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The following flash are from Scribblers.

Twenty-four Hours from RAS.

Black clouds sprawled across the sky from the west. The first splash of rain hit the ground and in seconds thunder bounced of the clouds. Frenzied lightning zipped across a wild sky. Detective Inspector John Benton, with head bent into the rain, walked across the dock. He scowled at the sky, stood stock-still, hands in pockets, and waited. Ten metres in front of him, three divers struggled into their dry suits. He wiped the rain from his face knowing that tomorrow the city would be the same as today.

The dive master said a few words, nodded and watched two divers vanished beneath the surface.

Rain hammered the roof of the vacant warehouse. Despite the noise, a detective sergeant questioned those who survived and slept rough.

The first was a man with his eyes fixed on nothing at all. His clothes were once high end, but looked like rags. His skin hid behind layers of grime and his hair hung as a tangled mop of brown and grey. The sergeant offered him a cigarette, which he grabbed.

The next, a woman dressed in untold layers of clothing. Her grease-layered hair tied back with string. She held out her hand for a cigarette. The sergeant gave her the packet and gave up asking sensible questions.


John and his aid, found shelter in a large shed that had seen better days. Years of British weather had taken its toll. The structure that kept the weather off packages destined for delivery. Tonight it was draughtier than an old railway platform.

His lighter flared as he lit his sixth cigarette. He turned to a uniformed female officer. “All this for a bloody drunk, stoned on meths, having a pee.”

She shrugged, looked at her boss. “Will they find a body in that crap?”

John took a deep drag on his cigarette. “I bloody hope so. Why do we put up with this?”

“We make a difference.”

He looked at her. “This makes a difference. This is what your life will be. Working all the hours you can, day and night. You can forget the real world. This is it for the like of us. Do you really believe someone gives a shit? If I could, I’d retire tomorrow.”

“Boss, do you have to smoke so much. You know second-hand smoke and all that.”

“Don’t tell me you’ve stopped.”

She nodded. “Two months.”

John’s voice softened. “Wish I could. Tried it a dozen times but this bloody job doesn’t help.”

“Something’s happening, boss.”

A flurry of bubbles hit the surface. The heads of two divers followed. Between them, they held something coated in black gunge. The dive master dragged it from the water and dumped it on the pontoon.

A paramedic jumped from the rear of an ambulance and raced across the sodden ground. He raised his head, stared at the inspector and grinned.

John flicked his half-smoked cigarette into the water. With a shrug he shoved, his hands back into his pockets and strolled towards the scene. He managed a grim smile as he glanced at the victim. “Bloody hell, a sodding tailor’s dummy.”

He turned and walked back to the warmth of his car muttering, “Soaked, tired and up early in the morning. Thank Christ I’m paid overtime.” He slammed the car door shut and went to turn the ignition.

The knock came quietly at first but the pounding on the window forced him back to the real world. He turned his head. “Want a lift?”

She grimaced. “Sorry boss. They found another body. This time it is a young woman.



As temperatures continue to soar to unprecedented levels, there appears to be no end in sight to the current heat wave sweeping Britain. Amber alerts are in force to remind people of the hazards to health in such extreme temperatures… those particularly vulnerable are the elderly and young children. However, everyone is advised to avoid exposure to the sun at its hottest that is between the hours of ten o’clock in the morning and three in the afternoon. As levels in reservoirs are receding at an alarming rate, you are reminded that a hose-pipe ban remains in force until further notice, and to use water only sparingly for domestic purposes.

Brian reached for the remote and switched off the television. After dabbing his sweat soaked face with a tissue, he heaved his weary bones out of the armchair and walked over to the open French window, staring out at the garden… his pride and joy. He sighed heavily at the sight of his precious lawn, the immaculate, green patch-work blanket of former years, now parched and barren.

The temperature in the old, creaky house was unbearably hot and sticky… an electric fan battled to blow humid air around the room, providing little or no relief to the cloying atmosphere. We are not used to, or equipped for such a hot summer, he mused.

Holidays spent abroad with his wife Janet, in pursuit of sunnier climes, invaded his mind. Oh how she had worshipped the sun… her insatiable appetite for mahogany, glowing skin. Over the years, he had watched her glowing skin shrivel under the intense heat of the sun. He had warned her, but she wouldn’t listen… had even teased her about such vanity, but realised in hind-sight, it was an addiction and, in all probability, she would be out there now, soaking up the sun in the heat of the day.

