#SampleSunday 20th March 2011

It’s back to #SampleSunday for me after a couple of weeks off. I hope you enjoy them. If you do, please consider my two collections of short stories, from which they are taken. They’re only 71p (UK) or 99c (US).

For Kindle in the UK:
.: BMT 1 :. and .: BMT 2 :.

For Kindle in the US:
.: BMT 1 :. and .: BMT 2 :.

On Smashwords:
.: BMT 1 :. and .: BMT 2 :.

And in print:
.: BMT :.

DREAMS OF CHILDREN

Pauline insisted. “I know we’re going to have a child. It was like a premonition.”

Roger sighed. He’d heard this most mornings for the past month now. “Pauline, you know that’s impossible.”

“But Roger. The dreams, they’re so real! I can feel it inside me already. I absolutely know I’m pregnant. You know I’ve wanted this for so long.”

“Pauline, its one thing wanting a baby. It’s another thing…”

“You men, you’re always like this. You just can’t believe we have these feelings, and that they’re so real.”

“Look. Maybe you should see the doctor. He’ll be able to tell you better than I can.”

“Roger. When you go out at lunchtime today, I want you to get a pregnancy test kit. I’m going to prove to you that we’re expecting our first child.”

“I really don’t think …”

“Just do it, Roger!” she screamed.

“Okay, okay, I’ll go out at lunchtime, and get the test kit.”

“Thank you. And then you’ll see.”

Roger smiled, and left the room, locking it behind him. “All right, Roge?” His colleague, Staff Nurse Wallasey, enquired.

Roger shook his head. “She’s still adamant she’s pregnant. Every day, she’s like this.”

“Shall I have a word? Maybe she needs some stronger meds?”

“Nah. I don’t think so. She’s fairly harmless.”

“Whatever you say, Roge.” He stared at Roger for a moment. “Just one thing – you haven’t, you know, actually…?”

“Jesus, Peter. What do you take me for? Put everything at risk for that?”

Wallasey smiled. “Sorry, Roger. I had to ask.” And he wandered off down the corridor, not able to see the worried expression on the Roger’s face.

DAMNED

I am sitting on a low, dilapidated brick wall, before an inconspicuous, two-up, two-down terraced house. I am deep in thought, but I know what’s going to happen.

I go inside the house, and try once more for a reconciliation, which fails. As it always has done before. Despite my pleading, and putting on my best tortured soul expression, Daniella doesn’t want to know. She jabs an accusing finger at me, individually listing the occasions I had promised fidelity, starting with our marriage eight years ago. She then lists the occasions, equal in number, I had failed to keep those promises.

So I skulk out, head down, oblivious to the world around me. I walk into the street, straight in front of the large juggernaut being driven by a man talking on his mobile phone. There’s no time for the horn to sound, and the squeal of breaks and screech of tyres makes we wince. It’s not a pretty sight, parts of me splattered across the front of his cab and smeared across the road.
I watch as the images fade to black. My eyes adjust to the new picture, and I understand what damned for all eternity means.

I am sitting on a low, dilapidated brick wall, before an inconspicuous, two-up, two-down terraced house.

SAILING

The wind gusted and howled as Tom strode confidently down the wide, serrated-metal gangplank. He sniffed the salt-laden air, and an involuntary smile creased his pale face.

It was normally quiet this time on a Saturday, but the marina seemed almost deserted. Nylon halyards slapped and clanged against aluminium masts like some high frequency Lutine bell, whilst blue plastic tarpaulins whipped and cracked. Passing other moored boats, he greeted cabin-bound sailors, shouting “morning” as he went.

The single-cylinder diesel engine started easily, Tom following the written instructions more carefully this time. After reminding himself which rope pulled up which sail, he moved slowly away from the berth.

Tom breathed deeply, relaxing, motoring up the empty channel towards the open sea. A couple of boats came the other way, their captains’ greetings and hails lost in the stiff breeze. One of them shouted something like “weather” and “VHF radio”. Tom didn’t know what he meant, so he ignored it. He was going to get a radio next week.

Tom was pleased. With so few boats out, he’d be able to sail without looking a complete novice.

He remembered what Maria had said earlier. “You should wait until Andy can come with you. At least, until you’ve got a bit more experience.”

What did Maria know? Despite her concerns, he knew the decision to sail today had been a good one.
© Gerald Hornsby 2011

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