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For Better, or Worse?

Willing expedition of the approaching sirens, I knelt by Ellie’s bruised, bleeding body. 

“You’re next, if you don’t disappear,” Karl growled at me, fists clenched. I was going nowhere; I knew he would finish the job if I did.

“Please,” Ellie moaned, “just go. He’s been inside for manslaughter before. He will kill you.”

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Keywords: 
defiance, bravery, friendship

Forced Adoption

The Church of England and the Catholic Church have for a long time past meddled in the lives of young women who have got pregnant outside of marriage. They never took the feelings of the young women into account they just said it was morally wrong to have a child outside of wedlock. They have lost most of the records that say who the mothers are, so it is almost impossible for people from 1940’s and 1950’s to find their birth mothers records.

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Franny

Fuss, fuss, fuss. Same thing every week. My first marriage was a disaster.

‘Nobody else’s husband comes to the ante-natal clinic.’

‘I’d like to hear what the doctor has to say.’

‘If there’s anything different I’ll tell you.’

‘Will you though? Wait inside then. The driver will come to the door and don't go wandering around on your own.’

'Stop being so bossy.'

'Somebody needs to be responsible. Where's my football kit?'

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Full of Beans

“It was me!” I said.

My six cousins gasped as one, my mother blanched and my father glowered. Until then, this first holiday had been an adventure. There was all the excitement and novelty of the sleeper train from Scotland to King’s Cross and a train to Cirencester, to spend a fortnight with my aunt and uncle and their brood. In glorious sunshine, I paddled and guddled in the river, built shelters and careered about on an old bike.

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Keywords: 
childhood, stealing

Galileo's Boy

The knife? It was right there on the table. But it wasn’t my fault. It took me years to make the cut.

It was my mum you see. She wanted us to be that wee bit better than everybody else. We had the end block in the terrace, nice garden, and our dad was always in work. A decent, hard-working family in a nice wee council scheme in the country: idyllic you’d think.

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GENUINE

Warning: this piece contains strong language

“Ownay I.D., boys?” the bouncer growls, eyes narrowing, his face contorted in barely disguised scepticism and amusement. Our arses, as they say, are about to collapse. This is never gonnae work. My friend and I are taking part in that most Scottish rite of passage: underage drinking.

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Give me a Reason to Climb out This Hole

Let it be said that this 'ere be th' testament o' a true scots rebel. 31st kin 2018

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Gone With The Whisky

He rattles with the whisky in between dreams and beyond. Continuity unbroken as he knocks back drams from the dawning chorus until the owl is in flight. In restless sleep his nightmares come. I do not catch a single wink myself for fear of him drowning in seas of his own vomit. He rambles incoherently in broken sentences while I gently shush him back into the land of nod. Alcohol engorged neural pathways fire spasmodic messages to his limbs. His fists clench; his legs kick. I am covered in accidental bruises, and here and there a wee cut or nick.

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Having words

I had to ask six people for directions to the Samuel Johnson Museum before I found it. 'I'm shocked,' I told the hapless museum attendant, 'no-one seems to know where you are. There's not a sign in sight till you're almost outside. And twice I've been sent to the Samuel Johnson Community Hospital.'

He shrugged. 'I know. We've been on to the Council to do something.'

'But he's Lichfield's famous son,' I protested, 'born in this very house. People must come from all over the world. They need to find it.'

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Hell Bent

Thundering down the stairs in her new Doc Martens Lizzie lurched into the dining room and shouted “that's me away” knowing there wasn't much chance she'd be able to leave without some comment. From the kitchen beyond, where she could hear the distinctive sound of the pressure cooker building up a head of steam, came the call of “wait a minute madam, where do you think you're going?” Her mother emerged from the engine room of the house where she spent most of her time, washing, peeling, chopping, cooking.

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