Category Archives: Short Stories

The Smart Dragon

Short Stories

The Smart Dragon

Copywrite Peter L. Barnes

A slightly Corny story, but then do Dragons get corns?

Trying to keep up with her classmates.

Thank goodness she had been allowed to join the class, although the teasing that she was a ‘bit of a dragon’ in on-line posts, was a bit hard to take. She wasn’t a bit of a dragon; she was a full-blown dragon.

The main reason that Georgiana had been accepted into the school in the first place was because she had been orphaned at an early age, too many Georges and ‘Game of Thrones’ fans having taken their toll.

Seating arrangements had been a bit of a problem, but fortunately as a ‘special needs child’ they had been given a grant for a metal desk, instead of the usual wooden units. Typing wasn’t a problem as she had her own computer and clawboard. The screen saver was just that, a steel shutter that dropped like a guillotine in front of the screen, if there was any hint of a fire.

She used the Dragonet for all her homework, and Tinder to try and connect to other dragons. Who on earth thought that Tinder was a good name for lonely dragons? And anyway, swiping left and right across her smart phone had ruined many a screen, she was thinking of going to court to force manufactures to improve them. Surely, it was against her dragon rights to have to spend so much money on new phones.

The school was having their annual Christmas play this year and the teacher, Mr Johnston, who acted as the producer, had tried to find a part for her, but this was proving very difficult despite Georgiana’s obvious acting skills. Apparently, there wasn’t a dragon in the bible and Mr Johnson really didn’t think her donkey impression was going down well, something about straw being a fire hazard.

“Life isn’t fair,” she said to Mr Johnson.

“Well I’m sorry but I didn’t write the story,” he said. “Maybe next year we’ll do George and the drag… What??” as Georgiana growled at him.

“And there’s no need to do dog impressions either, this is not a ‘dog in the manger’ story.”

“Sorry but I’m a bit frustrated at the moment.”

You’ll have to buy the book once published to read more

 

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Chorizo, the Chocolate Dragon

Short Stories

Chorizo, the Chocolate Dragon

© Peter G Barnett (aka Peter L. Barnes)

 

I met my Dragon on the way grandma’s house, well not my Dragon as such. It was flitting between the trees trying to look frightening, without much success. Chameleons are great at blending into the background but this Dragon had it all wrong. Red where there should be green and green where red leaves should hide her.

“Come here you silly Dragon, you can’t hide from me.”

“But I’m good at changing colour.”

“Yes, but only changing to the wrong ones.”

“Sorry.”

“Here, look at this,” said Melissa, pulling out some Ishihara charts, which she always took in her handbag. “What number do you see?”

“Three.”

“Wrong,” said Melissa. “And this one?”

“Five.”

“I thought so, you’re colour blind,” she said. “I suppose we should introduce ourselves, I’m Melissa.

“Chorizo!”

“Bless you.”

“No Chorizo, the chocolate dragon.”

“Chorizo isn’t a chocolate.”

“Tell my dad that,” said Chorizo. “I had all the Italian lads chasing me with knives and forks.”

“How horrid.”

“I got my own back as I let off a few fire bursts.”

“So why are you skulking around the woods?”

“The other dragons mock me because of my short nose. So, don’t you rub my nose in it as well.”

“What, your short nose,” said Melissa, ducking, as a puff of fire squirted from Chorizo’s nostrils.

“Now, now, just a tease,” apologised Melissa. “Is there a reason for it being so short?”

“You don’t know much about Dragon Law, do you?”

“Well I do actually, it goes back to Baden Powell days, something about doing a good deed makes your nose grow.”

“Yes, Pinocchio had it all wrong. Anyway, I’m waiting for a good deed to come along.”

“I think you’ll find that good deeds hardly present themselves,” said Melissa. “You probably have to go out and find them.”

“Would you help me?”

“I’ll do what I can.”

“Why are you off to see your grandmother?”

“She’s got some baskets for me for the grand Easter Egg hunt.”

“Can I help?”

“I don’t see why not but don’t scare Gran with your big teeth.”

Melissa knocked on Gran’s thick oak door, freshly polished and smelling of Lavender. “Friends here Gran.”

“Melissa do come in but leave that sneaky Dragon outside.”

