Tag Archives: odd


The story begins with a boat. It was a fast boat, one that could sell in a moment. As a door-to-door salesthing it was ineffective, but selling on the high-seas; well, it was the greatest saleing vessel ever. Think of it as the reverse-pirate; one moment you would be desperately fleeing, the next moment you would be cornered and buying double glazing and life insurance. Even the royal navy was not exempt, and fought a small war just to get rid of its surpluses of subscription encyclopedias. This conflict caused untold misery and death, mainly thanks to the grammar pedants such books breed.

In the end though, time moved on, and coal replaced wind with steam. It was the end of the saleing age, an era of hot air; and politicians were suddenly everywhere.

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James was feeling a bit dead, so he went to the doctor, who screamed. People did that a lot; perhaps it was because he was not the most alive person, or perhaps it was the glowing eyes and tendency to suck souls out of them, but whatever the reason James felt hard done by. Even the souls were scant consolation, being thin and rather watery in most cases.

‘Why are you screaming?’ he asked the doctor in annoyance. The  doctor continued screaming.  ‘All I want is to know if I’m still alive, and all you can do is scream; at least the nurse isn’t doing that.’ The nurse in question was sitting there hollowly, her body trying to work out what it should do now it didn’t have a soul. The doctor continued to scream, so James sucked his one out too; this had the pleasant side-effect of  stopping the unholy noise. Annoyed, James went to the hospital, where they confirmed that he had a heart beat every few minutes, and – after thanking him for solving their bed-blocking crisis – they discharged him with a note for the Angel.

‘Not dead, eh?’ said the Angel, tapping its nose knowingly; ‘you  half-daemons are hardly alive.’

‘Doesn’t matter,’ said James; ‘I’ve got the note so there’s nothing you can do.’

The angel nodded.

‘True enough. But you made enough work for me for the moment, so I’m not going to complain.’ And he flew off in a flurry of raven-black wings.

James breathed a sigh of relief and went home. After all, he didn’t want to die; he enjoyed his work for the taxman far too much for that.




Severely Odd writes odd flash fiction under the pen-name Severely Odd. More of his work can be found on Amazon .

The Wiles Of Decay Chapter two

The previous chapter can be found here: http://wp.me/p4EC5E-oa


The call had its desired effect; the young man who answered to that name came running to attend to his mistress, so lately clothed as the sun. Beckersley himself in an indifferently shaped youth, spots having gained the upper hand in their battle for his face gave the impression of a comet or asteroid, battered by the knocks of life. He isn’t overly paid either, this latter fact being key to the actions he will subsequently undertake to such tragic effect. For now though he has to help his mistress with her coat.

Lady Caroline Ferfuffle-Flin, sole remnant of an ancient and proud family, had a face almost as twisted as her family tree. Her sole relative was a step-son whose life she was a blight on; a favour not specifically reserved for him but which she spread around with great impartiality. That someone had been poisoned and not she was for many beyond comprehension and had been entered into at least one bookish individual’s list of great travesties of justice. Now she frowned and grimaced as he helped her into a coat that complimented her face by hanging like some elderly moss cl happily enveloping a particularly scrawny specimen of tree; the one thing spoiling this effect being the fact the animals who had given their lives in this pursuit of poetry had neglected to grow their fur green.

‘You are clumsy today,’ she said in the nasal tones that threatened to send the poor drudge over the edge; ‘and I shall have to insist you stop it.’

The fact that her murder didn’t take place then and there is one of the more puzzling parts of this narrative.

