A good deal really

The scream woke up the household as it reverberated around the kitchen.

Matt was first to reach the bottom of the stairs, armed with the fire extinguisher kept by the bed. “Rachel!”

“In here!”



“You’re in the dark.”

“I switched off the light.”


“So I can’t see it.”



Matt turned on the kitchen light.

“Turn it off!”

He turned it off.

A bleary-eyed seven-year-old Jake padded through the hall. “Mum? Dad?”

“It’s OK,” Matt said, not knowing whether it actually was or not. “Go back to bed, we’ll be up in a minute.”

Jake padded back through the hall as seventeen-year-old Chloë stomped past, exchanging evil stares as they crossed. Jake stuck out his tongue, Chloë did likewise, wiggling a silver stud in the process.

She watched Jake head back upstairs, half-asleep, and smiled. Then smile gone, she stomped through to the kitchen. “Mum? Dad?”

“We’re both here,” Matt whispered.

“Why are you in the dark?” Chloë replied, not whispering.

“Don’t know.”

“Something black and horrible’s just gone under the washing machine.” Rachel whined.

Chloë switched on the light. “How black and horrible?”

“Lots of legs and hairy,” Rachel quivered.

“Oh, that’ll be Ernie.”

“Ernie?” Matt asked.

“My tarantula.”


“Yeah, Freddie swapped me it for my old mobile. Think I got a good deal really.”


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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.