Monday 8 November 2010


By Jane
Black Americano

The Arum lilies were beautiful. Stems, brightly green with exquisite cream flowers. She loved the way they curled and the strength of the stems as she held them. A strand of ribbon binding the six lilies together. She clutched them tightly, breathing in deeply, allowing the floral scent and emotion to fill her senses.
Her eyes were closed. It was her wedding day, every little girl's dream. It was to be her perfect day. With eyes closed, Christie remembered the days in the run up to the wedding, of visiting the small, family run cake store to check on the cake prior to delivery. Trying on her wedding dress to obsessive levels, watching how it flowed around her body as she danced in front of the mirror. The white bodice and capped sleeves, showing her tiny frame perfectly, whilst the drop of the silk from the bodice, swam around her slender legs, giving her the feel of a princess. She had also shopped for thank-you gifts for her two bridesmaids, Sarah and Lucy, friends since the first day of infant school, at just five years of age, when they were all pigtails and frilly socks.
Now she also had Jonathan in her life. She first noticed him when he started working in the large conveyors offices. She noticed his tall frame, dark styled hair and endearing smile, the minute he walked through the large antique wooden framed doors. She figured he was out of her league. Not only was he incredibly handsome, but he was kind and softly spoken. The day he asked to take her out, had been, a really bad day. She had been passed over for promotion in favour of an unknown candidate. She was upset and left early for a strong sweet fix in Chloe's coffee shop. Her favourite place. This was where she was sat when Jonathan walked in. Christie hadn't noticed him enter as she had cocooned herself into the corner of the shop as tears flowed, as out of view as she could possibly be, sitting with her back to the rest of the shop in an effort to hide the demented panda look, the running mascara was creating.
He had sat down quietly in front of her. He didn't say anything, he just sat and looked at her. Bewildered, she gave an uncertain smile and at that, he quietly took her hand. From there, conversations, picnics, restaurants and days filled with laughter ensued, a journey to this point. The point where she was stood in the doorway of the old church about to marry her perfect man. She could see the guests, the colours and smiles as she stood waiting to walk down the aisle towards Jonathan. The joy and emotion was tangible. It felt warm and sure, slowly caressing her as it enveloped and secured her.
She looked at her father, the man who would give her away, traditionally handing her to her husband, who would be waiting for her at the altar. She lifted and touched the flowers to her nose, taking a moment in the fragrance and feeling the heat of love. The softness of the petals caressing the tip of her nose. The sweet scent stirred something in her.
She opened her eyes. Confusion welled up, a deep knot from her stomach, churning up into her chest, up welling, taking her very breath from within her. She held on to the strong stems, soaking up the scent into every pore of her being, she felt the gentle hands of Sarah and Lucy cupping her elbows and knew it was time to let go. With a breath taken from the depth of her soul, she looked down, deep into the dark hole in the earth opening up in front of her and opening her hands, released the beautiful cream Arum lilies, watching as they fell softly into the ground for her husband, Jonathan.


Thursday 4 November 2010

To Be Somebody

Cinnamon latte
By Danielle Smith

The smallest dressing room at the rear of the Palace variety bar had been assigned to Dorothy and five other girls. Dorothy was the eldest of the girls and by far the most glamorous; her porcelain skin complemented her dark eyes and scarlet lips. Dolled up to the nines she was the image of sin and infatuation, she embodied the lust of all the men who frequented the seaside bars looking for a fleeting romance or a naughty fumble. The other girls despite being only one or two years younger looked like children next to Dorothy. They performed as an ensemble three times a day. They all danced and some sung but only Dorothy did it all. She was good at what she did and knew that given the chance she could escape the small dressing rooms and break into the big wide world, she knew that if she pleased the right people and carried on bringing in the audience she would be sent to the tower. The room was hot and crowded, she sat by the open window smoking, she watched the smoke swirl to nothing in the sky .Dorothy tried to smile as the other girls danced around excited for the show but there was also a knot in her stomach that had been building over the past few weeks. Bob Thompson knocked on the door.
'Ten minutes till curtain up my lovelies,' he leered rubbing his palms together.
Some of the younger girls giggled in excitement for each show filled them with pride and a great sense of achievement; whereas to Dorothy the show was just the first rung of the ladder to her childhood dreams of having her name in lights.
'You alright Dorothy? Your Bertie not writing back to you anymore?' asked Mary, a young skinny girl with legs as long as the golden mile.
'Oh, he is, he wants me to stop all this nonsense he says I can’t afford to have such fanciful dreams, he wants me to be his wife soon but he has been saying that for an age,' she replied with a smile.
Mary looked around the room as she searched for something to say.
'You’re lucky Dorothy, but don’t he know how well you’re doing here. You said there’s work coming your way at the tower soon.'
‘He knows,’ Dorothy tried to avoid Mary’s gaze but Mary did not move she sat looking at her with a sense of intrigue and wonderment.
‘He just wants a wife, that’s all. He’s not at all fond of the crowds looking at me the way he did when we met, he wants me at home. He has a hold over me Mary you will understand when you find a man who wants to make you a wife’
‘You could be a kept woman, Dot. Wouldn’t that be good? Isn’t that enough for you?’
‘It used to be enough that he wanted me, but of late I am unsure that it is me he wants.’
Mary laughed. “He wanted you enough the first time he saw you. Couldn’t keep his hand off you I remember the look in his eyes, like a man gone wild”
‘I think he just wants a wife to come home to, but he’s away for so long. I could be his wife whilst he’s here but when he’s gone I’m nothing and I wasn’t born to be nothing Mary.’
’You’re a funny one Dorothy’ Mary smiled and one by one they left the room for the stage door.
Danielle Smith

Twitter :_Dani_elle
Danielle is a writer based in Blackpool. She writes Young Adult Fiction and
performance poetry.


By Lauren Bannister

He creeps across the floorboards, quietly cursing each creak for exposing his secret. You clasp your eyes shut and listen intently to his heavy breathing, while your nostrils hunt for his familiar, comforting smell. He quickly undresses and slides under the sheets, he wraps his body around yours in the naïve hope that sleep is contagious. You shift your body and pretend that his arrival has disturbed you from your deep sleep.
‘Hi.’ His words lick your ear as he locks his arms around you, pulling you yet closer.
‘What time is it?’ you ask feigning sleepiness and already knowing the answer.
‘Don’t worry about that, just get yourself back to sleep. I’m sorry for waking you up,’ he responds, ever the doting husband.
Doubt weaves its web across your mind like a silent spider. He notices you glance at the clock, your steely silence encourages him to go into unnecessary detail.
‘You know what it’s like with work mates…one drink down the pub after work means five drinks and stopping off for a kebab on the way home.’ He searches for your hand under the vast expanse of duvet.
You nod but the words do not come, they sit echoing in the pit of your stomach. You know without having to smell him, that there will be no traces of kebab on his breath or skin. His arm grows limp against your body and you know that he is asleep. It has always baffled you how quickly he is able to surrender himself as though he does not have a care in the world. You shrug his arm away from you and move to a cold part of the bed. You shiver and pull your arms under the sanctuary of your own body, eventually drifting off.
When you wake up he is gone. The scribbled note on the side table tells you that he has taken your son to the park. Next to the note sits a bunch of freshly picked, sweetly scented daffodils, still glistening wet with morning rain. You pick up the flowers sitting pretty in their perfect vase and hurl them against the far wall, where the vase smashes and the flowers lay bruised. You have always hated daffodils.

Lauren is currently in the last year of studying for a BA in English and Creative Writing at Salford University. She thoroughly enjoys exploring the genre of short fiction and flash fiction.