It’ll be over soon

“Keep calm, mummy,” Walter said, hiding under the table. “It’ll be over soon.”

98-year-old Ethel wasn’t so sure. Pacing the room, she kept looking up at the ceiling, then out through the windows. She jumped as a plane flew overhead, holding her handbag closer to her.

“Mummy, come under here,” Walter said, patting a section of blanket to his right. “They said it wouldn’t be late tonight.”

“You’d believe anything, Walter!” Ethel snapped, still walking up and down in short, shuffling movements.

“Make her shut up!” a voice from the corner of the room barked. “Get her to sit or something.”

“Sorry Jeff,” Walter mumbled, “you know what she’s like.”

“I do,” Jeff replied then sang ‘I do, do, do, do’ to himself.

“It’s lovely and toasty under here, Mummy, you’d like it if you tried.”

Ethel stopped pacing, walked to the table and leaned over, twisting her head to peer at her eldest son. “Cosy?”

Walter nodded.

“Toasty cosy?”

“Very toasty cosy. Come on, give it a try.”

She sighed then crouched down, wincing as she did so. Then on all fours, she padded like a dog until she was sitting on the blanket next to Walter.

“There. Isn’t this nice?” he soothed.

Ethel looked at her watch, shook her head, then reached inside her handbag for her gun.

***

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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 fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, 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.

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