Flash Fiction: Fuck Cancer

In the other room, her mother lay dying.


It always seemed to be cancer.

Aurelia thumped down onto the toilet seat, lid down, and perched on it staring into space for what felt like fifteen minutes but might as well have been fifteen seconds.


Fuck cancer.

She ran her fingers as far through her tangled hair as she could, not wanting to see the gaunt face that would gaze back at her if she looked in the mirror.

She could hear the breathing machine from here; it almost sounded like the sea; great lungs opening and closing; the benediction of water.

She heaved herself to her feet, resolving to be stronger, to take this better; to turn her focus again away from herself and on to what was needed.

She hesitated in front of her mother’s bedroom door which was slightly ajar. The light was crystalline. She peered in at her mother. The light was crystalline. All there was in the air was the breathing machine. Aurelia exhaled, and knew it was over.

I wrote this for Angela Goff’s VisDare: she posts up a picture, you write something in response. You can check it out here if you want. Highly recommended for you visual thinkers!

I hope you enjoyed this piece. If you participate in VisDare yourself, leave a link in the comments! 🙂

The Earth is Filled with Violence?

This is a story I wrote back in 2009 and it was published in an anthology I can’t even remember the name of: all I can remember is that the book was green.

Looking back at this story, I really like the way it was written. Continue reading “The Earth is Filled with Violence?”

Berlin Sex Toys – first draft

In Berlin there is a hotel that’s famous less for the fact that Adolf Hitler stayed there once and more for the fact that Michael Jackson hung his baby out the window of one of its suites.

On a walking tour of former East Berlin, the group is shown that hotel and told that it is a landmark in the city and has seen through a whole string of historical events, including the Michael Jackson thing.

I am alone in Berlin and make a mental note to step inside that hotel. I take a photo of it in order to send it to Darleene so she will know exactly where in this square I stood. Darleene is visiting Berlin in six months’ time, and if she could stand where I stood and sit where I sat, it will almost be as if we are together, or were together, or are always together, in Berlin.
In summer, Berlin
is a beach ball in a
there is the suncream smell of
flowers and everyone is a beer
and a street

After three days in Berlin, I come to the conclusion that I am not cool enough for this city. I’d never have the required hand eye coordination to cycle and drink a beer, for example.
Some things about Berlin that I note down for Darleene:

  1. Summer is hotter than imagined
  2. It’s apparently a hip place to be if you’re an artist
  3. Not everyone is a street artist after all
  4. It’s far more anarchic than I imagined
  5. I appreciate the really cheap beer you can buy that probably is held in contempt by Berliners but which I think tastes great but of course I would because I’m not a beer drinker and therefore know nothing
  6. As my inner directional compass orients itself to the cartography of this strange place, I find that I am learning the topography of my missing you.

I stop at six points because six is a nice, solid number and because I can’t think of how to say all the things that had occurred to me during my daytime wanderings. Feeling like I was being a cheapskate however I then penned a paragraph

I explored caressed was violated by walked around a sex toy shop today. The up-front and casual display of sex toys in pharmacies here hadn’t prepared me for the overt LOVE YOURSELF messaging, clean and clear plate glass windows and funky display systems of this shop. Oddly it made sex toys a lot less threatening.

Find it here:

Continue reading “Berlin Sex Toys – first draft”