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Recent Drabbles

Early Night?

After tossing and turning, Susan wearily admitted defeat to the insomnia which plagued her. Grabbing her dressing gown, she went downstairs. This was becoming a regular occurrence. She was now only averaging two to four hours sleep per night. It was taking its toll, not only on her physical health, but also on her mental health.

She went into the kitchen and placed a pod into the coffee machine, noting that she needed more pods. She seemed to be using a lot lately. Settling down with a book and a strong coffee, she once again wondered why she couldn’t sleep.

Case Work

Lettering on the door indicates ‘Casey P.I.’. That’s me and that’s what I do. How I do it depends on the investigation but often it involves me passing greenbacks in exchange for information. Sometimes, not always, it means I give someone a slap.

Today, I’m feet up on my desk, listening to Myra’s typewriter. She organises me and my work from a cubicle off to the side of my office.

“You’ve an appointment at quarter after three – corner of 49th and Hardaker.”

“Thanks, Myra.”

I pick up my gun, ID and purse, hitch up my skirt and leave the building.

Andrew Atkinson Merits

17 most prolific16 most esteemed


Remake the movie. Recast the character. Remix the song. Rerelease the album. Reform the band. Repackage the product. Rebrand the company. Reproduce the artwork. Reinvent the fashion. Reprint the book. Reinterpret the myth. Reimagine the classics.

Rewatch videos. Replay songs. Reread novels. Recite quotes. Reconnect with friends. Revisit past haunts. Recreate the good old days.

Recycle your rubbish. Reheat your leftovers. Remortgage your property. Repay your debts. Renew your membership. Reboot your computer. Recharge your phone. Repost your status. Rekindle your relationships. Relapse your addictions. Re-examine your choices.

Reset the world, because there is no new one.

Retell this story.

David Wailing Merits

10 most prolific9 most esteemed

Trade Off

The smugglers struggle up the incline of the wooded chine, weighed down by barrels of brandy and chests of tea. Above them, before the chine merges into heath, stand the Revenue men, armed but not as numerous.

Earlier that month, smugglers – or ‘free traders’ – and the Revenue had clashed, farther along the coastline. Five died. A similar outcome is now in prospect.

A forward scout from the smugglers forewarns his companions, and leaders from the opposing camps meet to parley. Shortly afterwards they disperse, the smugglers keeping the rum and the Revenue men going home with the tea. Transaction complete.

Andrew Atkinson Merits

17 most prolific16 most esteemed

Life Cycle

They came together more by accident than design. They married and moved to a cottage in the countryside. Over the years they drifted apart. He spent more and more time in the shed, sharpening blades and mixing weed killers. He dug a trench-like hole beyond the cabbage patch. She started adding small quantities of powder to his tea, checking pension rights and carrying sturdy knitting needles.

The tipping point came over some burnt scones. Words were spoken and objects brandished.

Now, there is a For Sale sign outside the cottage but viewers are rare, given the history of the property.

Andrew Atkinson Merits

17 most prolific16 most esteemed

The Wheel Stops Spinning

He lies in a ditch, partly under a bicycle with its rear wheel buckled beyond repair and its light extinguished by the crunch of metal. A puddle of blood and other liquids spreads under him and, as with the blood, his life ebbs slowly away. Eerily, there is now no sound – from him or the roadway. One eye is open, but is unseeing.

As for the car driver, she speeds away into darkness. She can run but she cannot hide, her memory damned forever by images of the consequences of drunken thoughtlessness. Her life, too, is as good as over.

Andrew Atkinson Merits

17 most prolific16 most esteemed

What A Conundrum

With a first in English from Cambridge, and now a current lecturer in English and Creative Writing at Manchester University, people assumed that this would be easy for her. But the truth was that her academic qualifications were of no use today. She sat back, nerves threatening to turn into full-on panic, as the Countdown host introduced the show.

She just about managed to scrape four or five letter words and managed to not embarrass herself on the numbers rounds. The final letters round began.


It should have been easy for her. Her particular interest was in short stories.

Out Of The Blue

Drowsiness fell like a silk curtain and her mind began to drift. She should pull back, get up, move around. But the harmony had her, the air and the music of the earth were carrying her away. It was just too hard to come back. Maybe another few minutes or so and then she would force herself awake.

She didn’t hear the car, or the footsteps in the meadow. She didn’t feel the shadow cool her skin. When the terror hit her it came from out of a place of gentle peace, and was all the more brutal for that.

Emergency Action

It wasn’t every day that you saw a sight like that as you drove down the road. There in the ditch laid the vehicle at a forty-five degree angle, facing the way of the oncoming traffic.

How fast must it have been going to lose control and end up on the wrong side of the road? Had there been anyone in the back of it, or was it going somewhere else in an emergency?

Why was it still in the ditch? Surely they would have pulled it out by now. Don’t they need all the ambulances they can get?

Kev Neylon Merits

6 most prolific1 most esteemed16 top drabble5 top drabblist

Indian Summer?

“An Apache or a Sioux can be a tricky customer. As can an Arapaho. A Shoshone is usually smart. I’ll tell yer more ’bout them later. I got me a Sho wife once. She could cook great and kept me warm thro’ that winter of ’89.

“Anyways, I’ll tell yer of the fight with the black bear wot ’ad taken a fancy to my leg. Well…”

It was going to be a long night, so I threw some more tree bits on the camp fire, refilled my coffee cup and settled in to listen to the reminiscences of Old Stumpy.

Andrew Atkinson Merits

17 most prolific16 most esteemed

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