top of page

To Defeat a Monster in The HMV Store by A. R aged 12

 Genre: Fantasy

I wouldn’t have done this if I knew I would encounter the creature again.

I boarded the 17:22 Guildford to Manchester Piccadilly earlier on that day and escaped with a film that I had to fight for. Walkers, The Movie.

We had just arrived at Birmingham New Street, the doors opened, and passengers traversed the station platform to head to the exit. I could smell the diesel fumes from the engines of the train; I checked my bag to see if I still had the DVD case. At this point, I believed that the creature hadn’t followed me, so I walked to the shopping centre above the station to get some food.

The crowd of people lessened after I had left the main section of the station, I took an escalator up to the shopping centre and looked for a place to eat. There was a thump, then everything went black.

The power had gone out. I knew that the creature must have found me, there was no way this would happen randomly. Whatever that creature had planned for me, it turned off the power to make sure that I couldn’t escape…

Murmurs, screams, sounds of terror thundered as people bumped into each other in the darkness. Hundreds trying to run in fear, but there was no hope.

Silence came, and then the sound of something rustling, I kept turning to see if I could see it as-



Meanwhile at Hams Hall power station…

“Sir! Sir!” “We’ve got a generator overload! Do we have the fire under control?” Worker#123 yelled at Worker#75 and #58, watching the main control panel as alarms blared. Worker#104 (Their actual names have no importance in the story) was on the phone to emergency services, smoke rushed into the main control room, it started to heat up and flames were viewed outside. They needed to escape.

#58 went to the secondary exit, and shouted at others to take this route out, #104 said that they needed to shut down the rest of the facility to prevent more thermal runaway and a possible major explosion from one of the generators.

“COME ON! WE HAVE TO LEAVE!” #58 Tried to persuade the workers that emergency services would arrive soon, and that they could stop the plant from exploding.

“Even if they come, who knows if they know where to look for the control room?” Said #75. Panicking but knowing if he could shut down the rest of the generators, but die in the fire, it would save hundreds of lives.

“SOMEBODY, GET A SHUTDOWN KEY!” “I’LL LOOK FOR THE OTHER!” #123 Hurried to look for one of the two emergency shutdown keys, both needed to be inserted into the control panel and turned to cut all fuel to the generators and shut them down.

The fire suppression system had been activated but was not able to stop the fire, only give a few extra minutes to cut power to the generators, if they could shut them down it wouldn’t stop the fire but would prevent an outcome nobody would want.

#58 was the supervisor at the time, an engineer had incorrectly repaired a generator in such a way that would lead to a fire without any early warning alarms sounding. It was too late now; they had done what they could, and he knew that. The other workers refused to listen, still trying to find the keys to shut down the generators…


In the darkness, I thought that I saw the creature, although I was not sure, I knew that if I was right and that was really the creature. Staying there would lead to certain loss of the DVD, and my own life.


Now, with only minutes to spare the engineers had to find the keys to shut down the generators.

“75! 75! I’VE FOUND A KEY!” #123 shouted in joy and desperation that one of the keys had been found by #75. #104 was nowhere to be seen. #123 thought that he was still looking for one of the keys.

Flames started to enter the room, the smoke already ploughing in as the workers coughed from smoke inhalation. #58 was already gone from the building, seeing emergency services arrive outside the power station he had ran.

Was this it? #123 inserted the key and held his hand on it, ready to turn it while #75 grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried as best as he could to hold back the fire.

#123 Shot to the main control panel and watched as lights flashed and alarms wailed. “Generator integrity 0%.” “Estimated full facility failure in T-2 minutes...” Read the control panel.

“WHERE’S 104?” “HE’S GOT TO HAVE FOUND THE KEY BY NOW!” #75 was trying his best to hold back the fire, but he knew that he couldn’t hold the fire back much longer. Just then, there was a figure from the smoke, from the flames, was it #104? “LOOK!” “LOOK! SOMETHING’S THERE!” Yelled #75. He looked towards the smoke, just as the figure rushed out from the flames. “104?” “104?” #123 shouted into the fire, hoping for a response-


The rustling turned to screeching, it got closer and closer, I jumped underneath a table, hiding from the creature. I saw what looked like a thick black coat with a furry hood, underneath that was a blue hoodie. Or so I thought. Was it the creature? I fell silent, just hoping that it wouldn’t be able to see me.

It made a humming sound as it got closer. It became so dark that I lost sight of it, only the hum guiding me to its location. I saw a glint of green, were those the creature’s eyes? I shuddered as the creature drew closer to me. It must have seen me. Holding the bag with the DVD case inside it, I decided to run away from the creature for my safety. It ran after me, luckily, I was able to buy a ticket to Milton Keynes from a ticket machine that had been powered by a car battery because it had been placed seventy-two meters from the nearest power socket, I then ran to the station platforms and boarded the 22:07 service to Euston.


The announcements started as the train pulled away from the platform. It was so dark, I saw the creature trying to enter the train, although it was too late for it to enter. It scraped on the window, but never got in.

So, I had escaped. Today, I still enjoy Walkers in peace, happily knowing that I will never see that creature again.

A flash Fiction by AR, who's neurodivergent, fixated on trains and loves travelling on them.

A Flash Fiction

“Girls Don’t Go Fishing”

    “I won’t take you Omo”, my Nan Eunice repeated as I kept defiantly insisting that I wanted to go fishing at Goderich village with her on her boat: God’s Gift. It was a Friday after school at St Anne’s Primary, Howe Street and I had walked with my sister *Bernice to my Nan’s house to wait for my mum to finish work as a Housekeeper in Brookfields Hotel at 5pm. My grandmother always went to inspect her boat on Friday evenings.

