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.
Penelope gave a thought for her twin sister Olive, The Stables bookkeeper and cashier, a wicked soul beyond redemption. She crossed herself and whispered a prayer, "Please, God, have mercy on her."
Then she rubbed her eyes as though she’d spent hours absorbed in study, and plodded through the living room to the front door. She opened it, plucked up a couple of circulars the postman had dropped through the letter slot in the door, went out and locked the door behind her. A narrow front garden faced her, neater than the garden at the back, on a pebbly lane that led to the village green.
A streetlight lit the house and showed a card thumb-nailed on the door. Penelope flicked the card with a short-clipped fingernail. A tack in each corner held it securely. In that light she couldn't read it, but she knew what it said in her small, finicky writing: “Agents kindly do not disturb. I will not answer the bell. Occupant of house engaged in literary work.”
Penelope stood on the doorstep and sighted her neighbour at number one—a large stolid brute of a man, who shambled before his house with two enormous Alsatians at his heels. He was Olive’s fiancé, Bert. Penelope stuck her nose in the air and ignored the swine. Still he called over, “Hi there, Penny. Horrible weather.”
“Not at all. It seems pleasant.” Penelope’s voice was like Olive’s; but it was more guttural, more refined, and her speech carried greater assurance.
“How’s the book coming on?”
“It is-it is challenging. I find it hard to grasp all the inner meanings of the prophecies.”
Bert’s face lit up. “Wanna hear my favourite prophecy? It goes something like this: the one with the power to vanish the Dark Lord is coming. And the Dark Lord is going to put a mark on his bonce. But he’s got power the Dark Lord doesn’t know nothing about...“
“You fool,” said Penelope, stroking her throat and grimacing. “You talk of Harry Potter, while I speak of the holy Book of Revelations.”
“Oh, sorry, I ain’t read that book yet. Did D. J. Rolling write that too?”
Penelope clicked her tongue and turned to leave. “Well, I must hasten to the church. I trust we shall see you there some Wednesday or Sunday evening. I bid you goodnight, Sir.”
To be continued…
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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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