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16/08/2017
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Archive



Kev Neylon

 

Drabbles

Kev Neylon Merits

6 most prolific2 most esteemed13 top drabblist

Time Machine

They’d finished work on the time machine. Thousands of hours working out permutations for mass, volume, acceleration and time. They’d mapped coordinates for the trial journey: they were going to send a team member forward a day into an empty room next to their laboratory.

Hank, lead mathematician on the project, had volunteered. He entered the chamber, watching the team program the details. In a few seconds he would be next door, tomorrow.

The chamber blinked out of view and he found himself in the vacuum of space.

They had forgotten about the movement of the Earth around the Sun.


All Gone Wrong

He’d had the worst day in his working life. His project for the last two years had gone live, only for the new system to fall over in the first hour. He’d spent the day stuck between crisis calls with the implementation partners, and calls from senior managers berating him for ruining their business.

They’d got it up and running again in the afternoon, but now he had a meeting with management the next morning.

He was driving home when the phone rang. His wife shouted, “There’s an idiot driving the wrong way on the M23!”

“Yes dear, it’s me.”


A Monster

The monster whooshed down out of the sky and landed with a roar and a cloud of dust, next to where the man had been sleeping on the bench. The roar woke him from his stupor, and he struggled to work out where he was. He saw the monster shaking in front of his eyes and tried to move away from it, only to find the bench’s back prevented him from doing so.

He tried to work out what the creature was, only recognising it as the dust cleared. It was a gargoyle, fallen from the roof of the church.


Food Magic

The boy’s friends were smiling and laughing. They were amazed at the fact that the food was floating up off the plate, through the air and into his mouth.

Every time a piece of food was in his mouth, one of the other boys cheered, and they kept encouraging him to do it again.

He was almost halfway through his lunch when the teacher approached him from behind and shouted, “Stop playing with your food, young man. If I’ve told you once I’ve told you at least a hundred times – don’t levitate your food to eat. Use the fork, Luke!”


Grave Information

She caught sight of the gravestone out of the corner of her eye as she walked through the church grounds on her way to the train station.

She’d walked this path hundreds of times before, but had never noticed this particular gravestone. It was a different colour to the others, and there were fresh flowers on it. She was sure that it hadn’t been here the last time she had passed this way.

She walked over to it and was shocked to see her own name and date of birth engraved upon the gravestone. Apparently she’d died eight days ago.


Hide

The boy was hiding in the cupboard. He had seen the man who was looking for him before, but his confused young brain couldn’t tell when or where.

The man was calling the boy’s name, How did this man know his name? He could hear the voice getting closer, it was close enough for him to hear footsteps in the room now.

The steps came across the room and stopped outside the cupboard. The door was flung open and the light flooded in.

His mother stood there frowning at him. “Stop being silly, Timmy, and say hello to your uncle.”


Paper Count

It was a slick operation alright. All those vehicles from all those sites, delivering their loads as quickly as possible.

All that paper, tipped out on tables, sorted into piles and then the hordes of people, their fingers flying, moving impossibly quickly, counting the pieces of paper faster than you would think possible.

By the end, all the piles have been counted, over fifty thousand pieces, the whole process is done in less than an hour from the closing of the stations.

The totals are handed to the registrar, and the votes are announced.

This year’s next top model is…


Animal Cruelty

“Mummy, we have to stop them,” cried little Jessica.

“Stop who, darling?”

“The men torturing those animals, the ones that sound seriously in pain.”

Jessica’s mum looked around, but failed to spot any animals, so she asked “What animals, sweetheart?”

“Those!” Jessica shouted as she pointed them out. ”The ones that those men in skirts have got in their arms, can’t you hear the horrible screeching the poor animals are making?”

Jessica’s mum laughed. “Darling, they aren’t animals, they are called bagpipes, they are traditional Scottish musical instruments.”

Jessica didn’t seem to agree. “Musical instruments? You could have fooled me.”


