Delilah’s No More – Mondays Finish the Story

Mondays Finish the Story

Welcome to a new flash fiction challenge I’m trying out, called Mondays Finish the Story.

Each Monday a new picture is posted by babs02you with the first line of a story, and the challenge is to finish the story using only 100-150 words. I’m used to working with a few more than this, so I’m looking forward to seeing what I can come up with in such a small word allowance.

Here is this weeks picture and story:

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

Delilah’s No More

After losing her head, she realized that the rest of her body was falling apart!

She missed being at home with Delilah, missed it being just the two of them. She was so gentle, so patient, always making sure she had plenty of tea to drink, however imaginary.

Delilah’s little sister just wasn’t the same. Dolls are not for swinging around, or throwing in the pond, hadn’t anyone explained that to her? She thought at least Delilah might.

But she’s got new things now apparently, no room for dolls anymore. So it all goes to the horror instead. All that can be hoped is that the end comes soon enough, being pulled apart piece by piece is no fun for anyone. Well, except for the one doing the pulling, it seems.

Word count: 116

You never know with some folk – A WWBH post

Hello to everyone! We’re almost at the halfway point for the week and what better way to celebrate than with a little flash fiction fix. I hope you like this one.

This week for the WWBH blog hop we’re using one picture provided by my co-host Tena, accompanied by five random words:


Dispose, practical, gun, commit, position

As usual, all of these elements need to be incorporated into the story somewhere, and try to keep to the 500 word limit.

You never know with some folk

        ‘I hate working Saturdays,’ moaned Theresa.
        ‘Got something better to do?’ asked Ray. ‘Somewhere more exciting to be?’
        ‘Anywhere is more exciting than here,’ she sighed. ‘And you don’t really need me, do you? You practically run everything yourself anyway, why do you need me?’
        ‘You need money, and there was a position to fill.’
        She couldn’t argue with that. ‘I told you, it wasn’t my fault. The deer stepped out in front of me. Aren’t parents supposed to deal with things like that?’
        ‘Not all parents can afford to pay out for their kids messing about. If he’d known you were taking the car, maybe he’d be more helpful.’
        ‘You sound just like him.’
        Ray beamed. ‘Thanks.’
        ‘That’s not a compliment.’
        ‘When do you get it back?’
        ‘They’re bringing it here after lunch, then I’m picking some stuff up for Dad. He says I’m to drive like it’s a Rolls Royce, and if there’s a single scratch I’m grounded. At 18, I’ll be grounded, can you believe that?’
        Ray shook his head, chuckling, before going back to his newspaper. ‘Look at this. They’ve found someone in the woods.’
        Theresa leant over, looking at the picture. ‘Nice outfit, must have a thing about snakes, eh? Check out the sparkly gold one on her wrist.’
        ‘Nice. It says she had a single gunshot wound, which must have happened somewhere else before being disposed of.’
        ‘What is wrong with people?’
        ‘You never know with some folk, you just never know.’ He looked up as a car pulled up by the window. ‘Hey, Theresa, is that your car?’
        ‘Oh, yeah, thanks,’ she said, rushing to grab her bag and jacket. ‘Listen, I’ll try and get back as soon as I can,’ she winked at him.
        ‘If you’re keeping this job, you’re going to need more commitment you know,’ he called, his words trailing behind her.
        She ran out to meet the courier.
        ‘Just sign here please, miss,’ he said, ‘everything’s in order.’
        ‘Thanks, I’m sure it is,’ she signed straight away, taking his word for it.
She jumped in, turned the key and roared away. With music blaring, she didn’t notice blue lights flashing in her mirrors. She pulled over and the police car followed suit, the officer stepping out and approaching her. She stepped out too.
        ‘Stay where you are please, miss,’ he said. ‘This your car?’
        ‘Er, it’s my dad’s.’
        ‘Mind if I take a look?’ He didn’t wait for a reply. ‘It’s pretty clean.’
        ‘Yeah,’ she said, ‘it’s just come back from the shop. What’s this about?’ Her palms were sweaty.
        He peered in the windows without answering. ‘Could you open the boot please?’
        She leaned in and pulled the lever, and he was there already opening the lid. She came around to join him.
        ‘Now, how do you suppose that got there?’
        She looked in the boot, confusion spreading across her face, and she saw tucked away in the corner a head section of a golden snake, just the right size for a bracelet.

