Thursday, 21 January 2021



by Amanda Jones

a Shine Nootropic Drink


They are ignorant, just ignore them.

The response to any difficulty.

To a bully, or bullies. Even pain, health.

Unfortunately no help to a child. A cry of desperation from a loving Mum who was herself isolated and bullied.

There is no blame. It is very difficult to understand unless you were there. The other true guidance Mum felt so much was forgiveness. Is this ‘To forgive and forget?’


Forgiveness only comes after healing. Finding peace. Then, it is more complicated. Do I forgive those who are most cruel? Is blame taken away from acts of evil?


The bigger picture is seen and suddenly those two words, ignorance and forgiveness, mutually affect. My response as a child was that ignorance meant you didn’t know.

What it really is, is unawareness. A decision wrongly made. We all choose. Only a child cannot through innocence. As a child we are truly unaware. Adulthood brings pathways and awakening. But some do not stop sleeping.

We see success.

As ego leads us to compare, success in others overwhelms our sensitivity and envy kicks in. Their success is our failure. Our failure denotes unfairness. Where does this originate? Attention-driven satisfaction in the shallowness of ego. Strive deeper, don’t judge, don’t compare. Be happy for them through love. Then you will find peace and love yourself.

Ego is not self-love. The awareness of the light within brings true life and the road to forgiveness.

Mum didn’t forgive an evil act. She forgave the person. Guilt and blame grab tightly around the victim even though there is none. It is this we forgive. Wrong choices forgiven. Innocence resurrected and the pure love of spirit heals to peace.

True light brings a child-like happiness where spirit is followed.

Life is accepted and you can shine now.


About the author 

 Amanda has been writing since childhood and along with short stories she writes her Missy Dog charity series, poetry, non-fiction and horror. You can find her here:





Wednesday, 20 January 2021

To Share is to Care


by Amrita Valan

black  coffee


After thirty days of ritual dinners together Eva was getting bolder by the day, and more reckless. She could see that she was getting the desired results of her ample ministration in her husband’s face, his gait and mannerisms. She upped the dosage. Even lit perfumed candles to please him, perhaps he would succumb to her deepest desire today? Across the table her stately husband gazed at her with an intensity and she was sure, it wasn’t just his ardent admiration of her tender love and care.

Perhaps…she wondered once again, but her thoughts were cut short as her husband smiled at her with devoted puppy dog eyes.

Eva felt her sweat plop onto his arsenic laced soup, a daily ritual but today he asked her, " Let's share it together from the same bowl honey.”


About the author

Amrita Valan is a writer from India and is passionate about exploring life, both dark and sunny side up. If she didn't write she would have wanted to be sent on secret missions involving travel. She had been published in Spillwords, ImpSpire and Cafe Dissensus among other zines. 

Tuesday, 19 January 2021



by Tracy Hope

a chilli hot chocolate, for a bit of spice


‘Rebecca. I’m reluctant to do this.’

I scuffed my feet, sneaker soles screeching on the linoleum. I knew what Jacob was going to say next and I knew it was rubbish. I stopped listening; Jacob’s lips moved while he, incapable of eye contact, stared at my left shoulder. I scratched there, watching his gaze twitch to the other side. He’d always reminded me of a startled rabbit in a field. If I stayed still, so would he. But if I moved suddenly, he’d bolt for the nearest hole.

He slid a piece of paper towards me, leaving a sweaty streak across the desk, and sighed.

‘This is your first formal written warning. A second written warning will result in instant dismissal.’

I signed my name with an I-don’t-care flourish and waved the pen at him. He learned early on not to stand too close when we were talking, especially if I was holding the date stamp at the time. He once spent an afternoon at the issues desk with FEB24 smudged across his cheek.

‘You know this is a load of rubbish. Mrs McIlroy has it in for me because I don’t like James Patterson.’

Jacob sighed, shifting his nervous gaze from the pen to my right earlobe. I rubbed my ear, irritated. He blinked.

‘You told her James Patterson was making her stupid.’

‘I did, yes. Along with all those other hacks she reads. But I gave her my list of suggested reading.’

‘Do you really not see how condescending that is? Rebecca, you bullied her. It can’t happen again.’

