31 Oct 2019

We Are 138 #57 - Breath Of Dust In Black Lungs

I often hide in the isolating
alienating
comfort
of empty open spaces
avoiding crucifixion in the cities
dodging patrolling gangs
of my friends in the distance
who carry torches
and pitchforks
and nails
ready to cannibalize society
starting with their own feet
hammering metal spikes between held-hands
in a psychotic game of five finger fillet
and I watch
as they sprint for death
I approach them --- inching in nervousness
the sane society thrives
only on the wings of poisoned trees
with roots
wrapped around shaken brainstems

In the desert
I’ve found peace in the arid breath
of Hades, his tongue firmly in my mouth
like breathing in dust
in a desperate fit of
inherited nostalgia
pistols drawn and pointed
at the exit wound in my dread
acting in a solo recollection
of some tragic wild western
extinction event


Donny Bleakley is a Canadian poet and musician who makes his home in Essex, United Kingdom.

30 Oct 2019

We Are 138 # 56 - 138 Days Of Love

Take my heart Form it into you
I will lose myself between your hidden lines
find comfort in your words
I know this is love,

Just because you don't yet?
I watched you from afar
Felt those pains when you abandoned me.
Placed my metaphors on the page...
You're mine.
You're mine!
Even though you don't know yet!
Please don't sit so sultry,
With that boy by your side!
He is just a pale imitator!
Of my possessive mind, my deviance
This is love!!
Even if you don't know yet!
the police will not take you away
The court case screen all I need.
I will sit in my cell,
To plan the next love letter.
Your next romantic gift,
To create fantasy when you'll be mine

Yours in obsession and forever
The guy from across the street,


Craig Wallis is the okay poet from a small city. Writing to a computer screen for sixteen years.

29 Oct 2019

We Are 138 #55 - The Runaway

With her hand in her coat pocket, she could feel the waxy card against her probing fingertips. The conductor’s ticket machine had coughed up the orange striped slip of cardboard, edges scorn into jagged square teeth from the rip of the reel. Sat in the unfamiliar empty carriage, the pale image of her face reflected off blackness of the night outside. The block letters spelling out the details of her journey seemed anti-climactic, as though if one were running away from home the ticket should have the outbound destination printed in capitals and perhaps topped off with an exclamation mark. She nervously tore at a tag of skin on the side of her thumb nail with her front teeth. As the clack of metal rail slowed she steeled herself for the cold of open doors, and the unknown.



Scarlett Ward is Cannock Library’s Poet in Residence. She released her first poetry collection “Ache” with Verve Press in 2019 and was nominated for “Best Spoken Word Poet” by Saboteur awards.

28 Oct 2019

We Are 138 #54 - It Ain’t Exactly Romans 12.19 In ‘ere Mate

He hurried into the shower, soon steam surrounded him as he wallowed in his misery.

He replayed in his head the looks on the juror’s faces as his sentence was passed, eight years!

Could he survive eight years in here? He seemed to have been imprisoned half a lifetime already, from the endless trial in the court to the slow journey to prison.

Then yet more waiting under the bored gazes of the guards until he was processed and led into this cellblock.

It was so unfair! He hadn’t hurt anyone, yet here he was incarcerated, stupid lawyers, they’d cleaned out his savings but he’d still got prison.

A sharp pain in his kidneys, he fell into his own swirling blood as a voice snarled “Kiddy fiddler eh? We know how to deal with your sort in here”


Danny McGuinness has worked in coal mines, power stations and nuclear fuel reprocessing. He’s been interested in writing for years but was limited to technical documents, now retired he regularly enters writing challenges in SFF Chronicles and is an avid reader of the genre

25 Oct 2019

We Are 138 #53 - 138 Second Siren

On a beach, in a place beautiful and lost
A wanderer wanders but does not know the cost
What will happen if he steps into that water?
His life over barely a century quarter

A beautiful bay, somewhere to stay, a glorious day
From the water he hears a weird noise,
It stops him in his way
Until it doesn’t
It draws him in
A siren, burning sin
As soon as his foot breaks through the waters edge
The 7 foot long tail of this monster accepts his pledge
Pulls him in
Three inch needle teeth win
A beautiful bay, somewhere to stay, a glorious day
A most hideous creature
It stops him in his way
It took him one hundred and thirty eight seconds to realise the cost
On a beach, in a place beautiful and lost

I’m Damon Springthorpe the songwriter/lyricist from rock band Broken Looking Glass, this is inspired by a picturesque waterfall pond area I found in Scotland and have never been able to find again.

