Monday, 30 March 2015

The Girl With The Wheel Barrow

We touch other peoples' lives simply by existing
JK Rowling

‘It’s a girl with a wheel barrow.’

I don’t know what I was expecting to hear but it wasn’t that.

‘What do you mean a girl with a wheelbarrow?’ I asked.

The whole world had been waiting with baited breath for our five minute glimpse into the US sponsored Future Scope. Mankind’s first peek into the future. Into the year 3055.

‘It’s some kind of a garden ornament Sir.’

‘A garden ornament?’

I pushed the professor out of the way and had a look for myself. And there she was, a young girl of about six staring at me with dead ceramic eyes. A hundred years in the planning and this was our result.

‘So what does this mean?’ asked the professor.

‘It means,’ I said, ‘that in the year 3055, people will still have bloody gardens.’

But I also knew that we would have to wait another 100 years to try again.

A hundred years of preparation and all we had was a stupid girl with a wheel barrow. Staring into the past with a stupid grin. And in five minutes she would disappear, taking 3055 with her.

But then I saw it. We all saw it. The smile was changing into something else. The girl with the wheel barrow wasn’t smiling but screaming. And as the image faded, we all hear the words she was screaming. I’ll never forget what she said.


                                                       (C) Ally Atherton

236 Words I wrote for the Light and Shade Challenge and the Facebook group 500 Fiction.

Friday, 27 February 2015


WHEN I WAS a kid I used to sit on the edge of my bed and imagine my room was separating from the rest of the house by a few inches every night. I was desperate and happy to try anything and I hoped that by the time I reached 18 it would be in a different neighbourhood and not just sat like a very awkward shed at the end of our garden.

It's still there. The house. The room. I'm not, I escaped eventually but by a more traditional method.

But if you look carefully there's a tiny crack in the wall where my bed used to be and a part of me thinks that maybe I would have got there eventually if had tried hard enough, so maybe it's my fault what he did.


                                                                                  @ Ally Atherton 2015

136 words for #FridayFlash


Thursday, 26 February 2015

Catching Thoughts


                          The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts

                                                                                         John Locke

ON A GOOD day people are walking around with bubbles coming out of their heads.

The blunter the thought, the smaller the bubble. HUNGRY and HORNY are top of the pile, closely followed by I NEED A PISS. I think every fourth person that I come across needs a piss and 1 in 10 are thinking about ways to spend their winning lottery ticket.

That's as exciting as it gets most of the time but it's the sharper thoughts with the biggest bubbles that all thought catchers worth their salt live and breathe for. But you have to be on your toes. Sharp thoughts burst quickly. Sometimes you almost have to catch them before they've had the chance to form, those sharp thoughts with big bubbles can be a handful.

Because sharp thoughts are also the heaviest.

I once put my back out trying to catch an I KILLED MY WIFE. And only yesterday I was taking a late night stroll and an

                               I NEED TO FUCK AN ELEVEN YEAR OLD

burst before I had chance to catch it. And you have to catch the sharp ones or else nothing ever gets done.

But most days are bad and bubbleless days. Bad days where thoughts cling to the cold bars of their human cages for dear life and won't come out to play unless you grab them by their small and danglies, kicking and screaming.

                                                                            (C) Ally Atherton 2015

235 Words written for this week's Light and Shade Challenge.

                                                            Why not take a look and join in? It's fun.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015


                                     When I was Fourteen

                                     I stopped counting and blowing 

                                     out useless candles


I wrote this for a wonderful little Haiku challenge that I have stumbled across. Over at

                                Haiku Horizons

                                                                    The prompt this week is BIRTHDAYS.

Monday, 26 January 2015

The Art of Laughter

                                'If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane.'

                                                                    Jimmy Buffett

WHEN I WAS a kid my cousin had a Bugs Bunny on a chain. You pulled the chain and he'd start yapping.

