The Clandestine (A Short Short Fiction)

The truck juddered to a start and threw him hard against something large and bulky in the darkness of the trailer.

They were on the move again.

He wasn’t sure how long he’d been in the back. After an hour or two he’d lost all sense of time completely. Maybe it was the darkness. Or his thirst. Or the way his head throbbed. However, he was relieved they were moving again.

From outside he could hear faint voices, the odd word of English, amongst the clanking of vehicles and squawking of seagulls.

His heart leapt. He was in England now. Everything was going to be ok. It was all going to work out. Yes he’d carry the memories of all he’d been through but now he was safe.

They’d come in the darkness, as he slept. He knew it was because of who he was, what he represented. It was happening more and more to men like him – alone in the dark. Vulnerable and exposed.

He never heard them until it was too late. He should have run before now, but this would be the last time, there could be no going back now.

As they hauled him from his makeshift bed into the cold night air, he thought of his family. Would he ever see them again?Then the crowbar came down on his head.

The lorry stopped again, the engine idling. Was it for passport control? Customs checks? He fumbled through the back of the trailer, desperately clambering over boxes of goods in the darkness. He cracked his knee on something, but he had to get out. His chest had tightened and he was convinced the air in the trailer was running out. Maybe it was just a symptom of the claustrophobia that was making him panic.

Finally he felt the cold metal of the trailer door and he began banging as noisily as could on it, pain searing through his clenched knuckles.

“Please…help…in here. In the name of God, help me please.”

Voices outside came closer.

He heard the clanking of locks and slowly the door opened, light so bright he suddenly felt blinded.

“There’s one in here,” he heard a voice say. “A clandestine, no doubt.”

His eyes adjusted, and he saw a couple of UK Border Force officers peering up at him, their blue uniforms both a temporary relief and a symbol of authority to fear.

“Come on matey, lets be having you.”

“No, you have it wrong,” he explained, his accent northern, perhaps from Manchester. “I’m the driver. Those bastards beat me senseless outside of Calais as a I slept. I was waiting for the first ferry of the morning – I’ve got to have this fresh produce in Widnes by midday.”

The two officers looked at one another, confused. “You mean the three in the cab aren’t the crew…shit…” exclaimed one of them.

“Bring the driver and his crew back,” yelled the other. “They’re clandestines!”


This short short fiction was inspired by word-of-the-day “clandestine” at www.dictionary.com on 18 September 2017.

My Short Short Fiction series first started in 2005.  The aim to write a short piece of fiction (500 words or less) inspired by the word of the day and have it posted the same day.

The blog won an award or two along the way, but feeling I had reached the end of the road with it around 2010(ish) I took it down.  However, I am now resposting all the old short short fictions here – in addition to adding a new one – such as this – every now and then.

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Hello and welcome from an old friend…of sorts

You’ll most probably notice there’s currently not much here at present.  The reason for that is I decided to strip out everything and start again.

My plan is to post all my new writing stuff going forward and back-fill (as close to the original posting dates) older material and posts.  That’s why you’ll see posts beneath this dating as far back as 2005!

Speaking of which, rather than have a number of different writing blogs littered about, everything will be hosted here.  My main blog, going back to 2005, was called Short Short Fiction.  You can read more about its concept here and read the stories, as they get re-posted, here.

I’ll create other sections on here for my writing as I go forward.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you .

Suffer The Virgin (A Kingdom & Faith Investigation)

For round 1 of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2017, I was placed in Group 50 with the prompts of Mystery / A Warehouse / A Canoe

The challenge was to write a 1000 word (or less) story around these prompts inside of 48 hours.

This is what I came up with@

Synopsis: “It’s 1977 and a young punk kid is found butchered to death in a disused London warehouse. Unable to solve the case, Detective Inspector Faith of the Metropolitan Police once again turns to a blind clairvoyant, Ptolemy Kingdom, to assist.

Title: Suffer the Virgin (A Kingdom & Faith Investigation)

…a horrible man, in the likeness of an executioner, hastening towards him, holding in his hand a long knife and with a huge black dog following him. At this sight he trembled. And no wonder. The man, seizing him violently, cut off his genitals and threw them to the dog, which immediately devoured them…

It was no coincidence I dreamt of Heisterback’s medieval narrative the night prior.  I say it was a coincidence, but that’s not strictly true.  When I start talking about psychic visions people tend to take me a little less seriously.

Except Detective Inspector Faith of the Metropolitan Police’s Department of Unsolved Crimes that is.  He wasn’t as sceptical and saw the value of using us clairvoyants to assist in murder investigations.  He kept it quiet though. Even then, back in the Met’s macho culture of the late 1970s, turning to supposed witch doctors and voodoo practitioners would have you laughed out of London to a desk job in some godforsaken place like Wigan.