‘Are we done? I have books to shelve.’ I shoved the letter back across the desk, where it caught the air and glided to the floor. When I left the office, Jacob was crouched on the linoleum, retrieving the letter from under his chair.

I fled to the cool, dry air of the basement archives, sulking in the dark at the bottom of the stairs. I’d been as polite to Mrs McIlroy as I could have been, under the circumstances. But she insisted on reading every James Patterson and Jeffery Deaver she could get her wrinkly hands on. Maybe it was my reference to her age that offended her. Old ladies got funny about their age. I’d only said she didn’t have much time left to read the quality books, and she’d have to read fast. It was true, wasn’t it?

The room smelled of decades of ink. Every issue of the local rag was stored here in huge folders that slid smoothly into recesses against the walls, a newspaper morgue. In the middle of the room were four large reading tables. The cleaners seldom came down. This was my refuge when I wanted somewhere quiet to read, or just to avoid Jacob and Ellen, the junior librarian. I kept my own stash of books under the stairs. Melville, Hemingway, Dostoevsky: my old friends were always here. I reached for Great Expectations and held it close, running my fingertips across the cover.

The solution to my problem came to me slowly, but it was such a clever idea that I had to act on it right away. I stood, brushing dust from the back of my knee-patched work pants, and climbed up to the main floor. Jacob pecked at his computer and Ellen was nowhere to be seen. Probably shelving books, or maybe singing to the mice in the kitchenette. She carried on like a princess in a musical. No handsome princes in the library though, only Jacob the startled rabbit.

There were no customers; the village is small and this is usually the time the old ladies cluster at the tearooms to share gossip and cakes. I rolled an empty trolley out from behind the counter and hid myself among the stacks.

Where to start? Ugh, those ridiculous vampire romance novels. I swept through the aisles, digging out two dozen trashy supernatural stories and piling them onto the trolley. Next? Pseudo-erotica! Fifty shades of purple prose, lined up on the trolley next to the vampires and werewolves.

Then to Self-help: I gathered armfuls of 'non-fiction' and stowed them on the lower trolley shelf. The trolley was already almost full. I would have to make multiple trips. I heaved books along the shelves to fill the gaping holes where books had been extracted, rotten teeth yanked from the mouth. Last and with utmost pleasure, I rolled into P and removed every James Patterson book from sight.

I wheeled the trolley back towards the counter. Jacob’s head was still barely visible above his monitor. He wouldn’t show his face: a combination of embarrassment at having to reprimand me this morning and general nervousness. I sailed confidently past him and turned the corner, where I’d left the door to the archives wedged open. In no time at all I had stacked all the books neatly out of sight, under the archives stairs.


When the old ladies came in for their weekly supply of junk food for the brain, they were mildly surprised to find they’d been cut off.

‘Margaret, there aren’t any Miss Marples this week! I wonder who has them.’

‘Joan, dear, it’ll be that Mrs Higgins. You know she loves mysteries. I can’t find any Ladies’ Detective Agency books either.’

‘She probably paid to upgrade her membership. I’ll go and reserve them.’

‘I wouldn’t. It’s that young girl on the desk. Rebecca? Rachel? You know, the little thing with the brown hair. She bullied poor Ida terribly. Ida laid a complaint.’


From my hiding place behind the shelves, I heard the musical tones of someone settling in for gossip. I slipped back to my place at the counter and waited for them to approach. I was a queen presiding over the realm I had shaped, the peasants queueing to beg my favour.

This was just the beginning.

About the author

Tracy is a New Zealander living in Switzerland with a husband, two teenagers, and a cat who screams curses. She is a literacy teacher and is currently working on an anthology. 

Monday, 18 January 2021

In A World Where You Can Be Anything Be Kind – the next chapter


by Alison Proud

a pot of English Breakfast tea

Dale woke up, something had hit him in the face.  He removed the newspaper to see his mum standing over him.  ‘Better not have been your lot involved in that old woman’s death’ she shouted and slammed out of his bedroom.  ‘What does she care’ he thought?  He got up and headed into town to get himself some breakfast, no food in the house as usual.