They don't make toys like that anymore. Things don't come on a chain. But sometimes I wonder if my life would have been easier if I came with a chain because since it happened I find it hard to get my  words out, in the right order. The Doctor told my mum that I had Meccano Words. It was his clever way of saying that my words don't come out fully assembled and that you need to screw them together to make any sense out of them. But if I had a chain you wouldn't have to do that.

It wasn't the words I was worried about. At least I had words even though they came out broken and people had to put them together for me before they could use them. It was years later when I discovered that I had lost the art of laughter.

Bugs Bunny had a box inside his chest that contained every word he ever needed to say. They never fell out of his mouth. People didn't need to catch them with butterfly nets. You didn't need a Screwfix catalogue to work out what the hell he was saying. But it was his laugh that cracked us up. We used to pull that chain over and over, cutting him off mid sentence so we could hear it. I can hear it now.

Whenever I go to see somebody I get the same words thrown back at me. At night I imagine those words on a big wheel and sometimes it won't stop turning. Occasionally the wheel stops on a particular word like cognition or desensitisation or rape. I have lost count of the amount of times I've tried to grab hold of that wheel so that I can open my bedroom window and throw it out into the cold night air. A cold night air full of people without chains. Where childhood and adulthood are well oiled machines. Where laughter doesn't slip from your fingers or live inside a rabbits ribcage.

                                                                                        (C) Ally Atherton 2015

359 Words written for this weeks Light and Shade Challenge

As usual I'd really appreciate any feedback.



Sunday, 14 December 2014

Carrie by Stephen King

A small town is brought to it's knees. A statue of the crucifixion hangs on a wall. A bucket of pigs blood falls from the ceiling and covers the Prom Queen. It could only be Stephen King.

Here is where I stand on this one. I'm a life long fan of the Master of Horror but I've never quite got round to reading this one until now. It's such an iconic book and it probably comes to the mind of anybody when they hear Stephen King's name mentioned. I remember watching the film when I was about 14 and being mesmerised and infatuated by Sissy Spacek. King fans like myself have a lot to thank this book for. It was his first published book and maybe if it wasn't for Carrie we would never have had such a collection of fantastic books.

However putting aside my fan loyalty I have to say that this is one of his weaker books. It was written at a time when Stephen King was still developing his style and voice and it is pretty average. There are flashes of genius in there but the writing isn't up there with his best works. It's scary and twisty and warped but he has written far superior books. Iconic but not my favourite.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Untitled (Part One)

Sometimes when I'm not ticking I go hungry.

I sit in my capsule and nothing will happen. The Zolk doesn't appear no matter how hard I try to concentrate. On a good day I will get enough to keep me going until noonfest but on a bad day I will be lucky to get enough to feed a tinkle.


It was Sourday and that meant double helmet. It was the thing I hated the most. Sitting there in my boothical with that thing on my head. It always gave me a headache even though I could always manifest myself a Yoogle afterwards. I don't know what we'd be without our Yoogles. They can cure anything, although I've never worked out what happens to a Yoogle that isn't feeling very well. Does it manifest it's own Yoogle?

I dread the journey to the Helmet Zone and have nightmares about walking the colourdoors that lead to it. The combination is etched into my mind. Yellow Yellow Red Red Red Yellow Blue Orange Pirkle Red Red. It is impossible to get lost. We know our way around the inside of our home like we know the colours of our garments because there is nothing else to do. We walk. We eliminate. We eat and we walk some more.


Ink was sat in the boothical next to me as she always was. We listen in pairs and there are fifty pairs in each section of the Helmet Zone. Ink and me both wear white because we are connected by a birther.

To get the helmets working we have to tick. She is always faster at it than me but maybe that's because she doesn't hate Double Helmet as much as I do. She doesn't get headaches. She doesn't need a Yoogle.

When we are born we spend many years learning how to listen. Even at my age I still struggle to interpret everything and sometimes it still sounds like an incoherent collection of metallic screeches. I think that's why I get my headaches. Everybody is so much better at this than me. While they listen and learn all about the old times, I struggle to hear anything of any use to anybody.