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 11: Penelope goes to church…
The village centre clustered around a large green, formed in the shape of a triangle. In the centre mushroomed a large oak tree, its canopy almost as broad as the green. A stone-built church, the vicarage, and its graveyard dominated one side of the green. A Smithy, a convenience store, and Ye Olde inn with its stables ranged along a second side of the triangle. Mr Styles, the owner of The Stables, lived in a stately town house that shared the third length with administration buildings.
Penelope passed Ye Olde Inn. She advanced slowly; her features smooth and expressionless, headed for the church.
The church was small and practical. Above the entrance porch, painted in large flowery text, was the church’s name: All Saints. It contained a railed off sanctuary at the head with stained-glass windows. Within was the altar, tabernacle, raised pulpit, and a chair for the vicar. Maggot-eaten oak pews filled the church’s body with room for three hundred people. Organ and choir occupied a small loft at the back. The church smelled of candle wax and incense.
A group of devout members gathered for the evening service, and when the steeple clock chimed eight, the meeting began. Theirs was a tiny, tight-minded group. They asserted they alone obeyed the scriptural doctrines full out. On the day of judgement, God would save them alone. All other denominations, part-time worshippers, unbelievers, and those who practised homosexual behaviour or sex out of marriage would rot in hell.
Vicar Bitter conducted the service, a bulbous man who loved to preach doom and gloom. He was a tall, heavy-boned man, with a vacant look on his leathery face.
One after another, the members rose to receive the body and blood of Jesus at the Holy Communion. They were a gaunt and plainly dressed lot, rather elderly and complacent. The most honoured among them was Penelope.
To be continued…
The real world:
Rather than miss an instalment, it’s easy to follow my blog on bloglovin’. They’ll give you a friendly nudge as I release new parts.
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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