24 Oct 2019

We Are 138 #52 - The Specimen

This glass. It fogs with breath. 
The air. Hot, rancid—suffocating.
My efforts to reach you flag and you cannot hear my wails. Days, centuries, eons—seconds; enclosed within this unforgiving curve, they are the same.
I heave myself until I’m bruised; beat the sides until I’m bloody.
It still holds—this glass.
Perspective distorted, reality clouded. Do you see threads of me still, or are they obscured? It’s been so long.
This jar—I curse you for having kept me. But sometimes I remember: I’m the one who crawled inside and I’m the one who closed the lid and I remember—you punched holes so I could breathe.
I remember—for a fleeting instant—as you forget me.

How then shall I escape? So bitter the irony, once I thought safe this mausoleum to myself. This glass.

M.F. Wahl is a troll who lives under a bridge. Her hobbies include cooking billygoat fricassee and occasionally putting the nonsense in her mind to paper.

23 Oct 2019

We Are 138 #51 - Our Last Morning


The sluggish sun shakes off slumber,
stumbles to the sky.
You do not stir in the dappled grey
as in this bed you lie

Tresses kissed by errant rays,
spun gold upon the pillow.
A priceless gift fit for kings,
as in the breeze it billows.

The curving of your spine
Illuminates by degrees,
above the waves of wrinkled sheets,
a galleon on rough seas.

I tiptoe across our room,
peer out through the curtains.
Splendour dawns across the fields,
daybreak peeks uncertain.

Tentative in its approach,
knows it will be vying
with the light that shines from you,
softly gives up trying.

Sends cotton clouds to intercept,
block the competition.
Once your amber eyes alight,
the contest end is certain. 

Defeated sun surrenders
wailing drops of rain.
Shoulders bare, you stand and glow,
steal the light again.

Lance Fling is a published poet, author, and editor currently living in a house in the woods with his wife, two kids, four dogs, two birds, a cat, and a tortoise.

18 Oct 2019

We Are 138 #50 - Train Times

As soon as I saw the house, I knew. It regarded me. Like a curious call, it beckoned me, with heavy lintelled windows, framing dirty torn lace curtains, behind smeary glass. It tipped it's slate hat, welcoming me.

It wanted me and I was surprised to find, that I wanted it too.

Wrought of heavy blocks of grey soot darkened stone, the house had stood here longer than I had existed. It had been here when the railway cutting, now a lush nature trail, had carried passengers between this and the neighbouring hamlet. Heavy with bodies and produce on market day, I felt sure the cups and saucers on the past occupant"s dresser must have trembled at the passing of each train. The letterbox and latches rattling, as the heavy engines belched and lumbered their way by.


Sarah McMahon is a writer of off-beat creepy short stories. Find her work at https://sjmcmahon.weebly.com/

17 Oct 2019

We Are 138 #49 - Modern Day Serial

You see it all started with an ordinary day like no other which soon descended into chaos. A bright beautiful summers day. The smell of fresh grass, washing on the lines, then the screaming started. Just one, then more. Loud blood curdling screams.

That's how I remember it anyway.

Watching them all scrambling to escape however they could, yelling “HELP!”

The blood, there was so much blood. You don't realise how fast it squirts out until you actually watch it. Then it was eerily quiet.

That's when I ran.

The thing is they never caught me. Newspapers have dubbed me the Garden Slasher. Let's see how many likes I can get on this Facebook status. Might post a few photos if I get 100 likes. Social media is really wonderful.

Coming to a garden near you REALLY soon.


Sometimes the things in my head escape onto paper. But most of the time the inane ramblings stay in a permanent state of suspension in my subconscious

16 Oct 2019

We Are 138 #48 - Knicker Bocker Glory

Sticky fingers swoop upon chemical cream froth,
neon cherry dipping below as I dive headfirst,
gasping, plunging
to net my pearl as it swirls
in its sea of custard,
all without disturbing the cocktail from its shelter
in the curved bed of the glass.

I catch your half smile as you watch
through that comforting coil of
Silk Cut.

You may recall I never did much care for fruit, even from a tin.

Treat: Knickerbocker glory in the Wimpy Bar, then:
Top deck home, swinging on the descent of the stairs.
Sindy’s face pressing against the foggy pane, waving like the Queen.
“Remember to thank the driver”.

On the way home I pass over the hill,
You know - the one with the view you like so -

Pausing to greet you at the brow where we planted the daffs.


