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Flash of Thunder

Short Stories Uncategorized

Flash of Thunder

© Peter L. Barnes – March 2023

Eloise had been gazing across the fields to the far away hills when she felt the explosive earth impact seconds after the brightest light she had ever seen. Well, the only light she had seen, given her impaired sight. Leaping up with fright and tipping over the bench making her crash to the ground.

“Oof and ow, that hurt” she said, to the listening audience of wild creatures. This bench was her favourite spot in the world. A place where the hum of insects and the rustling of tiny mammals as they went about their short lives, took away the pain and frustration of her ills and disabilities. A place where she could connect with nature, through touch and smell as well as the occasional taste of fallen pollen, bringing a calm to her racing mind.

Eloise worried that a rain storm would follow the thunder but thankfully she couldn’t smell the dust rising from the big first splatters of rain or hail that might threaten to engulf her. She carefully picked up the bench and sat back down, waiting for her guide back home. Once and only once, she had become lost on the way home after the council had installed a new, and to her mind, unneeded, fence which had her tumbling down a hill, too close to the cliff for comfort.

Ever since then, her mother insisted that someone come and collect her. But it wasn’t always easy to find a person who could be relied on. Her brother usually helped but these days his mind was on other things. She would be camped out on the bench until he arrived but determined to make the best of the situation, she extracted the bird food she always carried and threw some on the floor by her dainty feet. The ducks were the first to arrive, squabbling over the meal worms, with the chirping chicks of various waterfowl, pecking at the ground for the scraps or begging titbits from their mothers.


Eloise jumped at the sound so close to her ear. She heard the scramble of ducks as they fled the scene, from what she knew not.

“Hello, who are you.”

“Sorry,” said Eloise.

“More to the point, what are you?

“What do you mean?”

“Boy or girl?”


“Ooo you must be tasty – sugar and spice and all things nice.”

“I’m afraid that’s an urban myth,” said Eloise. “Girls are spite and might and all things trite, with a lot of fight. Not tasty at all.”

“Pity, I was beginning to get an appetite.”

“I’m not sorry to disappoint you, whatever you are.”

“I’m a girl as well.”

“No. What creature are you? You look like a jumble.”

“You can see me?”

“I may be blind but I can see mythical creatures.” said Eloise. “They are all around but most people dismiss them as a mirage.”

“So, my creeping up on you was waste of time and effort.”

“Basically, yes but I was confused by your shape.”

“Fused is the right word.”

“Let me look at you.” said Eloise. “A dragon head but with a white unicorn horn; rearing wings more like a griffin, far too small for a dragon; stripey body of a tiger with a white flowing mane; weak back legs of a goat, topped off with a scorpion tail. You look really weird.”

“You should see the others,” said the monster, defensively.

“What happened?”

“Come with me and I’ll show you and maybe you can help us.”

“I’m sorry, it’s getting late and my brother is coming to take me home,” pointing to the slouching youth, meandering down the chalk path, kicking up white dust as he approached.

“Hello Sis, stop talking to your imaginary friends.”

“Imaginary, I’ll give him imaginary.” Filling her lungs with air, the monster blasted what he hoped was a conflagration of flames, only to see little puffs of smoke emit from his cavernous mouth.

“Are you smoking sis, I’ll tell mum.”

“No, it’s my imaginary friend giving off smoke signals.”

“Whatever! Come on, let’s get home.”

“I’ll see you here tomorrow,” said Eloise, looking back over her shoulder.

The sun streamed through the gap in the window, warming Eloise’s cheek. She felt through her wardrobe until she found the outfit she had decided to wear today.

“Eloise, what on earth are you wearing this morning, it’s not Halloween you know.”

“I must have picked out the wrong dress, never mind it will have to do. Is Robert ready to take me to my seat?”

“Robert, come and take your sister out.”


“Yes, you don’t want Eloise turning you into a frog, do you?”

“Or a three headed toad,” said Eloise, wickedly waving her crooked white stick at him.

