100-Word Fiction: ‘Hallucinations’

She fell asleep worrying about the tremor in her heart. She awoke wondering about the tension across her skull. Maybe she really was critically ill. Maybe she should see the doctor. Those late-night and early-morning hallucinations of gunshot riots, rabbiting politicians, redactive summit meetings, those rabid howls of the naysayers and cynics and dreamers and do-gooders, the sheer wall of white noise as rhetoric reflects ceaselessly around an almost voided mind and beats hard through the bloodstream in a fast, mounting surge. She was dying. She went to the doctor. The doctor confirmed her suspicions. Everyone is dying, he said.

100-Word Fiction: ‘The Storming of Beake Street’

A thin blue line unravels through the back streets, broadens, becomes a gushing force, a flood, across the hunting fields where gelders and nailers worked, land then acquired by the Queen’s Messenger Thomas Beake, by the old houses intended for tradesmen and lower middle-class occupation, whereat the Venetian painter Antonio Canaletto lodged in a room of cabinet maker Mr Richard Wiggan’s, and, more precisely, towards the very building that architect J Dixon Butler, in an approximation of the style of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, erected for the Metropolitan Police in 1909–10, which is due to be reincarnated as luxury flats.

100-Word Fiction: ‘Secessio Plebis’

Out of the city they ran, with great speed and intent, to where the harsh rule of the little Caesars could not shackle them; where usurious debts were not counted and where all trading was banned. Rejoicing, they joined hands and soon found themselves at the foot of a sacred mountain. Climbing it, they, in their multitude, looked down upon their patrician rulers and vowed to forbid their merciless powers. Councils sat, tribunes were created, laws were passed and a temple of concord was built. The city was empty. Money was useless. The gentry became redundant. The plebs were victorious.

100-Word Fiction: ‘Mission Creep’

That time
When I asked for a glass
Of wine and you
Brought back two
Bottles.
Or when you went
To town to window shop
And came back with bags of
Clothes.
I call it mission creep.
Things got out of
Hand – you say –
It wasn’t my intention.
But you knew all along.
It’s the same
Everywhere
You claim.
And maybe so.
So
I make the leap
To the streets
These streets
That now
Are always mentioned.
First with a higher police
Presence.
Then with little
Kettles.
Soon unmarked officers and
Baton bruises.
And now come
Plastic bullets.
What
Next?

100-Word Fiction: ‘Horses’

Horses, statuesque and all in line. Black coats, chestnut and white. Lush manes and tails. Snorting horses standing tall. A sight to behold. A historical site. Black riders, yellow vests, black helmets. Fluorescent yellow. A bright flash across a grey street, the muddle of a crowded square, seen from a helicopter, a camera on a crane. A horse’s slow walk forward. Then the rest, following: fifteen. The horses trotting, horses at a canter, into the street, the public throng. Horses at a canter, the crowd divided, falling and crushed. A black and yellow blade to the heart of a hope.

100-Word Fiction: ‘Snap’

There had been arguments, but girls and boys always fall out if they live in each other’s pockets for six weeks. Rome was the worst – that morning with hash paranoia. Now, in their last week, their last country, they were giggling at the policeman in his smart blue clothes and funny hat. Stefan said the hat looked just like a woman’s breast. He rummaged in the pocket of his combats and got his camera to take a photo. The policeman stepped forward and stamped his feet:

Never! he shouted – and grabbed the camera with such force that Stefan winced.