“He’s fine, only a little misunderstood.”

“Your baskets are in the corner,” said Gran. “What have you brought me today?”

“I’ve picked some lovely berries and some chestnuts.”

“Roasted?”

“Not yet, do you want Chorizo to roast them for you?”

“Yes please, but put them in the grate first, I don’t want a fire.”

You’ll have to buy the book once published to read more

 

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Unicorn in the Attic

Short Stories

Unicorn in the Attic (A Christmas story)

© Peter l. Barnes and Peter Barnett

 

A Unicorny story.

 

“Can you get the tree down, please,” called Jamie’s wife, Susan.

Another trip up into the dusty attic, he thought. He never remembered where he had put the tree or all the lights and decorations. Christmases never lived up to their expectations since the family split up across the globe.

He dropped the attic hatch, pulled down the ladder and climbed up. He switched on the light, which created a series of bright spots and many dark shadows. He had never explored some of the shadowy areas, not that he was worried about what he might find, in fact he imagined hidden treasures, tucked in ancient trunks. But there was still enough space in the lit areas, for some suitcases, toy boxes and old soft furnishings that they stored up here.

Climbing up and stooping low to avoid the low beams, he began his search, sweeping the tiny torch across the humps and lumps of cloth covered boxes and small furniture discards.

“Hello.”

“What,” exclaimed Jamie, spinning around and hitting his head on the rafters, expecting to see her pretty head over the top of the hatch.

“Did you say something Susan,” he called down.

Not a peep from below.

“That’s strange, I’m sure she called. It must be my imagination.”

“Figment?”

“What?”

“Am I a figment of your imagination,” said the voice, from the black depths of the attic.

“Who are you?” Jamie asked, swinging the beam of his small torch around the dark recesses.

“Me,” said a creature, appearing out of the shadows.

A beautiful Unicorn with a glistening golden horn in the middle of its forehead appeared from the gloom. The  exquisite Unicorn, only two foot tall, was adorned by red and blue ribbons in its perfect white mane, stood in front of Jamie, swishing its feathery tail, stirring up dust and sweeping it from the rafters.

“Careful,” said Jamie, hiding his eyes from the perilous dust. “How did you get up here.”

Because of copywrite in fringements, you’ll have to buy the book once published to read more.

 

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The Eruption Acrylics. Short play on words

Short Stories

The Eruption Acrylics.

All that is noun of the Eruption land gauge has been found from a Ceres of marks and punt uration on a Rose Petal Stone, found by a conqueror called Napoli Man as his troops searched for ancient replicas.

This was a long time Before Calendars (BC) but the Stone was found 1800 years after decimalization (AD). Jean-François Champollion was a great puzzler and pretended he could read it, but he was mocked by many of his pears, so he created the Cross Word to put them in their place.

Apparently, names were put into baffoons, which is where we get comics from, and they were called carte blanches. They had no skools and were very bad at their ABC, so they drew pictures instead.

These people were called the Walking Dead, as they were never seen alive and many movies have been made of them. They were frightened of the dark, living in their Tomes, wrapped in sheets to prevent being swept away in the floods of the river Nail.

Tutti Carmen was a great leader who to help them escape from their underground Tomes by building huge Pyrites, towering into the sky, with tiny shafts, to get them used to the light.

It is no wonder that these night people were afraid of humans as they often had heads of birds or dogs and were ridiculed by the river Nail Krockodile people, who lived under psalms.

Many mysts surround the Euruptions, especially that they were sun gods which were only misspelled when I Car Us flew too close and was frazzled, unlike the rock which survived.

Which is why I have a fairy on top of my Christmas Tree.

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A Vet’s Nightmare – short Story

Short Stories

A Vet’s Nightmare

“Hello. Welsh Hill’s Vetinarian practise.”

“Yes, hello. Do you look after all animals?”

“Oh yes, all creatures great and small, we do them all.”

“Excellent. Can I get an appointment, please?”

“What seems to be the problem?”

“He’s gone off his food.”

“Can you come over at 3?”

“Great,” said Susan. “Do you have a helipad there?”

“What?”

“A Helipad, or a flat roof?”

“Ah.. yes, we have a flat roof,” said the receptionist. “Why?”

