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 The wake up call 

Alyson Rhodes

A Guy for the Children

Mother Love


Alyson Rhodes has trained as a teacher, but has been a waitress/receptionist/salesperson etc. She lived in  Birmingham in UK, where she wrote a couple of children's books and lots of poetry, some of which got published. Fast forward to 2016 – She now lives near Bronte terrain where she writes noir Flash Fiction, spooky tales and less poetry. She lives with her son, partner and 3 rescue cats. She is a confirmed chocoholic and is still hopeless at maths.

She writes stories for young adults, ghost stories and Flash Fiction. Her work has appeared in variopus publications including: / and Tubeflash 

She can be contacted at

I was on the run. From her and my old life. I landed up in a rather grimy hotel on the Norfolk coast. Booking a coach trip with an outfit called ‘Pioneer’ (that was me now), I requested a wake up call, hit the bar and then bed.

The phone rang, “It’s time Sir.”


“Your time Sir. It’s come.”

Disorientated, I staggered up, tripped and fell into the carpet’s embrace. To stay.

Emerging at dinner the receptionist apologized; she’d forgotten to ring.

Unconcerned, I took the local rag from her and read ‘Pioneer Coach Crash on A11, 5 Dead.’


Fear coats me like a second skin.

“Remember remember the 5th November …”

The kids shriek the old rhyme while they leg it ’round the playground, chucking cans, stones, even dirt at me. Huddled, shivering inside my tatty raincoat, I rock myself for comfort.

“Go away,” I whisper.

It’s dark. Late. I wish I had somewhere else to be.

Their shadows flit in and out of the swings and climbing frame, looping, swirling. Like ravens.

Their hands ablaze with sparklers, thrusting at me.

“Run!” one shouts.

“Jump!” screams another.

The newspapers around me burst into flames.

I will be headlines.


Edward suspects Mama is mad. Every afternoon they withdraw to the parlour overlooking the garden—Edward shoulder to shoulder with the pianoforte—as they jostle next to chairs arrayed for guests. No one presents calling cards at our door anymore. Papa has left for the City ‘on business.’ The servants, departed.

Mama sits, gazing at my baby brother, Ernest. “Do you think he looks a little pallid today?”

I nod sagely, “Yes, Mama. A little.”

Mama reaches over with her rouge to rub more colour into Ernest’s flaccid cheeks.

The vicar is still striving to give him a Christian burial.


We saunter, holding hands. The sky heavy with snow, you heavy with our child.

We've only just moved here, to the Humbers. We are reborn; with new names, new lives.

Intoxicated, we revel in the luxury of time alone, together.


'I want to call her Hope,' I say smiling fondly while

I stroke your distended belly.


Behind us the greenery erupts. We jump, terrorised.

A blackbird bursts forth. A harbinger.

Black figures spew forth after it.

A quartet of men.


I fight back, but they hood you, drag you away.

You, our baby, our future will be lost to me..

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