The Wiblets of Oldpark Wood

They’re called the Wiblets of Oldpark Wood, but as I am sure is obvious to a knowledgeable reader like you, they are really from AlphaZenturianSix. Their claim to be from Oldpark Wood is simply a ruse to lull us into a false sense of security. For if they belong to an earth locality, then we may be less inclined to monitor their behaviour. But monitor we should, fellow earthling, monitor we should, as there is more to the Wiblets than meets the eye. The Wiblets first came to earth forty-five years ago, when the M25 had burnt a hole in the soul of parts of southern England. The Wiblets spied it from space and saw their chance to begin their slow colonisation of a new planet. As the M25 had damaged, deaded, or dispersed a great many of the indigenous natural powers of certain parts of Surrey and Kent, the land

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The promise

[I wrote this earlier this year for a writing competition which I got nowhere in. I still like it, so I am posting it as my final story of the year.] You are standing on a cliff overlooking the sea. It can be any cliff, any sea, but for me it’s a Scottish cliff and a North Sea. The wind is whipping around your head, but it is not so cold that it hurts: it is a rejuvenating kind of wind. You have been here before. It is a place you come when you need to think, when you are burdened with a melancholy that you need to set free. You stand for a long time like a sentinel—seeing but not seeing, watching but not watching, hearing but not hearing—allowing the wind to move through you, carrying away the heaviness until the thought beneath is revealed. Here, there is so much

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The Rock and Roll Headband of Linchmere Common

It’s called the Rock and Roll Headband of Linchmere Common, but actually, any genre of music can be called forth upon wearing it. It’s only called the Rock and Roll Headband as the first recorded wearing involved a multi-stadium sell-out tour supporting Black Sabbath in 1981. Or at least, that’s the impression Barry in his drainpipes got, but he was so shocked that he took it off within 13 seconds, so it might have only been one Black Sabbath stadium show. No one’s sure. Thankfully, other wearers of the Rock and Roll Headband have been more courageous than Barry, although to be fair to him, they did kind of know what they were getting into ahead of time, unlike Barry. Nevertheless, since Barry’s 1981 stadium tour[s?], there have been three outings to the disco scenes of New York City and Washington D.C., a bunch of  visits to south London jungalist massive

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The numberplate of destiny

In Netley Park, you can find a log upon which rests a numberplate. Legend has it that the numberplate is a divination tool: whatever combination of numbers and letters you can see tells you something about your life. According to the lore, if you chance upon it on a Monday, you can learn about your past. Wednesdays reveal a meditation on the present, and Fridays a prediction for the future. No one’s quite sure what the other days of the week signify, which is bad luck for me as I encountered it on a Saturday. I say bad luck, but in reality, those letters were an arresting sight and I knew instantly what aspect of my life they referred to. There was no mistaking that the L stood for lemon scented, the 7 for the wise ducks of the Severn Valley, the 9 for the amount of seconds it takes for

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Marvin the megalith

Marvin was a megalith, although you couldn’t tell him that. He was convinced he was a third century Buddhist nun. Rose and Veronica kept tying to tell him how unlikely that was, but he wasn’t having any of it. He was a nun and this was Tibet. It drove Rose and Veronica spare for centuries and it wasn’t until little Billy pointed out that maybe they’d want to take a leaf out of Pedro’s book and ignore Marvin’s fantasies, that the squabbles ended and they all got along. Maybe it was because of his size and that he wasn’t technically a megalith, but little Billy had always been more flexible in his thinking. He enjoyed pretending he was a way stone for the stars. He liked to think that the sky beacons knew which way to move across the sky because they were oriented by him. Rose and Veronica grew some

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