#A2Z Challenge: Z for Zulu

During 2018’s A-Z Challenge, we wrote the first draft of “The November Deadline” and to celebrate that this is now (finally) out with beta readers, we’ll be producing a daily piece of micro-fiction linked to it – some prequel, some containing a detail not included in the story, some snippets from sequels currently being written.


Coln had spent surprisingly little time amongst the ephemerals, and even less immersed in the cities of London and Westminster.  It was as if she had woken from a dream into a dream as she wandered and learned her way around.  The vibrancy of living was almost palpable.  Amidst the welter of galleries and museums that she had discovered, one of her favourite haunts, as she emerged from her chrysalis beneath the Thames, was the Victoria and Albert.  Here, put into context, she had seen that the clothes that she tended to wear were decidedly old fashioned.  But she’d also come to see that whilst fashions changed, invariably they built on what had come before, and who better than someone like she to take the measure of history and cut its cloth to suit?

With Billy’s assistance, her family had found themselves extremely wealthy: the pick of the items that her father had collected and hoarded over centuries had found their way to collectors.  Even in this world of post-war austerity, there were those who would pay handsomely for unique and noteworthy artefacts.  And if Billy did not know a collector personally, he knew a man who did, or at least someone who could reach out on her behalf.

She’d had time to think, time to plan.  She wished she could have discussed things with Jack, but that was not to be.  She now had wealth and more importantly a sense of purpose, an ambition.  She was going to open a haute couture salon, not only because of her new found love of clothes, but because she had realised that there would be an opportunity to exert influence behind the scenes.

She sat on a bench, a little down from Cleopatra’s needle, and watched the boats chug up and down, and looked across the river at the derelict warehouses and brewery.  Examples of the goods they had once housed had been part of what had been sold recently. This afternoon she would go for second viewing of a house on Jermyn Street that looked like just the thing.  It was owned by a chap who’d made an awful lot of money in South Africa: the dark wood panelling might need some attention, but thankfully he would be taking all the Zulu assegais and shields and things with him – they didn’t fit her plans at all.

She waved as she saw her confidante approaching.  This was the sort of decision that really did need someone you could trust to talk it through with.


© 2021, David Jesson & Debra Carey

#A2Z Challenge: Y for Yankee

During 2018’s A-Z Challenge, we wrote the first draft of “The November Deadline” and to celebrate that this is now (finally) out with beta readers, we’ll be producing a daily piece of micro-fiction linked to it – some prequel, some containing a detail not included in the story, some snippets from sequels currently being written.


“Oh bother!”

Burnham had successfully tracked Michaela down in London – he wondered if she could indulge him in providing an outside ear. When she’d arrived, Michaela had been most put out to discover he wasn’t alone. The other man was also in uniform, but American – it was hard to miss the transatlantic twang – yet Burnham introduced him as “my cousin Ezra”, at pains to make it clear this was neither army nor official business.

Intrigued, Michaela accepted the proffered cup of tea, and sat back to listen. It was to be a long and rather unpleasant story, at the end of which Michaela remained puzzled.

“Mr… erm… Ezra, your story has given rise to many deep emotions, but I’m not at all clear how I… we… can help?”
“My apologies m’am, I ought to have been more clear. I was, in fact, offering my services to you and your team, but wanted you to understand where I’m coming from… what’s driving me you might say. I’ll be leaving the service shortly and decided not to return to the States but to remain here in England. I need a fresh start and my cousin here thought you might have room for someone with my expertise.”
“Indeed, and what would that be exactly?”


© 2021, David Jesson & Debra Carey

#A2Z Challenge: X for X-ray

During 2018’s A-Z Challenge, we wrote the first draft of “The November Deadline” and to celebrate that this is now (finally) out with beta readers, we’ll be producing a daily piece of micro-fiction linked to it – some prequel, some containing a detail not included in the story, some snippets from sequels currently being written.


Blecher had become a regular visitor to the yard, enjoying a chat with Michaela, but especially with the apprentices. He was most encouraging, pointing out those he felt could benefit from a more traditional science education. Of course, he’d lost track of own his family, so Michaela understood that Jack’s place acted as a sort of home from home.

It had become his practice to arrive sometime during Saturday afternoon, and stay for Sunday lunch the following day. He expressed a particular fondness for the hearty stews doled up into cook’s splendid Yorkshires – a regular feature on the menu in the Apprentice’s dining hall.

One Saturday evening, Michaela was mildly amused to overhear him talking to a small group about radiology – of Brailsford’s paper on bone tumours, and about the potential for the recently observed synchrotron Xrays.