Reflection In The Lake

He lay on the bank of the lake, hanging over the edge, looking at the water below. There was a slight swell to the water, rising and falling slightly against the bank as small craft moved across the lake. The water was clear; he could see the bottom of the lake, dark-coloured silt covering it. There were small fish darting around, seemingly at random.

As the water settled, he could see his reflection smiling up at him. There was something wrong with the reflection as he wasn’t smiling.

It was still smiling as it dragged him under the water.


12 Men and Women

The twelve men and women sat around the table trying to make a decision. Some made up their minds straight away. Others were indecisive, finding the choice in front of them more difficult than it really should be.

Finally, the last of them made up their minds - they could not all agree. They were asked what their decision was.

Their leader stood up, looking around the table before announcing the outcome from their deliberations.

“We have decided that we shall have seven cups of coffee, four cups of tea, and the awkward one on the end wants an orange juice.”


The Seeker

It was another typical Saturday afternoon in Crawley town centre. The sun was shining and lots of people were wandering around in short sleeves and short skirts, and that was just the men.

However one man in full-length everything was not happy. He had been searching all over the place for what he wanted, for what he needed.

As he reached the end of the shops he saw some more possibilities and rushed over, but it wasn’t to be.

Disappointed, he turned away, looking despondent. All the cars had valid parking tickets - no fines today for the traffic warden.


On The Run

He’d been on the run for three weeks now, just managing to avoid their clutches on several occasions. He didn’t understand how they kept finding him. He’d dumped all of his old clothes and picked up new ones in charity shops. He hadn’t used any of his bank cards since drawing out thousands in the first couple of days, and he’d dismantled and disposed of his phone. He hadn’t used his own name in all that time either, yet still they came, homing in on him unerringly.

Being eight foot tall and green was a bit of a giveaway though.


Bright Dreams

He was having that dream again, strapped to the table, bright white light flooding the room. There were others, similarly strapped to tables to his right, there was nothing to his left except bright whiteness. There wasn’t any source for the light, it just seemed to explode out of every surface.

The masked man in the white lab coat was suddenly hovering over him, needle in hand, which he plunged into his leg.

As normal he woke up screaming.

He opened his eyes, and the bright light flooded in, strapped to the table.

The scream was for real this time.


No Work Today

She had managed to avoid doing any work so far today, and there was only just over an hour to get through before she could rack up another work-free day.

She had browsed various websites looking for that dress she wanted for the office party, but hadn’t found what she wanted.

She had been on her phone, took some photos and put some inappropriate comments on Twitter and Facebook.

She was preparing for an hour of opening and closing random documents on her PC when her manager called her into the office.

“About this report on your internet history.”


Tricky Ending

He’d been slavishly working on his first book for months now. Every spare moment he got out of work, he was tapping away on his laptop. The story he had ended up with was a long way from the one he had set out to produce, but the ending to the story was impossibly hard to write.

He put the laptop down on the banister to close the door behind him, and then turned and watched in horror as he knocked it off and saw it bounce down the stairs.

Definitely not the ending he was looking for at all.


I Didn't Do It

That positronic cannon blast had been too close for comfort. He knew he could smell singed metal as he breathed.

He’d no idea what the LEO cruiser had fired upon him for. As far as he knew he’d broken no laws, and there were no intergalactic warrants out against him.

His ship dropped like a stone after being fired upon and landed hard, almost wedged between two buildings. He scrambled out the back of his craft and saw the problem. Someone had scrawled the treasonous words ‘Kill the Emperor’ across the tail.

The LEO cruiser didn’t miss a second time.


Office Furniture

She’d sat still for too long. She tried to pick her arms off the desk only to find they wouldn’t move. It wasn’t just a case of her skin sticking to the wood, her arms were actually embedded and intertwined with the desk.

She tried wrenching her arms away by standing up, only to find she couldn’t stand either. Her thighs and buttocks had become one with the seat, and her skirt appeared to be sewn into the fabric of the office chair.

She looked around for help, but everyone else was the same. The office had assimilated them all.


Churchgoer

Since moving house he had noticed that he had been going to the local church more and more than at any point in his life since his teenage years, when he had drifted away, no longer believing in God, thinking history and science were the much more likely outcomes.

