In which I offer a little fable what I wrote

After managing to blog in both ranty and writerly forms last week I’m feeling a tiny bit light on inspiration today. So in the absence of anything to shout about here is a tiny little flash fiction fable what I wrote. It’s called ‘The Children of the Forest.’


The trees of the forest grow tall and strong, and the children of the forest play low in the hollow beneath the branches of the oldest trees. They are safe in the hollow, safe in the forest, where the world beyond cannot get in.

The elders of the forest are afraid of the world beyond. There is a story, whispered from mother to baby, from father to son. ‘Beyond the last tree,’ they say, ‘a dragon lives. And the dragon breathes only fire and loves only gold and eats only children who don’t listen to stories and who run and skip and play beyond the hollow, beyond the forest, beyond the very last tree.’

One day a small girl grew tired of the hollow, and yearned for adventure elsewhere. She was a clever little girl who had heard stories of the dragon and the fire and the world beyond, and knew that they were only stories. Stories couldn’t hurt her. Dragons weren’t real, so she ran and skipped and cartwheeled her way to the edge of the forest. At the very last tree she paused. She would be the first of her kind to leave the forest, and one day she would return with new stories to tell the children she had left behind. She took that last step into the unknown her head full of dreams and her heart overflowing with hope.

And the dragon ate her.

The End.


I do of course write whole big book-length things as well. You can find details of those here.

In which I acknowledge being a bad blogger and offer a small festive story in way of apology

I have been a bad blogger of late. I have failed to offer you Monday thoughts on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, David Cameron’s reaction to the Leveson Report, the freakishly rapidly decreasing size of Curly-Wurlys, or the upcoming festive season. And I have thoughts on all these things. Oh yes, indeedy, I have thoughts.

Alas, of late time has been short, and life has been busy so these many and fascinating thoughts have remained unblogged. Please accept my humblest apologies and this short festive storyette in recompense. Normal thought-sharing service shall be resumed in January. Promise.


The Shepherd

“So Bob,” Miss Pennydew shuffles slightly in her seat. “I think you know why we’ve asked you here today.”


“It’s…” She coughs. “It’s about last Monday. We’ve.. em… we’ve talked to young Sam, but I just wanted to give you the opportunity to take us through your version of events, just as you see it, from your point of view.”


Miss Pennydew pauses. “Just in your own words…”


“Whenever you’re ready.” She waits for Bob to fill the silence. The silence extends. “Ok. Well, what if I run through Sam’s account and you can just jump in whenever you think?”


“So Sam told us, with regard to the incident in question, that he initially noticed an unusually bright star.”


“And then…?” She tails off. “Ok. And then Sam says…” She consults her notes. “He says that you were surrounded by a heavenly throng.”

Bob nods, apparently feeling that he’s said quite enough already.

“After which one of the…” She makes quotation mark fingers. “…’throng’ addressed you telling you not to fear.”


“Sam said that this was because a…” She does the fingers again. “…’mighty dread’ had seized your troubled minds.”

Bob pulls a face, suggestive, he hopes, of the notion that Sam might do better with a bit less book-learning and a bit more watching of the flock by night.

“After which, and you’ll understand our concern here, it appears that both yourself and Sam, left the flock and went into town with the intention of visiting a newborn baby, apparently located in a stable.”


“Just to be clear…” She smiles, the sort of smile that hints at men in white coats and the idea that Bob might like to take a little bit of time off quite soon. “..You didn’t know the family with the baby? They weren’t relatives or close friends?”


“You, and Sam, simply decided to leave the sheep, and visit a baby because you were told to by a ‘heavenly throng’.”


“And, still just so I’m clear – no one’s in trouble here – you hadn’t been erm… drinking at all prior to leaving the flock.”

Bob shakes his head.

“Ok. Not that I’m accusing anyone. I’m sure a little drink every now and then to keep the cold out won’t do any harm, especially at Christmas.”

She pauses and re-runs the sentence in her head. Bob crinkles his brow.

“Anyhow, you do understand our concern, I’m sure. Given that your current role is very much sheep-focussed, any time spent outside of immediate shepherding arena, should really be booked in advance using the green form, which then has to be approved by myself or Mr Hargreaves.”


“Good. Good.” She does the smile again. “Well, so long as that’s clear.”