Jimmy held his hand out to the old man lying in a bed of wet cardboard boxes. 'Help you up, there?'
The old man took the hand. 'Good on you, son.'
Jimmy took the strain and pulled. 'No problem. You might want to get your face looked at, though.'
The old man took a tissue out of his pocket and wiped the blood from his nose. 'Don't worry about me, I'll be fine.' He laughed and wiped his hands on his trousers. 'So who are you, then?'
'New around here?'
'Just got a job on the Ghost Train. I'm the guy who dresses up as a skeleton and jumps out at you near the end.'
The old man held his hand out. 'All the fun of the fair, I suppose. Nice to meet you, son. I'm Derek.'
The two men stood on the pavement, looking down Walton Street. From one end to the other, it was one heaving mass of people slowly making their way past the fast food and sweet stalls. Set off the main road was the attraction.
As far as they could see, the lights and noises of the fairground rides dominated the cold night. From the retro and the innocent to the loud and cutting edge, the fair had something for everyone.
'Forty years I've travelled to this place' Derek said, touching his face. 'And this is what it's come to.' He kicked the fast food wrappers out from under his feet and started to walk through the crowd. 'I could tell you some stories, son.'
Jimmy smiled and followed.
They turned off the street and edged their way through the crowds and into the main fairground area.
'I'm getting too old for this business' the old man said.
'Did you get a good look at the kids who hit you?' Jimmy asked.
'Enough of a look. I tell you what, if I saw them again, I'd recognise them. That's for sure. You youngsters might all wear the same clothes and caps, but I'd recognise them. Don't you worry about that.'
They walked deeper into the fair. The old man pointed to the darts stalls. 'Have you had a go on there? 'It's run by Sean and his family. Nice people. They've been travelling with the fair for years.''
Jimmy shook his head. 'Not yet.' He watched a punter have a go.
'Three darts, score over 21 and win a prize. Simple as that' the old man said.
The final dart hit the board and fell to the floor. Jimmy watched and listened as Sean explained it was just bad luck.
'Is it rigged, then?' Jimmy asked.
The old man laughed. 'That would be telling.'
He waved to Sean and they carried on walking.
The deeper they went into the fair, the louder and more crowded it became. The fair-goers changed. The older people and young families on the street soaking up the atmosphere started to give way to gangs of teenagers, bustling around, looking for the next adrenalin fix.
'Daft buggers, the lot of them' the old man said. He pointed to the bungee jump. '£10 to be catapulted around with only the concrete to break your fall? Not for me, son. That's for your generation, not mine.'
Fiction - Side Orders - A Joe Geraghty Story By Nick Quantrill
'Ahmet's paranoid, man.'
I turned to Darren and shrugged. Ignoring him, I continued looking out of the car window and into the Hull night, the city flashing by. 'You've been robbed twice this week' I said. It had just turned midnight. People were staggering home, the streets slowly emptying, but plenty of drunks still wanted their fix of fast food.
'Bad luck, Joe. That's all. It happens.' Darren laughed. 'It's cool to have a bodyguard, though.'
'I guess so.' It'd make a good story down the pub, if nothing else.
Fiction - A Story About My Brother By J.W. Robinson
I was about twelve-years-old when my brother, James, came home from the supermarket carrying an enormous cardboard box and announced that he was going to live in it. He had been behaving strangely for a while. My mum said it was a phase he was going through and she didn't like to antagonise him too much; he was prone to emotional outbursts. Nevertheless I think she worried when he took that box up to his bedroom and climbed inside.
Fiction - Mary and Me By Leah Scarpati
The train station was full of children, a mass exodus of sorts. Some were crying, others were brimming over with the obvious excitement of their impending 'holiday'. A variety of ages, the children were all dressed in their best clothes and stood around on the platform with their boxed up gas masks hung over their shoulders and suitcases littered around with their names and destinations printed on them.
'Now you listen to me Billy,' his Mother said. Her voice wobbled a bit.
Fiction - Incident Number 33217 By Grant
Colonel Hafetz strode purposefully down the hall of the Knesset. He gripped the attaché case firmly and braced himself for his meeting. A quick reveal of his ID causes one of two guards stationed to open the door and announce:
'Mr. Prime Minister, Colonel Hafetz.'
Colonel Hafetz enters and a silent Prime Minister gestures him to sit.
The Colonel places the silver case on the desk, unlocks it and turns it to
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Summertime By Julie Hines
The curtains of early darkness are drawn back for summer.
Gardens become beautiful this time of year.
