twitterTT
MyTSSCKnightTemplatMYFAVOURITE

Kelvin M. Knight

"Writing stories is a never-ending roller coaster ride, that, no matter how sick you feel, you cannot hop off.”

Kelvin M. Knight

Reader, Author, Reviewer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Showcased Short Story - Come Here A Lot? by Kelvin M. Knight

Fantasy is a fool’s game. So sue me, there are many good reasons why I’m a fool. Honestly. Here’s one reason: can I help it there is something exquisite about the genre, especially the sub-genre of historical fantasy? Of course not, that is why I have travelled so far to be here, patiently drumming my fingers for my favourite fantastical author.

In she rushes, white hair flailing, white teeth flashing. She resembles a knight on a charger. News flash, Miss, with those teeth you are the charger.

‘You have to be a character from a fairy tale.’ Without apologising for her lateness, she commences the session with this apparently impromptu statement. ‘Who would you be and why?’

‘Goldilocks’s mother.’ A fifty something lady, made up to appear ten years younger, pounces on the question. ‘Because I’m appalled by my daughter’s manners. I would teach her right from wrong: not to break into stranger’s homes and steal.’

‘Okay, good start.’

I am sure I hear her neigh.

‘Another, anyone?’

‘I would be a princess,’ answers an effeminate guy.

The room full of women titter. I frown.

The brightly-attired guy pouts. ‘Why should they always get Prince Charming? I want one of those dashing young men for myself.’

‘You could appeal to a new demographic with that twist,’ agrees the author, ‘but children? Hmm.’ Tapping her lips with bejewelled fingers, she smiles at a rake-thin lady, who adds new meaning to the endearing term mutton dressed as lamb. ‘And you, my dear?’

‘Cinderella. And I wouldn’t truck any nonsense from those ugly sisters of mine. One whack from my broom and they would realise the error of their ways.’ She enacts a sword fight.

The class hoots. I scowl. The dead serious look on her razor-sharp face makes me shudder.

‘How about you?’

The author’s eyes bore into mine. In their depths I spy a hint of boredom and even a touch of haughtiness. All this is beneath her. So why do it? Of course, that old chestnut. This is nothing but a facade to encourage us to purchase her latest book.

‘Sir.’

I know I should be positive, bubbly, but her shrill voice triggers a negative reaction. ‘My name might be indicative of heraldry, but...’ When I see her grin like a pantomime villain, I stop pussyfooting around. ‘I would be a medieval knight.’ I fold arms across my belly. ‘But that’s not a fairy tale character, is it?’

Her sucked cheeks flush. The class hush. ‘That’s okay, we can run with that, but you must tell us why you wish to battle the dragon, George?’

The gleam in her eyes ignites a spark of anger in mine. ‘Actually, I’m a knight of the Round Table.’ When she starts to speak, I amaze myself by speaking over her. ‘Correction, I am not yet inside Camelot, I am outside, debating the merits of seeking an audience with the king.’

‘So you’re a disillusioned knight in shinning armour, it could work.’ Her condescending tone does little to convince me.

‘Not shining armour, patchwork armour.’ My bland response does little to convince me. ‘Comprising a hodgepodge of dented pieces. Yes, I am a nameless knight who has lost his shield and never had a sword.’

‘So why waste the king’s time? Why should he waste his valuable time on you, or you, or you?’ Her eyes leap from face to face, where she smiles briefly. Her gaze returns to me and racy features snort. ‘What’s in it for him?’

Irked by this virtual gauntlet slapped around my face then thrown at my feet, I blurt, ‘To tell him that what he did was wrong. That his age of chivalry never worked. Honour and pride died. Arrogance, ignorance and greed are the new creed; are all mankind ever cherish.’

Her angular mouth softens. ‘So what do you propose to do about it, Sir Knight?’

‘I.’

The class look expectantly at me. Half of me does not want to disappoint them; the other half does not care two hoots what they think. Wavering, I try to dig a reply out of my mind but my thoughts have turned to quicksand. It would be easy to become angry, have a rant; however, painful experience proves such childish behaviour achieves precious little. Instead, I take the easy option: clam up. Let some other fool eek out a pearl of wisdom. I need to rest, get my breath back.