Samantha Dewally is a mixed media artist, part-time poet and advocate of Community creative arts who has recently emigrated from Staffordshire to the foothills of Snowdonia. This poem based on childhood memories of time well spent with my Grandmother, Irene.

11 Oct 2019

We Are 138 #45 - Last Orders

His claim seemed preposterous, yet I humoured him. We drank and chatted into the night, the recounted tales of his trade as dark as the rich stout which swilled in our bellies. Perhaps in my beer-addled thoughts, I was beginning to half-believe his assertion.

“You don’t look like the Grim Reaper,” I observed. “I expected somebody more… skeletal.”

A wry smile from my drinking companion, a flash of gleaming white teeth set in a kindly face etched with a Hampton Court maze of wrinkles.

“Like I said, I’m on a break. And you humans see what you want to see,” he smiled, picking up his flat cap and cane. “Next week, then.”

“You told me you only holidayed every few centuries.”

“That I did,” Death said as he left, the doors swinging closed behind him.

“That I did.”


David Court’s wife Tara once asked him to write a story about how great she was. David replied that he would, because he specialised in short fiction. Despite that, they are still married.

10 Oct 2019

We Are 138 #44 - Smile

That is not me.

I don't know who it is, but it sure as hell is not me.

Sunken eyes and sharpened cheeks, one whose own skin has rebelled against him. Such cowardice, failure manifest as skin and bones and blood and guts and wait...

Why am I smiling?

I don't remember smiling, but there it is - look at those pearly yellows!

Strange though.

I remember somebody once telling me you could hear a smile through a phone call. So even if you can't see it, you should do it anyway.

I see it. I don't feel it.

I see it, but I do not feel it.

I am staring right the fuck at it - but my mouth is shut and static.

A hundred thousand mirror shards scatter in unison.

I wonder if they can see me smiling?


Tom Miles is an aspiring writer with the blood of a poet. A huge fan of tentacles and Lovecraftian themes.

9 Oct 2019

We Are 138 #43 - It Could Happen Here


Molly visited Sebastian’s Tea Room in Harrogate. When Molly asked for a “sconn”, Sebastian laughed at her. “We don’t have “sconns” here, only “scones”, then picked Molly up and threw her out.

Molly started a campaign for “Proper Sconns for Proper Folk”, quickly countered by Sebastian’s “Scones for Better Homes” movement. Social media went wild. People took sides.
The BBC held a live debate. Molly gesticulated passionately. Sebastian was defiant. A riot broke out and blood was spilled on live TV.
There was violence on the streets. Bakeries were fire-bombed and stocks of flour and raisins looted. Inevitably the land slid into WAR! Thousands perished, cities were razed and Africa and Asia inundated with English refugees.

Nobody won. In the end, Molly and Sebastian fell in love, got married and opened a new Tea Room. It sold muffins. 


Phil Binding is a poet and writer gently sliding into decrepitude in Burton and a member of The Lichfield Poets. All Staffordshire like a rash at open mics.

8 Oct 2019

We Are 138 #42 - Specialist Subject - British Politics 2016-19

138 words? Crikey……… Tory division, Referendum, bright red bus, Project Fear. Once in a lifetime vote, we will honour and respect your choice, Leave or Remain. 17 million say ‘bring it on’. Bye bye Dave, no stomach for a fight? May is in, duty bound. Article 50, Withdrawal Agreement, EU deal is struck.

Vacillation, obfuscation, House of Fools a laughing stock. Soft, hard, good or bad, who really knows. Extension demanded again? Democracy counts for nought. May’s gone, three strikes and out.
Hello Boris!

Backstop and the Irish border, Juncker is a pain
Laura Kuenssberg, Robert Slovenly Peston.
Brexiteers, Little Englanders, Remainers, Remoaners,
A nation divided.
Bercow loves himself.

Order, OOOORDER!

Dave thinks about it every day, so do we mate, got no choice!

Prorogation. Supreme Court, Ruled unlawful, Clock ticking. Here we go again.
Who knows where?


Alan Glover: Photographer, Artist, works with Historic processes. An occasional writer who likes to have a reason to write, and loves a challenge.

4 Oct 2019

We Are 138 #40 - Chromatosis

When she brushed my shoulder,
For the very first time,
The world once in black and
White Changed,

It started off small,
Leaves on the trees as
Green as id never seen,
That was the first colour
You made me see.

The next time we touched…
We bumped into each other,
That was when the tree bark
Became burnt brown.