     “It’s not for girls and definitely not Creole ones!” Muttered with a flip of her 1979s styled wig the Supremes girl band wore; it protruded up to the ceiling of her concrete house living room on Waterloo Street, Freetown. I could not fathom why fishing was not for girls but understood that roles were designated male or female in Sierra Leone. Women could sell fish but were never seen pulling or casting a net. I thought how I had never seen a woman in a boat now that my grandmother, a former school teacher who had instilled good manners in her grandchildren mentioned it.

     I was sitting on the only sofa she had back then in the 1980s, facing her and listening to her every word. My maternal grandmother was my idol. If she believed fishing was not for Creole girls then she must be absolutely right!

    “But I saw girls helping their mothers sell barracudas the size of my leg!”

I was fibbing and trying to get her to relent as she waited for my uncle to pick her up in his Toyota car to go and check on her fishing boat and it’s crew. Her head fisherman had sent a message via a lorry driver commuting to central Freetown to inform my grandmother that God’s Gift had sprung a leak and was not safe to tow into the ferocious sea at Goderich in the dry season. The seaside weather in Freetown was unpredictable a bit like my Nan who having heard enough of my whining turned to give me a stern look: “Haven’t you got homework to do? I’ve got a lot on my plate worrying about how I’m going to afford a hundred and fifty *Leones to repair an old wooden boat in 1989.” 

    Perplexed, I wondered why my Nan had named her boat God’s Gift, the exorbitant amount of money she spent on it to keep it in working order. It seemed more like a curse than a blessing.


A flash Fiction by B. James

Stick with what you know


A flash nonfiction

“Would you like me to show you a table, madam?”

The line gushed by a lanky, brown haired six foot waiter. Waiters are always attractive perhaps a ploy to divert attention from the extortionate bill often incurred.

I smiled coyly. “Yes.” Was a nod. The last time I visited the premises was around a year ago, since then the restaurant had undergone a refurbishment. Nice, new swanky, circular tables and soft, padded, velvety dining chairs.


To give a brief history, I’ve been a regular customer at this location since my child was in nap.*ies, coincidentally now taller than me, he was following the waiter and I as we headed to a table. Shy by nature, I’d pointed out a seating space at the farthest end of the room, decked by two chairs.

“Why can’t we sit over there mum?” Grumbled my eleven year old, indicating towards a bigger table with an extra chair.

“Because we only want a table for two my lovely.”

My son effortlessly glided into the space between the table and a chair without having to pull it out. I’ve gained at least a stone still my last visit in 2022 and could only fit sitting sideways.


Two copies of an over decorated menu were handed to us and good looking waiter sauntered off. I popped on my spectacles to double check my eyesight wasn’t failing two years short of the big five oh.

“Good heavens!” I exclaimed loud enough to startle my son who’d fished out his iPhone from the side pocket of his raincoat.

“What mum?”

“The price list.”

I gawked at the menu in horror. The cheapest item was a bl***dy cup of tea. I couldn’t even afford a miniature bottle of their sparkling water. Restaurants were hit by a recession during Lockdown and once some reopened their price list have outpriced most of Hampshire. My favourite hideout with my child over the holidays was now out of a lone parent’s budget.


“May I take your order madam?” The twenty-something-year old staff member was running out of patience ; his mousy brown eyes were glued on my handbag. Maybe I wasn’t their usual clientele. He wouldn’t know I’d witnessed three refurbishments and name changes but as a local fervently still supported local businesses.

“Fish and chips… and”


My child had made up his mind and chose his favourite dish. In fact, my child has always ordered Fish and chips rain or shine. Today he agreed to let the waiter coerce him into having vegetables with it- well a small bowl of peas.

I stupidly chose a Parmesan chicken with Greek side salad. My drink was a cup of English tea served in the pretty porcelain set in the photograph. The instant I caught a glimpse of the dark brown, over friend piece of unappetising looking creature on the designer plate a now equally pretty waitress was bringing towards me fifteen minutes later, I knew like my son, I should’ve stuck with what I know- good old Fish and chips mate. What chef in Britain mucks that up, hey?




Stick with what you know-4.png

The time was 7:15pm.

(A Flash Fiction by Dorcas Iliya from Nigeria)

“Debby, I am not comfortable with you visiting this late.” Jeffrey was concerned.

“I miss you, and It's just a Ten-minute drive.” I said, hugged him and hopped into the Keke (Tricycle).

At the dark football field, one of the passengers alighted and came to my side, pointing a chicken arm at me.

Ordering me to shift, he hopped in again.

His accomplice quickly stretched out his palms, I obediently handed my valuables.

“Remove everything.” he ordered. Pressing the chicken arm harder on my ribs. A cold sensation caressed my skin yet sweat dripped down my brow.

“I have nothing more.” 

His threats kept filling my ears as we drove. I could see people by the roadside, but the fear of him pulling the trigger glued my mouth.

I prayed for God's forgiveness in case I didn't see another sunrise.

“If you shout when we drop you off, I will come back for you.”

“I won't” 

They dropped me off on a dark, lonely path and swiftly drove away. I couldn't get the PT Number. 

I walked home, thanking God for saving my life.

Henceforth, for every ride, I memorize the PT or plate number.

bottom of page