The angel wasn't at all what I expected. Jeans and hoodies weren't the kind of thing Divine Messagers should wear. And squeamish of spiders too!! He jumped up when the large hairy creature walked over his white trainers, I only noticed because I happened to drop my cell phone at that precise moment. As soon as he looked down he screamed as though all of hell was after him and leapt in the air.

John told me that he was getting therapy for his phobia and had been relegated to ordinary duty by his heavenly master, nothing spectacular for him...

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The woman at the window was dead. I knew because it was my sister. She appeared whenever we left the house. We no longer looked around up at the top floor to see the dark shape behind the thin lace curtain. We had seen her too many times before, her wretched, contorted face imprinted on our minds.

Martha died in a house fire seven years ago. Accident after she left a burning candle on her bedside cabinet overnight. It tipped over as her blankets were thrown back during a nightmare. Dad couldn't reach her in time as the room had...

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Fancy dress at Tom's party was optional, but all the children wore something wacky. First prize was for the circus ringmaster with a home made whip, big black curly moustache, top hat and black suit. Fortunately, the whip was made from wool, as Sam kept lashing out at the girls in their sequinned lace dresses and black slashed leggings. For some reason, urban fairies were popular this year.

My son Jake was very angry when he got home. His outfit, the blue bull, was not chosen for any prizes.

I was trying to prepare for the next day, we were...

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Dad by Anglea

Jail. Only saw my dad once a month, too far to travel. He used to tell me funny stories, keep his mind off the grim reality of life inside. Never gave me a chance, either, to relate how the family were doing, what they felt about losing him.

My mind travelled, not really listening to him. Noticing the regulars at other tables. The fat woman with red hair, always in blue sweats with white stripes down the sides, green laced trainers. Talking non stop to the thin man with the hollowed pale cheeks and ginger hair combed over his balding...

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1943. The year of my birth. To a very young mother. Raped by a stranger. I spent forty years believing that Tom Morran was my real father. When I found out the truth (by accident) I had a breakdown which took me by total surprise as I had always been an unemotional, logical man. Cold, is what my wife called me. A cold fish. No empathy, no sentiment or sympathy. Even when our youngest was miscarried after a car accident I didn't shed a tear.

Divorce was not something my wife contemplated after her short stay in hospital but I...

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Goodnight. That's what I said to Jim, my innocent husband. He loved me so much, we had been married a year. I resembled his mom in appearance, I noticed this the first time I met her. She wasn't much on housework and I loved keeping my little apartment spotless, homely. Jim couldn't get enough of me and overlooked my flirting, drinking, strange absences during our dating years as he was busy saving money for our future.

After I drove off in my red sports car after waving to Jim, I met up with Dan. If you saw him you'd wonder...

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Homeless, the art installation won first prize. John Wentworth had planned to ruin the artist Kitty More. She used his idea. The one he told her about during their snakebite drinking days. The ones when they both woke up with hangovers worthy of bad poetry, the agony of headaches.

John posted intimate, embarassing photos of her. Lovers amateur sex tapes. Recorded snores and farts. Millions of hits. She retreated from the public eye, she always had low self esteem.

But he never thought she was the suicidal type.

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Meteorites struck a Russian town today. I wondered what I'd be thinking if they hit the place I live. Probably not worrying about my hair as I am today. Nor whether to meet up with the unsuitable man that I know I shouldn't ever see again. Nor would I procrastinate yet again over finishing paperwork and chores. None of that would matter. Only survival. Family. Are they ok? None of the mindless timewasting unimportant trivia we are all obsessed with would even cross our minds in that situation.

It reminds me of the time I was stuck underground in an...

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Matilda was the first woman he'd ever dated that had been a cat before surgery. She told him at the end of the third outing, to the Italian restaurant, a night of sexual tension, sweaty waiters, mixed up menus and his clumsiness knocking over the carafe of white wine over her lap. She smiled, pink lipstick still intact after a meal of coiled pasta and mince. No leaping up off the chair in horror, running to the bathroom, telling him to F O and never call again.

Matilda held his arm as they left the restaurant and stood looking over...

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Absent. That's what I was called by my fifteen year old daughter. The absent father. She did not know the truth, I worked undercover. Danger. Security. Empathy. Love. I had it all but I had nothing for my own family. That isn't true, I thought about them in the spare moments, pulled up images in my mind. Reflected on those special times tucking Beth into bed while she slept, unaware I'd be staring at her, a light in the hall illuminating her face.

I knew Beth thought I didn't care. I know because that's how I felt about my own...

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