugue state.

You will be amazed how quickly this catches on. In no time at all, others will be making excuses for you. You won’t even need to open your mouth. “Oh never mind her,” your sister, friend or colleague will say, “she’s a writer.”

After awhile, you may not need to talk at all. Said sister, friend or colleague will do your parts for you, while you happily scribble away, perhaps offering the occasional distracted nod, so you aren’t taken for anti-social or rude.

Snacks are not an interruption to the creative process, as they might b…

'Solo for Two' by Barbara Renel

She drags her suitcase away from the bottom of the escalator and sits on it. She watches the metal stairs unfolding, disappearing, backs of heads going up to the Main Line station, faces coming down – an elaborate choreography of avoidance as people, pushchairs, bags, shoes, criss-cross in front of her, left to right, right to left, Victoria, District and Circle Lines, blue, green, yellow routes, exiting, entering.
            The clasps of her suitcase unsnap. Inside, a black leather case, battered, curved. She takes out the violin, tightens the bow and waits for his introduction. She imagines the opening broken chords of his piano, chords that will gently ascend, descend, support her melody. And she plays their song, their story.
            There’s an Egyptian limestone statue in the British Museum, two seated figures, a man and a woman, their clothing androgynous, height distinguishing one from the other. She’s holding one of his hands with both of hers. They are looking straight …

'An Unexpected Fall of Snow' by John Holland

She stands in the darkness of the back garden wearing her red water-proof coat and green wellingtons. Underneath only her nightgown. It is 4 am and the garden has a covering of snow. Something she was not expecting when she left her husband sleeping. She has two carefully folded white sheets under her arm. A green plastic petrol can in one hand and a pair of scissors in the other. She feels the cold wind like a sharp slap on her face; a bitterness cutting into her legs, through her nightgown. Making her body tense. Her hands rigid.  She thinks she has never seen snow this white, this luminous. Never seen the garden so beautiful. Or desolate. Like a secret world. For what the night does not hide, the snow does, flattening, folding itself around contours. Trees stand like silent witnesses. Huge white hands pleading to the dark sky. She looks at her footprints that make plain the short journey she has taken from the house. Her tracks defiling the covering of snow. If it does not snow agai…

'The Unexpected Trade' by Nicole J. Simms

While looking in all directions, Travis darted down the street with his baseball bat gripped in his hand. He knew he shouldn’t be out here, but he was tired of living like this; he needed a reminder of how life was before it all ended – a time where you could walk down the street without the fear of someone jumping out at you and trying to devour your flesh. Travis held his side as he reached the row of shops before him. He checked behind him for any oncoming attackers, and on seeing that he remained alone, he then stepped towards the shop in the middle and stopped. His attention focused on the gold coloured words ‘R Cuts’ that shimmered against the black base of the shop sign. ‘Phew, I’ve made it,’ he said. He pushed open the shop door. The door creaked – the only sound to alert the occupants of his presence. He stepped inside and observed his surroundings. A solitary hairdressing sink with an accompanying chair was to his left, a single chair in front of a wall mirror was to his right…

'A Lexical Guide To The Bulldog Breed' by James Burr

I sit in the pub, the flames of the fire reflected in the curves of my glass, glaring at the young man, spiky hair thick with gel, year-old Aston Villa top hanging off his thin spotty frame.  I can hear his voice from my seat, at the other end of the pub.      "Caned", he says.      "Drunk."      "Inebriated."  He smiles.      "Intoxicated".      "Pissed."      "Cabbaged"      "Pie-eyed."      "Bombed".      "Plastered."      I glare across the bar at him, his loud voice making my head ache.      "Loaded."      "Merry."      "Pickled."      "Sloshed."      "Soaked."      "Well-oiled, slaughtered, lashed."  The man pauses to down his pint, his friends finding him one of the greatest wits they had ever met.      "Fuddled."      "Canned" "Mullahed."      "Half seas over."      "Tanked up."      "Stewe…

'Waiting' by Gaynor Jones

Even with a pastel cloud of candy floss obscuring her face, the woman next to me is familiar. Flecks of sugar get caught in the scattered moles on her chin as she chews.

When the music starts, her body tenses.

‘It looks fast, but they’ll be OK. Is it your granddaughter you’re waiting for?’

‘My daughter.’

I can’t see anyone older than six on the carousel.

‘I watched her get on it. But I never saw her get off.’

 My skin prickles as I realise who she is.

‘I - I’m sorry. I saw her in the paper.’

We all did. Years ago. She was the story of the decade - until she wasn’t.

‘She climbed up on that horse, right there. But I never saw her get off.’

 The girl with the chestnut hair and moon-blue eyes beamed out from posters and milk cartons for years. Ubiquitous. Then she faded into background news, for everyone but this woman.

‘Today’s her birthday’.

‘Do you come back every year?’

She turns to me, chewing the now barren wooden stick between yellowed teeth.

‘I come back every day.’

She tosses the…