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Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

Yesterday, while shopping Sainsbury’s, I sneezed.

It was a perfectly innocent sneeze, caused by a fleck of dust, presumably. A year ago that would have been a perfectly ordinary happening, not so much as worthy of a tweet let alone an entire blog post. Now, however, a simple sneeze or cough is an act fraught with consequences and complications. Sneezing in public feels like a criminal act.

In the seconds before my sneeze escaped, all the following crossed my mind:

Oh no. Please, not now. Not here. Not me.

Is that any way to stop it? Isn’t there some old…


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Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash

As Britain enters into Lockdown for the third time in less than a year, is anyone else getting a strange sense of déjà vu?

Having spent the day careening between doom and gloom and stoically reminding myself that this too shall pass, I’ve decided that instead of wallowing in all the madness and misery, I’ll think of all the things I want to do when this lockdown business is finally over — in the year 2051 at this rate, by which time I will surely be too old and decrepit to do any of them, but hey a girl’s got…


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Image by TeeFarm from Pixabay

She folded her napkin neatly on her lap and glanced out the window.

Outside birds were chirping, enjoying the hearty breakfast that came with the freshly dug soil.

Inside, a clock ticked loudly. She sipped her tea as she heard the sound of tiny feet scampering down the stairs. A second later a small child’s face appeared at the table.

“Where’s daddy?” said the boy. He wasn’t stupid; he’d heard the raised voices the night before.

She smiled sweetly and ruffled the child’s hair.

“Daddy’s gone darling.”

The child frowned. “When’s he coming back?”

She ran her hands over the…


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Photo by Beckett Ruiz on Unsplash

The two mothers sat on the deck chairs, sipping cocktails in the late summer sun. They watched the young boy, Max, plucking daisies from the grass and tucking them gently into his baby cousin’s fine blonde curls. The four year old then pressed a wet kiss to the girl’s face and she shrieked with joy.

“Oh, look at him,” said Jenny, watching her little nephew playing with her daughter. “He’s so gentle with her, it’s lovely to see. He wouldn’t hurt a fly would he?”

Her sister, Lynda, smiled. “No, he really wouldn’t.” She took a sip of her cocktail…


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Photo by Claudia on Unsplash

She sits in the middle of the bed, knees hugged to her chest, surrounded by damp tissues. An aura of misery hangs over her.

He pushes the door open, rushes over, and gathers her in his arms.

“Don’t cry,” he coos in her ear. “I hate it when you’re sad.”

She sniffles, frowning. “Why?”

“Hm?” he murmurs, kissing the dark curls on her head.

“Why do you hate it when I’m sad?” she asks, pulling her head back to look at him.

“Because it makes me sad too,” he says as though it were obvious.

There’s a long silence between…


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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

“I’m telling you; kids don’t get scared the way they used to. The other day I was haunting a hotel room and the kid in there actually laughed at me so hard that I ended up in tears! Me! It’s supposed to be the other way around! I just don’t understand what went wrong. Is it the violent movies? The video games? Harry Potter? Kids just aren’t afraid of ghosts anymore.”

The ghost’s companion rolled his eyes. “Look,” he drawled, “I didn’t want to mention it before but I think I have to say something. …

Melanie J Kirk

Fiction editor — melaniekirkediting.com House sitter. Short story/flash fiction writer. Vegan.

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