‘Enough jousting.’ The author pats my shoulder. ‘I want you to split into pairs and practise your dialogue. ‘Be a king or a queen,’ she grins at the brightly-attired man who curtseys with gay abandon, ‘and this knight with a secret past who has glimpsed the future and fears what he has seen. How would you address King Arthur so everyone lives happily ever after.’

 

‘No one ever lives happily ever after.’

As I saunter away from Carlisle library, this dread certainty haunts me more than the memories clinging to the old buildings, more than the shadows mocking those memories.

‘I do what I do and don’t what I don’t.’

The story of my life. The story of her life. Anger gnaws my cheeks. For years I embroiled myself in her magical plots, her incendiary prose, living and breathing alongside her larger than life characters. The spells she wove made life tolerable as my fiancee systematically bled me dry.

Day after day, week after week, Michelle screamed, ‘You’re too love a ducking sensitive!’

Correct. Absolutely. Could not agree with you more. Silent answers until one day I accidentally mumbled, ‘And you’re too weave material over a holed sock crude.’

Big mistake. Bigger than big mistake. Michelle tore my heart off my shirtsleeves then ripped the shirt off my back and shredded it, shredded everything. Bless her little white cotton socks. Dainty she was not. Neither was my favourite author. Still, I should never have let it get personal; I never should have let her rile me. During the common law wife fleecing settlement, I promised to live happily ever after by never again letting the opposite sex get under my skin. There are, after all, plenty more plankton in the sea for me to have a whale of a time with, without commitment, without ago.

‘Ago?’ I knuckle a throbbing forehead. ‘Who am I kidding?’

This afternoon was obviously a game to her, entertainment to liven the proceedings. I should have played along, relished the charade, rather than hopping into a corner and sitting as mute as a toad - one that none of the women or even Prince Charming were willing to kiss, despite the chance of securing kingly riches.

‘Some riches.’

I mooch into Carlisle train station and trudge across the rainbow-coloured footbridge that leads to platform two.

Was I really some nameless knight with tarnished armour? In my heart of hearts, I would love to champion a noble cause, but, thinking about it, I see myself in a perfect suit of armour, shining brighter than a lighthouse. The lack of a sword is correct for I could never kill another human being. I suppose I must have been a pacifist in another life. As for my lack of a shield, where the family crest was depicted, that must be a reflection of the fact I feel I do not belong anywhere. Well, in this era anyway. Perhaps that is why I devour historical fantasy?

‘Excuse me, young man.’

I dodge an elderly gentleman taking one of those irritating wheeled suitcases for a walk and lose my chain of thought. As usual, trainspotters camp at the intersection with platforms three and four where they take it in turns to run alongside moving trains, video recording the fronts and backs of each carriage with mobile phones.

How times have changed. For the worse I fear.

In my day trainspotters hid out of sight on a bridge, ticking numbers in a pocket book with a chewed pencil. If the school bully found you, you fled. The library was usually a safe haven.

Except, on one fine morning during the school holidays, when Carlisle library hosted the launch of a civic heraldry book by a mouse-like author. During the lacklustre event, a giant suit of medieval armour clanked amok on the first floor, swiping at books with a broadsword and bellowing:

‘Plagiarise me? Hah, this’ll teach you! The sword is mightier than the pen!’

From their tittle-tattle, little old ladies thought it was a publicity stunt, until the unhinged individual cleaved the book signing table in half. While his readership fled in terror, I heard the mousy man roared, ‘No, Knights do not terrorise innocent people. That is not part of their moral compass. Their creed is obligation, to help the populace, to uphold what is right. And this is wrong!’

Such passionate words were backed by the author’s tiny hands wrestling the knight’s bear-sized gauntlets until the broadsword pointed safely at the ground. The author’s grey eyes locked with those lurking behind the lowered visor. Such tension. Call my imagination overactive, but I swear energy crackled and sparks flew, long after the police departed. The scene made the hairs on my nape quiver. Fear. Excitement. Such a mixture formed an indelible imprint on my impressionable teenage mind, obliterating Mum’s hugs and kisses as her tears began afresh.

‘What do you mean, I can’t use it again?’

I look up. Two trainspotters argue about using the same image twice. When they catch my eye, they glares. I smile sympathetically. In response, one of them sticks up his index finger.

‘That’s not very polite,’ I mumble, when really I want to swear.

