CAN FIRST LOVE EVER BE REIGNITED?
One Last Shot concludes the trilogy of Freddie and Jo-Jo, which has moved through time in a series of flashbacks, showing how the couple fell in love as teenagers, why they drifted apart, what happened in their lives away from each other, and what happens when they meet up again over three decades later. At the end of the second book, An Extra Shot, Jo-Jo tells Freddie about her dark secret. Confused, vulnerable and in a state of shock, he says he needs time to think about what to do next. Jo-Jo’s right to be worried. Freddie doesn’t react well…
An original, unpublished piece of flash fiction
by Stephen Anthony Brotherton, Author of the Shots trilogy.
Hunting for Ghosts
1.00 AM. Rocky tosses the remains of a double Monterey Jack burger into his mouth and swallows it in one. He settles back in a tweed covered Sherlock chair, wipes grease from his chin with the back of his hand, and closes his eyes.
‘Is everything okay, young man?’
‘Jesus,’ says Rocky, his eyes flashing open. ‘You scared the crap out of me.’
Ned tightens his dressing gown belt, sits down on the settee and nods at the monitor on the glass topped coffee table. ‘You getting anything?’
‘Not yet,’ says Rocky. ‘They’re unpredictable things, spooks. Invisible prey most of the time.’
‘You’ve hunted a lot then?’
‘Yeah, of course. Don’t worry. I’ve got motion detectors in every room. Nothing squeaks in this house without it flashing up on my screen. If there’s a ghost here, I’ll find it.’
3.00 AM. The monitor crackles awake. Ned nudges Rocky.
‘She’s here, son. In the bathroom.’
Rocky rubs his eyes and stares at the screen. A flickering head and shoulders shadow has anchored itself on the white porcelain tiles. Suddenly, the shower gushes into life. Rocky grabs Ned’s arm. ‘Who’s in the house? Who else is here?’
‘It’s the ghost. What are you waiting for?’
The grandfather clock stops ticking. Someone turns off the shower.
‘If this is your idea of a joke, old man.’
4.00 A.M. Alice looks up from her knitting. ‘How did you find him?’
‘He’s got a ‘Ghouls for Us’ logo in the Yellow Pages.’
‘How exciting. What did he do?’
‘Nothing. He’s a charlatan.’
‘So why was he here?’
‘To relieve the boredom.’
She stands up and walks over to the window. Ned puts his arm around her shoulder and she snuggles into his chest. They watch in silence as Rocky drags his trolley load of equipment down the driveway back to his white transit van. The wheels of the trolley wedge in the flint chippings. Rocky stumbles. Alice laughs. Ned squeezes her closer and kisses the top of her head.
‘I miss you,’ he says. ‘I will always miss you.’
I was born in Walsall, grew up in the West Midlands and now live in Telford with my two cats, Boris and Tai.
After working in the health and social care sector for over thirty years, I have now written the trilogy that has been rooted in my head for most of my life.
The Shots trilogy is based on a first love relationship I had as a teenager. It tells the story of Freddie and Jo-Jo, who are reunited in a coffee shop three decades after the end of their teenage romance. How they originally met, why they parted, what happens in their lives apart, and what happens when they reunite is all told through a series of first person vignettes.
Getting these stories down on paper has been a cathartic process. I hope you enjoy them.