Contrast of flowing colour. The fragrances of the pink Fuchsias draped in deep purple emphasizing their elegance. The Stock has a powerful aroma. Yellow Marigolds resembling regimented soldiers.
Placing the bulbs into her basket, she made her purchase.
Fiction - Fiend By Jarrett
It happened when I was only seven. They let their eyes off of me for only a moment and he snatched me away. I never saw them again. They are the only ones I ever loved. In fact, it was so long ago I don't even remember how it feels, and to be honest I don't want to; I'm sure it will only bring pain.
I don't know why he did it. I'll never fully understand why he did, but I've come close. I guess like me he yearned for that same feeling so many people take for granted, love.
Fiction - Leonard By Frankie Lassut
Ring ring, Ring ring ...
Leonard smiled, and tubbed his hands together. He picked up the phone, and went into voluntary professional mode:
'I've got nothing to live for. The credit card companies are threatening to take my house away to
pay my bills, which they have piled the interest on.
My wife got fed up of it and left with my children, and my firm has collapsed.
I don't know what to do.
Fiction - One All By Mike Watts
The knock on the door sounded official; usually callers just pressed the bell, but this morning, they didn't...
Dean's heart rate moved up a notch.
'Who the fuck's that?'
He stood up from the chair that he was slouched in and walked over to the window.
Parting the curtains slightly, he observed two powerfully built characters standing there.
One was holding a clip-board; his sleeveless arms were loaded with tattoos
Fiction - The Dance Of The Pheasodile By Tim Roux
I have to admit that I am in a bit of a predicament.
I have regained consciousness to discover myself swinging upside down outside the plate glass window that wraps around the lawyers' office where my wife works - where she is a partner, in fact. I am bumping up against the pane as I dangle here. I can see several of the office staff taking pictures of me with their mobile phones, and feverishly distributing them somewhere over the ether.
Fiction - Conversation By Scott Rorrison
Rome! Have you ever seen the Colosseum? Beautiful isn't it; how strange it is that things of immense beauty contain contrasting qualities. From the outside tourists marvel at the grand scale and arresting architecture, it is ideal for a photograph or postcard. Step inside, though, and a whole complexity of emotions will haunt the senses. Stand on the arena floor and wonder how many men and women have followed your steps into oblivion.
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - The Mother From Hell (following on from A Depressive and a Botched Suicide) By Laura Fry
Outside, a woman in late middle-age tries to look through the large crematorium doors.
Despite the November wind, she is dressed in six-inch stilettos, thin stockings and a tiny mini skirt which leaves nothing to the imagination.
One mourner hears a sound over the music and makes her way outside, aghast.
Fiction - Loved Ones By Emma Williamson
I remember the day my mother and father split up. All the family had gone out for the day with our parent's friends, Claire and Craig and their two daughters, Lauren and Molly. Me and my two younger brothers, Jasper and Cohen were in the ball pit with Lauren and Molly.
'Silver, drink!' Jasper announced, he was only 3 years old and hadn't quite grasped the concept of full sentences yet.
Fiction - What Colour My Dear? (Exercise in experimenting with different voices)
By Michelle Dee
"What colour my dear?"
"Blue. Yes blue to match my mood."
"Why so blue dear on such a promising day?"
"Well I'll tell you. I have just this moment been turned down yet again for employment; that is the third this morning if you please. I am doomed never to find a suitable position.
Fiction - Replacing Sheila By Gary Clark
She was a sorry sight Sheila, sat all day in a corner of the room, moving only occasionally to look through the window when the front gate rattled or a car door slammed.
But it was never him and her watery eyes soon closed again, sadly, as she returned to her fitful dozing. Old age takes its toll on us all eventually.
Poor Shelia, cast aside like an old
Fiction - Equus Mal-Amour By Frankie Lassut
Every time Roger fell out with Trudy, he took it out on Selina.
Saturday nights were the worst. Roger and Trudy would go out pubbing, Selina would of course stay at home, dreading the unhappy couple returning at 12.30 - 1am.
It was always the same. Selina would hear them coming up the lane.
"Don't you fuckin deny it! I saw the way you looked at her!"
"Oh, stop being so fucking stupid!
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Sundog By Amanda Lowe
I have my yellow boots on to walk the dog who is scratting at the door, he knows it's time to go. Outside, he's running ahead like a mad thing as my yellow boots squelch flat fields, left foot, right foot.
Striding along the bank, lost in thoughts, I stop and gawp at a sundog, reflection of the sun in the sky. The sun and its doppelganger side by side, striving to outshine each other.