     He walked to the arcade, but his ‘friends’ no longer gathered there, not after the incident with the old lady.  Jack had recovered from his stab wound, paid Leo the money he owed him, and everyone was a gang again, but they got together on the other side of town now.  He would go over there later but this morning he needed to do something first.

     Henry was up early this morning; in fact, he had not slept much at all and he felt tired.  He made a cup of tea and sat at the table in the kitchen.  The basket of tulips that were left on his doorstep the day before brightened up the room and reminded him of his beloved Joyce.  He missed her so much but somehow those flowers made him feel closer to her.  He wondered who had left them for him.  Maybe it was the man in the shop where he bought his newspaper.  He drank his tea and then set off to thank him.

     Dale felt relief as he saw him.  He watched him walk through the arcade and into the newsagents and then leave again with his newspaper under his arm.  He wondered how he was feeling and coping without his wife.  He wanted to ask him if he was OK, if there was anything he could do to help.  Instead, he stayed tucked away, watching him from a distance.

     Henry was really puzzled because the man in the newsagents had said he knew nothing about the flowers.  He thought about asking in the supermarket but there were so many people working there, no one would remember yesterday’s purchases.  He made his way home and sat himself down to read the paper. 

     Dale went into the supermarket to get some food, he was starving.  At the till he handed over the sandwich and a bunch of flowers.  ‘£7.50 please’ said the lady. Damn. He only had a fiver.  ‘I’ll have to put this back’ he said to her.  He was angry when he left the shop, if his mum had food in the house instead of just wine and cigarettes, he would have been able to buy both.

     For the first time in a long while, Henry had switched on the television.  Neither he nor Joyce were ever really that interested in watching anything, but now the noise made him feel less lonely.  It had been a long day, but night-time was finally here, and Henry decided to go to bed early.  When he went to check the front door was locked, he noticed a piece of paper hanging out of the letterbox.  ‘I’ve left you something, I hope you are OK,’ was scribbled on the paper.  He opened the front door and picked up the yellow tulips from the doorstep.

     Every day after that, more yellow tulips were left at Henry’s flat.  The rooms were bursting full of colour and he felt like Joyce was still with him.  If only he knew who was being so kind, he desperately wanted to thank them.  One day he even sat in his doorway all morning and afternoon, determined to see who was bringing the flowers.  They arrived overnight on that occasion, after he had given up waiting and gone to bed!

     Dale had not eaten for days; he was spending his money on the flowers for the old man.  His mum had kicked him out when she found out about Jack’s stabbing and he was sleeping rough now.  He wanted to buy himself food, but he had to keep on getting the flowers. The old lady had bought them every day and she was gone because of his gang, so it was his responsibility to keep up her routine.  This afternoon he bought the flowers, but he did not feel good, so instead of taking them to the old man’s house he put them on the ground next to his makeshift home in the doorway of a disused shop and slept.

     Yesterday the tulips had not appeared at Henry’s flat and when he left to go and get his paper the following morning, he was surprised to not see them left on the doorstep overnight.  The tulips (always yellow ones) had been arriving every day for a long time and had helped Henry to smile again.  So, today he felt a twinge of sadness that maybe it was going to stop now, and he would never find out who had been so caring and thoughtful to do this for him.

     Henry bought his paper.  On the way out of the arcade, he stopped as something caught his eye, something yellow.  Next to one of the homeless types in a shop doorway were some flowers, a bunch of flowers......yellow tulips.  His yellow tulips, Joyce’s yellow tulips, the yellow tulips that were not delivered yesterday.  Henry walked over and bent down to pick them up.  Dale opened his eyes and saw the old man. ‘Sorry,’ he said, ‘I didn’t feel well enough to bring them to you yesterday.'  

Henry asked the lad when he had last eaten, and Dale could not remember how long it had been.  ‘How have you been able to buy these flowers every day?’ Henry asked.  

‘I use the money people give me’, said Dale and pointed to the plastic pot next to the homeless note in front of him.

‘I have bacon at home young man, come with me and I’ll make you breakfast’.  


Henry held out his hand and helped Dale to his feet.

About the author 

Alison has a passion for writing and attends a creative writing class. They write short stories each week and she is also writing a novel. She gets ideas for stories when she is out in the countryside walking her dog. That's when her imagination is at its best!