Beckersley, having finished this important duty of the coat, was forced to go and arrange a method of transport by which his mistress could travel. Lady Caroline, being an eccentric and thoroughly unpleasant person, was wont to change her mind at uncertain and unpredictable intervals as to what constituted proper transport. Currently this was sedan-chair, and as the last sedan-chair for hire in the town had retired after woodworm overcame the main frame of the seat and the wooden leg of one of the bearers, this meant Beckersley was under extreme pressure. His solution of recent times was the gardener- an ancient taciturn fellow- and himself carrying one that he had borrowed from a collection. Beckersley whistled, a signal for the gardener to come round to the coach-shed, and then went there himself; unlocking the door with a huge rusty key that rumour had as being originally made for the gates of heaven on strength of its being so large and ornate. Muttering under his breath, he strode into the dim interior; the only light coming from the grimy windows set high-up and too narrow to be of good use for their intended purpose. There was something that bothered Beckersly as he stepped inside, something that gave him a deep-seated anxiety and made him look around nervously. And then, with the merest of movements in the deep shadow near the back he realised what it was. There was someone already in the coach-shed.

‘Who’s there?’ he called out in an unsure voice, and a deep laugh answered him.

‘Your future.’  Beckersley turned to flee, and the gardener walked in, giving him new courage.

‘There’s someone in here trying to play games with me,’ he told his unwitting saviour.

‘Oh, aye?’ The gardener looked at him with mild disinterest; he thought that the lad was too young, too flighty and too useless to be employed, but was a kindly man when he couldn’t be bothered to be nasty. ‘Let’s have a look then,’ he added; for Beckersley was showing a marked disinclination to going any deeper into the shed.

‘Okay,’ came the reply and they advanced together, the gardener fully expecting to find one of the children who played on the remains of the estate. The coach-shed being totally empty surprised him; and after a moment he added ‘borderline insane’ to his list of the lad’s characteristics, before phlegmatically picking up his end of the sedan-chair. They took it round to the front door; Beckersley having made sure that he locked the coach-shed with extra care, and Lady Caroline was fetched and brought aboard. Then, with heaving’s of knees young and arthritic the sedan-chair was hoisted aloft and born down the street, bearing Lady Caroline in triumph towards her final destination.


The Wiles Of Decay Chapter One

A brief introduction – I started writing the story a long while ago, and revisited it on writon.amazon which is now sadly deceased. I’ve currently got eleven ready-to-go chapters, a couple more almost there, and some bits for the rest. However there’s no guarantee that I’ll get round to finishing  it, so fare warning given 🙂 And now….


Chapter One

Torn hangings dangling from the roof, twisted around tall marble columns that rose up to support the huge vaulted ceiling. Tables scattered around walls damp with condensation; dusty velvet clothes thrown across them and tarnished silver set down upon them. The first of the guests arrive; a stately woman in the party of Helios, flame-coloured dress embellished with limp rays of material as if the sun could catch a cold; clutched in her hand a small child as Mercury, feathers bedraggled and forlorn. They are greeted by a musty footman, all damp and saggy-clad. It is the Emuschion-Ball, and all must come to pay it tribute.

Cats are generally not desired, but one is loping around the ballroom with a languid interest in the scattered chairs that cluster in strange groups around its edges, and also steps in a man dressed as the king of the felines, with shaggy beard and complimenting synthetic mane. The costume itself is shabby-threadbare, the forlornness of the tail’s tassel only emphasised by the shine nearby. His friend, single-horn craftily strapped to head and white-velvet costume only mildly stained is the next to enter, greats the musty footman before that official can do the same by him, and generally goes around attempting to be agreeable. This was most disagreeable to the others, and it only stopped when the man dressed as the haunted drunkard entered the room.

His eyes bulged, red-shot and swollen, his drink-besmirched attire ruffled as it had been in the more practical scuffle, not the  genteel ‘incident’ so beloved of the  pretentious lower upper-class. The sight of him quite depressed the unicorn, who responded to this downturn of the spirit by visiting one of the velvet-draped tables in order to explore the ancient, mostly empty bottles that had been brought there. The three graces arrived after that with their mother, and it seemed that all would be good for the first dance.

A small orchestra, more  a collection of quart- and quintets that had been gathered together than any semblance of a unit- began to play, the seeping melancholy of the tune only somewhat disturbed by the fact one violin and a tuba were very much behind the tempo. The tuba itself could have been one of the guests; a large man of resounding proportions with a face that had fallen in, he wore a jester’s hat embellished with tarnished bells that gave the ghost of a jingle with every note he played. The dancers paired up and the dance began; so terrifying a prospect that sent some of the smaller children into tears of terror. More guests arrive the whole time; sad guests, haughty guests, depressed guests, cheerful guests; all dressed as something they are not, in costume imperfect.  For this is the Emuschion ball, and all must come .

