Flood Defences      

Just as summer is starting, the beach has been closed. I’ll have to find another place to go.

I step into a time machine and visit Rome, trying to keep my eye on the exquisitely designed temples instead of on gladiators being made to fight to the death. Then I jump into a space ship and soar to another galaxy where I inspect blobby people with arms like tweezers. Next, I dive to the bottom of the sea and follow a squid riding a plankton raft towards cherry pink coral reefs.

I still like the beach across the road best.


This is a drabble (100 word story).


Grapefruit Dreams

Big fruits on the vines: I expect them to be small and purple but instead they are large and yellow, and round. I whistle for my brother and sister and together we start to haul them down from the branches and throw them into baskets with bent- back rims, which we have lined up at the base of the vines.

If we are going to have grapefruits, we will have to accept it. Some speak of life giving you lemons, and someone unknown has given us grapefruits instead of the grapes we were expecting. A ‘grape-fruit’ does sound like an alternative way of saying ‘a grape’, just as ‘life destroyed’ sounds like an alternative for a life that was lost somewhere in the trenches, or in a playground filled with hating bullies; and those shamanic retrievals you hear about nowadays fail outright to find it, and return for a net to spread to see whether they can get it to jump.

We spread a net under the vines, and the grapefruits jump in as we throw them and shake them from the branches. My brother and sister chatter incessantly and talk of their eagerness to take those fruits to market, and of how surprised the other vendors will be when they see that we haven’t got grapes to sell as we usually have. What shall we tell them? That grapefruits mysteriously appeared instead? It will be hard to believe, for growing crops and plants is usually subject to certain laws, and these must have gone out of the window.

Tonight I dream of shamanic retrievals, and of my transformed fruit. Dragonfly-winged men are attempting to rescue lovers who left me, because they were not whole enough to commit themselves. On their flight they pass my vines and see that they are covered with grapefruit. They land in the branches and fold their dragonfly wings.

“Hey, hola!” I call up at them. “You who understand missing souls, what do you know of my missing grapes and their replacement with these grapefruits?” A coherent question indeed for my dreams; usually I mumble nonsense, and those who would reply frown and shake their heads, trying to find a way of understanding the question.

“Just be happy with your grapefruits!” exclaims the first of the dragonfly men.

So we are. I am happy and so are my brother and sister, but we wonder in what black hole our grapes are lodged and who pushed the grapefruits out to be there instead. Even in my dream I still wonder what the other traders will say. What is going to happen to our winepress this year? Bottled fruit juice doesn’t make as much money as wine, but then we could have lost our living altogether had the grapes vanished and the grapefruits failed to appear.

That is a logical sequence of thought, is it not? Yet all around me in my head is a dream, and all around me in my everyday life is a changed orchard, and even my brother and sister are different, for my brother used to be blind. He sees perfectly now, and none of us want to touch anything on this jigsaw in case he should lose this gift.

My sister tiptoes on the edges of the pieces, glancing at the slots to make sure the pegs of cardboard are still pushed into them. I too will disturb nothing: all I will change is the empty baskets, by filling them with more grapefruits tomorrow.


This one was channeled from my dark muse Ino.



She looked into the wishing well. It was full of pennies that people had thrown in. She could either throw a penny in herself, and make a wish, or she could throw in the knife. She had carefully wiped off all the fingerprints and had even boiled it in caustic soda: surely now there would be no trace of any evidence, and her wish to avoid retribution would come true.

Her arm curved as she threw, and the knife flew upwards and then clattered as it landed at the bottom of the well. Then she heard a little girl’s voice behind her. “Mummy, I saw that lady throw something into the well. I’m going to ask my fairy to grant her wish.”

The fairy stories all say that fairies grant wishes; none of them say that they protect witnesses.