The Excise Man and the Ghost

Now available to download for just 99p

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

Tom scanned the clifftop and cursed the excise man atop his horse. He heard the slap of the waves against the boat and caught its signal. The man saw it too, for he replied in Tom’s place to tempt it ashore. The fool would catch trouble.
Donning a phosphorus dipped cloak, Tom feigned to glide eerily along the tideline.
The officer shrieked, “A ghost!” but instead of fleeing, he charged at Tom and swooping down pulled him onto the horse, crowing, “Not the spirit I expected but you’ll do little ghost. We’re not as gullible as them at Hadleigh Castle.”

I feel a little explanation may be required.

Back in the day smuggling into Britain could be a  brutal business, those employed to prevent it were often outnumbered and came to grisly ends. The smugglers would prefer to go about their business undisturbed though and ghost stories were often used to hide their operations and scare off the superstitious. At Hadleigh Castle a pair of ‘phantoms’, – the White Lady and Black Man – made dramatic appearances just before a shipment of illicit liquor arrived, and duly disappeared when all the liquor had been moved away. There is no doubt that the famous 18th century legend of ‘the Ghostly Drummer of Hurstmonceaux Castle’ in Sussex started with some enterprising smugglers and a little phosphorus! – by Ellen Castelow

 

 

 

‘The Ghostly Drummer of Hurstmonceaux’

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by  Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

Message Received and Misunderstood

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Today I’ve gone with Mad Monk, my first mad monk tale. Everyone should write at least one

 

 

 

 

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

The tramp of the pious and possessed to worship had worn smooth the path through the cloister but now the edifice crumbled and weeds cracked the flags.
Recently, the monks had passed faster than replacements could be recruited. There remained but one decrepit, cadaverous man eking out his days on prayer and potage, too weak to tend the buildings or fight nature’s advance.
Sulking into his broth, he wished he’d spared at least one for company and chores. “Lord, I did as you bid,” he screamed to the vaulted ceiling. “Why didn’t you let me keep one for my old age?”

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

Natural Defences

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

‘Some buildings are just built to burglar specifications. With those grab-points and toeholds, I’ll beat the lift to the third floor.’
Sheridan double-checked the target window and climbed, maintaining the golden rule, ‘three points of contact at all times.’
A strange sphere hung off the windowsill evidently humming. He grabbed it recklessly and the noise grew to a roar. He dropped it but his arm and now his face was on fire. Losing grip with his other hand, he fell writhing and screaming.
Sadly, the angry cloud of wasps that hung over him a spitefully long time prevented any rescue.

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

The Morning After at Wordsworth’s Glade

A quick note to say ‘From the Edge of an English Summer’ can be downloaded for just 99p/99cents until Sunday. Thanks again to everyone who has already purchased. A special shout out to America, you’re doing me proud. Your support really is flattering, encouraging and humbling all at the same time. The prompt picture has fallen well for me this week, I’ve selected a short episode from one of the several spent round Wordsworth’s camp fire in the book.

 

 

 

 

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Anshu Bhojnagarwala

Despite the tiredness and alcohol, Sunday morning came repeatedly, every hour it seemed. To say I had an interrupted night’s sleep would be uncaringly inaccurate. Sleep punctuated my moments awake. Wordsworth had helped me cobble together a makeshift mattress of bracken and lent me an old jumper but I was cold and uncomfortable.
He stoked the fire back to life, placed a pan of water in the embers and we were soon enjoying a reviving cuppa.
“It wasn’t cold last night and that’s a very comfortable bed. The problem is not with the world, it’s you,” he said, “you’ve grown soft.”

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Car

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

Luke was aghast. He must have missed something, so he circled the car again.
Nope, it was still a wreck in a wood.
“It’s just a shell,” he complained.
“But the seats are there, a hole for the windscreen. You can practice your driving position, changing gears, indicating.”
“Changing gears in a non-existent gear box, indicating with no clickety-click?”
“Use your tongue to make your own clickety-click.”
“And there’s no engine!”
“Vibrate your lips and go brmm-brmm.”
Luke stomped off as mirth wobbled his father’s belly. “You’re twelve lad, you’re not getting one with an engine until you’re much older.”

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

My Life with Duct Tape Episode 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

This house has never been warm. It’s that front door. I should replace it if I had some money. The letterbox flapped so I taped that up, which helped. Then another strip of tape at the bottom of the door cut out a load of draught and we were nearly there, almost cosy.
Until that is, the Incredible Hulk came visiting. Why can’t he knock for heaven’s sake? Or ring the perfectly good bell?
We’re going to need a bigger roll of duct tape…and more words.

Orange rhymes with sporange, a botanical term for a part of a fern. 🙂

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

Of Drink, Games and Remorse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Priya Bajpal

Just a harmless introduction to the new neighbourhood. A pleasant meal with abundant wine and a game afterwards with more drinks.
Each player drew a paper from a jar and performed the instruction on it. Singing, dancing, spoon balancing.
But the risqué nature of the second jar’s contents had ambushed him.
“Yes, come on, let’s!” he’d screamed drunkenly to each more lurid suggestion.

Now he winced at the images Lydia had sent to his phone from wherever she was now. “What had he been thinking?”
He deleted them but could the memories ever be erased? Would Lydia ever come back?

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.