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Author Picture of Terry Jackman sitting in a garden chair

Terry Jackman

We open this year’s Vampire month with a piece of flash fiction by Terry Jackman, author of Ashamet and who is currently working on a Vampire novel (which I hope to feature on here when it is finally published).

Very Nice is a quirky little tale with a subtle bite… I hope you enjoy it…

Very Nice

By Terry Jackman

All those winding lanes to drive through these days. Would she ever get used to them? It was almost two o’clock by the time she got home and her feet were killing her. Still, the mirror was the first attraction. Well, what did she think now she had done it? Was it really her? Too short? Too modern? Highlights he had called them and she’d felt obliged to tell him, ‘Very nice, dear.’ And she’d asked for something different, so it wasn’t his fault.

        Then she pulled a silly face at her reflection. Nice. Such a… a safe sounding word. And what she looked like too, her Ernie would have told her.

        Then the hall clock ticked and tutted at her, reminding her that time was precious.

        Upstairs then, to change into a nice, warm woollie and her comfy slippers. Then into the kitchen; unpack all the shopping, measure out the filter coffee, fetch the tray-cloth and the rosebud china. And of course her special pastries. My, they did look tempting, pale yellow fondant squares and chocolate brownies. She knew gentlemen liked chocolate though of course she always took a lemon fondant. You would never know she hadn’t made a single cake till Ernie had passed over. But there, he’d spoiled her. ‘Go on,’ he’d say, and laugh, ‘there’s always more where that one came from.’

        She sighed, then brightened. Wonderful how one adapted, really. Six years now, six lonely years, but she’d managed. It had meant moving out of their little house in town but she liked the cottage, and the nearby village. More importantly she’d kept her strength up. It hadn’t always been easy but it had all worked out wonderfully, hadn’t it?

        Two thirty, already? She was breathless again as well; sure sign she needed to eat. At least the lounge was spotless, thank goodness she’d got up so early. The table sparkled from its morning polish. Not just a squirt from one of those spray things either. That magazine had said that beeswax made a house more friendly, that and the smell of fresh coffee when someone walked in.

        She’d been a bit doubtful about that part. Ernie had detested coffee. “Muck” he’d called it. but she’d got quite fond of it nowadays, and the magazine had been quite right; no one had refused a cup, and once they’d gone that far, well, a piece of cake was nothing, was it?

        Two thirty-five. Had he forgotten? No, there was a van outside and heavens, he was on the path already.

        Along the hall. Straighten the little brass jug that held the cellar keys. A last glance at that too-short hairdo, though perhaps she did look younger. A calming breath, and seize the handle.

        ‘Mrs Booth? I’m here to mend your washer.’

        Oh, oh yes. So young. So big. So juicy. Why, he’d last the whole of winter. Mrs Booth backed in and beamed at him. She did hope he liked chocolate.