Smirking, the gangly youth sticks two fingers up. Outrageous. I never dared act so disgracefully when I was younger. The victory sign is short lived for a freight train with EWS engraved on every carriage fills platforms five, six and seven. Forcing myself to see the funny side, I chuckle as he runs like a headless chicken after every carriage.

My humour disappears when I spy the Whitehaven train approaching. Once again there is only a single carriage. Groaning, I mentally and physically prepare myself for the chore of securing a seat in the cattle market crush.

Knees around my ears, I stare out the window. This helps draw attention away from my physical discomfort. Rather than seeing golden hues or russet glitter sprinkled over the distant fells à la umpteen poets through the ages, I see a reflection of my mousey author.

‘My?’

I cannot even recall the title of his book let alone his name. All I do remember is his unassuming face dwarfed by those sun-sized eyes going super nova. Such an intense expression powered his immovable stance. I wonder what kind of armour he would wear? What would he have said to King Arthur about the woes plaguing society?

‘Whoa, hold on marra, don’t...’

‘Would you please sit down and quieten down.’

I look up. A middle-aged guard is trying to placate a gang of rowdy teenagers perched around a table. One bum to each seat, with two sitting on laps, their legs spread across the table to form the sacred sign that used to celebrate success but now mocks it.

‘We can’t, marra, there ain’t enough room.’ A hooked finger indicates crowds of standing travellers at both ends of the train.

‘I’ve asked you politely twice. Please remove your shoes.’ The guard’s trembling finger indicates the warning sign: Keep shoes off tables and seats. Penalty £50.

‘But they ain’t shoes, marra, they’re trainers.’

‘Train-ers, eh?’

Giggling, the teenagers hi-five one another.

‘If you continue this behaviour, I’ll call the police and have them escort you off the train at the next station.’ The guard’s voice warbles.

‘You don’t scare us, Mr Tick-tock-ticket Collector.’

‘We’re going t’Workington anyways.’

Red-faced, the guard strides to the rear of the train. As he passes, I ask, ‘Can I help?’

His head shakes. ‘There should be two carriages and two guards. This cursed economy drive is driving me mad.’

A state of mind to be wary of indeed. I feel sorry for the forlorn looking guard and my neck hairs quiver as they did decades ago inside Carlisle library. Before I know what I am doing, I force myself to get up and approach the raucous teenagers. As I near them, the enormity of what I am contemplating hits me. To keep leaden feet moving, I picture my armour. Now the colour and finish are irrelevant - shiny, dented, who cares, so long as they withstand these yobs’ knives. But what if they have a pistol? Or a shotgun? Would my armour withstand that?

‘What you staring at?’

My insides squirm. The ringleader is a girl, no more than fourteen, who wears a silk scarf around her head as though it is a hood. I open my mouth to speak, but all I can think of is a quip about whether her grandmother knows she is out.

‘Arse hole.’ Little Miss Polite huffs through scarlet lipstick.

Am I imagining things or do I see a snout and fangs? I take a step backward. ‘I thought you might like my seat?’

‘Pervert, I ain’t sitting on your freaking lap!’

A keepsake. A vision of my mousey author. From the fire in his eyes blossoms a light which quickly transforms to a spotlight into which I am compelled to step. This is my moment to shine. Precisely, a buried inner voice chides. Forget pointless arguing. Be a King. Do something constructive, something positive. Let you actions cry volumes.

I creep forward. My legs resemble jelly. ‘Of course not. I’m offering you and your boyfriend my seat so your marras can spread out and be comfortable.’ I regard each face. ‘You do want to be comfortable?’

Incredulity flashes across the ringleader’s eyes, whilst two of her gang half moon an elderly couple holding hands at a level crossing. Aghast, I wonder what kind of parent lets their offspring careen off the rails like this. I am so glad Michelle and I did not last long enough to be condemned to the miseries of parenthood.

‘I’m talking to you, Mr Pervy.’

Pulled from dark memories, I croak, ‘Beg your pardon?’

Her gang guffaws.

‘Let’s see it then.’

‘What?’

‘You begging, stupid.’

Her gang has a fit of giggles, during which I take several deep breaths as angry words rage into sentences inside my head. What is wrong with you? Why do you have to act like two year olds? Do you think you are funny? Is that it? Do you see people laughing? Where is your respect for other people? Where is your respect for their property? For peace and bloody quiet? Concentrating on a giant rampaging knight being subdued, I squeak, ‘Only if you and your boyfriend sit over there.’ I indicate my seat, which is now occupied by a mother breast-feeding a baby.

