Category Archives: Stories

The Duplicate Affair: Chapter 2

Category : Stories

If you haven’t read Chapter 1, you can by clicking here.

Chapter 2: Decisions

Georgia didn’t go home. She was rather concerned that this company, whatever it was had been able to find all of her details, and contact her from an app she had installed on her phone. She sat in a bar in the centre of town, staring at the screen. A notification from the app popped up.

BEAT YOUR HIGH SCORE! PLAY NOW! It said.

She swiped it away. Should she disable it? Uninstall it? Was it too late now? Was the damage already done? What if she already knew too much now? What would happen if she didn’t go back tomorrow? Would her phone explode and kill her? Don’t be silly. That wouldn’t happen, would it? Would it?

“You alright, love?” A man had joined her and she hadn’t noticed.

“What? Um… yes. Thank you.”

“In your own little world there, you was.”

“Yes, I was thinking.”

“Well, s’long as you’re alright,” he smiled pleasantly and stood up to leave, but the barman put his hand on his wrist.

“Without the lady’s handbag, if you don’t mind, mate?”

“Dunno what yer on about,” he returned.

“I didn’t have a handbag,” Georgia added. She never carried one. It’s what pockets were for.

The barman stabbed the man in the hand with something sharp, and he yelped and crumpled to the floor. 

“What?” Georgia staggered backwards, and looked around. No one had even noticed what had just happened. They were all going about their business. 

“Leave your phone, love,” the barman said. “And you can go.” 

Georgia nodded, and continued to back away. Then she turned and bolted out of the bar and ran down the street, back in the direction she had come. She didn’t want to go home. What if they were waiting for her? She needed to go to the last place they would think to look for her? But where would that be? Her adrenaline had spiked too high to notice how breathless she was, and that she was running in blind panic back towards the office where she had had her interview.

“Woah, there!” Helen caught her as they nearly crashed. “Oh… it’s you. Do you often jog in a business suit?”

“Stay away!” Georgia shrieked, shoving her, hard and trying to run again.

“What’s happened?” Helen asked, matching her pace easily and not needing to catch her breath when she spoke.

“Leave me…” Georgia panicked, tripped on a paving stone, her ankle turned and she felt a wrench and a shooting pain. She squealed and clasped her ankle, clinging to it and panting. She couldn’t stand. Was this it?

“Relax,” Helen crouched calmly next to her. “Look at me. We’re going to focus on your breathing for a minute. Just look at me and breath. In. Out. That’s it. Breathe. Now, let me see your ankle. Just let go of it a minute. That’s right, I’m just going to feel it, see if there are any breaks.”

Georgia sighed and gave in, releasing the throbbing area and watching Helen as she examined it.

“I don’t think it’s broken,” Helen concluded. “You’ve probably done the ligaments, and that’s worse in someways. We’ll get you home, get it elevated and put some ice on it. Come on,” she helped her up. “Rest on me, my car’s not far, I’ll drop you home. Where do you live?”

“Don’t you know?”

“Ha! Why would I know?”

“The app…”

“What app?”

Helen gazed at her. “Tell me what happened,” she said finally.

“I was in a bar…” Georgia began. “This man was nice to me… but the barman stabbed him, and told me to leave my phone… and I’m sure it had something to do with the interview, and I don’t know where’s safe now!”

“I’m sure it did, too.” Helen agreed. “But not for the reasons you think. I’m going to get you back into the office, they’ll take care of you, then I’m going to get your phone. Tell me what the bar was called, please.”

If you would like to support me whilst I write this story, you can by buying me a coffee!

The Duplicate Affair

Written by C H Clepitt

Copyright Claire Evans 2019. 

This is a work of fiction. All persons, places and events are products of the author’s imagination. Any similarities to persons, living or deceased, places of business or residence or actual events is purely coincidental.


The Duplicate Affair: Chapter One – New Beginnings

Category : Stories

Georgia examined her cuticles critically. There was a loose bit of skin at the top of her index finger. She knew that if she tried to pull it off she would end up bleeding all over her interview suit and possibly her interviewer when they went to shake her hand, but it just looked so… messy.  She contemplated chewing it off. A shadow falling over her interrupted her ruminations.

