The Neal James Website

                          Short Stories Volume 2

 Coming in 2018! 

 

 

 

Cover Artwork & Design by Lewis Bates

 

In this, my second anthology, I will take you on another trip into the world of imagination interspersed with episodes from family life.

Fans of science fiction will rub shoulders with those of crime, the paranormal, romance, humour and horror.

‘Short Stories Volume Two’ is another book for the coffee break, or simply to while away the time on a warm summer day.

Be prepared to laugh, cry, shrink with fear as you listen for those bumps in the night, and fly away into outer space as you travel through the wormholes of your own mind.

This collection of thirty-two stories is the second rollercoaster ride which I invite to you take with me.

 

A Friend in Need

 

You don’t always realise it at the time, but the actions you took many years ago have a habit of coming back to bite you. David Hawksworth found that out to his cost when the tables turned on him in his hour of need. 

Blind Faith

Susie and Brian Drake were just an ordinary couple. Ordinary that is, until the night that fate plunged them into a murky, violent world where the gun and the knife ruled supreme. 

Clock

 

He knew that something was amiss. Steve Cranshaw should have walked away the minute he stepped out of his Dodge into the empty, eerie main street of Stanfield. Lazlo Domarski saw him, and from that moment on his fate was sealed. 

Coles to Newcastle

 

Trust, once broken, was not something that Harold Coles would willingly give again. Patricia, however, was something else and he broke his golden rule for her. The intervention of fate was to be his undoing, and the loss of his one true love a tragic result. 

Disaster Recovery

 

Would you know the truth from fiction? Could an outrageously improbable set of occurrences really be historical fact? Stranger things have happened, and sometimes you just never know, do you? 

Ebony Eyes

 

A chance meeting, a beautiful girl, a melting heart. Ricky Madison was staring at a vision and she smiled back just for him. So what was is with the spooky song which seemed to follow him around everywhere? 

Engine Trouble

 

Reading between the lines had never been one of University Grant’s strong points, but you’ll have to do more than your fair share with this one to see the funny side of the matter. 

Falling Out with George

Stupid cat just has no sense of humour. I only bit his tail as a joke, and now he’s off sulking in a corner somewhere. Who am I going to play with now?

Fit to Drop

Once you get the bug for running, it kind of chases you around until you surrender unconditionally. My condition was certainly tested with this tough regime. 

Grapes and Wrath

 

As unhappy marriages went, Cecily’s was certainly up there in the top ten. Getting rid of an idle husband was going to be a problem unless something unexpected cropped up. The ‘crop’ of grapes was to be her lifeline to a fresh start. 

Highly Decorated

Brothers in arms we were, me and my sweatshirt. Well, the arms were mine at least, but the commitment and bravery? Well, that was definitely a material issue. 

I Am

 

Silence, stealth and senses on high alert. Patience, and just waiting for the perfect opportunity all came as second nature. Now was the time to strike. 

In the Nick of Time

Finding the job at the boatyard was a real Godsend for Nick, and the guy there certainly needed someone to show him the error of his ways. Shame he couldn’t stick around to see the final outcome though. 

Last Christmas

 

Christmas is never a good time to be moving home, but when the whole family is involved the disruption isn’t so bad. Patrick and Susannah Connors’ leaving present came from an unexpected source, and in the most dramatic fashion 

Layers of Innocence

The stalker had Lesley running around in circles as she struggled to come to terms with the sudden death of her husband, Mark. The tragic circumstances surrounding the evening with her friend, Wendy, sent her reeling into uncertainty once more. 

Mirror. Mirror

 

The face in the mirror was not her own, and Pauline stood transfixed before letting out a scream. Those eyes, they just stared out at her, and the mouth moved with a silent plea from another dimension. 

Needle in a Haystack

 

It’s bad enough looking for a needle in haystack, but when it turns up unexpectedly that’s a bonus. The man standing before Rosalind Farmer was the image of her husband who vanished six years earlier. Had fate returned him to her and their children? 

Packing It All In

 

It’s a highly technical process, and not one to be undertaken by the unwary and ill-trained. Suits me fine – I have a foolproof system. I just leave all the packing to Lynn, because I’m a fool, and she can prove it. 

Poppy Appeal

 

As creepy cats go, Poppy is up there with the best. Nothing is ever her fault, she didn’t do it, you have no witnesses, she has an alibi, and it simply isn’t true anyway. No problem. 

Rose Cottage

One last look at the little place and that would be it. No sense in hanging around any more. So why was the figure in the centre of the room making James feel as if he’d seen her before? 

Shedding Some Light

 

Shifting the shed was a Godsend for Lisa. It gave free rein to her literary talents in ‘Pig-Latin’. What the hell DOES “Romanes Eunt Domus” mean? For further edification, Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’ is required viewing. 

Sorry

Michael O’Reilly was about to wipe the slate clean of all his errant behaviour, and go cap in hand to his long-suffering wife. Getting the bullet was not what he had anticipated. 

Stop Wining

 

No, it’s not a misspelling, but you could be forgiven for thinking that it is; unless you’re one of the hobbying fraternity that is. Now there’s a bunch of dedicated individuals. 

The Damocles Legacy

 

The invaders have come. They’re up there just waiting. Waiting for the first move of a belligerent race which could see the destruction of them all. Tensions run into overdrive, and suddenly they’re gone; but will they return?  

The Smell of Fear

 

Mickey was a peaceful kind of individual, and never had much time for bullies. That was before George turned up and started taking a more than passing interest in Molly. This was the catalyst for action, and something which Mickey needed to get his teeth into. 

The Spiders and Johnny Bailes

 

“The only thing preventing these buggers from being our size is their respiratory system. This bloody thing has lungs!” Mick Parlour’s eyes were out on stalks, as the first of Johnny’s ‘friends’ to be caught lay on the lab table.

Trophies

Just what I wanted for my birthday – a dead mouse. They sit there with their feline faces a picture of endearment. You, their esteemed protector, are the beneficiary of the latest victim of all of their hunting prowess. So, what do you do with it?

 

 

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