‘Bugger.’ I cover my mouth. What do I do now?

Assaulting me with a gorilla grin, her boyfriend pats the table. ‘Wanna a seat, marra?’

Before I can reply, Little Miss Polite trills, ‘Well, you can’t have it cos it’s reserved.’

‘For all of us.’ They hi-five each other then return to a churlish game of I spy with my smelly bum.

A broadsword appears in my hands. Surprised by how light it is, I contemplate swinging it and wiping the smirks off their faces. Hells bells. I tremble as their heads roll toward me, incredulous eyes beseeching we were only having fun. Who am I kidding? In today’s topsy-turvy society, a parent cannot reprimand their own misbehaving offspring with a slap for fear of being hauled through the courts by some third party on an assault charge, so what chance would I have?

‘Un-blooming-believable.’

‘My sentiments exactly.’

Agreement rattles the coach as Little Miss Polite and a trio of boyfriends are escorted off the train by a pair of Women Police Constables. One of them is burlier than Mr Universe, the other is the spitting image of Blunder Woman: Russ Abbott’s eighties spoof doppelgänger of Wonder Woman.

The rest of the journey is uneventful. Well, loud, with people bellowing when they need only talk. It is as if they share a conscious desire to fill the vacuum left by the obnoxious teenagers. Yet that does not explain the rubbish.

‘Oh, so much rubbish.’

Neighbours glare at me. I regard scuffed boots where crumpled newspapers, scrunched sweet wrappers, half-filled bottles of pop and empty coffee cartons roll away from me like a pauper’s red carpet.

How would a knight protect against such chaos? What would King Arthur advocate? Groaning, I knuckle my forehead. Why care what he thought? He was not real. This is not real. I regard the passengers around me. Their ignorant and greedy faces are dwarfed by overfed and under exercised bodies. How can this be real? This is the twenty first century, not the twenty fat century. I shake my head. What am I thinking? What hope is there for a world gone mad? A world devoid of caring? A world in desperate need of...

Peace and love. ‘Of course.’ That is how to slow mankind’s arrogance as they bomb down a slope to oblivion. Okay. All I need do is structure that argument to influence our fictitious monarch. ‘Right?’

‘Last stop, marra. Camelot’s just around the bend.’

The guard grins. Is that an imp I see before me, the squashed nose toward my hand? Or is it a false creation, proceeding from my heat oppressed brain? The rational part of me says no. The twinkle in the guard’s eyes screams yes. Had I been speaking aloud? Rather than blush, I feel anger rush. Why is he laughing at me when I stood up for him? Ungrateful bugger. I kick a misshapen ball of greasy chips through the open carriage door then jump onto the low platform as tiny missiles launch in all directions. Ignoring Mr Tick-tock-ticket Collector’s litterbug lecture, I stomp through a mob of seagulls destroying the cholesterol rich feast.

By the time I reach Saint Nicholas’ church - where each Saturday a different charity provides scrumptious home-made soup, freshly-baked rolls and naughty but nice cakes at a fraction of the price of its cardboard competitors - shame tightens my arms and chest. It feels as though I am wearing one of those fashionable slim fit shirts designed for racing snakes rather than living life to the full thirty-something gentlemen.

‘Some gentleman.’

My voice pants. I did not suffer their ignorance and smile, and I was certainly not genteel in my condemnation of the guard. Yet he should not have ridiculed me. I take a deep breath. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But he should have expressed it in a balanced way.

‘Unlike my response.’

My words rasp. Why did I react so cruelly towards him? I knead smouldering temples. The answer is simple: I knew I could get away with it. Regretfully human nature ensures the weak are weeded out so the strong thrive.

The hairs on the back of my neck jive. And knights were the epitome of strength. For King Arthur they were pillars of strength capable of propping up the mighty seven wonders of the ancient world. Not to be confused with John Ruskin’s seven pillars of wisdom.

Ancient world, what about the modern world? Glorious images shrivel. Great white marble walls crumble to dust, revealing sodden red sandstone splattered with moss eaten rendering. Pebble-dashed skins that scab but never heal.

‘The brave new world is rotten to the core.’