“You alright, there?” A woman’s voice made her look up. She was slim and athletic, wearing a business suit and a curious, slightly amused expression.

“Um, yes, thank you…” Georgia managed, though her mouth was incredibly dry. Interviews made her nervous.

“What time did they tell you to be here?” the woman asked. There was an abruptness to her tone that was off putting.

“Ten…” Georgia managed.

The woman turned and looked at the clock on the wall along the whitewashed corridor. It was ten twenty-five. “It’s a power game.” She pulled a packet of gum out of her pocket and offered it. “Chew, you’ll sound less nervous. Don’t show weakness, it’s what they want. Do you know why you’re here?”

“Admin,” Georgia took a square of gum and began to chew. She felt calmer as her mouth became more lubricated. She smiled. This did help. “I had a letter saying they’d found my C.V. online and wanted to interview me. It seemed odd, I hadn’t updated my C.V. on any job sites since graduation, but I searched, and I mean, it seems legit here…” she suddenly felt awkward. It was a proper building. She’d been met by a receptionist and shown to this seat in this corridor. This odd, abrupt woman clearly worked here. That was a stupid thing to say.

“What do you do at the moment?” the woman asked. She clearly didn’t think there was anything odd in what Georgia had just said.

“I’ve just been made redundant, actually,” Georgia admitted. “I was doing admin and social media management for a charity, but you know austerity, it hits the charities first…”

“How long after did you get the letter?” 

“Within a week, actually,” Georgia admitted. These questions were making her incredibly suspicious. What the hell was this company, anyway. The website had said “Solutions based management” – she’d assumed content management, but now… “I’d wanted to take some time out, maybe just rest, but I thought it was best not to turn down…” she trailed off.

“Pay’s good, isn’t it?” The woman observed.

“Helen,” a short rotund man appeared from one of the doors along the corridor. The shirt of his business suit gaped at the gut, and the strain on the buttons every time he breathed was obvious. Georgia was glad she was wearing her glasses, or else a button leaping for freedom might have taken her eye out.

“Leonard,” the woman acknowledged equally curtly.

“Don’t you have somewhere to be?”

“Not at present. I’m waiting for Kris to come back to me on the eccles cake thing.”

“That was a hint.”

“I know, I chose to ignore it.”

“Right you are. Um…” he held out a sweaty hand to Georgina. “Leonard Porter, sorry to keep you waiting.”

“He’s not,” Helen smiled.

“That’s alright,” Georgia fought against the smirk that was trying to appear on her face as she took his clammy hand. “I’m Georgia, thank you for seeing me.”

“This way, please,” he indicated that she should walk in front of him through the open doorway of the room he’d come from.

“Don’t let them intimidate you,” Helen called after her. “If he didn’t want you, you wouldn’t be here.”

Leonard was visibly flustered when he shut the door to the interview room. Actually, it looked more like an interrogation room, a single, metal table in the middle, one chair on the side, and one at either end. There was a woman in her late fifties standing in the corner of the room. She had on an ill fitting suit and black horn rimmed glasses that made her look like a suspicious librarian. Georgia half expected to be shushed.

“Please, have a seat,” Leonard indicated the table and chairs.

Georgia chose the chair on the end. This seemed to pass the first test and Leonard and the woman nodded approvingly to one another before taking their respective seats.

“So, you know we’re interested in you,” he said, resting his podgy hands on the tabletop. “We wouldn’t have asked you here if we weren’t, so we’re going to tell you a little bit about what we do, then let you ask some questions, sound alright?”

Georgia nodded.

“So, as you probably know, we find out of the box solutions to problems. Our main contracts are government, but we do have freelance contracts too. Don’t worry, we’re very careful to ensure the two don’t overlap.” He laughed uncertainly. “The main reason we want you is analysis,” he continued. “You wouldn’t be in the field, you’d be analysing data and reporting to Moira,” he indicated the woman.

“But, I work with social media management,” Georgia began awkwardly. She didn’t even know if she wanted the job, or exactly what the job was…

“But you play FUXXLE.” Moira spoke for the first time. 

“Yes…” Georgia blinked.

“We developed that app to help us search out potential candidates. Your problem solving abilities are off the charts. You almost cleared it. Our top people can’t even do that.”