“Okay we’ll drop in about 3pm.”

Susan guiding her pet down onto the flat roof and then climbed down to the front entrance.

“Hello. I’m Susan. I have an appointment for my pet.”

“Oh yes,” said the receptionist. “What’s his name please?”

“Nogard”

“And what is he?”

“A dragon of course, although he’s a little backward.”

“And where is this dragon,” said the receptionist, trying to humour her.

“He’s waiting outside a bit big for your doors.”

The receptionist looked out to see that indeed there was a dragon waiting patiently, out in the car park, taking up a large disabled bay.

“Oh yyyyyes,” she stuttered. “I’ll get the vet to come out.”

The vet appeared form his room stethoscope around his neck.

“Hello, Dr Little,” said the vet, holding out his hand.

“Susan, Nice to meet you Dr Little.”

“Call me Doo please,” said the vet.

“Doo?”

“Short for Donald, or maybe because I’m always up to my eyeballs in it.”

“Oh Right.”

“So, where’s this ‘dragon’ then.”

“Nogard’s outside.”

“Is he trained. I don’t want him biting my head off.

“Oh yes,” said Susan. “That’s his favourite film, always watching it.”

Because of copywrite in fringements, you’ll have to buy the book once published to read more.

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Red Roses – a murdererous story

Short Stories

Red Roses

 

Hanna dug amongst the foliage and deep leaf litter, looking for insects that might be the answer to the burning question that the police required. Beetles would be the best indicator of time of death now that the blowflies were on their second or third cycle. She collected a few different species from the corpse and surrounding area, including a bone beetle, suggesting a couple of weeks since death.

“Any clues?” asked the detective.

“Well, I would say at least a couple of weeks old,” she said, holding up the vial containing the little black beetle.

Hanna loved her role in the laboratory attached to the Coroner’s Court. She had trained as a pathologist progressing through bloods and diseases, until specialising in Forensics. Much more varied than only peering down a microscope at blood and examining body cells every day.

She had the freedom of a varied work experience from visiting crime scenes, discussions with police departments and even giving evidence at murder trials. The downside, was night visits like this one to remote sites in woods and moorlands, at the most inconvenient times and weathers.

She tried not to think about the identity of the body, thankful that it wasn’t the one she feared. She divorced her mind from the affect its discovery would have on the family and friends of the victim, her job was the collection of evidence and her mind could cope with that.

A few days later they were reviewing the case of the body in the woods.

“Will you be nailing the father?”

“He has been charged with her murder,” said Mark, the detective. “The samples and insects you recovered showed that his daughter had disappeared a couple of days earlier than he reported, blowing his alibi out of the water. The fibres you found linking him to the site were the final straw.”

“Excellent.”

“Now about this evening,” said Mark. “Are you still ready for an interesting night out. You know you don’t need to come with us.”

They were planning to get to know a local playboy, who was known for his extravagant parties. They suspected he was using the parties as a front to pick up lonely women, who later disappeared. He typically started at the high-end venue by inviting a few singles and couples around to his place, after the club closed, offering free drinks, food and great music.

Because of copywrite in fringements, you’ll have to buy the book once published to read more.

 

 

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Murder at Downtown Alley Short Story

Short Stories

Murder at Downtown Alley, starring Tepulia Lark

© Peter Barnett

DCI J. Fedora surveyed the scene in front of him with an expert eye, but he could not put it into context of a murderous fight, as they were led to believe. There seems to have been some sort of struggle, with ornaments, pictures and even a broken umbrella but none of the furniture, apart from one small overturned chair, was disturbed.

Upstairs in the bedroom it was a similar scene but with the added complication of a blouse with a bloodstain in the wash basket and a ripped shirt in the small waste bin. Neither the husband, Mr. William Aster or his wife, Disa (strange name thought Jaunty) were to be found. Neither of their cars were in the drive or garage. There were no laptops or tablets around for them to trawl through and without a search warrant they wouldn’t really be able to anyway. They were here at the request and information provided by Mrs Aster’s sister, who thought that Disa might be in trouble from her husband, based on some Facebook posts and her inability to contact her.

