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Friday, 8 August 2014

Bad Landing



                                         'He travels the fastest that travels alone'
                                                                                           ~ Rudyard Kipling


                           It wasn't how I imagined Oz.

Within minutes I had my hands tied behind my back and was hurtling along the yellow brick road by my ankles. I had a sack over my head and something very unpleasant in my mouth.

Bloody house.

It had all gone so well. My work transfer to Kansas, the house, the Toto lookalike. And the tornado came just like it said on the weather reports.

But then the house let me down and now there's only one place I'm going.


Fucking house landed right on top of Dorothy didn't it? Killed her outright.

                                        Albert Atherton

Written for the Light & Shade Challenge. Why not join in? It's fun.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Don't look Up

                                    Image courtesy of Free Images

                         Don't look up, don't even think about it.

Alice was right of course. Looking up would be fatal. So we carried on walking the subways of Boris because that's where we belonged. On the subways. The ever changing, ever twisting, ever screaming subways. We were tired but they made sure we didn't even think about looking up or slowing down.

We walked two by two. Not exactly safety in numbers but luckily today all we had come across were a couple of maintenance droids and a single One Tail that had copped it during the night. Alice has stared at it with morbid curiosity but I kept my eyes on the path. I felt sick to the stomach already and concrete walls are the safest thing to look at because dead One Tails and Two Tails are everywhere and most of them are half eaten.


They only scream in monosyllables. Move,Get Up, Stand Up and Faster being their favourites. You can't get into a conversation with a subway, they talk at you, not with you. They talk at you and kill you. There's nothing in between.

We feel like we're breaking. The only time we get to rest is during the night when we get seven minute rest periods but most of us walk and sleep at the same time as well as shitting and pissing and walking. Most of us are walking skeletons. We wear what we can grab and most of us are shoeless.

The subways are getting longer all the time. You can hear their construction in the background, a metallic wind amongst the sounds of our groaning and puking and wailing.
The No Tails are building the subways 24/7 and I've heard that soon we will have underground tunnels to crawl down when our legs have given way. Underground tunnels to live in, to crawl in. Underground tunnels to die in.

And soon we will be invisible to the inhabitants of Boris. The rightful, worthy,
No Tailed inhabitants of Boris.


                                                 (C) Albert Atherton

                                                                                                        334 Words

Written for this week's Light And Shade Challenge. A great place to meet other writers. Why not have a go yourself? You want to write? They Don't Bite! Not unless you ask them nicely.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Angel Yard

            All you have to do is kiss the bastard and say it backwards three times.

Did I make it too difficult?

Surely it's not rocket science! I'm not asking you to balance the sum of human kindness on the head of a pin. Go on, kiss me and say it,

                DRAY LEGNA

                DRAY LEGNA

                DRAY LEGNA

Is it too high up? Then use a ladder. Levitate. Jump!

Maybe it's an advertising problem. Maybe I didn't deliver enough leaflets. Stuff it, I don't do maybe's. Just kiss the bastard and say the magic words. How difficult can it be? 

It's been eighty years now. If I wasn't an Angel I'd probably be riddled with arthritis by now, sitting all alone like this inside my self imposed prison. It isn't very roomy I can assure you, barely enough room to stretch my legs. It's not as if I'm a bloody Genie. Genies have it easy I can tell you. All cosied up in their lamps with their wine and their doilies and their fluffy pillows.

I'd give my right wing for a fluffy pillow. 

Kiss me for God's sake, just kiss me and say the magic words.

Don't you want your own Angel? 

Ok so I'm not Archangel Gabriel or that bleeding moron Micheal, because as far as Angels are concerned I don't walk in those circles. They're celebrity Guardian Angels whereas I'm just your common Garden variety. Do you think one of them would be stupid enough to lock themselves inside a street sign?

No I'm just Gavin the Knob-head Angel and I was a bit pissed at the time to be honest. But seriously you don't know what you're missing. We could do things, you and me. Do you want to fly? Do you want money coming out of your armpits? Do you want every man and woman to fall in love with you even though you fell out of the ugly cart and landed in a puddle when you were born?

I'm your man. Go on kiss me, say the magic words. 

                DRAY LEGNA

                DRAY LEGNA

                DRAY LEGNA

Say it!

Let me out. Please I'm begging you. Let me out.