Robert took a step back, never quite sure what his sister’s powers were or even if she had any.

“Come on then Sis let’s get you to your perch.”

Eloise did indeed wish she had the power to turn him into a toad, ‘sis’ and ‘perch’ equally galling. She would bide her time before exacting her revenge, as they walked to the coastal path and she took her place on her favourite bench.

Bathing in the warmth of the early summer’s day, Eloise closed her eyes and wondered when her strange creature would join her. She felt a cold presence near her but maybe only a cloud passing in front of the bright sun.

“Go away cloud.”

“I thought you wanted to see me?”

“Oh! It’s you. Get out of my sunshine.”

“Sorry,” said the creature, shuffling out of the way.

“What happened to you, how did you get into this state?”

“I think you may need to meet the others. Take my paw.”

“No leading me off the cliff.”

“I promise.”

“Are your promises gold plated?”

“I need you more than you need me, so probably they are.”

“What do I call you.”


“Jumble what? asked Eloise.

“Jambalaya. It’s a mix of everything”

“And very tasty too, I expect,” said Eloise.

Jambalaya led Eloise through the thick woods where she felt all the damp mosses and ferns on the fallen tree trunks. Eloise gingerly moved forward, not wanting to break any bones in the awkward undergrowth and still terrified that Jambalaya would lead her into a trap.

“Here we are.”

“’Here we are’ where?”

“It’s the magic stone circle of course,” said Jambalaya. “It’s where all mythical creatures come to socialise.”

“Each creature has a stone to sit on, what we call our ‘Circle of Fiends’.”

“Which one is for me.”

“You have been invited to be the chair of our meeting to try and resolve our issues.”

“Do I have a choice?”


Jambalaya led Eloise to a stone chair in the middle of the circle. “The chair will swivel and point you to the relevant creature.”

Eloise sat on the stone seat and it came to life, spinning like a top, as a ring of weird and mixed up creatures all clamoured for her attention.

“The witch tricked me!” shouted one.

“Me too!” called another.

“How will I survive,” moaned a third.

“I’ll be ridiculed for life!” said a fourth.

In a voice she had never heard coming out of her mouth, Eloise screamed at them, “Quiet!”

Shocked by the sheer strength of her voice, every one instantly ceased their complaints.

“Jambalaya, explain what’s going on.”

“What’s happened to your voice Eloise!”

“Never mind that, explain. Now!” Her new found voice astounded herself. No doubt the result of the end of years of being placated and pandered to, because of her condition.

“An old woman appeared one day at our monthly meeting and promised to give us more powers.”

A con called one, a trick called another, she cheated us called a third, until the clamour once again forced Eloise to quell the noise.

“Right, you first!”

A monstrous man shaped creature with bulging muscles like the Hulk, stood up.

“I was always losing fights ‘cos I don’t have stereoscopic vision. She promised me another eye,” pointing at the extra eye, almost stabbing himself in it in the process. “Now I have two eyes but they point in different directions. So, I’s worse than ever.”

“That’s not good, but maybe if you didn’t fight so much and instead used your power to protect vulnerable people, then you would get more sympathy and make some new friends.”

Cyclops looked down with shame at his past aggressive behaviour. “You doesn’t know what it’s like to be mocked and ridiculed for one’s looks,” he moaned.

“Oh trust me, I do.” said Eloise. “I’ll see what I can do.”

The chair swivelled but pointed only to a dark shape in the bushes.

“Who’s that?”

The creature turned towards her showing her black and white face split in two and with a similarly coloured, spirally horn. Bulging eyes highlighted by being black on the white side and white starkly contrasting with the black side of it’s face..

“I wanted to be more zebra with their startling, stripey bodies, then I could stand out in a crowd, and look what I got.”

“On the plains of the Serengetti, there are a million zebras and none stand out as being special,” said Eloise. “A unicorn is the most startling and wondrous animal of all and you’ve spoilt it.”