It is a little past the hour, and comes the first disaster. The haunted drunk will be haunted no longer, not if his contorted face and recumbent pose is a teller of things true. It is poison of course, that age-old tradition of doing away with the one you dislike in full view of the crowd by means ingested; and the musty footman and another must carry him next door, to the ruined dining-room for the house. Here, on great stone slabs that make up the bare floor the victim can lie at peace, his identity as undisturbed as his corpse. The death having dampened the already lowered mood, a pause is declared; and all take to the tables to talk and remember not to eat. The Lion engages in fierce debate with the Unicorn, the splendid Sun is magnificent in its cruelty to Mercury who blushes under the withering heat, and the three graces are divided among the varying groups leaving their mother with none to converse. The cat, long banished by the humans’ dance, reappears to once more assert his rule over this, his fiefdom, and the most melancholy of men debates whether life is worth even the effort of chasing it away.

And now a late guest arrives, clad in the black robes of death.

The outcry is near-universal, and they run at him verbally, hurling polite abuse. The figure inclines its head as if in acceptance and withdraws, and the night’s incidents come to an eventful end.



There are few things that go under the radar as much as carpets. This is a mistake on Humanities part, as the woven mass of the downtrodden will one day rise to destroy them.

In one parallel dimension very similar to ours, this happened two years ago. To travel there is to see a grim vision of the improbable future; carpets lying python-like in suspicious mounds, suffocated corpses gently decomposing beneath them. In the houses things are even more grim; tight wads block the doors and the last echoing screams defy physics to allow the appropriate suggestion of danger. Beedy woven eyes follow you wherever you go; and the slinking rustle is to the interdimentional tourist what the sound of a steamroller is to tarmac. Don’t take my word for it; go and see it for yourself. You’re guaranteed to be floored.

Severely Odd has also published stories on Amazon. Hint hint.

Growing Pains

Jack first noticed that he’d started growing when his head hit the ceiling. How he had managed to miss the fact that he had left a dent in the lintel he never worked out, but once he’d managed to solve the equally puzzling question of how to get out of the room he made his way to the doctor.

‘ In my professional opinion,’ the doctor said; ‘you are growing.’

‘But what’s causing it?’ Jack asked

‘That,’ said the doctor; ‘is a very good question. We’ll probably dissect you when you die to find out.’

This, Jack decided, wasn’t helpful; and so he decided to leave. ‘Watch the lintel!’ Cried the doctor.

The next week was torture for Jack, at least until he stopped hitting trees. After that milestone was reached his head no longer hurt from constant bangs, although the constant climbing attempts by lesser mortals were annoying. But with the absence of pain came a new worry: would it soon be replaced with an absence of oxygen as he reached ever greater heights? We’ll, we will never know, because three days after that thought first occured Jack died, having been hacked down by an urchin who was being pursued by a giant of the fee-fo-fum variety. Luckily he had left his body to science; but all they learnt upon autopsy was that he had had a fondness for beans.


There are times when you don’t want to have to worry about what is on your head. One of these times is when trekking through the endless desert of South Musenland. There the preditors swoop down from above and scoop out the brains of their prey with sharp spoon-like claws, but that is not what we speak about here. Our tale takes place in the urban settings of Goo, in North Musenland. Here, a man with a hat strides into a club, and despite the exhortations of the butler, refuses to remove his hat. No amount of pleading can induce him to remove it, and he is eventually allowed to retain it. This departure from the strict rules of half a century is only counternanced due to his being the Prime Minister; a man whose exploits in the southern wastelands are only overshadowed by his reputation as a thinker. And indeed, if people had known, these two things were the cause of his hat habit; for his reputation for the latter could only be undermined by the legacy of the former: the hollow scoop of his egg-cup skull.