Kreative Kue 285

Kreative Kue 284 asked for submissions based on this photograph:

Fire pit

John W Howell is a multiple nominated and award-winning author who blogs at Fiction Favorites. Details of John’s books can be found on his Amazon author page

The Council by John W. Howell © 2020

“Are we at the wrong place?”

“No, this is where the council meets.”

“Where are they?”

“Beats me.”

“You sure we are at the right time?”

“Yup. ten o’clock.”

“Right day?”


“These ashes are still warm.”

“Yeah, it looks like a fire was here.”

“What’s that smell?”

“What smell?”

“Roast lamb smell.”

“Maybe someone had roast lamb.”

“No, it is slightly off. A little heavy for lamb.”

“Good thing.”


“Since we are pigs, I would say it is a good thing.”

“I don’t get it.”

“If someone was going to roast a lamb, they might also think about roasting a pig.”

“They don’t do that. It’s against the law.”

“So what was roasted then.”

“My guess?”

“Yeah, go ahead.”

“I think the council got into the humans again.”

“Oh, no. They’ll be gone for days. You know what a human hangover does to the soul.”

“Not to mention the head.”

“Where did they find humans.”

“Oh, there are plenty around if you know where to look.”

“You ever had human?”

“No way. Those things give me the creeps.”

“I haven’t either, but I heard they taste like chicken.”

“Yeah, I would just rather have chicken.”

“All this talk makes me hungry.”

“I could go for a burger myself.”

“Some fries?”

“Of course.”

“I guess we can reschedule the meeting with the council.”

“Yeah. What did you want to discuss with them?”

“The leash law that no one seems to follow.”

“Good subject. I hope they get back to work soon.”

“Lazy politicians. Somebody ought to vote them out.”

“When you elect vultures, what do you expect?”

“I suppose. Let’s go.”

My effort was:


It was an annual tradition; one that none of the group ever wanted to let go of.

Fifty years ago, ten young people graduated from one of England’s most prestigious universities – which one isn’t important – they all had excellent degrees and bright futures ahead of them. To celebrate their success, they flew to South Africa to spend three months doing voluntary work with wildlife. That was the plan, anyway. Halfway through their stay, four of their number; Tom, Mary, Henry and Marcia; were ambushed in their vehicle by men armed with machetes. When they hadn’t return three hours after they were expected, the alarm was raised and search parties went out looking for them. Four bodies, barely recognisable as human, were found in the wilderness and, not without difficulty, identified as the missing graduates. The vehicle was never located.

Naturally, the remaining six cut short their stay, leaving for home as soon as the local police released them from their investigation. On the flight back to England they made a solemn vow that they would meet at the camp every year on the date their colleagues met their end; this as an act of remembrance and solidarity.

Back at home they all found jobs and life partners, started families and led full, normal lives; something that was denied to Tom, Mary, Henry and Marcia.

Two of the group, Jonathan and Louise, married and started a travel consultancy that would prove to be of great value to the group. They had two boys whom they named Thomas and Henry.

Peter and John eventually became partners in a law firm, married within the profession and raised families of their own. Kate and Emily, always close throughout their academic careers, shared a passion for charitable works and a commitment to women’s issues. They created Mary and Marcy’s Safe Place: a shelter for women and children who had become victims of domestic violence. Outwardly, they were close friends and no more – at least until the law and public attitudes became less antagonistic to their true relationship.

Each year, on the weekend closest to the anniversary of their friends’ demise, the six got together for their pilgrimage. They flew down on Friday and back on Sunday. Saturday was their day of homage and remembrance, culminating in a barbecue around the fire pit adjacent to the accommodation huts.

Jonathan and Louise closed their office for the weekend and, until they were old enough to be left on their own for a few days, left their boys in the capable hands of their grandparents; Kate and Emily couldn’t close the refuge, but for those few days each year they were happy for the duty house manager to assume the reins. Peter and John travelled alone, leaving their families behind.

For fully forty years, not one of them missed a single reunion. They couldn’t. It was a duty they owed – as deeply settled in their psyches as was a pilgrimage to a devoutly religious person.

One by one, though, their numbers started to fall. Forty-two years in, Jonathan lost his fight against cancer and died at the age of sixty-five. Louise took his loss badly and was unable to join the group again.

Over the years that followed, first Peter then John fell prey to the ravages of the years. Neither made it to their seventieth birthday.

Since then, only Kate and Emily made the trip. Both over seventy years old, they never considered stopping the practice.

Until last year.

Two years ago, Emily was diagnosed with Alzheimers. By last year’s reunion day, the disease was too far advanced to allow her to travel. Kate came alone.

Kate was due a couple of hours ago. I do hope she’s okay.


On to this week’s challenge: Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph. Either put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at before 6pm next Sunday (if you aren’t sure what the time is where I live, this link will tell you). If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be appreciated, but please do also mention it in a comment here.

Go on. You know you want to. Let your creativity and imagination soar. I shall display the entries next Monday.

Sunday serialisation – Rory (ret’d) 8.2

Rory Rogerson is 67; an overweight, unfit, retired ‘protection officer’ (that’s PC for hired muscle). He is also a prolific and, by his own reckoning, successful author of crime fiction.

Penny (60) is his headmistress wife and Charlie Watkiss is the bloke next door.

Together, they make a formidable team!


Rory (ret’d). Chapter eight, part two.

I’ve never been much of one for buses. Even now, when I have my old bugger’s free bus pass, I prefer to go everywhere in my own car. Yes, I know, the ecological as well as the economic arguments in favour of using public transport over private are strong and becoming more so, and no doubt I’ll give it a try sometime. For the time being, though, I’ll stick with what I’m used to. Anyway, the upshot of all that is that I didn’t know there was a cafe at the bus station.