The unicorn bowed it’s head and scraped at the ground with it’s white hoof, stirring up some insects in the field, only to be snapped up by a pecking pigeon creature.

Eloise spun towards the mishappen Griffen. “And what happened to you?”

“I wanted more colour like the strutting male pigeons,” puffing his purple green and blue chest.

“And will you stop pecking.”

“I can’t help it. It’s what pigeons do.”

“Now you’ve gone from a magnificent Eagle headed lion, to a pecking pigeon with unsightly legs. Well done you!”

The misshapen griffin tried to bury it’s head in the sand in shame.

“Stop that, you’re not an ostrich.”

“Me, me. Help me.” The chair swivelled around to face a caped man. “She took my front teeth and left me with gaps.”

“Probably a good thing then for all those virgins out there who value their blood.”

“But that’s the problem, with my fang teeth every one swiped left on the dating apps, now with gaps, it’s even worse.”

“Do you promise no molesting necks in the future?”

“But I need to drink.”

“If I help you, then in future you’ll only be allowed to drink Bloody Mary’s.”

Her chair swung again to reveal a bright red minotaur.

“And what seems to be your problem?” asked Eloise.

“I wanted to be able to fly like Pegasus.”


All I got was two cans of a caffeine, carbonated drinks.”

“Last of all, Dragon what was your desire?”

“Nothing really but what I got was everything that the others had asked for and more.”

“I’ve heard enough of this,” she said. “You were all so dissatisfied with your wonderous looks and powers but you still wanted more. Shame on you. What you look like does not define you. What you do and how you act does. Good deeds, love and respect for others are the key to success and probably happiness.”

“When you wake up in the morning and think ‘who can I help today’, then you are on your way to a good human being or indeed in your cases, a revered mythical creature.”

Murmuring across the glade showed that each creature had realised realise the error of their decision to have something the others had, which they envied, was totally flawed.

“Now all think about your best features and you will have the wicked witches spell disappear.”

They bowed their heads as another flash burst across the woodland and fields beyond, as Elois pointed at the assembled creatures, with her crocked wand.

Eloise slowly wandered across the fields on her way back to her fairy godmother’s home.

“Hello godmother.”

“Hello white witch, is it done?”

“Yes, they are all back to their un-normal selves and happier for it.”

“And your Black Witch Brother?”

“He’s out in the garden pond, croaking.”

“And your sight?”

“I can still see the mythical creatures, but everything else as well.”

Published by:

Dripping Dragons


Copywrite Peter G. Barnett

Aka Peter L. Barnes – Oct 2021

A tongue twisting story of ‘D’s based on the Locksbridge tea room in Newton Abbot

“Quick, it’s going to rain. We may just reach the tea room.”

The drench of bedraggled dragons, ran along the path towards their favourite tea room by the canal, but they were too late to avoid the deluge of cold water dropping from the dark sky.

“We don’t normally serve dragons, as we don’t have much space,” said the waitress. “But seeing as there is a dearth of customers, we can make a dedicated space for you.”

Dierdre went to area by the dogwood and disinfected the table and chairs.

The dragons dropped onto the designated seats and once settled, perused the damp menus trying to decide which delights they desired.

The darling waitress with the name tag ‘Dierdre’, had her pencil ready to take their orders, whilst doodling on her pad. “What delectable delicacies would you like today?”

“Decaf and Danish,” said Drazzle.

“Dundee cake and a cold drink,” said Nogard.

“Delicious doughnut, with damson jam,” said Dorino.

“I’m dreadfully sorry, we’re all out of doughnuts,” said Dierdre. “The horrible dragon that wears dark drapes, has eaten them.”

“That dastardly dragon, Dragel, has devoured all the delicious doughnuts,” drawled Drazzle.

“Yes, despicable, isn’t he?” said Dierdre.

“Yes. I suppose I’ll have to make do with your decadent drizzle cake,” said Dorino.

“I’ll get your ‘petit déjeuner’, shan’t be long.”