Word count: 505

A knock at the door – A WWBH post

So, we’re stepping tentatively into February now, wondering where January could possibly have gone to already. No? Just me?

Well, the last five weeks have gone in a flash, but I’ve been keeping up with my WWBH entries, and here’s another one to delight (?) you with …

This week for the WWBH blog hop we’re using two pictures provided by my co-host Leanne:

A knock at the door

IMG_20141113_185859Placing her pen down on the paper, Abi cradled her wine between her hands and gazed out the window. The street lamps were starting to come on as the sky darkened, casting shadows along the road. Cars drove by with their headlights on already, some heading out of the village, but most of them coming in.
        She looked at the clock again, and tried to dismiss her disappointment that only ten minutes had passed. He’d be here soon, she knew, she just had to be patient. She put her glass down and reviewed the pages that she’d already filled in her notebook. Her muse had left her for the evening it seemed, and for the last half an hour it’d been an effort to get the words down. She needed a break.
20150124_170549The rain had started off gently enough as Dean set off up the motorway. As the light of the day faded, it blurred the lights coming from the rest of the traffic and made the road itself glisten as he drove. It reflected his mood perfectly.
        He hated breakups, especially when he was the one doing the breaking. There’s no easy way to say that you don’t love someone anymore, and no easy way to hide that there’s someone else either. He knew she’d ask and he’d never been able to lie to her. The image of her face as she descended into misery would stay with him for a long time.
        But he couldn’t dwell on it, after all he did want to leave. He needed to get across the city now and get to Abi, he needed to see her and know that he’d made the right decision. He didn’t like crushing another persons world, so he had to know it was for the right reasons.
        Concentrating on the road he saw all the red lights in front of him had started congregating, slowing down those still behind until they were all stopped together. Dean let out a sigh as he sat in his car and waited.
Abi placed her notebook on her desk as the doorbell rang. She glanced in the mirror, hands running through her hair as she went to answer it. ‘You don’t have to ring the bell anymore, you know,’ and she smiled as the cold air rushed in.
        ‘He’s not here yet then? Pity,’ said a thin-framed red head, standing on the doorstep. She braced herself against the frame to stop from swaying.
        ‘Moira! What are you … ‘ she glanced past her figure, ‘you didn’t drive here did you?’
        ‘Of course I did,’ she slurred. ‘I needed to get here before him didn’t I? I didn’t want to miss the big reunion. I’ve got something for you both to celebrate.’ She rummaged around in her handbag, and Abi froze as she pulled out a pistol and waved it right in her face. She forced her way in the house, and they both went into the living room to wait for Dean’s arrival.
                                                                                             Word count: 502.

They’re coming … – A WWBH post

Everything has been a massive rush this week, and I nearly didn’t get around to posting this. The story was niggling in my mind though and I had to get it out. It’s a bit last minute, so please forgive the roughness around its edges. I hope you enjoy where I went with this one.

This week for the WWBH blog hop we’re using one picture and five words:

novel, socks, morals, spar, stool

They’re coming …

        ‘I dare you, go on.’
        ‘No way, you do it if you’re so interested.’
        ‘Nah, I’m too scared,’ declared Ryan, ‘you’re much braver than me, so it has to be you.’
        ‘Hasn’t the novelty worn off yet?’ I asked as my shoulders slumped.
        ‘It’s alright for you, coming from the city,’ Ryan replied, ‘but tramps in the village is totally new for the rest of us.’
        ‘He’s been there for three weeks. If he was going to do anything interesting, he’d have done it by now.’
        ‘Yes, but we only see him on the way to and from the bus stop, don’t we? Who knows what he’s up to during the day when we’re not here to keep an eye on him.’
        ‘Well, there’s so much choice, I’m sure he doesn’t know where to break into first.’
        ‘Don’t try and be funny, Will,’ said Ryan, giving me a shove, ‘doesn’t suit you. Just go and have a look in his bunker, that’s all I’m asking.’
        ‘You really have no morals at all do you? You want me to risk upsetting someone just so you can get a glimpse of his smelly socks?’
        ‘No,’ smirked Ryan, ‘I want you to glimpse his smelly socks.’
        ‘Fine.’ I left him and the rest of them on the pavement as I crossed the road and headed down the dirt track. I wasn’t worried, but my palms went sweaty nonetheless. I brushed them on my school trousers as I avoided the toadstools sprouting up through the mud, the bunker suddenly looming large in front of me.
        I didn’t even know what I was doing this for. To show Ryan I wasn’t as scared as him? To prove to myself there was nothing to be worried about? A shuffling from inside the bunker made me stop in my tracks, and the ground in front of me began to blur a little. A sign resting up against the bunker read ‘THEY’RE COMING! BE READY!’ At the sight of it my whole body released the tension it had been holding inside. Whoever it was in there, they weren’t a threat to me.
        I rounded the corner and got a glimpse inside, and found myself surprised at how spartan it was. I’d expected old bins full of junk, or maybe some kind of camp setup or something. It was empty apart from a single figure lying in the corner, and as I approached I could hardly believe what my eyes were telling me. The figure, whatever it was, certainly didn’t come from around here, that much I was certain of. I was so engrossed in examining it, I didn’t hear the shuffling coming back and stopping behind me, and then a voice whispered right into my ear.
        ‘They’re coming, are you ready?’
Word count: 463