Yet in the last couple of years, he had found himself in the local church on a regular basis, and there were always lots of people there.

Borough council, county council, general elections, referendums, police commissionaires… there were always lots of reasons to nip into the local church and vote nowadays.


I Spy A Spider

He had woken up that morning and could see something out of the corner of his eye. When he tried to concentrate on what it was, it seemed to move out of focus and slip away from him.

It seemed like it was the legs of a spider, slowing moving its legs around, and it felt itchy as hell. He had rubbed his eyes, but it seemed to have split the vision up and there was now more in the corner of his eye.

He looked in the mirror and saw the problem. There WAS a spider in his eye.


Incident At Lunch

The couple sat having lunch, watching as the man ran down the steps of the bank and threw the cash bags into the open hatchback, as nearby an old man played guitar badly.

Policemen stood and watched, holding onto their designer branded shopping bags.

Newspapers the following day had many headlines.

“BANK OF CYPRUS BRANCH ROBBED BY REPLACEMENT COURIER, POLICE STOOD BY AND WATCHED.”

“THEFTS FROM TOURISTS BELIEVED TO BE PERPETRATED BY FAKE POLICE.”

“MAN FOUND HANGED BY GUITAR STRINGS IN TOILET.”

“URGENT REQUEST FOR COUPLE WITNESS TO BANK THEFT TO COME FORWARD.”

“PEUGEOT 106 FOUND BURNT OUT IN QUARRY.”


Suddenly Green

She stopped tapping her keyboard, and moved her head to her right, looking out of the window for what seemed the first time in ages.

Actually properly looked. The bright green foliage on the trees outside the window couldn’t have appeared overnight, but she was sure the last time she had looked out of the window, the trees had all been bare, and she could see the houses that lay beyond.

She smiled as the sun flickered over the leaves as they swayed gently in the breeze.

Then BANG!! The seagull imprint was left on the outside of the window.


Distracted

He was under pressure. There was a great deal of people depending on his leadership, and yet here he sat in this small cottage, in effect hiding.

So much was going through his mind about what he had to do, how he could organise his people, and what he needed to win the day.

Yet there was something nagging at him, something that he had to do here and now. An immediate concern for him to see to, yet he couldn’t remember what.

A funny smell was distracting him, and a woman's voice yelled.

“Alfred, you’re burning the cakes again!”


The Beach

Come to the beach, they said. It will be fun, they said. You’ll have a great time, they said.

She shouldn’t have listened, shouldn’t have been so easily led. She knew she hated the beach. She tried to avoid the sun by staying inside or in the shade, but there was no shade on the beach. She was hot and uncomfortable.

Sand was everywhere. In-between her toes, on her clothes, in her hair and, worst of all, in her food. She hated the sand.

She needed a shower, longed for one.

And then, to her delight only, the rain started.


Scratching

The scratching at the door was a constant echo in the back of her mind. Was she still dreaming, or was she awake and there was something at the door to bedroom?

She opened her eyes and the scratching noise continued. It was annoying her now. She got out of bed and went to the door where the sound was coming from, and opened it.

There was nothing there. The noise stopped, and she closed the door and went back to bed.

She closed her eyes and the scratching started again.

This time it was in the bed with her.


Sunset

The sun had set beyond the horizon, and was lighting up the sky in the most wonderful way. Deep terracotta orange at the base, lightening to yellow before transitioning into a cavalcade of blue, with white tips on the few wispy clouds that gently floated in the sky.

The rooftops that could be seen out of the window blended in with the bare tree branches in a silhouette of black, lining the sky’s kaleidoscope of colours.

I was transfixed by the view as it slowly changed.

Then someone turned the lights on and all I could see was my reflection.


Battle Plan

Henry had been trying to get an appointment in front of the committee for months. It had been a constant battle with the keeper of the diary to get in front of them to talk about his plan for a special re-enactment for the anniversary.

It was close now, it was already the fourth of the month and the anniversary was on the twenty-fifth.