“Something has to be done,” said a disappointed Dorino. “This has dragged out far too long.”

Their order arrived and just to show that dragons could act with decorum and dignity, they slowly devoured their drinks and cakes, daintily dabbing their lips before any dangling drool, dropped to the deck.

“We have to dedicate the next few days, devising a devilish plan to bring about Dragel’s downfall,” said Drazzle.

They debated long and hard without any discernible plans, until some dappled sunlight shone through like a new dawn, and the clouds drifted away, dancing into the distance.

“Time to depart,” stated Drazzle.

“How are you going to pay today,” asked Diedre. “We have no customers so we don’t need your draughty flames to heat our deer-stalker pies.”

“No problem,” said Dorino. “I defied a diabolical rogue and saved a damsel in distress and her dad gave me lots of dosh as a reward, so I’ve got plenty of dollars to pay.”

They left the Locks Bridge Tea Garden and plodded down the dirt track, drying off in a cloud of damp mist.

“I’ve an idea,” said Drazzle. “We have to dangle the proverbial carrot, or in this case doughnut, in front of his distinctive face,” and explained his thoughts to the others.

“Great,” said Dorino. “I know the local baker. I’ll go and talk to him. I often help him out with his dangerous and defunct ovens, so he owes me a favour.”

“I know the damson jam maker,” said Nogard. “I deliver his fruit, saves him a fortune.”

And thus it was, that the deception was endorsed by the three dragons and each trundled off to do their deeds.

A few weeks later the dragon trio arrived back at the designated tea shop to determine if their draconian plans had devolved into an adequate result.

“Hello Diedre,” said Drazzle, “How’s your day?”

“Just dandy,” she replied. “No sign of Dragel at all, so the delicious doughnuts are available again. What did you do to him?”

“It’s a long story so I won’t bore you with all the dreary details.”

“Please do.”

“Well, we used his demanding desire against him.”

“I persuaded the damson jam manufacturer to ‘doctor’ a batch, if too much was consumed in one day,” said Nogard.

“I persuaded the baker to give him the job of filling the doughnuts,” said Dorino.

“I made sure he knew there was no drawback in him devouring one or two,” said Drazzle

“Do you want to watch the drama unfold?” said Dorino, switching on his DVD.

The screen went dark, before clearing to display a dragon standing at dunking station, grabbing a doughnut in each paw, stabbing them onto the trigger which drove damson jam into the centres. He then dropped them into the tray. Then, with eyes darting around the factory, he demolished them in one jaw dropping gulp.

This went on for some time with more doughnuts devoured, than packed, until Dragel’s tummy gurgled and he let out a huge belch, which had the other workers rushing for their deodorant sprays.

“Sorry,” he shouted, but continued to devour more doughnuts.

“I admire his dedication to his diet,” said Diedre” But will he ever desist?”

“I doubt it,” said Drazzle, as Dragel stuffed more into his dark maw. “Look at him.”

Dragel downed another dozen before a more desperate urge overcame his greed and he rushed for the door.

“What did you put into the damson Jam?” asked Dierdre.

“A mild diuretic,” said Nogard. “I doubt he’ll ever devour a delicious doughnut again.”

“Talking of which…,” started Dorino.

“Doughnuts coming up,” said Diedre.

“Undoctored, we hope.”


And of course the alternative title is  ‘D is for Dragons!’

Published by:

Drazzle Dragon to the Rescue


© Peter L. Barnes October 2021

Drazzle was warming herself in the bright sunshine as she sat on the cliff edge looking out at the sparkling waves. Drazzle had acquired a taste for seafood after a recent phishing expedition, but it did leave her wings very draggely. She had learnt, watching local cormorants, that a good stretch in the sunshine warmed her blood after diving to the cold depths of the English Channel.

Phishing was fine except of course for the jostling fishing boats and their desire to denude the channel of all life, in the pursuit of the main chance, whatever that meant. Drazzle had had great fun tying all their nets together so that a shoal of fish had escaped. Well, you say escaped, Drazzle and her cormorant palls had had a whale of a time.

