eShops Fables – Futility

If only it hadn’t happened – the telephone ringing – three times.
Oh, the futility of it all.
But isn’t it all futility in the dead of night?
They’d argued – over everything, but mainly his belief she had a lover. I’d known he was in one of those moods and I’d intervened, going to their flat.
I found him in the lounge sulking – she was in the bedroom – I could hear the sobs. Well, I’d calmed him, and it would have been fine …
until the phone call.
He picked it up. Listened. A voice said:
‘Hi, hon, I’ll come round tomorrow at ten if that’s ok.’
I saw the shock on his face. I grabbed the phone – asked who the hell it was. But by then his anger had boiled again.
By the time I got into the bedroom, it was all over, her eyes staring blankly into nowhere.
Oh, the futility – especially as it was a wrong number.

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eShops Fables – The Silas Chronicles

I cannot say I was happy with my mother’s choice of husband for me. He was lowlier than we; and much older. But he did an honest day’s work and never spent. Hence, he had a sizeable pot of gold.
We married, and soon after, my husband decided we would move from our more agricultural south to the industrial north. His workload increased, and so did my unhappiness.
It was when he was doing some work with the Church that the accusation of theft arose. I could not believe it of him. Yet the issue became of importance to the election of the new Dean. It was to do with morality and forgiveness – on the outside, at least. But the reality is, the sleazy Mr Creep was manipulating the issue with a word here, a word there, hoping to increase his position in the Church.
As the issue raged, I ventured out a great deal, and one day I came upon a dispute outside a local mill. It seemed at one point the workers were about to assault the young mill owner.
I intervened. He was grateful. And although he was often cruel to his workers, I saw a spark of goodness in him, if I could only civilize him.
Our relationship went too far. Ashamed, I’d return from him to my husband, and felt wretched at my actions, but also with my husband’s neglect of me. His only happiness seemed to come as he counted his pot of gold.
Mr Creep – all knowing Mr Creep – did, of course, discover my regular assignations, and word got to the mill owner that his relationship was with a married woman.
Horrified, he confronted me at our next meeting. I admitted my deceit, yet told him of my husband’s cruelty, and that we could be together if we really desired it.
He loved me, and realised he could not be without me, and thus I directed him to my ‘husband’, Mr Creep.
Without the manipulator, the contest for the new Dean was advantageous for my husband. The moral was not ideal, but forgiveness won over morality, whether he was innocent or not. We do live in an imperfect world – though Mr Creep’s funeral WAS perfect.
Yet that imperfect world manifested in my guilt ridden mind. It drove me to my suicide. Yet as I atoned, my husband seemed happy with his pot of gold, alone.

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eShops Fables – Blue Rain

It was the first Earth-like planet they had found. At least, how Earth had once been.
Nature proliferated here. It was a jewel, and the crew were ecstatic. They had really found paradise. Yet, as one crewman found out, paradise held dangers.
The branch just fell from nowhere. He was rushed to sickbay, leaving a pool of blood on the ground. Later, clouds gathered, and when the rain came it was fierce. But when it turned blue, they began to fear the rain. And as it became acidic and burnt their skin, they raced back to the ship.
It took just an hour to realise the rain was only over them – and it was burning through their hull. They took off after that, never to return, and on the planet the ants removed all trace of the blood.

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eShops Fables – The Noble Undead

Since he was last staked the noble undead one had declined in people’s imagination.
A new world was coming. Science was advancing, and how could superstition survive this onslaught of reason? And without superstition he could not take bodily form again, his memory condemned to be hidden from culture.
For he lived on fear, and if people no longer knew how to fear … ?
He thought long and hard about this as he roamed through the ether.
One day he found himself in a book filled study, and it occurred to him that imagination now existed in words; and if imagination was there, why not fear?
He looked at the man sat at the desk and made his decision.
He entered through his ear and soon found a comfy place within his mind to think. And as the man called Stoker began to write, the undead one knew he would rise once more.

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eShops Fables – Cass Nova and the Photo


I just knew there was a bent copper in the squad. Too many cases had gone wrong. But who was it? That was the problem. Just who could I trust?
The first problem was working out who he could be working for.
Going over the failed cases again, I soon found a common denominator – and he was a gang boss I’d wanted to get for a long time. Well, I began my own surveillance of him.
The next night I waited in my darkened flat, determined to nail the bent cop – and I’d put things in motion to guarantee I’d do so.
I was gratified when the bent sergeant broke in, not expecting me to be there.
I held up the photo. ‘I suppose this is what you’re after,’ I said.
After all, I’d told him I had a photo he may be interested in.
‘How did you know it was me?’ he asked resignedly.
‘I didn’t,’ I replied. ‘I said the same to everyone in the squad.’
He cursed as he picked up one of my latest holiday snaps.