Vile smells punch my nose. Through watery eyes I see I have wandered into a part of town I would usually not dare visit on Saturday evening let alone on the 31st October. Over the road, conflicting aromas slug it out. My forehead burns. A snow-white limousine languishes before Whitehaven library. Beside it, the civic hall is home to an army of pink and black attired - if wearing a belt for a skirt can be called attired - ladies, women, damsels?

I blink. These are no damsels in distress. They might cause distress in their current state of undress

but

witches?

An Adam’s apple

bobs?

For a moment it floats in a barrel of water then other apples join it. Of course, All Hallow’s eve. How quaint. The bobbing red apples rot; transmogrify into a green-skinned witch strapped to a wooden chair. Impossible. Before her, a crowd of baying men. Below her, a river. She gulps. I gulp. My Adam’s apple bobs. Her chair bobs. Splash. The men cheer. Again and again. Poor wench. Condemned if she is telling the truth; damned if she is not. She chokes, turns blue. Shivering, I cough and struggle to breathe.

Cackling pierces the water bubbling in my ears. Witches flollop on the low marble-effect wall that ring fences learning from unlearning: Whitehaven’s library from its Civic Hall. Rubbing sweat from my eyes, I feel lightheaded. Not witches, it is them, the pink and black girls’ brigade. I open my mouth to inform them said wall is not a mattress, that this is not the Princess and the Pea fairy tale, that ones so young should be home to bed, but words are suffocated by a mouth which feels stuffed with cotton wool.

‘Look, Anita, a secret admirer.’

Belted waists huddle. Unbelted mouths sway. Some kind of bottle blonde staggers away from the pack and slaps her forehead with a thumb and forefinger.

‘Ah, that’s sweet, Becky, L for love.’

‘L for loser.’

The giggling turns hysterical. Laughter lines in their faces mutate into trenches. Did knights fight in the first World War? I scratch a numb forehead. Their war-torn faces fight a brave yet ultimately futile backup with man’s mortal enemy: not time, makeup. Why do ones so young need to cake themselves in the vile stuff? It is then I realise these are not girls, they are mature women. Shame on you. Even though my words are silent, my pulse rages.

The thumbs and forefingers of a raven-haired sixties groupie form a pair of L’s which paddle her forehead.

‘Loving loser, Gwen?’

‘Life’s little loser.’

Pot. Kettle. Black. Try as I may, these three simple words will not form aloud. While I write the first letter of each word, pain stabs my chest. Bent double, I spy a miniature suit of armour clambering up the history of English trees exhibit that has taken root in Whitehaven library’s window.

Ash. Beech. Birch. Cedar. Dogwood. Elm. Oak.

‘Old soak!’

‘Fe-fi-fo-fum-ble away from me!’

What?

A goose appears

drops a golden egg.

Harps sing.

No...

Frightened by an indescribable sensation, I hasten home, yet all I seem to do is crawl. Below me, the pavement rolls by. So why do my feet feel as though they are encased in lead? I look up. Domineering Georgian town houses with turrets at every corner form an orderly line. Great lilac, cyan and lime-coloured castles.

Where are the flags, the trumpets, the moats? I try to point to where they should be, but my arms have become nomads. I grit my teeth. The taste of chalk fills my mouth. All I can see is burnt land upon which prancing dragons belch smoke.

How

on

earth?

An acid smell clogs my nose. I snort, then gulp, repeatedly, until the vaguest hint of diesel makes me sneeze uncontrollably. The painted letters W...a...r... twirl. Warrior? The word swirls. Letters jumble. Colourful dragons spread their wings.

Petrified by this real yet unreal landscape, I cling to my mousey author’s treasure: not his forgettable book, the unforgettable look in his eyes, his heroic stance, his indomitable attitude as he tangled with evil; however, the sepia still that has kept me safe for over three decades slips from my grasp then warps into one of those Japanese manga cartoons played at fast forward.

Unable to keep up with the flickering frames, I stumble, fall. My chest tightens. My throat constricts. Carlisle library materialises around me, hugged by giant trees. Inside, I glimpse pieces of metal falling from a giant knight as he is dragged away by ghostly policewomen. I am reminded of a reptile shedding its skin, yet this skin is alive, this metal moves. So, too, do flashing blue lights, which follow him and them, and merge with a pool of whiteness, which brightens then lengthens and takes the form of a suit of clothes. Some suit. Confused, I watch the knight attacked by flailing white legs then beheaded by chopping white sleeves of emptiness.