“You developed…”

“Well, I can see this is all a bit much for you,” Leonard said cheerily. “Let’s call it a day on this one. Go home, have a think, and if you want to know more, come back here at 10am tomorrow, we’ll talk some more.” He held out his hand for her to shake.

“Um, OK?” Georgia shook his hand weakly.

“Thanks for coming in.”

“No problem…”

Moira shook her hand too. “I’ll show you to the front door.”
“Thanks.”

You can find Chapter 2 by clicking here.

If you would like to support me whilst I write this story, you can by buying me a coffee!

The Duplicate Affair

Written by C H Clepitt

Copyright Claire Evans 2019. 

This is a work of fiction. All persons, places and events are products of the author’s imagination. Any similarities to persons, living or deceased, places of business or residence or actual events is purely coincidental.


The Door

Category : Flash Friday , Stories

I’d been working at the lab ten months when the incident occurred.  Every day I’d walked down the long white corridor, ignoring the turn off to the restricted area.  I didn’t have permission to be in the restricted area. I was a lab tech. Occasionally I’d glanced down, and seen the huge industrial steel door, with a handle that looked like the wheel of a ship, so big I always imagined it would take about four people to open it, but I never went down the corridor, never peered through the thick glass window.  It was restricted. Above my paygrade.

“Morning, Lucy,” I smiled as she walked passed me and turned down the corridor.  She was the scientist in charge of this special project. She always insisted I call her Lucy.  All the other coats insisted on formality. They were mostly dicks though, and Lucy was really nice.

“Morning Mike,” she smiled at me. “How’s the weather?” She always asked me how the weather was, I don’t think she left the lab.

“Bit drizzly today,” I informed her. “Nice weather for ducks.”

She laughed a genuine laugh.  “I’m gunna be stuck in the lab most of the day, wanna have takeout with me at lunchtime?”

“Sure, I’ll order it in.  What do you fancy?” I smiled at her. Ten months I’d been there, and not really gotten to know anyone.

“Surprise me,” she smiled. “See you later.”

I watched her walk down the corridor, swipe a key card, tap in a code, press her hand against the panel before turning the big wheel.  Security sure is tight down there, I thought as I plunged my hands into my pockets and began to whistle, heading to my area.

By midday I decided I had had quite enough of cleaning jars, so I brought up the takeout app on my phone.  I decided to go for pizza. Who doesn’t like pizza? Cheese and tomato, sure winner.

“What are you doing here, this area’s restricted?” A tall man in a black suit and dark glasses blocked my way down the corridor like a giant, living cliche.

“I’m having lunch with Doctor Winters,” I said.  “Could you tell her I’ll meet her on the steps outside.  Tell her it’s brightened up.”

The man looked confused, but turned and headed towards the room. Dick, I thought to myself, as I headed up the steps and out to the main entrance to wait for our pizza.

“I think I’m in trouble, Mike,” Lucy’s voice from behind me made me start.

“What?” I spun around.  She had a large bruise on her face and looked very shaken.  “What happened.”

“I knew it was coming,” she said quietly.  “The thing I’ve been working on, they want to move it to the next phase.  It’s not ready, but they… they don’t want me to work on the next project. I think that would have been it for me, if I hadn’t arranged to meet you for lunch.”

“We need to get you out, now then, Lucy,” I said determinedly. “Don’t go back in, it’s dangerous for you.”

“It’s not that easy, Mike,” she looked awkwardly at me. “Where would I go, they’re everywhere!”

“I know.” I said calmly.  I shouldn’t be revealing this.  I was going off mission. But Lucy had all the information in her mind.  I’d get her instead of the files, we could blow the place. “But we can protect you, trust me.”

“We?” She looked at me, a glimmer of hope in her eyes.

“I’m SECTOR, Lucy,” I smiled at her. I know I was taking a risk.  “Trust me, I’ll get you out.”

“My family?” She was looking around nervously.

“We’ll get them too.” I said.

“Are you serious?” Control’s voice came in over my cranial implant. “What are you doing Mike?  This is not the mission!”

“It’s the mission now,” I said firmly, turning away from Lucy slightly as I spoke. “Get her family, and send us an extraction unit, we’re leaving now.”

“BOSS isn’t gunna like this,” Control said awkwardly.

