Tuesday, 31 March 2020


What a stupid mistake to make thought Annabelle ruefully.

She should have known better than to trust anything her Uncle Jim told her.

The rest of the family said he was a bit touched in the head, a bit simple.

Joe himself claimed to be a changeling, swapped at birth  by fairies who wanted a human child.

Either way Annabelle had been stupid to trust him.

He'd sworn the book had been given to him by a fairy but he'd probably found it in some junk shop somewhere.

But Annabelle was desperate, pale skin and red hair was not a fashionable look, blonde and tanned was, and that's what the recipe book promised.

She collected all the leaves and flowers listed in the recipe, added the stagnant water and pond slime and mixed up the awful smelling ingredients, she was almost gagging at the stench.

She was greatly relieved that she didn't have to drink the stuff but only had to apply it to her hair and skin.

Annabelle stayed hidden in the garden shed once she'd covered herself in the foul smelling gunk, she didn't dare go near the house in case her mum saw her.

Once the prescribed three hour wait was up Annabelle walked back across the garden and into the house, mum and dad were at work and her sisters were at school.

She ran upstairs and into the bathroom, turned on the shower and stepped under the warm water.

The stuff gradually washed away but it wasn't until Annabelle rinsed the soap out of her eyes that the full horror was revealed.

She was green, green from head to toe, including her hair.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Human error

As she waited to be called, her thoughts drifted back to her job, the one she should have been doing instead of being here. 

She was on the late shift today so they wouldn't be wondering where she was. They weren't a nice company to work for, the staff were poorly paid and generally treated badly. Any till shortages were taken out of their wages at the end of the week. She'd soon realised that the other staff members tallied up at the end of each day and and extra was stashed against future shortages. Not taken off site as that would be stealing but everyone had their preferred hiding place.

She was still struggling to understand how she'd ended up with £100 shortage, she was meticulously careful when taking the bets and handing out winnings. It was unlikely to be human error.

She shivered despite it being a mild spring day and despite the heat from the lights but she could also feel sweat trickling down her back, strange to be shivering and sweating at the same time. The Abba song Super Trooper kept running through her head. She knew it was the name of a theatre light but the lights she was under were smaller though still bright.

She was relieved that had given her a mask, it gave her at least the illusion of safety. Glancing around the room she could see a couple of people busily working and she noticed the room was spotlessly clean which made her feel better.

Someone spoke to her, "Are you ok Libby?", she nodded.
"Everybody ready?" "Then let's start".
There came a rush of instructions to put an arm here, a leg there, head up, head down. This went on for almost an hour, her muscles ached and she was parched but then it was over and she was free to leave clutching an envelope.

The following morning Libby returned to work, the envelope buried in the bottom of her bag. When everyone was busy with customers Libby took £100 out of the envelope and added it to her till, she breathed a sigh of relief, her till would now balance at the end of the week.

Whoever would have thought there was money to be mad just for dressing up as an old style school teacher complete with cap, cane and gown and nothing else but the mask.