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eShops Fables – Find the Mole

The Square. How did Brand end up here?
It was a normal square – shops, cafes, people milling around – which ones would kill him? He’d been sent in to find the Mole – get him out before he was compromised. But as their agents closed in on him quickly, Brand realized it was maybe too late. Except …
Well, he was an optimist, and even if the Mole had been caught – was being interrogated – he’d have left a path to the information. And sure enough, as he played ‘spot the spy’ in the square, he knew all the signs on his dangerous investigation led here.
And it had certainly been dangerous, nearly cornered twice, shooting his way out of trouble. And as he surveyed the square, he felt the cold comfort of his gun. Soon sure he had identified the agents he began to watch the shops.
Was it to be one of those? He thought.
Of course, he eventually worked it out – broke cover as he moved forward, his disguise hopefully fooling the agents. And as he walked into the taxidermist’s, he found the information – in the mole.

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eShops Fables – Star Child

It was a star system like no other, and when the tiny ships began to attack them in their hundreds, the crew realized conventional tactics would be no good here.
The Captain ordered a conference. All possibilities were discussed, but nothing seemed to work.
It was when life support was down to 15% that the ship’s doctor made a passing comment:
‘It’s the way they’re attacking, as if the ships are anti-viral mechanisms of a lifeform.’
The Captain was taken aback by this, but when once the idea was in place, he began to look upon the system anew – the Sun as conscious centre, the planets and asteroids as parts of the body, the natural transport routes working with gravitational pull as the veins and nerves, and the population of the planets as neurons, making the star system’s thoughts a reality.
Of course, this provided the weapon to allow escape – pulsed shocks to the centre of their sun to create confusion – but the Captain realized that maybe life is not a rare resource of a cold universe, but star children holding hands across the Cosmos.

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eShops Fables – The Lover

We were told the house was haunted but how could we resist?
It was so serene – both my wife and I felt it. At least, at first. But as we began to experience the presence more and more, it was inevitable it would come between us.
‘It’s evil,’ my wife would say, but I never believed the accidents were down to the presence. My wife had always been somewhat clumsy.
No, all I could feel in the presence was loneliness, a need to be loved once more …
Did I fall in love with her? Was the sight of her in the long flowing dress merely illusion?
Were those experiences at night true ecstasy, or simply vivid dreams?
Certainly I never noticed that, as the presence became happier, a loneliness began to cling to my wife. Yet I suppose it was inevitable she would take action …
The exorcist was very good. I could almost feel the horrendous shots of pain that began to cripple the presence, and I felt the sadness as she was banished.
Later I rediscovered my love for my wife, and when I bought her that long flowing dress I knew we could be healed.

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eShops Fables – The World’s a Stage

It feels so good to be back in a theatre. Far too many years have passed.
Maybe you remember me?
I’d often starred in London’s West End. It is true that I could be hard to work with. I’m a perfectionist, you see, and I cannot abide bad acting. It actually drove me mad.
It is a crime caper I am in – not the best of openings for my relaunched career, I must admit – and the other actors are terrible.
My cue comes.
I stand.
I approach the worst of the actors. My hands encircle his neck. The audience gasps. I squeeze.
I take my bow.
I’d escaped from the hospital yesterday and the world is now my stage. I move to the next theatre and sit in the stalls, awaiting my cue.

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Rattler’s Tale #11

Important message from Anthony North: Due to my ME/cfs I’ve had to cease blogging until further notice. My apologies for this. For more of my fiction, as well poetry, essays, current affairs, writing tips, ebooks and useful links, please see links & networks on header.

by Anthony North
Friday Fictioneers
Poets & Storytellers United
The Sunday Muse
in association with



They were lined up, only their backs showing.
Reality TV was like that – liked to have a surprise for the end.
I suppose you could call them a metaphor.
The first contestant approached: ‘I think I’ll poach them.’
The second disagreed: ‘I’ll beat them to pulp for a huge cake.’
The third added: ‘Well I just like smashing them; watch the goo ooze out.’
I guess dumbing down had gone too far.
The egghead intellectuals agreed.

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Forget the apple. There were too many roses in Eden.
Or maybe it’s all just a metaphor.
In the beginning were animals.
They couldn’t mate face to face, see – so didn’t see.
Then along came animal Mark Two, or Human.
He was a weak but cunning upgrade.
He’d changed his hands – evolved the opposable thumb.
Man became a master manipulator – learnt how to fashion his tool.
Which meant he didn’t need to go around on all fours, but two.
Man became erect – had adapted a new pelvic bone.
Then came the human bit.
It became more comfortable to mate face to face – and he saw.
And she saw. Realised her nakedness, and he liked it.
And together they mated – and loved.
For the genesis of humanity WAS love.
But every story has a sting in the tale – our own Pandora’s box.
For hot on the trail of love came jealousy and, eventually hate.
The Red Rose and Red Mist are one.
There were too many roses in Eden.
And they have thorns.