She looked up at him, “I can squeeze you in at quarter past two tomorrow if that’s OK?”

“Yes please”, he replied eagerly.

There you are then Henry, the fifth at 14:15 in the Agincourt room.


Half Fare

I asked the driver, “Half into town please.”

The driver looked suspiciously at me, and asked me, “How old are you?”

“Eight”, I replied honestly.

The driver‘s eyes narrowed, and the tone of his voice changed.

“Are you having a laugh? There is no way you’re only eight years old, you’ve got a beard and are over six foot tall.”

It was a line I’d heard many times before. Wearily I got my passport out and showed him my date of birth.

“It says 1984 on this.”

“Yes but the February 29th only happens every four years – I am eight!”


Possessed

She was a woman possessed. It had taken over her mind, body and soul completely, and now controlled everything. She was totally at its mercy.

There was no mercy tonight, on and on it went, never ceasing, forcing her on, keeping her moving constantly, seemingly oblivious to the throngs of people around her.

They looked at her, they knew she wasn’t in control. Some of them made a show of keeping away, some of them nodded, as if aware of what was going on, and feeling empathy towards her.

Then it stopped. The club was closing. No more music tonight.


Star Wars marathon

“Star Wars marathon” were the only words he actually heard before replying, “yes, I’d be up for that.” He ignored the questioning look, and continued on, “when do you want to do it then? Would Saturday be good for you?”

“Erm, OK”

“Great, would 10 be alright with you?”

“Suppose so.”

The rest of the week dragged and then it was Saturday, 10am on the dot, he rang the bell.

He was let in and shown into the living room.

There in an airtight box was a Marathon bar with Star Wars promotional wrapping from 1977.

“They’re called Snickers now.”


Get a notepad

He had stopped reading, turned his kindle off, turned the light off, and tried to go to sleep.

His mind wouldn’t stop. He was having ideas for what to write for his next drabble. There were lots of strands, ideas about writing on subjects he knew about and was interested in.

Then he had a story flash into his mind and he counted the words in his head. He had about ninety, which was great he could work with that. He’d write it down when he got up in the morning.

The morning came.

If only he could’ve remembered it!


Trainspotting

Gazing out of the window, watching the trains go by. Now that autumn had arrived and stripped the trees of their leaves, the trains were easier to see.

He counted the number of trains and mentally noted both their direction of travel and the number of coaches on each one. A pattern was built of four, five, eight, ten and twelve coach trains passing by.

The fly in the ointment, a goods train, thirty-three random sized cars behind two engines.

Then his thoughts of trains went, as his train of thought was broken by his boss shouting,

“Do some work!”


E-mail Overload

The last e-mail had pushed him over the edge.

He picked up his keyboard and used it like a baseball bat, swinging at anything and everything in range, screens, phones, people, nothing was safe.

A few keys fell out, and he picked them up and started eating them.

He then ran as fast as he could and flung himself at the window. He bounced back. He tried another three times with the same result, but finally managed to break through the glass and fall on the fifth attempt.

The suicide attempt failed, he forgot he worked on the ground floor.


Secret Santa

“DIY Made Easy” was the title of the book.

Someone who obviously didn’t know him well had given it to him in secret Santa. DIM would be more appropriate – destroy it myself – was the outcome of any home improvements.

Clumsy was an understatement.

The bookcase had a missing shelf, where he’d stood on it whilst unpacking it from the flat-pack.

The chair was missing an arm from resting laminate flooring on it to cut to size. Cut through the arm perfectly, but the floor panel was wonky.

Perhaps the sender did know him, and was actually plotting to kill him!


Filling time

Sat there waiting for reports to run, how much time was spent just waiting for the computer to do something?

What could she be doing in those minutes whilst the machine did whatever it does?

Surfing the internet was frowned upon, as was wandering around chatting, listening to music, reading books, and anything else that might be interesting.

Stuck staring at the screen, bored, waiting for something to happen.

Then she opened a blank word document, and she started to type, it looked like work and a book could be a way out.