Unwelcome Guest – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.

The hop is co-hosted by Leanne Sype at Writings and Ruminations, Tena Carr at Taini’s Writings and myself over at Reading, Writing and Everything in Between.

Here we are again for another installment of the WWBH. No, your eyes are not deceiving you, this is my second story in two weeks. Get me, eh?

This week we have two pictures to inspire us, courtesy of the lovely Tena Carr, so I hope you enjoy what I’ve come up with.

Unwelcome Guest

  2015/01/img_3902.jpg      ‘How much further do we have to go?’
        ‘Just over that rise there, and then it’s all downhill.’
        ‘It feels like we’ve been walking all day.’
        ‘We have been walking all day.’ Joey’s whining was long past the point of getting tiresome, and Rob’s patience only lasted so long.
        ‘I don’t see why we have to make this trip every week, Sabrina is perfectly capable of putting one foot in front of the other.’
        ‘You expect her to walk half a day to market, jostle about with everybody else, then walk half a day back? She’s six months pregnant, Joey. Don’t you think that’s a tad unfair?’
        ‘Well, she should have thought of that, shouldn’t she?’
        Rob rolled his eyes, looking upwards at his cousin. ‘Yeah, she really should’ve thought about the possibility of the world nearly ending before planning on starting a family.’
        ‘Right. I suppose we’ll have to help look after the nipper as well when it finally gets here.’
        I wonder if anyone would even notice if I just left you out here, Rob thought. He knew he probably wouldn’t. He’d been nothing but trouble since finding his way out of the desolation, but then his mother always said cockroaches have a way of surviving before squirming out of the woodwork. It was just a shame he’d squirmed up and found them.
        ‘So, Joey,’ Rob said, ‘how’ve you been getting on looking for your brothers? Any luck?’
        ‘Nah,’ he replied, ‘I think they ran in the other direction. Don’t think I’ll be seeing them again.’
        ‘Well, don’t you want to even try? They’re your brothers.’
        ‘If they’re stupid enough to run away from everyone else, they aren’t any brothers of mine.’
        ‘Well, how are they gonna survive out there, on there own?’
        ‘It can be done, you know. We’re doing it.’
        ‘Exactly, which is why I was clever to find you guys.’
  2015/01/img_3425.jpg      Lucky us.
        Finally, the track leveled out and they could see the shelter they’d built against the caves. Rob started sorting out his bag, ready to dish out the provisions.
        ‘I hope you got everything on the list, Joey. Mother’s very particular about being without anything.’
        ‘Of course, I got everything,’ he said, checking through his list. ‘She’ll be … ‘
        ‘What?’ asked Rob, his heart sinking, ‘what is it?’
        ‘I forgot the salt. Does she really need salt?’
        Rob couldn’t hide his grin, although he kept the satisfaction out of his voice. ‘You’d better get up early in the morning, Joey. It’s a long way back to market.’
                                                                                                                                                  Word count: 440

Find a penny, pick me up – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.

The hop is co-hosted by Leanne Sype at Writings and Ruminations, Tena Carr at Taini’s Writings and myself over at Reading, Writing and Everything in Between,

Welcome to the first prompt for 2015! I trust you had a good Christmas and New Year? Great!

