Frank’s Cave Secrets

‘Why are you standing over there?’ He called back to me.

‘Are you serious?’ My feet were glued to the undergrowth, my clammy hands were stuck to my sides. ‘There’s no way I’m going in there.’

‘Come on. Don’t be a pussy!’ He hissed back.

When I didn’t move, he threw up his arms and turned on his heel. He muttered something to the sound of Such a girl as I watched him disappear into the dark cave. The dense array of trees towered all around me, their branches looming down like arms ready to snatch me up. The silence in the air was broken only by a soft rustling breeze as it made it’s way through their top-most spindly fingers. The bright moon had managed to illuminate the clearing just enough to give the shadows a blueish hue.

‘Frank?’ I called, ‘Frank, I don’t like this. I think we should go home now!’

I waited. I waited a second too long. When he didn’t answer, my heart started racing. Those finger branches picked up the breeze and threw it down towards the forest floor, kicking up little explosions of leaves and twigs. Again and again, these wind bombs hit the forest floor. They gained momentum and strength until great fountains of undergrowth cascaded all around me. A great whooshing sound rose and fell with each gust.

‘Frank!?’ I called out again, louder this time, more urgent. ‘FRANK?!’

‘Sissy!’ His voice was distant but I was sure I had heard it.

‘Frank? Are you ok?’ I called back.

Sissy… came the voice again. My heart jumped. Am I imagining things? Is that really Frank or just the wind? The noise was almost deafening now, but I took a big breath, shut my eyes tight and threw my voice out above it, ‘FRAAAAAANK! WHERE ARE YOU?!’

I wish I’d never opened my eyes because just at that moment, a thundering hum bellowed out from the depth of the cave.

Continue reading “Frank’s Cave Secrets”


Any Other Day

Rita had woken up every day for the last thirty five years to that alarm clock. After first switching it off, she would reach for her wide brimmed glasses sitting beneath the beside lamp and place them on her nose. Her tired legs would swing off the bed and she would sit upright on the edge for a few moments in her nightgown. She would dress herself in that same uniform each morning, a freshly pressed red polo shirt and dark blue trousers, before slowly making her way down the stairs to the kitchen. Once there, she would make a pot of tea in the same tea-stained teapot and boil one egg on the stove for exactly three minutes. She would eat her breakfast in the kitchen at the small round wooden table and wonder at what the day would bring.

Rita never had to wonder very hard. Each day had been pretty much the same for all of those thirty five years. She would get in her white hatchback car and drive herself the thirteen minute drive to the local co-op where she would work the till from nine until twelve. She would sit in the back office and eat her cheese and pickle white bread sandwich from twelve until half past and then return to her till until five o’clock. Just a minute after five, she would pick a TV dinner out of the fridge and drive herself the thirteen minute drive home again. Once her dinner was microwave hot and sitting on her dinner tray in front of her sunken arm chair, Rita would switch on the evening television schedule of trivia, nature and reality shows. As nine o’clock approached, Rita made sure her dinner packaging was tossed away in the rubbish bin, the tea pot and saucepan were clean and ready for the morning, and the lights downstairs were all switched off. She would check the front door was locked before making the slow ascend up the stairs to her ensuite bathroom. There she would repeat the nightly routine of bathing and brushing before swinging her old legs up onto the bed, placing her glasses on the night stand, switching off the bedside lamp and taking all of two minutes to fall asleep flat on her back.

Every day. For thirty five years.

Until the day Rita woke up to her alarm, put on her glasses, sat up in bed, dressed in her uniform, ate her breakfast, drove to work and discovered that the co-op she had worked at every day of those thirty five years had completely burnt to the ground. Continue reading “Any Other Day”