The next time we touched,
You held my hand,
Dragging me to see the
Glow of the stars.

That was the night…
The very first night…
Where I saw…
A glistening light.

This light wasn't just a tree
This light was the glow in
Your beautiful azure eyes
As my rough hazel ones
Met your soft loving ones
My dull world leapt to life

Blue
Green
Orange
Red

Pick a colour, and unlike before,
I can see it.


Gemma Hammonds is a student at Britain's worst school. She rebels against authority with deep sighs and eye-rolling.

3 Oct 2019

We Are 138 #39 - The Silvatici

Old Oak. Whispering Wood. Brittle leaf starched by sun, dying. Grass somnolent and trees stained with ichor. Ghosts, spirits, shades, haunt this place. Bones as root systems. Echoes as warnings half glimpsed from the corners of eyes.

Grass, trampled underfoot. The jingle and rustle of harnesses. Horses breath steaming in the morning. Neighs like frozen rocks cracking. Shifting. Twisting. Edgy. Half glimpsed ghosts of mist in cold eyes.

The silent malice of the old forest. Bloody. Malevolent. Howling. Silence only in the air, they know the legends.

Nerves, stretched. Tightened. Twisted. Cords like vines. Gods die down here and we are men.

From the dark with iron, steel and fire. From the dark with wood, bone and teeth.

Harrowing. Blood-soaked. Heads hacked and bodies burned. Souls, strewn like dandelion seeds.

Blood, and screams, and then silence.

For now.



Steven C. Davis is the shadowy figure behind the Silvatici, GASP radio and Raising Steam. In his spare time he eats, sleeps, and makes a damn fine chocolate cake.

2 Oct 2019

We Are 138 #47 - the Ritual

The pain was like nothing he had ever endured. It wasn’t the volume of the agony, but more the fact that it radiated from the core of his being, as if every cell in his body had started to burn at the moment when the old man raised his hand.

“Tonight we welcome a bright new Brother!”

He looked past the coruscation taking place in in his flesh at the broad strokes of the Pentagram that had been laboriously drawn on the floor.

“It is his appointed hour to be brought before our Master, that his transformation may be completed.”

A susurration spread from mouth to mouth of the hooded figures that surrounded him, and they began a lilting, formless incantation.

The temple filled with a rank, hirquine odour as he felt the scalding breath on his back.





Rob Grimes is a fat, bald old man from the East Midlands who inflicts his writing on pretty much anyone who will stand still for long enough, his ‘Pangolin’ and ‘Edward Teach’ books are doing pretty well on Amazon currently thank you very much along with ‘Forever Girl’, his short story anthology. Currently working on his new novel, ‘Jaffward Moncreiffe and the Primary Problem’ an everyday story about Vegan Vampires and the Hunters who love them.

We Are 138 #46 - Self Defence

Melting into inky shadows, he waits. He watches the road, dimly lit by the yellowing street lamps.

He hears her approach. The unmistakable click clack of heels on the cobbles. His muscles tense. He holds his breath.

She comes into view. The silver shoulder chain glitters. An evening bag. Jackpot.

She passes by. He slips out silently behind her. Quickening his stride, he nudges against her as he overtakes. His fingers encircle the chain. He starts to run.

The chain yanks him back. She refuses to let go. He reaches to push her away. She deflects his arm. Stepping forward, her knee connects with his crotch.

Grasping his groin he sinks to his knees. His watering eyes are screwed shut as he keels over and lays his forehead on the damp paving.

He doesn't see her stride away.


Sue Hammonds is a busy mom. She doesn't write stories.

We Are 138 #38 - Scars

I skim my finger down your back, reading you like braille. I find the scars and I begin to read the stories again. A candelabra you once fell against. A rusty nail that pierced your skin. Down to your knee, a half moon from a gardening tool. Above that, the recent scar from an axe you stumbled on at work, laid like a lie in your flesh. And your knuckles, a fight in a nightclub, the imprint of another man’s tooth embedded in you along with his anger.

“I don’t have any scars” I say.

“Only mental ones,” you reply

And you pull a silly face.

I have read your body again. I have traced the places where your past has left footprints in your skin. One day, when you are ready, I will let you read mine.


Samantha Priestley, reader and writer of books, plays, stories and stuff. Find her on Instagram at @sampriestleybooks 

We Are 138 #65 - Level Crossing

Red lights started blinking to the accompaniment of warning sounds. Advertisement barriers blocked the road on both sides of a level crossi...