“Morning Drazzle, have you had a good morning,” said a little girl, settling down beside her.

“Oh, hello Lei. Yes wonderful, caught a few silver snacks.”

“You mean a lot.”

“Well, define ‘Lots’”

“More than ten?”





“Maybe, but the other seabirds had quite a few as well, so it wasn’t all me.”

“Leave some for others and make sure there are enough small ones for the next generation.”

“My generation”

“No, the fish silly.”


“Anyway,” said Lei. patting Drazzle’s tummy. “You shouldn’t eat so many at one sitting.”

“They shouldn’t taste so nice.”

“I’m surprised that the way you gulp them, that you have time to taste them.”

“I can only taste them when I regurgitate them.”

“I didn’t know you were a ruminant.”

“I’m not luminescent.”

“Not a bright spark either.”


“Nevermind. No, a ruminant regurgitates food to mix in more saliva with the food to make it more digestible.

“Yes, I like a digestive before I go to bed.”

“I give up,” said Lei, talking with dragons was always a strain.

Far out to sea, a flash of white revealed a beautiful yacht, tacking up the channel, racing through the waves. Hoping to beat any impending storm.

“Have you ever sailed?” asked Lei. “It’s very exhilarating.”

“I can accelerate faster than anyone. Anyway, tried it once but was thrown overboard for burning a sail.”

“Why does that not surprise me.”

The peaceful scene was broken by a sudden squall racing across the waves, whipping the water into a frenzy behind the boat. Lei and Drazzle stood as tall as possible, trying to warn the crew of the yacht, only to get cheerful waves back.

Pointing and shouting was wasted on the crew, until it was too late and the whirlwind struck, knocking the mast clean off and tipping the boat on its side.

A yellow rescue raft automatically deployed and inflated, allowing the crew members to scramble aboard, but they were not out of danger yet. The swell threw them up and down like a roller coaster, whilst they clung desperately on to the ropes.

“Quick Drazzle help them.”

Drazzle faced into the wind and slowly lifted herself into the air but overloaded with fish she was not her usual self and was in danger herself of falling down the cliff.

“Regurgitate Drazzle.”


“Throw up!”

Drazzle realised what Lei meant and regurgitated a ton of fish back into the sea. Many were amazed at their freedom from the stomach acid and splashed far below into the life-giving waters and swam away to live another day.

Drazzle, unburdened by the weight of her excessive meal, took off and flew down to the life raft. Talons to the fore she prepared to land on the raft. The crew looked up in horror as the sharp talons landed on the yellow raft and ten sharp hisses quickly deflated on one side of the raft, leaving it lopsided with the crew hanging on in fear.

“Sorry,” said Drazzle. “Hang on, I think I see something.” Drazzle flew off to the top of a cliff where some intrepid explorers were about to take off in a hot air balloon.

“Can I borrow this please?” asked Drazzle politely, before grabbing it and with a quick puff of flame had it gliding across the sky towards the stricken castaways. Tempering hot puffs and releasing hot air she was soon hovering over the life raft, allowing the crew to board the basket. Puffing strongly the balloon lifted away from the possible watery grave and started to approach the cliffs. But by this time Drazzle was running out of hot air and its was touch and go if they would reach the top.

They almost made it before the basket clipped the highest point of the cliff and started spinning around before tipping over onto the grass. All the crew members were thoroughly tied up in the ropes.

Lei and the balloonists raced to help but were overtaken by a group of police constables. “Sorry,” called Lei. “Don’t hurt Drazzle, she didn’t mean to steal your balloon, she was only rescuing the boat crew.”

But the police didn’t seem phased by a proud dragon, standing tall, her small front claws held out, meekly waiting for the handcuffs.

“No,” said the first policeman. “We aren’t after your dragon.”

Instead, he was clipping handcuffs on to one of the trapped men.