Anyhow, I digress, it was Christmas Eve, 1977 when I arrived at some disused warehouse beside the Thames in Rotherhithe, south London.

“Thanks for coming Mr Kingdom,” DI Faith says, gripping me by the hand. His voice sounded more strained than it did the last time we met, and I detected the faintest aroma of stale gin upon his breath. Small details maybe, but all important when you’re blind like me.

“Ptolemy, please.” I say.

Faith snorted, warmly. “Still, Ptolemy, no one likes being called out south of the river at this time of night. Especially not with Santa just hours away.”

I shrugged. “No kids or family. What else was I going to be doing? Besides, I appreciate why you prefer to meet me in more conspicuous circumstances.”

I could smell dereliction and decay all around.  The warehouse, like most along the river, had fallen into misuse.  Where once I’d have smelt exotic spices and tea from Ceylon, now it was dead rats and human faeces. I should apologise to Wigan. This place was the actual epitome of godforsaken.

I shivered, but it had nothing to do with the persistent drizzle or biting wind off the river.

“So how can I assist, DI Faith?” I asked, but alas I already knew…

the boy couldn’t be much older than sixteen. His hair had been cut into that Mohican style that was fashionable with all the punk kids and he had a safety pin through his left nostril. He was sleeping, peacefully, or so you’d think from his pale, pot marked face, but his tartan bondage trousers had been yanked down to his knees and he lay in a spreading pool of blood…minus his testicles…

“You follow so far?”

My head steadied and I could hear the tap-tap of my stick echoing.  We were clearly now inside the warehouse, but I had no sense of having come in. I heard the crunch of discarded needles and crushing of beer cans under foot.

“Yes, continue.” I lied. I hadn’t heard a thing

“He’d been high on glue,” continued Faith. “Had most probably passed out, so was unconscious when they cut off his balls. He was left to bleed to death here, blood still stains the floor.”

“When was this?” I asked.

“Halloween of all nights.” Faith said, a touch of irony in his voice. “You’d laugh if this were part of a bad mystery novel.”

“Never read them,” I replied. “Beowulf and Dante are more my thing at bedtime. Could you guide me over to the blood residue?”

Faith took me by the elbow, said, “Anyway, two months later and we’re none the wiser. All the usual suspects of fellow squatters, druggies and whores using this place – but nothing that leads us to pinning it on any of them. I mean, why kill a boy this way. Why slice off his bollocks?”

I knelt down and lightly touch the floor. I immediately sense the spot where a life bled away…

in the darkness, water laps around a canoe. The punk boy in front, paddles it across the river, towards the dark buildings on the north bank. Behind him, in the canoe, a giggle. A girl’s. But I can’t move around inside the vision to see her, the blood on the floor now too removed from his spirit…

“Did you find his testes?” I ask standing unsteadily.

“No. We even had divers check the river.”

“Who found him?”

“Some vicar, runs a weekly soup kitchen for the homeless nearby. When the kid didn’t turn up, he came to make sure he was ok. Here, I figured these would help…”

He passes me something. I feel the straps and material of bondage trousers, tartan I imagine.  Immediately my head spins…

the tartan trousers are down around the kid’s ankles, his bare arse is thrusting back and forth, a pretty young girl groans with pleasure, pressed up against a warehouse wall…

I stagger forward, falling against a wall, still clutching the trousers…

the boy helps the girl into the canoe. They’re laughing. He says, “Let’s get you home before father realises”…as they paddle off across the river a figure emerges from the shadows and watches them. I can’t see his face, but I can see what he’s wearing…

I slide down the wall, onto my haunches, psychic exertion taking its toll.

“…for when a virgin is defiled she loses her member and therefore let her defiler be punished in the parts in which he offended…” I whisper, quoting the medieval cleric, Henry de Bracton.

“Sorry?” asks Faith sounding confused.

“This vicar,” I ask. “Does he a have a daughter?”

“Yes, a fourteen year old, quite pretty actually. Helps out with the soup kitchen.”

“And he has a dog?”

“Yes, a huge black one, why?”

“…a horrible man, in the likeness of an executioner, hastening towards him, holding in his hand a long knife and with a huge black dog following him…”

Exhausted, I pass out.

Anatoli’s Quiet Night In

Anatoli admired the precision of the tightly rolled joint and sat back, inhaling long and deep, before filling the small room with a cloud of hemp smoke.  The apartment, sticky with the heat of an August night that caused his naked moist back to stick to the faux black leather of the well-worn sofa, reeked of baby piss and puke.  He resented that.  Not just the stink but the baby too.  He had been foolish to let Iulia keep the thing.  Fuck, it wasn’t as if he loved her.  She was just another of his sluts; but one he allowed to cook and clean for him.  Yeah, she had been a good fuck as well.  Once. Continue reading