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.
Naked except for his underpants and a thin coating of tar and soggy feathers, Bert turned his face to the night sky and shivered. The storm was right above. A crackling flash of lightning made him blink and the following clap of thunder rattled Ye Old inn’s windows.
Those inside didn’t seem concerned. The soft music played on and the masqueraders carried on dancing. Then Bert recognised his fiancé, Olive. She’d dressed as Tinkerbell, complete with flimsy silk wings and glittery wand. She’d squeezed into an old-fashioned one-piece swimsuit, something saved from her youth because it was at least two sizes too small for her now. Her broad stocky hips bulged from beneath the swimsuit, and her plump chest, neck, and shoulders billowed from the top. Bert released an appreciative sigh and placed his palms over his heart: she was beautiful.
Not wanting to see more, Bert squeezed his eyes shut. As feared, the love of his life was being untrue. She was dancing with Robin Hood, a tall thin man in green tights, like what Rudolf Nureyev might wear, a tennis ball in his crotch and all.
Their antics became more and more sultry. Now Robin placed his hands on Olive’s wobbly backside, and she fixed her gaze on him and smiled. Their faces were so close it looked as though they would kiss. Bert stood there and stared, arms hanging and mouth gaping. This was worse than he'd imagined.
Thunder and lightning crashed right above Bert’s head. Rain poured as if he were standing under a waterfall. The Gods in their heaven ranted and raved, charging Bert’s anger to the point of explosion.
Bert raised his fists to the storm and howled, “Go ahead. I don’t give a damn if you strike me dead. Without Olive, my life ain’t worth living.” In response, a finger of lightning reached down and touched the top of his head.
Other fingers of lightning cracked through Ye Olde Inn’s timbers and blew the electrical fuses, casting the interior into blackness.
In the deafening clap of thunder, all eyes inside Ye Olde Inn turned to the rattling windows. One of them had shattered. Outside, framed and in full view, a large black figure glared back at them, its juddering body encased in sparkles and flashes.
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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