                                                           (C) Ally Atherton 2014 
                                                                                                 (361 Words)

This was written for this week's Light and Shade Challenge. If you love writing then why not give it a go? It's new, its fabulous and you don't know what you're missing.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Against the Ropes



                                It's not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

                                                            Edmund Hillary

I don't know anything about mountain climbing but every night I get a little bit closer to the top.

                Sometimes I get up in the middle of the night for a piss and I've still got all the paraphernalia stuck to my back and there's a rope stretching from my bed to the toilet. My wife is simultaneously sprawled out on her side of the bed that doubles up as a cliff edge. Sometimes I drop a pin or a hammer or some other object that celebrated nocturnal mountain climbers like myself use, and she wakes for a second and stares down at the the abyss, with a look of horror that is usually only reserved for my underpants.

I'm a crap climber. My left arm doesn't know what my right arm is doing. I have passed entire nights away before now in a complete tangle of ropes. I have used drawing pins, superglue, blue-tack, anything to keep myself pressed against the rock face. And the less I say about the sellotape incident the better. Let's just say it was a very long and bruising night.

My wife and family can't understand why I'm so knackered or why I've taken up a monthly subscription of Trek & Mountain magazine. How can I even begin to explain that I spend most days recovering from the after effects of altitude sickness, frostbite and occasionally a bout of snow blindness?

It's been going on for several months now. I should have reached the summit by now but after all my efforts I have a horrible suspicion that I am only moving a couple of inches a night. I think even my Grandmother could have got there faster than me and she's been dead twenty years. I am desperate. I need a good night's sleep to get over my night's sleep. I have Googled my predicament but as you can well imagine this doesn't appear to be happening to anybody else, although alarmingly there are a growing number of individuals who are knitting scarves in their sleep. I can cope with scarves.

I don't know the name of my mountain. I can't find it in Trek and Mountain Magazine. Edmund Hillary would know. I think I saw him once, one night when I was on my way up but he was on the far side and he couldn't hear me. I tried to memorise his face and when I woke up I looked him up in my recently acquired 'View from the Summit' but he didn't look anything like him. My Hillary looked more like Hillary Clinton.

God willing I'll reach the top soon and this will be all over. My wife is beginning to talk about me behind my back and our sex life is a joke. How can I explain that I need all the energy I can get and that the only peak I want to reach is currently covered in snow?


                                                                    (C) Ally Atherton 2014

Written for this week's Light and Shade Challenge. Go on, give it a go. Meet some lovely writers.

Other Entries so far this week


Aesop Clerk



Thin Spiral Notebook

Friday, 30 May 2014

A Time for Everything (Flash Fiction)


                  'Where did that come from?'

I had a Snizzleclapper crawling up my leg.

'Just don't make any sudden movements.'

Well that was reassuring. I could feel each of it's eyes penetrating my soul, searching my memories for a nice juicy one.

'Get it off.'

'I'm not touching it,' said Ian.

'Can't you give it a flick?'

'A flick?' he said, 'you can't just flick a Snizzleclapper.'

I knew. But when you have one crawling up your leg it's not easy to think straight because you know you haven't got long left.

We were all squashed inside the Time Cube. Me, Ian and the Snizzleclapper. Not very comfortable at all and outside it was raining fire again but it was a heat we couldn't feel.

It was on my chest now. Little slimy bastard. I was forgetting things more quickly now. He was half way through my childhood and heading towards my 12th birthday. Soon I wouldn't remember my own name.


I tried to grab hold of it. But it was wriggling in my hands as if my own name was a miniature Snizzleclapper of it's own.


Way too short. Not much to cling on to. Just three letters. Pathetic. Why couldn't mum have given me something longer, something a bit more substantial? William or Alexander. Something I could really get my tongue around.

Mum's name was gone. It went a few minutes ago. The Snizzleclapper had it.

'Awful weather isn't it.'

'Ian,' I said, 'Shut up.'

'Doesn't this thing work?'

It didn't. We were stuck, it was resting.


They eat you see. That's what they do. Snizzleclappers. They eat all of our left over memories, I don't think they do much else. He was eating mine and soon I would be a useless lump of nothing. I've seen what happens to people like me. It's not nice. And once it was done with me, Ian would be next.

Stupid, stupid time cube. I should have checked it before we jumped in. Given it a once over or something and then we would have seen it.

It was on my face. It was crawling close to my eye and Snizzleclapper's love eyes.  Eyes are unfortunately considered a bit of a side order. Eyeballs are Snizzleclapper's version of onion rings and french fries.