Now waiting for the document to save.


Do you want another drink?

He had drink number three in front of him, this was the tipping point, between getting home today and being able to participate in the family get together tomorrow, or stumbling around at 4am, with remnants of kebab all over his clothes, wondering if he was going to make it home.

It would take him less than five minutes to finish off the pint and then it was decision time.

The time ticked by, another drink or home. Home, or another drink. He thought about the family get together again, and realised the right thing to do.

Same again please.


Lumberjack dreams

He’d been in the woods for what seemed like hours, but he couldn’t really be sure how long he’d actually been here.

The trees were laughing at him. He was sure of it.

There had been a path, but that had disappeared. He was sure the trees had hidden the path on purpose. They seemed to be moving, shifting, changing positions, although he knew that wasn’t possible.

Then he was in a semi-circle of tightly packed trees with no way through.

He turned to go back and found the same behind him.

They’d caught him, and they had his axe.


Fans

He had seen them win once. He was sure of it. It had been a long time ago, and now all these defeats were blurring into one.

They had changed the coach, changed stadiums, and changed the players – changed soooo many players, but failed to change owners.

What hadn’t changed was their innate ability to lose games.

Yet still the fans watched, they held their breath with hope and expectation, that this would be the week when finally a win would come.

They would be disappointed again, another failure, spirits sinking again.

What did they expect, they were 49ers fans.


Ideas

The pen sped across the page as she tried to get all the ideas out of her head down on paper to refer to later, knowing full well she wouldn’t remember half of it when it really mattered.

So quickly the pen moved it wasn’t leaving ink so much, as scorch marks on the page.

And then it stopped, the ideas having come to an end, nothing more flowed from the pen.

She took a breath and looked at the page below, and cried.

There were no words on the page at all.

The pen still had its lid on.


Columbo

“Just one more thing.”

Yet again, just like Columbo, pecking away with the seemingly never ending stream of questions. It felt like trying to slay the Hydra, every time a question was answered, two more popped back up in its place.

The constant questions made him feel guilty of committing a crime, something which he knew he hadn’t done. So far!

There may well be a murder soon if the barrage continued.

Then at the point he felt like he was going to flip, it suddenly stopped. The questions ceased, and he got out of the car.

Congratulations, you passed.


Autumn Falls

A single leaf had started to change colour from green to yellow, was it really that time of year already?

The days passed quickly, and more colours came, reds and yellows, oranges and browns, then one by one the leaves came tumbling down.

A small front garden was fully in bloom, with hardy perennials’ bright colours fighting off the gloom.

The wind came along and moved all the fallen leaves, and now the front garden can hardly be seen. Dead leaves causing death as they smother the flowers, blocking out the sun, and soaking up all the water from showers.


InsignificANT!

It started with an ant.

Not a giant or an elephant, but a tiny ant, scurrying across the kitchen floor, dragging a leaf.

The cat and the dog spotted the leaf moving, but not the ant pulling it. They both dived for the leaf at the same time and became entangled.

The entanglement led to a fight, and all hell broke loose. They knocked the oven over, and the gas pipe ruptured.

The owner came and switched the light on to see what was happening.

Boom!

An ant scurried away from the burnt out shell pulling a leaf behind it.


Crossed out

The chicken had crossed the road, rolled in the mud and crossed back again, and was delighted about being a dirty double crosser.

The turkey was jealous of the chicken, it had been after the road crossing job for years, and to be pecked at the post by the chicken was the last straw.

The fox had been tipped off, he’d been given the time and place of the crossing and was in hiding, waiting.

The chicken had the day off, and the turkey was given a trial, for holiday cover.

The turkey, so pleased, had forgotten about the fox.


Mistaken Identity

“It can’t have been me, I’ve never been there officer.”

“We have you on CCTV, and then your debit card was used next door.”

“That’s not possible, I have never set foot in Coventry, and I don’t have a bank account, let alone a card.”

“Is this you in the picture?”

“It looks like me.”

“Is this your handwriting?”

“It looks very similar, yes”

“Then you can see why we’re here then.”