My participation in this little hop dwindled somewhat in the last few months of 2014, so I have it on my New Year goal list to do better and submit more often. Fingers crossed I can keep it up

The challenge this week is to write a piece in up to 500 words using one picture and five random words:


Bottle, ostrich, schedule, binder, spoon

My story:

Find a penny, pick me up

So, here I am again, just sitting on the floor, waiting for someone to notice me and pick me up. Why does this always have to happen to me? You don’t see any other coins lingering on the ground for so long, do you? But I’m not worth very much really, not compared to the big guys.

Of course, if you put me together with enough of my fellows we all add up to the same as those guys. We’re usually the kind to spend the majority of our lives shut up in random money boxes, pots or bottles though. We don’t get to see much daylight.

I once knew another penny, he’d been stuck in a shoe box with me a long while until the big man took him away again. I thought he was a regular penny, like me, but it turns out he was kind of special, limited edition or something, and now he lives in some kind of binder with other rare coins. Fancy that, eh? Still, I don’t see how living wrapped away like that is any better than being in the shoe box. And I can’t see how a penny can ever be worth more then a penny, but there you go. These big people are quite strange.

I spent a few months rattling around in one of their tractors once. He wasn’t a regular farmer either, he had ostriches. Can you believe that? How much stranger can you get than farming ostriches?

I’m just biding my time here, enduring the wind and the rain, the footsteps and the pram wheels. It’s a good job I don’t have a schedule to keep like all these folks, I’d never get anything done! Now and then I get a tickle of interest, a child will spot me, but mum is usually dragging them along before they have a chance to reach me. Children are always the best ones to be found by, they think they’ve won the lottery whenever they find any money. They’re always getting you out to have a look at you, cleaning you up and putting you on display. They’re quite clumsy though, children, and will soon drop you as they’re rushing around.

There are some big ones that have ruined it for the majority of us, of course. I’ve had a few friends that have been glued to the pavement or driveway, tempting people to look a fool. Thanks to them we hardly get a chance now.

Still, I should be glad for what I am. If I were any other item, being lost or thrown away so often, I’d probably get melted down and turned into spoons or something. Now, what kind of life can that be, in and out of mouths all day. No thank you! I’d rather sit here on the pavement if it’s all the same to you.

Word count: 480

The cold outside – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.

The hop is co-hosted by myself over at Reading, Writing and Everything in Between, Leanne Sype at Writings and Ruminations, Tena Carr at Taini’s Writings and Debb Stanton at Stanton Sunshine.


I realise that it’s been more than a little while since I’ve done this little writers hop. It doesn’t take long to get back into the swing of it, though, and I (almost) feel like I’ve never been away.

This week we have been working with two pictures as inspiration, and given the change in the weather over the past few days this seemed rather appropriate. I hope you enjoy …

The cold outside

Sitting around the table together, I felt the warmth of my fathers hand in my right and my daughters hand in my left. The food that lay before us steamed, covering the table, and the smells made more than just my tummy rumble in anticipation of our final meal together.

grace-family I glanced up at the others as we sat silently with our own prayers, our own thoughts and worries about what was going to happen. Looking from one face to the next, I wondered what was going through their minds. The children looked scared, little Evie’s hand gripping onto mine so tightly. Sitting across from me Nathan met my gaze, his mouth curling in that half smile I always found so adorable. My parents were the only ones who were managing to carry on as normal. They looked so peaceful as they sat together, watching over the rest of us and keeping the family together in these final hours.

The fire roared in the hearth behind us, determined to provide us with heat while it still could. It spluttered against the wind threatening down the chimney, but stood its ground for now.

It had been at least a week since I’d last felt properly warm. The suns power had diminished quicker than anybody thought it could, and the effects were felt soon after. The cars had seized up after only two days, leaving us stranded here, house bound. We were together at least, though, so we had to be grateful for small mercies.

IMG_12586d        The lakes had frozen over, which was expected and not at all an unusual sight, but everyone had been shocked to see the oceans themselves giving in to the freezing temperatures. The entire planet had been turned upside down, and nothing could prepare us for the devastation that was inevitable.

What had begun as the usual, seasonal turn in the weather, had turned into a nightmare than none of us could wake from. This meal would be our last, not just as a family, but forever. The lights flickered as the power finally gave up, the backup generator doing its best to cope. We knew we wouldn’t have long.

