A whole lot of things are happening at the moment that it's too early to discuss on the blog, but let's just say that my agent, Ben Illis, is doing an awesome job and lots of things are starting to happen since Pandora went out on submission at the London Book fair. Please keep checking in.  I will update the blog as soon as concrete things happen.

While I wait, I have continued to work on the sequel to Pandora Wolfe (working title "The Iron Golem") and am making good progress.  I've also tidied up a few short stories I wrote.

In the meantime, below is one of those short stories.  It's not in Pandora's world but I hope you'll like it.


The Bridge


At the bridge.  That’s when I knew I had no other choice. I had to kill them both.

I’d had enough of my two stupid, fat older brothers to last a lifetime.  I was sick of them calling me “the kid,” sick of them eating so much food that there was barely any left for me.  Sick of them bleating on about this and that – how big they were, how strong they were; meaning that they were everything I wasn’t. Infuriating.  Especially since they didn’t have a brain between them.

For a while I considered moving.  Somewhere I could be on my own. Somewhere where I can wake up and find there’s still food for me instead of being left with the scraps after those two have gorged themselves on everything available, except I knew what they’d do.  They might be stupid, but they know I’m not. They would just follow me wherever I went and everything would be the same as it was before.

This morning I walked down the side of the hill to the bridge over the roaring waters of the mountain river.  It was as far as I’d ever been from home.  When I looked at the other side of the valley, my heart soared. Across the river lay a whole new start for me. I could actually see myself being happy there.  If it wasn’t for my brothers following me of course.  Then I spotted something under the bridge which changed everything.  Suddenly I knew what to do. All my problems would be solved.

I almost skipped back to my brothers. I told them that I’d decided it was time to move on.  Things were getting stale here. There were pastures new I wanted to explore.  As soon as I’d finished talking, I saw them looking at each other.  My oldest brother with his big, stupid face looking at my equally ugly but slightly smaller second oldest brother in confusion.  It would take them a while to realise what to do, but I knew they’d follow me eventually.   They’d realise that wherever I was going, it was likely to be better than here. But I didn’t care. In fact I was counting on it.

I was happy for the first time in my life. Soon I’d be free. Free to just be me, to have some of the good things in life instead of the meagre leavings from those two fat lumps.  With a spring in my step, I trotted quickly onto the bridge.  Sure enough, just as I’d expected, he appeared over the side. 

“Who’s that a trip-trapping over my bridge?”  He growled.

I’d spotted him lurking under the bridge the day before and he looked even more terrifying up close.  The biggest, ugliest troll you can imagine, with muscles like boulders, teeth like tombstones and moss growing out of his ears.  I knew he’d see to my two greedy brothers and leave all of that succulent green grass on the other side of the valley just for me.

“Oh, just little Billy Goat Gruff” I replied.

“Well you’d make a fine meal and no mistake, Mr Gruff” The troll said, licking his fat, blistered lips.

“Me?  Why, I’m scrawny from lack of food. My flesh would be stringy and would be hardly a mouthful for such a splendid troll as yourself,” I said.” What you want is someone much larger and tastier than me. My older brother will be along shortly. He’s big and fat. He’ll make a much more worthy meal for such a magnificent troll.”  As I said, I’m not stupid. I knew that trolls were easily flattered as well as being as dumb as a box of rocks.

The troll thought for a moment and then waved his large, meaty claw.

“Very well then. You do look scrawny. You can go. I think I’ll wait for your brother. He’ll make a much more suitable meal for me.”

And with that I trotted across the bridge to what I was sure was a life of freedom. 

So much for what I thought.  Most people probably know how it actually turned out.  It was my own fault too. I should have been more careful.  My older brother must have followed me more quickly than I’d expected and overheard me talking to the troll.  Sure, he wasn’t clever enough to come up with the line himself but he copied me well enough to persuade the monster to wait for my oldest brother, Big Billy Goat Gruff and let him go. 

I was prepared to live with my mistake. I thought I might get by with just one greedy oaf to share with.  Even he couldn’t eat all of the grass by himself. Of course that wasn’t to be either. Even though I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, my stupid, useless oldest brother arrived and instead of being eaten, he head-butted the troll over the bridge and into the roaring river, never to be seen again.

Now here I am, stuck on a different hillside with the same problem. Those two greedy lumps eating all the best grass and leaving me with barely a bite.  I’m no better off than before. Actually in some ways, it’s worse because my oldest brother thinks he’s a hero.  He won’t stop droning on about how we should be grateful to him for saving our lives.  Unbearable.  I wonder if the Big Bad Wolf is still in business………..