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  You could have a big dipper   

A quintet harmonising at the school bell by Martha Lane


She’d been right to warn that lassie. There hadn’t been a story in the papers yet, but it’d been all over her feed. Too many shares not to be true. A man kidnapping people from bus stops.

It was sunny; the girl would be fine walking home.


Out of breath already, she stomped up the hill. A small boy hurtled towards her on his scooter, nearly crashed right into her. She sighed as her bus, packed with students who hadn’t been accosted as they waited, pulled away. Was it the threat of the man or the reality of the woman that had driven her to join the throng of those walking home?

Become an extra body on the pavement.


Foot slapping the pavement, he pushed himself along. The tune of ‘Goodbye Nursery’ still ringing in his ears. The rumble as he rolled turned his legs to jelly. Wibble wobble. He leaned back on his brake. Daddy had taught him how the other day. He slowed.

Just enough.


The phone rang. He’d already answered four times; no, five. Five times his mother had bellowed she’d never agreed to sell her house – though she absolutely had. He should be sympathetic, but the phone lit up again, buzzed its discontent. Rattled the dashboard. He could answer. Or not. Get there early and sneak a pint before everyone else arrived.

Mouth watering, he reversed.


Something rammed his shoulder, turning him almost 180. He came face-to-face with a wide-eyed girl. She recoiled, turned pale.

‘You alri…’

But she melted into the sea of blazers, still flowing from the school gates. A car braked sharply, dragged his thoughts away from the girl’s terror. Someone screamed. A little wheel span without friction.

A green helmet he recognised, loose in the road.


Martha Lane (she/her) is a writer by the sea. Her flash has been published by Sledgehammer, Perhappened, Bandit, Reflex fiction, Briefly Zine, and Ellipsis among others. Balancing too many projects at once is her natural state. Tweets @poor_and_clean.

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