“BOSS can shove it,” I responded. “Ten months in this shit hole and I’ve got nothing.  Now I’ve got something.”

“Alright, give us 30 minutes,” I could almost hear Control role her eyes.

“Mike,” Lucy looked at me. “We need to get him out.”

“Who?”

“Project J5.  If we leave him in the room they’ll weaponise him.  He’s behind the door.”

“OK,” I took a deep breath. “Come on, let’s go…”


Friday Flash – Strange

Category : Flash Friday , Stories

This Friday’s flash prompt from Claire was to type “strange pictures” into Google, and pick one as inspiration for a flash.  What this showed me is that people find many different things strange, and strange for someone might be perfectly normal for someone else, so, here’s my #FridayFlash

Strange Pictures

It always struck me, how the portrait of my great grandmother, the one that hung in the smoking room was never particularly, pleasant.  I suppose that was why it was in the smoking room, rather than the great hall, with all the other portraits. That, and of course, Great Grandma Gretel was the shame of the family.  She had been on the marches, argued the part of the slaves, once she threw a stone at a policeman.  True story.  Our family didn’t protest.  We were in the fortunate position not to need to.  We were well off, well respected and had no need to rebel, or incite change.  Anyway, Great Grandma Ethel disappeared, shortly after the portrait was painted, leaving Great Grandpa Bill with two children, and I can only imagine greatly relieved not to have a rebel living under his roof any more.

I often retired to the smoking room, no-one really used it, and I enjoyed the quiet.  I would sit and study the painting, sometimes chat to Great Grandma Ethel about my day, the things that pleased or annoyed me, what I was looking forward to, or what I was dreading.  No matter where I would sit, it seemed to me that Ethel was looking at me, really paying attention to what I was saying.  It was on such a day that the fire broke out.  I first noticed the smoke coming under the door, and opened it to the flames.  I let out a cry of panic, and was unable to shut the door again against the heat and the flames.  I rushed to the window to try and leave that way, but it was rusted shut.  The old house had fallen into disrepair.  The smoke was burning my lungs, everything was getting darker, and then I remember no more.

I awoke to see firemen staring at me, as though I was on a platform, above them.  I think I blinked, but can’t be sure.  A voice from behind me said quietly,

“Do not move until they’ve gone.”

I remained still, lying out, looking at them.

“What a strange picture,” one of them was saying. “See the woman in the background, she is in very old fashioned clothing, but the one at the front, she’s modern. Very out of place.”

“The whole thing is out of place,” another said. “See the farmer in the backdrop? He’s older again, whoever painted it did not research their history.  Come on, there’s no-one here, let’s go.”

When they were gone I looked up to see Great Grandma Ethel smiling down at me.

“The world I lived in was not for me,” she said quietly. “So I came here, to join my grandfather on his farm. I’ve enjoyed our talks, I hope you will be happy here.”

I blinked. I felt I probably would.


Friday Flash: Music

Category : Flash Friday , Stories

Today in our Sparkly Badger’s Group, the flash prompt from Claire read as follows:

Choose your favourite song, pick a smidgen of the lyrics and use that as your inspiration. Alternatively, choose an instrumental piece. Share your music & your flash in the comments below, no more than 1000 words.

My original problem was that songs already tell stories, so telling a different story was nearly impossible for my brain.  But then, a colleague dared me to write a flash about the song below, and I do enjoy a challenge. It’s more of a micro flash, but never say I don’t rise to a challenge…

Geoffrey the giraffe peered longingly over the treetops to the watering hole. There, with only her nostrils and ears poking out of the mud was Henrietta. Geoffrey had loved her from a distance for months, but had never had the courage to say so. His parents wanted him to settle down with Gloria, a giraffe from the neighbouring plain, but Geoffrey had never really been into giraffes, he preferred a filler, rounder figure. He…

Sadly for him, Henrietta was not interested in giraffe’s with a hippo fetish, or being anyone’s experiment, so Geoffrey was doomed to watch from a distance, never able to wade the swamp and dare allow his love to speak its name… Well, it was a bit weird, wasn’t it?!

This picture is shared from Wikipedia, under the creative commons license. It was taken by Derek Keats from Johannesburg, South Africa


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