“These guys are serial drug traffickers and your dragon has helped us to capture them. They’ve been evading us for years. I’m sure that there will be a reward for what she’s done.

The balloonists came across and untangled the ropes, freeing the handcuffed drug runners ready to be bundled into a police van. After checking out the basket and balloon they were pleased that there was no damage.

“That was some pretty impressive flying there, dragon.”

“Thank you.”

“Come on Drazzle time to go home.”



“I’m hungry.”

Published by:

Breakfast at Tiffanies

Short Stories Uncategorized

Or – A Klutzy Dragon


© Peter L. Barnes March 2020


The Dragon picked bacon bits from between her teeth, with her especially sharpened claw. Breakfast had been perfect. Ten bacon slices crispy; twenty fried eggs, soft but with crackling white; thirty spicy sausages, straight from the farm; fresh vine tomatoes; a pile of wild portobello mushrooms; finished off with a 500-gram raw and bloody steak.

She paid her bill, surprisingly low, and walked down the hill to finish off with a lovely cappuccino at the local Tiffanies Coffee shop. She walked through a field enjoying the sunshine when she came upon a pixie sitting in the middle of the grass munching on clover.

“Pixie Lott, how are you?” asked Priscilla.

“I’m fine,” said Pixie. “Why are you not flying?”

“I can never fly on a big breakfast.”

“I don’t know why I gave you powers, maybe I should take them away.”

“Maybe not,” said Priscilla, belching out a ring of fire all around the pixie. “I know you love trapping people in a pixie ring, now see how you feel.”

Arriving at the edge of the sea, Priscilla found a beautiful mermaid sunning herself on a rock, crunching on an unfortunate lobster, quietly singing to herself.

“How does the lobster feel?”

“Crunchie,” said the Mermaid, licking her lips.

“Not how does it taste, feel?”

“And the pigs you ate this morning?”

“Grateful for a humane death, unlike eating the lobster alive.”

“How would you expect me to cook food under water?” asked the Mermaid.

“Find a hot pool,” said Priscilla blasting a small pool in front of the Mermaid’s feet until it started boiling over.

The mermaid looked down at the small pool where several snails in seaweed were bubbling away.

“Looks tasty,” said the mermaid. “Pity about the rest of the pond life though!”

Priscilla walked further along the seashore checking out the debris piled up amongst the weeds, coming across the White Unicorn resplendent with her rainbow stripes, shining out in the bright morning sunshine.

“Morning Wolfmother,” said Priscilla.

“Morning Priscilla,” said the Unicorn. “Why do you always call me that?”

“Look it up,” said Priscilla. “Anyway, what are you doing?”

“Cleaning up the plastic,” said the White Unicorn, tugging a large sack of plastic fragments along the beach, using her white flowing tail.

“Let me help,” said Priscilla.

“No don’t do that,” as the unicorn saw the dragon taking a deep breath and punching a fire ball at the bag.

Woof went the bag, sending up a cloud of burnt plastic smoke into the sky, blocking out the sunshine.

When the smoke had cleared, the Unicorn stood amidst the wreckage, her tail shrivelled up and her glorious coat blackened.

“Thanks for nothing,” said the Unicorn, as Priscilla strode away.

Walking further along the beach she found a small child looking down at the pebbles and a Fairy godmother asking her what the matter was.

“I’ve dropped my stone,” wailed the child. “How will I find it now?”

“Was it special?”

“Of course,” said the girl. “It was my pet stone; I’d painted it black.”

“I can help,” said the fairy godmother, about to cast a spell to reveal the stone

“So, can I,” said Priscilla, and unleashed a stream of fire, blackening all the stones and inadvertently turning the fairy’s wand into a pile of ash.

“Thanks for nothing dragon,” said the furious godmother.

“But the child now has a choice of loads of stones.”

Priscilla watched a group of gnomes fishing in the incoming waves. The central gnome was sitting on a throne.

“Morning King Cannot.”