In fact, had the back door not been wide open, they probably wouldn’t be inside the house at all. DCI Fedora was astounded at the lack of security which most people treated their home. Many a place he had entered through wide open doors at the back, the owners no doubt thinking that a solid front door would be all they needed, of course the master skeleton keys, he had tucked in his pocket might have been the real reason for an easy entry, but no need to dwell on that.

A half-eaten ready meal lay abandoned in the kitchen, that either meant a hasty exit or merely poor-quality food, purchased in haste. The husband, no doubt tempted by the glamorous photo on the packaging and the famous chef endorsement, had obviously been disappointed by the actual contents.

Jaunty tried again to phone the two mobile numbers, provided by Miss Aida, the sister, of the husband and wife, but they both went straight to voice mail. They had a picture of the wife standing in front of her Mazda sports car, from which they had captured the number plate which was being traced through their APNR system but so far without success.

There was nothing more to be seen inside, so Jaunty posted a uniformed policeman at the front of the house and returned to his office to talk to his team. If he could solve this mystery it would be a feather in his cap as well as an opportunity to progress his career which had stalled lately.

“Let me show you what we’ve got,” said detective, to his team when he had them all assembled. “A report of trouble between Mr and Mrs Aster, no sign of either of them. Signs of a struggle downstairs and no attempt to clean up. A blouse with blood and a torn shirt in the bedroom. Josh, any luck on social media?”

“Well there seems to be a short history of trouble in the marriage on her Facebook pages but more hints than direct statements.”

“Now the photograph the sister provided, gave us the registration number of the MX5. Any response from the APNR?”

“There is a sighting of the Mazda driving through the Thames Valley region and we’ve alerted local motor patrols.”

“What about the whereabouts of the phones?”

“No responses so far although the wife’s phone was last tracked to the Warwickshire area, but that was a couple of days ago.”

“That could mean nothing,” said Jaunty. “But we’ll alert the force up there to keep an eye open. I’m off to interview the sister.”

Because of copywrite in fringements, you’ll have to buy the book once published to read more.

 

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Writers Retreat – Famous authors

Short Stories

Writers Retreat

Peter L. Barnes

 

The girl looked out over the swift flowing river, as raindrops tumbled out of the sky, creating crowns of glory, as they crashed into the water. Mayflies, hit by the sudden downpour, plunged into the water, only to be gobbled up by the ravenous school of trout, delighted at the unexpected windfall.

She surveyed the old tumbledown station behind her and the forlorn space, where once, twin tracks of freedom and travel lay, bringing monsters of metal, surrounded by steam and smoke and their greasy drivers. Cracked and worn platforms beneath her feet, where once upon a time, happy holiday makers, full of excitement and laughter, had once disembarked for their summer holidays.

No hustle and bustle today, even the birds had fallen silent, hiding amongst the larger leaves attempting to keep their feathers dry, until the storm passed over. The girl’s large brimmed hat dripped water in a circle around her feet, before running down the cracks and over the platform edge. The faintest blodges of white paint remained, long past the time when pristine lines once warned passengers not to get too close.

The rain turned into hail and Kathy moved back under a canopy that was growing over her head. The hailstones became larger and larger but now in a narrow band along the disused track and the edge of the platform. The noise level increased as the hailstones turned to granite, hammering into the thin area in front of the platform, becoming the full ballast that would be needed for the track.  The noise of the falling stones stopped, to be replaced by the heavy crunch of sleeper logs dropping into place, one by one as they slammed into the ballast. Metal on metal clanking reached Kathy’s ears as two rods of steel approached, hammered into the sleepers and screwed down. Shiny rods of rail track stopped past the end of the platform and huge buffers with new shiny red paint, solidified at the terminus of the line. A gantry with green signals appeared on the far corner of the track and at a road crossing an old car was stopped from crossing.

“Are you waiting for the train?” asked a rumbling voice from behind her.

She spun around to find a concerned gentleman, holding up a brightly coloured umbrella to protect his perfect station masters uniform. A peaked cap with a red band, navy blue coat with bright buttons in two rows down the front. Kathy could see that the station was now far from the dilapidated building she had found when she first arrived. A row of lamps, now lit because of the dark thunderstorm; pretty green doors and perfect white writing on all the signs. Waiting Room, Ticket Office, Exit, Ladies and Gents, proclaimed the signs. A new clock proclaiming the time of 6.31, ticked loudly for the first time.