“Yes, because someone is pretending to be me, but is failing to get the details right.”

“Such as?”

“You’re visiting me in prison, I’ve been here five years!”


Jam

Start!

In the city, ghosts in the crowd, disguises the great depression, the dreams of children.

Pity poor Alfie, going underground, down in the tube station at midnight. London girl, Liza Radley, I need you precious. Takin’ my love, a solid bond in your heart, happy together in the midnight hour.

Little boy soldiers – David Watts, Smithers Jones, thick as thieves, set the house ablaze. The Eton rifles’ private hell.

A bomb in Wardour Street, Carnaby Street, in the street today, the planner’s dream goes wrong.

Slow down! Time for truth, just who is the five o’clock hero?

Billy Hunt.


In the morning

He woke up due to the sun shining in his eyes. It was still low on the horizon, and it was at just the right angle to shine on him in the gap between two trees.

He wondered why he was in such a position to see the rising sun, before remembering that he had agreed to a weekend in the great outdoors, camping with friends.

He was in a sleeping bag, next to his rucksack, and the tents of his friends were scattered around the campsite.

He knew why he could see the sun. Someone had stolen his tent!


The Lane

Late again.

Stuck on the train.

Every day suffering this pain.

Struggling into work for very little gain.

If it carried on, he would have to refrain.

He would walk instead, even in the rain.

Better than looking through the train’s window pane.

With random thoughts running through his brain.

Being late every day was driving him insane.

On his life, this journey was a bane.

If the train was Abel, he would be Cain.

When he flipped, they wouldn’t be able to restrain.

As his self-control was on the wane.

A holiday was needed, time to catch a plane.


Foodman

With bananas for hands, and mushrooms for feet.

A cauliflower for a brain in a head made of beet.

Artichoke as a heart, and lungs that were pears.

Arms of celery reached for the spaghetti styled hair.

Carrot for a nose and Brussel sprouts for eyes looked at turnips for knees and leek made thighs.

Sweet potato filled torso half stuffed with rice, peanuts for teeth surrounded a tongue made of ice.

Marrows for calves and a pumpkin behind.

Rosemary and sage instead of a mind.

What once was a man had completely changed, into a vegetarian’s pantry well rearranged.


No E's allowed

A small conundrum for you to think on.

Can you find what is unusual within this story?

Long and short, high and low, as this short story grows, so will your hints.

What is missing, you cry, how did you do it, and why?

A common thing all day, all night, is now hiding out of sight.

A book is full of this common digit. But you can’t find it!

A paragraph with zilch is hard to find, it’s always shouting in your mind.

And so this story is at a finish, don’t look too hard for what will diminish.


The Interview

Sitting there waiting for the interview to start.

Fully suited and booted and prepared as could be. Questions all rehearsed in my head. Researched the company, even thought of some questions that he could ask them.

The previous candidate filed out of the room, their face was a mask, impossible to read. Not a hint of whether they thought they had succeeded.

The telephone rang on the receptionist’s desk, and I was told to make my way in.

I took my seat and my heart sank. No job here today, both my ex-wives were the interview panel, smiling like sharks.


Saviour

Her birthday again, another year older.

No one to share it with this year.

Her parents dead, no children to nourish, no partner around.

A day to celebrate, you must be joking.

Just another day to survive in the rat race.

No cards, just bills coming through the door.

Four hundred Facebook friends that don’t say a word.

She goes to work and sits in a cube alone.

At the end of the day she gets the bus home.

She opens the door wanting to die, and Billy jumps on her, so happy to see her.

Thank God for dogs.


Inanimate

He opened his eyes, but there was nothing to see, he couldn’t tell whether he even had eyes.

He couldn’t hear a sound, to break the silence he screamed, but no sound came out. He had no voice, or ears to hear.

He tried to breathe, but there was no air. He wondered if his nose and mouth were there.

He reached out to touch his surroundings, but he had no arms.

He went to move but he had no legs.

He thought he had died, but he felt he was alive.

Consciousness trapped forever in a piece of rock.