“Whatever,” knowing better to interfere, no way is this going to go well.

Walking back up the beach to her local coffee shop, Priscilla came across a wizard and witch, fighting it out over a young lady who was being transformed from a poorly dressed waif into a beautiful princess and back again.

“She won’t go to the ball said the wicked witch, casting the poor spell once again.

“Oh yes she will,” said the Wizard, determined that the young girl would have her chance.

“What’s this, some kind of magic reality show?” queried Priscilla.

“She needs her chance in life,” said the wizard, making her outfit even more sparkling

“No, she needs to finish her chores in my house,” said the wicked witch, “I’m her stepmother and what I say goes.”

Priscilla stepped into the fray and blew a smoke screen over the warring factions.

This time the wicked witches spell went wrong and Cinders stayed in her lovely gown.

“What have you done?” screamed the hag.

“I’ve swapped your wands,” said Priscilla. “You will only be able to make good wishes in future.”

The witch stormed off in a huff.

“I suppose the opposite is true for me,” said the wizard “But I can grant negative spells instead.”

Cinders swept away in the TV’s stretch limousine.

Priscilla sat outside the coffee shop, sipping her cappuccino.

“What’s the problem Pricilla?” said the Prince, joining her.

“Everything seems to be wrong this morning,” she said. “I can’t do anything right.”

“That explains my ever after fairy tale, turning into divorce.”

“Really, I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t worry I was never suited to cold climates,” said the concerned Prince. “How did this all start?”

“It started after breakfast at that café you recommended.”

“I told you they did a wicked breakfast, so it’s your own fault for trying it.”





Published by:

Plain Jane Grey an introvert comes to life


Plain Jane Grey

Copywrite Peter G Barnett (aka Peter L. Barnes) 2019


The onesie upon the line, hung lifeless and unmoving,  undisturbed by any breeze. Jane sat by the window and stared at her spinning wheel and tried to imagine a finished article but could not even envisage the start. She looked out at the nothing day, no wind, no rain, no snow on the ground, just a grey blankness from which no magical images would appear.

The path was not beaten to her door, the flowers had not bloomed; the bushes were withered and the leaves on the tree were very ordinary this year. Not the bright greens of spring, nor the vibrant dark greens of summer, and certainly not the red and orange colours of autumn. For all intents and purposes the outside world was merely a black and white version of normality.

Her heart was empty, a dark hole in her chest where love should preside. No matter how hard she tried, no-one came up to her standards, which were already pretty low. But even that was a lie, she hadn’t actually met anyone who had a vague interest in her. Her last date had been on the school bus where even her ‘boyfriend’ had sat in another seat and occasionally glanced her way. Well she supposed it wasn’t even a date, she just contrived to be on the same bus as he was.

She used to marvel about some of her friends, well acquaintances to be more accurate, who used to pick up boys at the drop of a hat. And then dump them as quickly, knowing there were more fish to hook at a moment’s notice. To try and improve her appearance she went to a colour match consultant but was given a simple array of greys and blacks, with the occasional white highlights.

She opened up her computer to see if anyone had responded to her friend requests only to be disappointed once again. She followed a few tweets of the soap opera stars, wondering why their lives did not reflect the story lines, before remembering that TV was not all reality shows. She didn’t enjoy the animal planet programmes because viewed in black and white, it made the commentary seem ridiculous and out of touch with her as a viewer.

Articles in the newspaper made painful reading, not only for the content but her eyes seemed to be taking an undue strain these days. She decided that she needed new glasses as her vision seemed to be losing focus, whether this was a euphemism of her life or reality she didn’t know.

Her visit to the optician was an eye opener. Besides being a bit of a dish, he diagnosed an unusual problem with her eyes, after a session with the Ishihara charts. The reality was that she didn’t see colours at all, in fact she could only see in black and white.

He gave her a pair of tinted glasses.

“Now look at the garden.”

She looked out at the rose garden behind his clinic and was astonished to see a row of pink roses.

