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Loveable Alan Atcliffe by S.R. Mastrantone

Some people are so nice, it just seems too good to be true.

Loveable Alan Atcliffe: that’s what they call him.

Like Mrs. Montgomery, who waited for the breakdown people for nearly an hour in the dark of winter 2001, before Alan pulled over in his taxi and changed her tyre in just five minutes. Or Father Chase, who knows Alan was the secret donor of the final £2000 that the church needed to pay for a new roof.

Loveable Alan Atcliffe, who lives in the cottage out on the plain, behind the school and the duck pond. Some people in Blythe would go further; they would use words like virtuous, or perhaps even saintly.… Read the rest

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House Cleaning by Ian Creasey

It’s magical when kids help out around the house.

There was a dead mouse in Mum’s bedroom.

Simon gently pushed the door open and crept in. He smelled his mother’s perfume, almost overwhelmed by the odour of sweat and cigarettes and sour alcohol. A ray of morning sunlight shone through the curtains like a spotlight, illuminating a snoring shape under the covers. Simon was always surprised by how small Matt looked when he wasn’t shouting. His feet didn’t even reach the end of the bed, but fell short by—well, a foot.

Navigating the minefield of socks and cigarette papers and empty glasses, Simon stole round the bed to the other side.… Read the rest

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