The policewomen fade. My ex-favourite author takes their place. Pointing her manicured fingernails at me, she throws back her head. Rather than whinny like a horse, she screams like a banshee.

Covering my ears, I squint through bulging eyes. My legs and chest become metallic, upon which shines a brilliant white light. Mesmerised, I watch said illumination brighten and explode into an ocean of earthbound stars.

I gasp. My cheeks go slack. All the stars want to do is return home. The left-hand side of my body freezes. All I want to do is. The right-hand side of my body flops. Go home. To my galaxy. To warm myself. Against the everlasting darkness. And be at peace. Along with other knights of the realm.

Right, Arthur?

‘Oh my god, Becky, call an ambulance - lover boy’s having a stroke!’

Stroke? The word is alien to my way of life. Why would I want to stroke you?

Watching a pink and black bunny catch a stiletto heel in a manhole cover, I puff my chest. Dimly aware that it barely swells, whilst my comfort belly balloons, I stagger home. Not far to go. I grab hold of iron railings, steady myself

pull myself

along.

One arm

after another.

A yellowish door.

A familiar portcullis.

I fumble with a bunch of

jailers, no, house keys which

admit me to to a shadowy hallway

that is full of light and pieces of armour.

They hang from the walls like convicted criminals.

Words hang, too, from a scroll flattened into a picture frame.

Such a thoughtful fare thee well gift from Michelle. Wiping tear-filled eyes, I read the calligraphic words:

An official name. The Knight is not so glamorous as it seems. He was a man-at-arms: a mounted but common soldier. Being a feudal tenant, he was duty bound to take up arms and serve his master whenever required.

Balderdash.

I rip the memento from six squandered years off the wall and hurl it at the nearest breastplate. Glass shatters. Metal clatters. Someone above me thumps the ceiling with an iron fist.

‘Ssh.’

I haver as my chin drops

into a perpetual yawn.

All I need is sleep.

Collapsing to bony knees, there is a metallic clack then my ears are alive with a buzzing fanfare. Before me, multicoloured flags unfurl. Such colours. Such courage, epitomised by trumpeting sounds. Dear Camelot. Dear Arthur. Bending rubbery lips into a hopeful smile, I crawl toward a creaking drawbridge, unsure if it is lowering for the first time or raising for the last time.

What's New?

On May 4th 2013, I attend the innaugural Newcastle Writing Conference in The Great Hall, Nothumbria University. Stephen May's not a keynote speech is inspriational: “If you are a writer who doesn’t write, you will always be a bit miserable... write because you HAVE to.” And this quote got a resounding YES from the agents, editors and publishers present: “There is a secret to getting an agent. Write a good book, send it, wait. There are no secret passwords.”

Short story "Luke's Sketches" published by Cinnamon Press in the anthology "The Book of Euclid & other stories & poems" edited by Rowan B. Fortune.

Review of short story anthology "The Little Book of Northern Women" given thumbs up by the author J. Y. Saville.

Haiku "Flock to a Shepherd" shortlisted by Cathy Galvin and Louise Doughty for the Word Factory TV.

Article "Bagpuss" published by The Fine Line in the anthology "The I Word" edited by Kate Gould.

Short story "Plank, Tank, Sock, Gloves" shortlisted by Louise Doughty in December for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.

Short story "Be Prepared" shortlisted by Louise Doughty in August for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.

Short story "Luke's Sketches" shortlisted by Louise Doughty in May for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.

Short story "Flock to a Shepherd" shortlisted by Louise Doughty in February for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.

Review of "Life! Death! Prizes!" given thumbs up by the author Stephen May.

Short story "Fun and Games" shortlisted by New Writing North for the Newcastle Journal.

Review of "Dreamer's Cat" given thumbs up by the author Stephen Leather.

Review of "TAG" given thumbs up by the author Stephen May.

Short story "Shadow Pains" long listed for the Aeon Award competition.

Short story "Lessons in Love" long listed for the Aeon Award competition.

Short story "Saint Christopher" published by the Writers' Forum magazine.

Short story "Aim High, Reach Higher" shortlisted by the Writers' Forum magazine.

Short story "Paper Dinosaur" shortlisted by the Writers' Forum magazine.

Short story "Shepherd Thy Flock" won Jacqui Bennett Writers Bureau spring competition.

Short story "Blackbeck" came third in Jacqui Bennett Writers Bureau winter competition.