03 December, 2013

Hang on... Wait... Taurus by Lindsay Fisher

So, I've been running this story series on my blog in autumn - a new poem or piece of flash fiction inspired by a sign of the zodiac, written by a different author each week.The series finished last week on a bit of a whimper, with a summary of the previous 11 stories only, as my final author - Taurus - hadn't shown up. Well, stop the press! I have a Taurus story for you.

I received a lovely e-mail last week from a blog reader I'd never had contact with before. Lindsay Fisher was disappointed for me that the series was incomplete after three months of work and had therefore written a Taurus story for me to complete my collection - just as a present for me. What a sweetheart! Not only that but he has agreed to let me post it up here for you to see as I loved it. So please show some love for our newest member of Team Zodiac!

Lindsay Fisher Leaks stories. It is an age thing, they say. It can’t be helped. Sometimes they pool in the dirt and dry to nothing; sometimes they spill into nice places, and people say stuff about the stories. Currently work appears in ‘Stories For Homes’, an anthology sold in aid of 'Shelter', a UK based charity for the homeless; and there's something in ‘Cease Cows’ a new online literary magazine.



It was a dare. And you have to accept a dare. It’s like a rule and you ain’t much of a boy if’n you don’t. ‘Course, if you took a dare then you had to give one back. That was a rule, too. And it’s funny, cos we wasn’t much for rules in any place else. School for that matter, we was always breakin’ the rules there and that was just what we did. And ‘Keep off the Grass’ it said in the public gardens and the Parkie kept an eye out for us; he knowed we’d no respect for his signs. And ‘Trespassers will be Prosecuted’ it said up at the old estate; they had the best orchard for miles and we all knowed that cos we got our apples there. But rules that we had a hand in, well, that was different. And takin a dare was a rule and givin one back was a rule, too.

I’d dared Tinker to leap the low fence into Mr Muggeridge’s garden. Our football had gone in there, and not once but three times. Old man Muggeridge had shaken his hoary fist at us before and he’d snarled at us and said the next time he’d put a knife to the ball and he’d set the dog on us. The dog was a right mean bugger and we’d heard stories of its teeth sharp as broken glass, and how once it had you it never let you go. And I’d dared Tinker to get back our ball.

The dog was on a lenght of rope and soon as Tinker had cleared the fence and was on the other side, it set to with its barkin and growling and pullin at the rope till it was chokin on its own spittin rage. And the barkin brought old Muggeridge out and he had a breadknife in one hand and a look in his eye that showed he meant business. It might've been the ball or Tinker he stabbed that day, but Tink was as fast as fizz and he got us our ball back and a mouth full of threats thrown at his back from old Muggeridge.

We didn’t hang around waitin for the police to turn up with their heads shakin and their notebooks out and pencils poised to take down our particulars. We just ran along Cooper’s Lane and out into the fields by Kittley Knowe Farm. It’s quiet up there and no one bothers you. And there’s a lass there called Amy and she’s the prettiest girl in all the town and the first boy to ever kiss her was Arty Blake, and Kensington said he’d done more than kiss her, by which he meant he’d touched her diddies.

It was up at Kittley Knowe Farm that Tinker delivered a dare back to me. There was a bull in the paddock, a big fucker. Big as a truck and it’s black head a great swiveling slab, and it stamped its feet and snorted like a steam train huffin. And a sign said to ‘Beware of the Bull’, painted in red letters, red like blood had been spilled. And Tinker dared me to run across the paddock, one side to the other.

I stood at the fence a while just watchin the beast. It moved slow and heavy, like every step was an effort, like slow was all it could do. But I knowed that was all just a show. I knowed it could run if it wanted to, a small thunder under its feet and a chargin sledgehammer that’d smash anythin in its path. I stood at the fence makin dove calls and talkin real soft so as to calm it.

‘A dare’s a dare,’ said Tinker.

‘Course, he was right but it didn’t help to know that.

‘It’s a rule,’ he said.

Some rules are for breakin when you’re thirteen; some, you’d die to keep. I scaled the fence and lowered myself down into the paddock, not takin my eye off the bull for a second. I could see it was watchin me too, one great rheumy eye just starin. I tried whistlin and walkin casual across the paddock. Like it was the most natural thing in the world and nothin for any bull to remark on. I got about ten steps in and it started movin towards me, shuffling slow as no nevermind at first. But then a quickenin in its step and a quickenin in mine and suddenly we was both runnin and I could hear its breath at my back and the tramplin of its hooves and Tinker yellin at me in fright to get a fuckin move on or I’d be a bull’s plaything.

How I made it to the other side is a blur. I ran till my legs ached and my lungs fit to burstin, and I leapt the high fence as easy as Tinker had leapt old Muggeridge’s low fence, and I collapsed on the other side with the bull smackin its head against the wooden fence posts. And there she was, the prettiest girl in the town and maybe the world and she knelt down beside me and kissed me with her tongue, which is almost as good as touchin her diddies, so that I was twice the hero that day.

Still, I’m a little more careful with the dares I give out since then, and so would you be.


  1. Brilliant story to round off the collection, and hooray for Lindsay stepping into the gap in such a friendly matter.

  2. Great characters and dialogue - it lives on the page.

  3. Excellent. Nice work, Lindsay.


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