It had occurred to me that the bus station might be quite large and it could possibly have taken a few minutes for us to locate each other, so we aimed to arrive early. We went in Charlie’s car and parked in the central car park which connects with the bus station through a system of overpasses. On arrival at the bus station, Charlie and I looked around and speculated where the others were likely to be.

“They’ll probably be by the drop-off point for the 33 service,” Charlie opined, “the sign says it goes to their part.” I tended to agree.

Penny is an administrator and an organiser as well as an educator. She is the one who thinks things through with more logic than intuition. She applied her methodical approach to this situation. “The 33 runs twice an hour,” she said, “and the next one is due in ten minutes. That means the last one arrived twenty minutes ago. Do you seriously think Meredith and the boys would wait at that draughty stop for twenty minutes?”

Chloe answered before either of us could. “Not if I know my sister-in-law,” she said.

“Where would you expect her to go?” I asked.

“To the cafe, of course.”

“I didn’t know there was a cafe here.”

“You didn’t know there were buses here,” Penny said icily as we started to walk towards the cafe, “I doubt you’ve ever seen the inside of a bus station.”

“When I was a lad, I did,” I said, “most families didn’t have cars back in those days. You’ll remember that, won’t you, Charlie?”

“Well before my time, mate. I’m nowhere near as old as you, don’t forget.”

“Haven’t you got some software to debug, turncoat?” I asked, giving him a friendly jab on the arm.

Meredith, Billy and Alan were indeed waiting for us in the cafe. As we approached, Billy whistled shrilly in the direction of the counter and held up four fingers. At a nod from Meredith, Alan arranged four more chairs around the two tables they had already pushed together.

“I’ve ordered coffees,” Billy said as we seated ourselves. Moments later, a waitress arrived with four steaming mugs.

“Your phone, Alan,” I said, handing the younger sibling his mobile. His face lit up and I thought he was on the point of crying, but it seemed not.

“Is it… okay?” he asked, hesitantly.

“Yours is fine,” I said and explained how we thought he was given his as a cover to draw attention away from Billy’s.

“That’s hellish sneaky,” he said, “but I don’t mind. I could never have been able to afford a phone this good.”

We then handed Billy his phone and went into detail about it, how we believed it had been set up and monitored and what was in the latest WhatsApp text.

“Here’s the question, Billy,” I said, “Does location three mean anything to you?”

“Of course,” he said, “Location one is a place where I put very small things like letters and location two can take anything up to about this size,” he extended his arms to describe something about the size of a lever-arch file. “Location three is for bigger stuff. It’s further out of town and I usually have to change buses to get there, except Saturdays when there’s a direct bus.”

“Where is location 3?” Charlie asked.

“Near the football ground.”

“Which is why there’s a direct bus on Saturdays. Every Saturday?”

“Just match days.”

“Okay. Billy, we want you to go ahead with this as normal. Go to Halfords to collect the package then do the drop. Do you need to contact Mr E when you do it?”

“No. He seems to know when I’ve got the package—”

“Because he’s monitoring your phone and will know when you are at the collection place and when the QR code is opened. What about the other end? He will know from your GPS or triangulation when you reach the drop-off point.”

“Yeah, but he’s never there. I’ve never seen the bloke.”

“Well, Billy, he will still be able to track you and know when you make the drop-off, but this time, so will we. Not electronically, but we will be watching you from a safe distance. We’ll be far enough away that he or whoever he sends won’t know we’re there, but close enough to rush in if someone turns up and starts to get tasty with you.”

“Will I be wearing a wire?”

“Another one who watches too much TV,” I said, with a laugh, “No, you won’t be wearing a wire. Too obvious. You won’t be wearing a tracker, either. It’s easy to scan for those. If he has the equipment to scan you and he does it, he could be quite nasty if he finds something. We’re not prepared to put you at risk like that.”

“But you’re happy to put me at risk in other ways!”

“Hang on, sunshine. Let’s not lose sight of how this all started. You broke into my house, remember? Be grateful I’ve taken your side and not just handed you over to the police.”

“Say sorry to Mr Rogerson,” his mother instructed him.

“No need for that, Meredith. I just think it’s important to remember what the relationships are here.”

“Nevertheless,” Meredith said casting a steely look at her eldest son.

“Sorry, Mr Rogerson.”

I nodded. I would have apologised if she’d looked at me like that!

“We are… I am grateful for how fair you are being with my boys,” she said then, with gritted teeth, “especially when they’ve done nothing to deserve it.”

“Fairness is exactly what we’re aiming for,” Penny said, “would that the law were always as fair as we strive to be.”

Random Limericks 9

© Can Stock Photo& damedeeso. Used with permission

A new series of (non-acrostic) limericks produced in response to various prompts.

These will appear on Saturday mornings wherever possible.

Let me know what you think.


for Kristian –

A woman whose husband had died
Turned up at my office and cried,
“It’s such a palaver
To move a cadaver
That’s filling the bed on your side!”


for Kristian –

The sultry young blonde gave a moan
When she thought that she’d got me alone
She was a stunner
But I did a runner
And left her with her chaperone


for Kristian –

My poor mind went into a spasm
When it first encountered phantasm
It hurt me the most
When I saw a ghost
That was having a phantom org… – no. I’m sorry. I can’t write that!


for Kristian –

Adversity, troubles and trials
Are part of our modern lifestyles.
Try as we might
We’ll ne’er get it right,
But we can make it better with smiles.