He had enjoyed visiting hotter countries, but for him it had been more about the travelling, visiting different places, experiencing diverse cultures. He often left her to lounge on the beach, while he soaked up places of interest, buildings and historical facts, or explored quaint little villages off the beaten track. But he missed her terribly… her bright blue eyes that shone with humour, her acerbic wit, her spirit, her positive attitude and enthusiasm for life.

He now felt as bereft and barren as the lawn… at fifty nine years old, the light of his life had been snuffed out. Maybe if she had sought treatment sooner when he first noticed that mole on her back had changed. But she had made light of his concern.

“I’ve always had moles,” she had said, with flippant disregard.

That had been two years ago. How quickly Melanoma had invaded and ravaged her body, how stoic and upbeat she had remained right until the end, when her addiction to the sun finally claimed her life and left him in a deep, dark hole of loss.


Shadows from Ellie.

They’d arrived at The Fox earlier in the afternoon, he approaching from the north, she from the south and were now sitting outside talking in the pub garden enjoying the late afternoon sun.
“You’ve not changed a bit,” he said, “You have no shadows.”

Anna looked at him head slightly to one side and smiled. “I don’t understand.”

“You have no shadows, no artifice.” Gilbey leant closer across the table, “You were always like that. Genuine. Just you. And it’s so good to know you’re still the same.”

She smiled again, flattered.

Those Without Shadows, Fancoise Sagan. You used to like her.  Have you read it?” he asked.

Anna hadn’t read the book. Worn down by the long years of marriage and motherhood she had become lazy. An intellectual wilderness of her own making. She shook her head. “No, but I loved Bonjour Tristesse

Gilbey laughed. “I know you did. You gave me your copy.”

“Did I?” trying to cast her mind back thirty or so years.

“Yep, you did. I treasure it” he said only half joking.

“Of course you do!” She laughed back at him. “I bet it has my name or gushy words or something like ‘Paris ‘67’ written in the front of it – I used to do that.”

“It has indeed. A French seven with a little line drawn through it.”

“God. How pretentious. I used to think that was so sophisticated.”

They laughed again and looked at each other.

“I don’t remember laughing this much before,” she said.

“No, we were too busy fucking.”

It was him smiling now. “You told me you weren’t reading so much.”

“Yes …you know, work family that kind of thing. I don’t seem to have the time these days.”

“The time or the will? Do you know what I think?” Gilbey didn’t wait for an answer, “I think you’ve become subsumed and perhaps for the most part you don’t mind but there’s a little bit of you that does. A bit that wants to break free that remembers what you were, what you wanted to be. You should make time for yourself, you know. You could make time if you really wanted to. Do something you want to do.”

Anna wasn’t sure whether to be offended by his directness or pleased at his concern but she knew he was right.

There was a small pause while she reflected and Gilbey opened his briefcase. “Here, look what I’ve brought you,” and he handed Anna a copy of Birthday Letters. “You used to bang on about Sylvia Plath and I thought you might like this. It’s from his side after years of silence.”

“’Bang on?’!” she said mocking.

“Sorry, ‘extol the virtues of’!”

Anna took the book from him and started to turn the pages almost reverentially. “Thank you. I’ll enjoy reading this. I know I will. It will be interesting to get his perspective, see how time alters things. Perceptions. Not just him but me too.”

She delved into her tote bag. “And I have this for you. I was browsing through an old bookshop and came across it. I had to get it for you.” Their hands brushed as she gave him the copy of Andrew Marvell’s poems.

“It still has its original dust jacket,” he said gently taking it from her. He looked at the flyleaf, “and it was printed in the year I was born.”

“That’s one of the reasons I wanted you to have it. I used to ‘bang on’ about him all the time too. Especially this, ‘Had I but world enough…

and time” he answered

“this coyness, lady, were no crime,’” they both said together.

“You remember” she said.

“Of course I remember. We have world enough” he said, “but time?”

She sighed. “I guess time’s running out.”

“I guess it is. You know, there’s much to be said for seizing the day while we still have days to seize.”

Anna smiled. “Perhaps you’re right.” She looked at her watch. “I should go now and get back before they’re all home.”

“We should both go.” he said, “Shall I see you again? I don’t want to lose you after all these years.”



Anna straightened in her chair and looked around. Butterflies fluttered about the flowers like the thoughts now fluttering wildly in her head and the flowers themselves bright and vibrant as her re-awakened ideas. She looked over to Gilbey his head lowered over his poetry book, absorbed, lips moving as he whispered the words of To His Coy Mistress. She noticed the sun’s rays as it dipped in the sky and her own shadow lengthening.
“Yes,” she said, “you will see me again.”