“That’s wonderful.”

“I will make up a special pair for you for your next visit which will show you even more colours.”

Jane’s life steadily improved from a dull grey outlook to a more colourful one even if it was only pink tinged. She looked forward to next week but thought a new outfit might be in order. Looking through the clothes shelves for ‘pink’ on the lable she finally found what she hoped would be a matching outfit.

Arriving at the clinic the optician gave her an odd stare at the new outfit.

“I think we can improve on your look once you have your new glasses.”


“Well it still doesn’t colour match,” he said in a kind voice. “Did an assistant help you?”

“Oh no I wouldn’t want them to be bothered with me,” said Jane. “I just looked for pink on the lable.”

“You do know that ‘Pink’ is a designer trade name?”

“No, I didn’t. Oh, dear is it awful.”

“No,” he said, “But we can do a lot better I’m sure.”

Did he say we, thought Jane?

“Now I need you to relax on your side and rest your head between the supports,” said the optician. “You’ll feel a tiny sharp pain, it’s only a local anaesthetic.”

“Now is that numb,” he said, touching the side of her head.


She felt some pressure on the side of her head.

“There, that’s done.”

“What’s done?”

“I’ve inserted two sensors into your brain where colour is detected,” he said. “They will make contact with these glasses.”

He showed her the frame he had chosen, with two gold contacts behind the ear hook.

“There are two cameras in the frame to give you a 3d vision, with colour.”

He fitted the glasses. “Now close your eyes for a second.”

He turned the chair around and sat her up. “Now open them.”

Her vision was assailed with multi-coloured hues and startling bright flashes. Greens, reds blues and yellows and all the colours of the rainbow, shone in the bright sunshine. A variety of roses and pretty flowers in the garden, made tears flow from the corners of her eyes.

“The glasses only have tunnel vision, so you can only really look forward to get the best effect.”

She looked down at her outfit and understood why he had said that there could be an improvement. “Oops orange and pink don’t really go do they.”

“No, but it could have been worse.” He said. “I’ll tell you what why don’t we meet for coffee at the local shopping mall? I’ll be finished in an hour and we can look through the clothes at Hollisters and see what we can find.”

“That’ll be lovely,” said Jane, her heart thumping for no reason at all, or more probably every reason.

She went outside, mounted her old-fashioned motorbike and kick-started it into life. “Now is that another euphemism or what,” she said to a startled patient entering the clinic.

“She sat at the Costa Coffee shop sipping her dark brown hot chocolate, wondering at the array of colourful outfits on the bright young things.

The chair opposite her scraped backwards as the optician sat down. “Sebastian by the way.”

“Jane but you knew that.”

“But no longer a calamity we hope.”

“Absolutely not,” said Jane, grinning like a cat. “Have I got chocolate on my lips?”

“Only a little chocolate smile,” he said, gently wiping the tops of her lips with the serviette. “Right let’s get over to the shop, shall we?”

They went for a mix of ‘born again, flower power’ tops and sparkly jeans. Some twinkly trainers finish off the look.

“I have to go,” said Sebastian. “Can I take you out this evening.”

“Uh not sure, I mean of course yes.”

“I’ll see you at seven then.”

Jane watched his honed body walk out of the mall and caught several other yummy mummies following his every move. He’s mine she thought, keep off.

She rode back to her cottage, panier bags full of packages. A small shower threatened to spoil her mood but the sight of her first rainbow that seemed to be resting on her roof where the chimney gleamed yellow reflecting the sunshine.

She was ready far too early but couldn’t help admiring her looks in the full-length mirror, normally kept hidden by a blanket draped over the top. Finally, the doorbell rang, and she flung open the door to find a vison in front of her. Gone was his white jacket from the clinic and instead an equally bright shirt and a red bandana showed off his holiday tan. He held out a flower and placed it in her hairband. They both looked straight out of the Woodstock and Free Love Era and they vowed to be hippy ever after.



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