We began to eat, everyone still in silence, and I enjoyed the food as it warmed through me. Savouring the sensation, I closed my eyes again and remembered being gathered like this but in happier, sweeter times. As I finished my plate, the last of the electricity finally failed and we looked at each other in the fading light. Evie crawled up into my lap and I held her close, feeling her tremble as the outside walls began to freeze. I closed my eyes and breathed in the scent of her hair. Happy memories flooded my mind as we waited for the end to freeze us in this moment.

Word count: 471

Will you … – A WWBH post

This week we have been offered two pictures as inspiration for our flash fiction pieces, and they are certainly suggestive of a food and drink theme. I’ve been told that my stories are often of the dark and sinister kind, so this week I’ve gone for something a little more romantic and light-hearted. Let me know what you think …

Will you …

        ‘I suppose bringing me a cupcake will make everything alright, does it?’

        ‘No,’ replied Dan, ‘but I’m hoping a whole batch of cupcakes might.’

        She looked at him, trying to maintain her stern face as he grinned at her. She turned to the window before he saw her soften. He wasn’t getting away with it that easily. It had been a hard few months, and her birthday had kept her going through everything. ‘How could you forget?’ she asked, ‘I wrote it on every calendar you own.’

        ‘I know, sweets,’ he said, lowering his head, preparing himself. He knew this was coming, and he probably deserved it.

        ‘I just don’t know what goes through your mind sometimes,’ she said, standing to pace the room. ‘Do you even think about anybody else?’

        ‘Well, of course … ‘

        ‘I know, I know,’ she interrupted, ‘you think about Steve, how could you ever leave him out of anything.’

        Dan tried to ignore the tone of her voice as she said Steve’s name. ‘It’s not like that, you know.’

        ‘Yes, it is,’ she said. She felt the rage boiling within her now, ready to let out all the tension. ‘Whenever I want to plan anything, you have to run off to Steve to see if you’re free to do it. Don’t you see it should be the other way around!’

        ‘That’s not how it is,’ he replied, ‘I’m just being a good mate. He’s been pretty lonely since Jess left him, you know. I’m just trying to look after him.’

        ‘But what about me?’ she turned to face him now. ‘You need to look after me too. I know he’s your friend, but surely I’m more to you than that.’ She could feel the tension in the room, and knew it was her doing. She didn’t enjoy being unreasonable, but she needed to tell him this. She didn’t want to go the way his friends had.

        He came over to her then, put his arms around her. She let him hold her, closing her eyes and enjoying his warmth.

        ‘I’m sorry,’ he said softly, ‘it wasn’t supposed to work out this way.’

        ‘Work out?’ she said, suddenly starting to panic.

        He left her a moment while he went into the other room, and came back with his hands behind him. ‘I didn’t mean to miss your birthday, in fact I had something very special planned. Steve really did need me though, he’s been really bad since Jess left him.’

        She didn’t know what to say in return, the guilt began to consume her.

        ‘I hope this will make amends though.’

        He held out a bottle of drink for her, her name on the label. She took it from him and turned it over in her hands, puzzled at the gesture.

        On the other side he’d stuck his own label, with four very special words. She couldn’t stop her face from reacting, and the smile told Dan all he needed to know.

Word count: 495


This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.   The hop is co-hosted by  Leanne Sype at Writings and Ruminations, Tena Carr at Taini’s Writings, Debb Stanton at Stanton Sunshine and myself over at Reading, Writing and Everything in Between,


Help me … – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.

The hop is co-hosted by myself over at Reading, Writing and Everything in Between, Leanne Sype at Writings and Ruminations, Tena Carr at Jottings and Writings and Debb Stanton at Stanton Sunshine.


It seems an absolute age since I last posted anything for this hop, pretty poor really considering I’m a co-host!

Oh well, I’m here again now, and I hope you enjoy what I’ve managed to come up with. I have to apologise for the super-rough state it’s in, but I really wanted to share it with you before the deadline passed.

The challenge this week is to write a piece in up to 500 words using one picture and five random words:


Gunnysack, pathology, croquet, elate, human

My story:

Help me …

Please don’t go, please don’t go! I didn’t have the energy left to shout anymore. If they didn’t hear me when I was at my loudest, there wasn’t much hope that they’d hear me now. I’d dragged my broken body as far as I could, with more strength and determination than I’d thought was humanly possible. But now that strength was beginning to wane.

