Bert felt jealous, cheated on, and blue. Then he discovered he could morph into a giant nightmarish slug...
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On Wednesdays and Sundays I’m blogging nibble-sized chunks of new ‘Life in the Clouds’ novellas. You can check in regularly and read them bit for bit, or leave a message in my 'contact' page, and I'll send the entire digital story to you for free when published.
Life in the Clouds #6: Take a Slug ® James Field.
Alf stood back and admired his prank. He doubled over, slapped his knees, and roared with laughter. He’d return later and set Morris free, in plenty of time for the evening’s masquerade party over at Ye Olde Inn. Of course, he’d play innocent. Nobody would guess how Morris’s pickup had ended in the middle of the forest, pinned in by trees on all sides. People would tease the pompous little gardener forever more.
After all, many weird episodes took place on The Cloud Estate. Like the times Bert and he were swept back in time, a ghost haunted the mansion, and gypsies invaded and Sibyl had to battle their sorcery. Not to mention the time Bert and he stole one of the young master’s unfinished experiments—a matter transporter—and utterly wrecked Chief Inspector Dobbs’ apartment.
Alf shook his head. Even the young masters were eccentric, mad, or both. A football floated close to one of their heads and they claimed it was an alien they’d picked up on another planet someplace out in space. They were seldom home. Where were they now? Gallivanting around the galaxy in their homemade flying saucer for all he knew.
Life at The Cloud Estate and over at The Stables was one huge, incredible yarn, a goofy fairy tale. It wouldn’t surprise him if he saw a dragon one day, or one of Morris’s nightmarish slugs, large as a man, come to terrify the world. His days couldn’t be better.
Alf finished his rounds at The Cloud Estate and made his way to the mansion for breakfast. Sibyl greeted him in the kitchen with her usual good-hearted scowl. She was taller than her husband, Morris, twice as heavy, and managed The Cloud Mansion like she owned it, hosting ghosts and spirits for the night—or longer.
“Have you seen Morris this morning?” asked Sibyl as soon as Alf strode through the door. She threw a dozen rashers of home-cured bacon into an iron frying pan and readied two others for eggs, mushrooms, and hash. “He left without telling me where.” When she noticed Alf’s face, she froze. “What?”
“I think we’re in trouble,” said Alf, fighting to keep his expression serious.
“Why? What’s happened?” Sibyl made a quick survey of her shelves filled with potions and mystical artefacts. Probably checking she was fully stocked and ready for any circumstance.
Alf sat at the solid kitchen table and spread his hands across its surface. “I was on duty and saw a disturbance with me third eye. It was Morris in his pickup.”
“Promise you won’t laugh.”
“I promise I’ll clobber you with this frying pan if you don’t tell me.”
“Okay. I saw a giant slug, big as me, lift Morris’s pickup and carry it into the forest.”
To be continued...
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Like to know more about Alf, Bert and the rest of the gang? You can read their chaotic history in What on Earth.
Image by Anja-#pray for ukraine# #helping hands# stop the war from Pixabay
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The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
There’s a lot to like and a lot to dislike in this story. I like that it’s cosy, funny, and heart-warming. The plot, however, is a tragedy. There are two murders, and every character in the book, of which there are many, has a motif. With so many twists, turns, and red herrings throughout the narrative, it lost me in a virtual maze.
But the author commits the gravest crime: he introduces a new, guilty character right at the end of the story. Tut, tut, naughty.
View all my reviews