Author: Idle Ink

Breath From Strangers by Thomas Elson

His hands trembled as he reached for a shopping cart. He had avoided life for the past five weeks. Now, wherever he looked there were threats. He saw it in the way people veered to the left or the right. He saw it in their eyes.

Past sliding doors into an open area designed to protect customers from winter blasts and summer bursts. He walked around stacks of bottled water, boxes of mac and cheese, and sugared cereal, then to a second set of doors. Clerks who had once smiled now resembled bank robbers – their faces covered and eyes swerving. One employee pointed to a sign.

Answer One Question for The Stay of a Lifetime by Rebecca Houghton

“Have you seen my wife?” says Mr. Blakeney, his hand coming down on the slate tile counter with a thump.

“Ah, hello, sir. We’ve been expecting you,” replies the neatly dressed concierge, his dark red uniform smartly pressed, metallic buttons glinting in the light from the old-fashioned brass desk lamp.

“My wife isn’t here?” says Mr. Blakeney.

Phoebe, or Rapunzel, Revamped by Linda McMullen

Once upon a time, there was a young maiden named Phoebe, blessed with beauty, grace, and intelligence – and enough guile to hide the last, when necessary.

She was the youngest flower of an ancient lineage, the only child of a love-match.  She possessed a wide circle of friends who adored her, and openly envied her loveliness.  She lived in ease in an ancient house in the country.  Indeed, her whole life was a song – except that her parents were in thrall to The Grandmother.

There and Not There by C.J. Dotson

We all read the stories when we were little, didn’t we? A bunch of children go into a wardrobe, or through a tiny door that’s only bricked over sometimes, or find a secret key, go down a rabbit hole, cross a bridge, fall into a book, vanish. Then there’s magic, and adventure, and villains for the children to test themselves against. At the end they come back and no time has passed, no one realized they were gone.

It’s bullshit.

Plane Girl by Andrew Stiggers

Though she loves her best mate to bits, Rachel doesn’t believe her for one moment.

“Yes, someday soon, I’ll be flying planes,” Jeany had told her as they were observing from the bar an airline pilot crossing the terminal hall. He’s smartly dressed in his gold-striped uniform.

“Sure, Jeany.” Her friend could never stick with a job. She gets bored too easily, flittering like a moth from lamp to wall light. First there was the hairdresser’s, then the vet’s, and now more recently the dental assistant job. “That’s it—I’ve quit the practice,” she’d announced, tossing her keys on the benchtop after returning to their flat.