Trying to get myself to civilisation had been the only option for survival. Out here the phone signal was laughable, and that was if mine had even survived the night. It was probably in more pieces than I was. Dane had seen to that when he threw my gunnysack from the car on the way down here. At the time it’d been an annoying prank, but now I see it was all a part of his plan. How long he’d been plotting the whole thing though, I could only wonder. He’d seemed like such a nice guy as well; thoughtful, attentive. I guess you never can really know.

When the sirens rang out and the blue flashing lights came hurtling down the highway my heart felt almost elated, brimming with hope that I might make it out of here as more than just another body on a pathology slab.

They weren’t here for me I knew. I’d heard the crash of Dane’s car not long after he’d abandoned me, and saw the flames. A tiny piece of me was glad, of course, but it still didn’t help me much, not where he’d left me. The blue lights had flashed all through the night, growing brighter with every metre I pulled myself along. But they wouldn’t stay forever, and I was still too far into the trees to be seen from the road.

Shuffling on my elbows, my legs now numb, I gritted my teeth and willed myself to keep going. Glancing up, I caught sight of a paramedic hovering on the edge of the woods. My heart thudded in my chest as I realised this could be my only chance to be seen out here. Frantically, I looked around in the dawn light, searching for something to get his attention.


        Ryan glanced around, checking he was far enough away from the crew before relieving himself. He knew he shouldn’t have crammed that last can of drink into him, but he hated waste. If he was honest with himself though, he needed to get away from the crash site this time. Twenty years in the business, and it still turned his stomach to see what some people did to themselves when they think they’re invincible.

        Making sure he was all zipped up, he was about to turn back when his foor knocked against something; or rather something knocked against his foot. Bending down, a croquet ball came to rest against his boot. Picking it up, he scanned the trees in front of him. Was that movement he just saw there? Just maybe …

Word count: 497

Undercover – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.

The hop is co-hosted by myself over at Reading, Writing and Everything in Between, Leanne Sype at Writings and Ruminations, Tena Carr at Jottings and Writings and Debb Stanton at Stanton Sunshine.

This week the challenge is to write a flash fiction piece in up to 500 words using two pictures, incorporating them somewhere in the story. One thing I love about this blog hop is the variety of stories that come out of the exact same prompts. Creativity truly is unique.

My story this week:


‘We need to get that painting back,’ said Steph, pacing up and down. It only took a few strides to get from one side of the office to the other, but she still felt the need to cover every inch.


        ‘We will,’ said Marina, ‘we will. We just need to stay calm and follow up with the plan.’

        ‘I knew getting that Justin on board was a mistake, I should have followed my instincts.’ She paused long enough to give the bin a swift kick, and then went back to her pacing.

        ‘Relax, he doesn’t know what he’s got does he? He wouldn’t know what to do with it even if he did.’

        ‘Yes, but what if he figures out how to read it? What if … ‘

        ‘How is he going to do that, Steph? He has know idea who we are, where we’re from.’ Marina leaned back in her chair, absent-mindedly picking at the scales underneath her sleeve.

        ‘All it takes is for the wrong person to recognise it,’ said Steph, leaning against the window frame now, taking a break from all of her pacing. ‘Look at them down there, they have no idea what’s going on in their own cities, in their own back gardens.’

        ‘You cannot reveal yourself, Steph,’ Marina rose to her feet, ‘they must not know that we are here.’

        Steph sighed heavily. ‘I know that,’ she said quietly, ‘but still .. ‘

        ‘No!’ Marina was beside her then, intense eyes burning into her. ‘Promise me you can stay strong on this, we can’t afford any more slip-ups.’

        Steph held her gaze for as long as she could. ‘OK,’ she said, finally, ‘I’ll be OK.’

        ‘You better,’ said Marina, and she turned and went back to her seat. She didn’t like disciplining her team but if she had to, then she would. She wasn’t going to let the whole operation become compromised because of one individuals crisis of conscience.

        ‘How is your body holding up?’ asked Steph, her back to the window now.


        ‘It itches,’ said Marina, her fingers dancing over her scales again. ‘These organisms are not entirely suited to our needs, but they’ll have to do.’

Steph knew exactly what she meant, longing to revert back to her own natural form so she could properly relax. She did not enjoy having to masquerade in something that felt like it was three sizes too small for her.

She glanced again over at their intended disguises for the next part of the operation. She had no idea just how she was going to hide her impressive tail under such a small looking dress …

Word count: 438