'Close them,' whispered Ian.

I humoured him but I knew it was a useless gesture. Soon it would be making it's way into my twenties and then it would be all over. I was only 25. My name was gone and Ian' name wouldn't be around for much longer.

'Got to try something, don't move,' he said

'I'll try not to.'

What was he doing?

'Try not to speak Ben, keep still and stay quiet.'

Who was Ben?

At first I had a horrifying feeling that he was kissing me but  then I realised exactly what he was up to.

'Ian no!'

But I didn't have any strength left, the Snizzleclapper was nearly finished with me.


'Tastes like chicken.'


'Why does everything always taste like chicken?' He said.

I was willing the time cube to move. Maybe if we could get back home somebody could stop him. But it had been set for one hour and we had only been here for about twenty minutes.

Outside the rainfire had stopped and the shadow people had returned and were making the most of the precious interval. They wouldn't help us. We were invisible and they were too busy anyway even if they could see us.


He was dead and had taken the Snizzleclapper with him. Stupid sod.

Mum's name popped back.


And small things followed. My first bike, my dog,  my surname and then bigger things like my house, my father's smile. My sister. Fragments of my memory that I didn't realise had gone in the first place.

I threw Ian out and closed to door tight before I could be sucked out with him.

I watched him burn.

Nobody could stand 5 seconds on Kipple 9. It had always been an observational visit only, anything else was sheer suicide.

And I waited.

Soon I would arrive back in the bunker. I would need a few days off.

Maybe I would need the rest of my life off but I couldn't stay still for too long. The future of the human race was in my hands now and my hands only. The Snizzleclappers had control of the Earth's past, it's present and it's future. Time cubes were our only means of escape but they were too uncontrollable, too unreliable.

I watched and waited. The Shadow People appeared and disappeared from behind their tall, curved buildings. They were quick. Too quick for me. But they had to be. It would be raining fire again soon and they had things to do. They lived, they breathed, they were oblivious to me and what I had to do next.


                                                                            (C) Ally Atherton 2014

Rules and Regulations

'Anyone breaking these rules will be loved and forgiven in the usual manner.'


                                                  From part of a sign in a shop in York, UK

                                           Artwork by Rene Pleinair 2013

If you happen to find yourself deceased there are certain terms and conditions that you must follow in order to maintain harmony with those around you.

Never annoy your fellow Cemeterians.


Only talk when you are spoken to and don't waffle. The deceased don't like wafflers.

Don't hum. Humming is annoying.

Don't sing. Singing is even more annoying, even on Bank Holidays.

Don't talk about politics. Politics is not only irrelevant but it's also a very dirty word in cemeteries.

Don't moan about the size of your headstone. Size isn't everything and nobody likes a moaner.

If you decide to stretch you legs, do it at night so no nobody can see you. Dead people aren't supposed to be walking around and you might give somebody a heart attack.

And finally. Cemetery boundaries are there for a reason. Don't even think about climbing over that wall or that fence or making a dash for it through the woods. You are dead. You're meant to be here and those boundaries are there for your own protection.

Try it. Go on I dare you.

You won't come back. Nobody ever does. Cross that line and

you're really dead. Double dead.


                                                  (C) Ally Atherton 2014

This was written for the Light and Shade Challenge. A wonderful new writing challenge for anybody who loves writing, whether you're established or a relative beginner. Go on. Give it ago. It's a great way to meet some lovely people too, from all over the world.



Tuesday, 6 May 2014

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L.Frank Baum

When I was a kid I loved the movie and I remember that I used to fight with my sister at Christmas, who always wanted to watch Peter Pan instead. I won, every time, I think. But that's a long time ago!

I have always been aware of the original Oz books but never quite got round to reading them until now, the first one anyway. It's difficult to review children's books. Only children should review them but as I'm a book reviewer I will do a small, quick one.

This is very different from the movie but in a good way. I found myself enjoying it just as much as I would if I were a kid again. Compared to the movie, there are notable differences including the amazing world of china and the hammerhead people and a few gory bits that wouldn't have been included in the movie! Other bits appear from the film but in a different order and the tin man is the tin woodsman and the ruby slippers are silver shoes. Overall this is a fun read that I'm sure lots of adults would enjoy reading too. I did!

This is a proper children's book. There are a few morals and themes that come out of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, namely that by helping each other we can achieve more but also that we can achieve anything, if we just believe hard enough.

I want to go to Oz.