“I’d have to wait for a long time, wouldn’t I?” said Kathy.

“Sadly yes. Beecham and the car have certainly spoilt the romance of travelling,” said the stationmaster. “George by the way.”

“Kathy. Nice to meet you,” said Kathy. “Writers made the most of unexpected meetings of strangers on long journeys, leading to romance or maybe just lustful encounters.”

“There are lots of love stories set on trains it’s true,” said George. “But think how many murder stories were set on train journeys, especially Agatha’s novels.”

“Well I suppose she had many journeys on the trains to and from Devon.”

Talking of which, a whistle in the far distance heralded the arrival of the 2.45 from Paddington. The station and its surrounds were now fully restored, complete with colourful flower beds and new posters welcoming guests to the mini Riviera of England.

Because of copywrite in fringements, you’ll have to buy the book once published to read more.

 

 

©Peter Barnett 2018

 

 

 

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The Jewel Thief – a short story

Short Stories

Jewel Thief

 

A spark reflected in the torch and caught the eye of the caver as she squeezed her way into an unexplored chamber. Why on earth had she decided that this was a great holiday, scrambling down dark, damp, cold holes, covered with mud and underground roots, but it had been on her friend’s bucket list before she had died. The challenge of dealing with her passing, was nothing compared to the promise she had made to live out her friend’s bucket list. She had already suffered a bungy jump, a climb up Kilimanjaro, frightening, white water rafting down a swollen river in Wales, a death defying Skydive and potholing was the last on her friend’s list.

Jane’s preferred bucket list, had been sitting in front of a log fire, sipping Bailey’s, chocolate in hand, being hugged by her special girlfriend. But as with all rash promises made to a dying partner, she was determined to finish them all. She hoped that living out her friend’s wishes would take away the deep pain Jane had felt since she had gone.

Jane was drawn closer to the sparkle and dragged her body towards the source, trying to reach the mysterious object. One last heave and she was close enough to see a white diamond, surrounded by a pink flower, glistening in her head light. She grasped the jewel and screamed as she realised it was still on the skeletal remains of a finger. Recovering from her fright she played the torch into the alcove to see a complete skeleton, half submerged in the mud floor. How on earth did that get down here, obviously old, maybe even an ancient burial, or worse a murderer hiding a body. She quickly extracted her phone and took a picture before she backed away, retracing her passage through the cave until she could turn around, still clutching the finger and jewel, as evidence in case she was not believed.

Once on the surface she couldn’t help blurting out about her discovery. “There’s an ancient body down there,” said Jane. “Well a skeleton anyway.”

“Really,” said James. “Where?”

“In that unexplored chamber you told me to try,” said Jane, taking out the finger with the jewel fused to the bone. Now she could see it, there was a central diamond, set in a ruby shaped like a rose with green emeralds, depicting leaves, set around the outside.

“We’ll have to call the police,” said James. “Even if the finger seems to be old.”

“The ring is amazing,” said Fran. “I hope you can keep it.”

“I’ll have to hand it in to the police and inform the local antiquities department,” said Jane. “So, I suppose my chances of keeping my hands on it are probably slim.”

They tidied up all their potholing equipment, whilst waiting for the police to arrive.

“Was there a whole skeleton down there?” asked Fran

“I think so, unfortunately I got a bit of a fright and I don’t think the photo will be that clear.” She showed them the fuzzy picture outlining the skull and ribcage.

“Wow a ‘skeletie’,” said James, trying to make a bit more of a light-hearted comment, to brighten up their mood.

The police finally arrived complete with an expert potholer. Jane showed them the finger with the jewel and the dim photo she had taken. The police agreed that with the level of decomposition and the fact that it was half buried in silt, suggested it was ancient and not some sort of modern murder case.

“Where did you find the body?” asked the potholer.

“I don’t think ‘body’ would describe what I found,” said Jane and showed him on the map where she had made her discovery.

The police asked Jane and the others for statements and contact details before asking them to keep the discovery to themselves until they could determine exactly what had gone on.

Because of copywrite in fringements, you’ll have to buy the book once published to read more.

 

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