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.
Part 06: The fountain of dreams…
Image by Willgard Krause from Pixabay
When certain nobody else was about, Olive clutched her books and dashed across to the alley that stretched behind the group of three terrace houses where she lived. It was a pleasant alley, bumpy in its unevenness, with carved wooden benches arranged along it. At Bert’s end, it swelled to an open space with a rock garden, a fountain and a stone bench.
Olive spent many a happy hour here in the warm summer months, dipping her fingers in the cool fountain water. It was the fountain of dreams, of poets and film stars. Lately, her dreams were of mingling with the jet set: a wealthy woman of elegance and charm. Cor blimey, she'd show them.
Despite being so late in the year, the rock garden blazed with colour. Plants sprawled over the sharp stones. Workers had recently painted the fountain, leaving its iron cupids and naiads gleaming. Lichens and moss smeared the bricks of the end wall, many of them broken. Deep piles of dry leaves filled every nook and cranny.
A damp, foreboding chill rose from plants and bricks, making Olive shiver. But she ignored the dampness, ignored Bert’s house at number one, ignored her own house at number two, and hastened along the walkway to the house at the end, number three.
Earlier, when Olive, heavily disguised, had hired number three, she'd fitted an expensive modern lock. Now she opened the heavy door and stepped across the threshold. The door clicked and locked behind her, barring the outside world from her sanctum. She was in a crude kitchen; the blinds drawn.
As though used to them, she dodged chairs and tables in the darkness and passed through the kitchen and dining room into the front living room. Before she turned the light on, she went to the window and made sure the shades were down. As the glow from a single lamp swept over the drab walls, Olive bobbed her head with satisfaction. All was undisturbed since her last visit.
To be continued…
The real world:
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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.
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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.
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