All stories

Beyond the barricade...

by Jenny

The small crowd of students gathered in hushed anticipation as the notice was pinned to the board. A few seconds of pure silence balanced on a knife edge as they peered and squinted at the list of printed names.

“Bastard,” spat Phillps, and strode dramatically from the small group, which broke into frantic gabbling chatter.

“We knew it would be him,” Jameson reasoned, hurrying after him. “Don’t let it get to you.”

“Every bastard year,” grumbled Phillips. “Last year he landed Danny Zuko, the year before that he was bloody Jesus and now this. Miller is going to be Val Jean.”

“At least you get to be Marius - he’s got loads of good songs. I’m just Prisoner Number Four. You’ll get to sing ‘Red! The blood of angry men’...’

Jameson trailed off, unconvinced by his own false cheer. Val Jean was the only role worth having and they both knew it.

“But Val Jean - it’s the dream, isn’t it? Oh I can just see his smug fucking face. I bet he knows already - I bet they bloody consulted him last night before they printed the list. I bet there’ll be t-shirts with Miller's smarmy bastard face plastered all over them.”

Phillips was shouting now, and spitting a bit. The small group at the notice board turned to stare. He wheeled to face them.

“Even you lot must have noticed by now, how Miller always lands the plum role? Why do none of us get a look in? Ever wonder why that is?”

“Phillips - don’t do this. We have no idea if it’s even true” Jameson tugged futilely on Phillips’ sleeve.

“I’d be ten times the Val Jean that Miller would - and you all know it. So why has the lead gone to Miller again?”

“Phillips - you don’t have to do this -”

But the small crowd was interested now, Phillips had their attention.

“Because he’s fucking the director that’s why!”

Jameson hid his face in his hands as the crowd visibly bristled.

“What?” shouted one of them. “So we spend thirty odd grand on tuition fees to be chucked at the back of the chorus while that bastard Miller shags his way to the West End?”

“Exactly! Why should we stand for it?!”

“We damn well shouldn’t.”

“Well what are we going to do about it? Just stand here? Play Prisoner Number Four like good little students? We should all get the chance to be Val Jeans!”

“Too right!”

When Jameson looked again, the crowd was following Phillips back up towards the auditorium, riled up and furious.”Cries of “Fuck Miller” and “Bring down Miller” and “Viva la Revolucion!” drifted back to him.

On the stage in the auditorium Miller was smearing grime flatteringly into the hollows of his cheeks and admiring himself in the mirror. Under his breath he muttered ‘24601’ in different intonations.

At the clatter of shoes on the auditorium steps he turned with a flourish and beamed up at the oncoming mob.

“Darlings - you’ll never guess what…”

Lady in Waiting

by Russ

Priti used the back of her hand to lift away the dangling undercarriage as she nuzzled in to suckle at the open femoral artery. She felt the familiar fizz as the last of the warm and bubbling blood flowed over her tongue and began coating the sides of her throat. She’d been told of the rejuvenating properties of angry male blood by a Greek man at a garden party, and now she was Commander of the Island there was always a plentiful supply.

Stepping back, she wiped her mouth and nodded to the two soldiers holding the now drained and perished body. Without hesitation, they lifted and tossed the meat into the firepit where it began to crackle and roast almost immediately. In the corner of the Great Hall, there was a minor kerfuffle as the next sacrifice was brought in and held ready to be cut.

The revolution, as it turned out, had been easy. The men simply hadn’t seen in coming. Which was absurd considering the number of wildly waving flags that had been raised over the years before. Then again, they never were much good at taking the hint. Once power had been seized it was only a matter of altering the law with a few swiftly passed bills and being male became no different to being cattle, albeit a cattle rife with impotent rage.

The next step had proved much tricker, whether fraternal or sororal, relationships with the continent were not exactly at their peak, so Priti needed to bide her time before moving to expand.

A cough in the corner signalled it was time. Priti moved to the mirror and straightened out her skirt suit, checking for any flecks of stray blood which might alarm her visitor. The eighty-year-old Supreme Commander smiled at her thirty-something reflection as she licked drops of the renewing red liquid from her teeth.

‘Are you sure we aren’t ready to move?’ she asked once more of her chief military advisor.

‘Not with certainty, ma’am,’ the uniformed woman answered as though she hadn’t already said it a dozen times that week. ‘Our reports suggest we need another twelve months if we are to have sufficient resources to take and hold both France and Belgium for long enough to allow the women of Spain to overthrow their own men and join us.’

Priti sighed, she already knew that was the answer, but she really was tired of making nice with the oaf currently at the top of the French pile.

‘Fine,’ she said, and placed the scalpel she’d had secreted up her sleeve on the table at her side. ‘Let’s do this once more.’

With that she strode to the archway which led to the formal reception room, giving her hair a curt flick as two guards swung the double doors open allowing her to pass through.

‘Monsieur!’ the gathered court heard her yell warmly as she disappeared from the room. ‘How excellent to see you again. Mwah! Mwah!’

The Independence of Santa Anna.

by Dan

His old friend stormed from the room. Dr Lionel Chanderpaul smiled indulgently. Poor old Pepe, always wanting everything now, One if the chief intellectual problems Dr Chanderpaul struggled with was how to harness the hope and energy of people like Pepe. Pepe was loyal, strong as an ox and committed to the people of Santa Anna. But he was so impatient for change. He had worked for Dr Chanderpaul as a labourer, ever since the successful workers strike of 1951 a full nine years before and the two had become friends despite their educational and intellectual differences. The People's Democratic Congress Party, under Dr Chanderpaul's guidance was now approaching the end of their second five year plan. In one year from now Dr Chanderpaul, would walk to the house of the the governer in Princeville and declare independence. This bloodless revolution would pave the way for a socialist collective democracy run by the people for the people, Dr Chanderpaul would, naturally, become First Minister. Planning had reached the stage where Dr Chanderpaul was holed up in his study all day and all night, having his food bought in by Pepe. He hadn't been to Princeville in over a year. It pleased him to think that the next time he did, it would be Independence Day. He just needed to keep the likes of Pepe from following the idiot hotheads of the Freedom Party led by Marcus Blake, a stupid vainglorious man, who Dr Chanderpaul knew would turn his revolution sour in his quest for personal aggrandisement. At ten O’ clock it was time to turn in. He whisked the tune of the new national anthem as he replaced his textbooks upon the shelf and shuffled out onto the Veranda of his colonial former slavers house to lock up. It was then that he noticed that the sky was ablaze, furthermore, silhouetted against the fire upon the hillside in front of him, where the colonial slavemasters had once planted sugar cane was a large group of men marching. As they came closer Dr Chanderpaul noticed that they were carrying bottles of rum and machetes. They were chanting "death to the new slavers!" One carried the vermilion banner of the Santa Anna Freedom Party another carried an image of Marcus Blake in full revolutionary pose. It was still dark in bush between the veranda and the burning flames of Princeville and Dr Chanderpaul could not make out any of the faces of the angry men. He was addressed from the crowd by a voice through a megaphone. "Dr Chanderpaul, we are here to sequester this property in the name of the new revolutionary council of Santa Anna, and our new ruler Comrade Blake. You stand accused of counter revolutionary activity and must now come to Princeville to face trial. We trust that you will come peacefully." The triumphant mob bayed, one or two fired pistols into the sky. Dr Chanderpaul suddenly felt every one of his 67 years, a frightened and frail old man. He had no choice but to step down the veranda and be manhandled by the mob. He reached the man with the man with the megaphone and looked into his eyes. Pepe stared back defiantly, his features hard and his cheeks a mess of tears.