© 2021, David Jesson & Debra Carey

#A2Z Challenge: W for Whiskey

During 2018’s A-Z Challenge, we wrote the first draft of “The November Deadline” and to celebrate that this is now (finally) out with beta readers, we’ll be producing a daily piece of micro-fiction linked to it – some prequel, some containing a detail not included in the story, some snippets from sequels currently being written.


“It’s Merlin I feel sorry for, look you.” Tink spoke unguardedly, forgetting that there were guests. 

“Merlin?” Her ladyship prompted, topping up his whiskey and splash.

“Yes, poor blighter really got it in the neck.  One of my lot.  Was trying to make things better for people but over did it slightly.  Word got home and they came for him in the end.  Morgana was one of Queen Mab’s fixers.”

Isaac kept his head down and his ears open, trying to decide if he was the butt of an elaborate joke. Mike wondered whether the top up had been the right thing to do.

“And to add insult to injury, they tell all that nonsense about him.  I’d write a true account, so I would, but I think that might be breaking the terms of my parole, in spirit, if not in the letter.  Speaking of spirits though, top me up with some of that Kilbeggan, if you please, and we’ll drink a toast to my old friend Merlin.”


© 2021, David Jesson & Debra Carey

#A2Z Challenge: V for Victor

During 2018’s A-Z Challenge, we wrote the first draft of “The November Deadline” and to celebrate that this is now (finally) out with beta readers, we’ll be producing a daily piece of micro-fiction linked to it – some prequel, some containing a detail not included in the story, some snippets from sequels currently being written.


Isaac liked being at Jack’s place in Essex – he was a country boy at heart in all truth. But he still went to London for the odd errand and to meet up with a mate.

He met up with Viktor every now and again for a chinwag. Neither were big drinking men, so they usually went somewhere they could get a good feed. Isaac thought he had a big appetite, but that Viktor could really put the food away!

He felt for Viktor whose unit seemed to be stuck in a constant loop of training and exercises. From what he’d said, there was a lot of frustration and despondency. But the last time they’d met, he’d barely been able to hide his excitement. After swearing Isaac to secrecy, he shared that there’d been a number of visits from some government type called Philby. Viktor disclosed he’d been overheard saying how he was “jolly keen” to smooth the way for them to be sent back into Albania.

Isaac had wished him luck and while Viktor took it as a form of “good hunting!” Isaac had actually meant “hope to see you again” – for he enjoyed working with the diminutive but undeniably tough Albanian.


© 2021, David Jesson & Debra Carey

#A2Z Challenge: U for Uniform

During 2018’s A-Z Challenge, we wrote the first draft of “The November Deadline” and to celebrate that this is now (finally) out with beta readers, we’ll be producing a daily piece of micro-fiction linked to it – some prequel, some containing a detail not included in the story, some snippets from sequels currently being written.


Isaac Baker shuffled his feet, uncomfortable with being the focus of attention.  He was stood on a low stool, raising him off the ground just enough, but placing his head perilously close to the ceiling.  Clothed, draped might be a better description, in blue serge, he counted himself lucky that he had not yet been stuck with the copious pins holding the pieces of the police uniform together.  He glanced down at the sergeant’s stripes, at the medal ribbons above the left breast pocket, and stiffened his spine.

“Hold still!” Her Ladyship commanded.  “We need to finish within the hour!”


© 2021, David Jesson & Debra Carey

#A2Z Challenge: T for Tango

During 2018’s A-Z Challenge, we wrote the first draft of “The November Deadline” and to celebrate that this is now (finally) out with beta readers, we’ll be producing a daily piece of micro-fiction linked to it – some prequel, some containing a detail not included in the story, some snippets from sequels currently being written.


Mike hunched into her coat.  It was not the most pleasant of days, and whilst not cold exactly, the wind was whipping the mizzle about.  She really didn’t want to be here, but Tink had been so shocked when she’d said that she’d never seen the point of rugby that he’d insisted they come to a match.  She was beginning to wonder whether this determination was motivated by a desire for better seats though.  It was not as though there were a great deal of women here.

“Oh! I say, that was rather good! Positively balletic!”

“That would be a line-out, bach.” Tink gave her a dirty look.

A little later, a nippy fly-half received the ball and managed to dodge amongst the opposition, making a great deal of headway until he was eventually tackled.

“That was very fluid – almost like he was dancing a tango or something.”

Neither Mike nor Tink was very happy by the end.  Mike felt she’d wasted an afternoon, and Wales drew 3 all.


© 2021, David Jesson & Debra Carey

#A2Z Challenge: S for Sierra

During 2018’s A-Z Challenge, we wrote the first draft of “The November Deadline” and to celebrate that this is now (finally) out with beta readers, we’ll be producing a daily piece of micro-fiction linked to it – some prequel, some containing a detail not included in the story, some snippets from sequels currently being written.


“Well, I never…!”
“M’lady?”
“No, it’s all right Millie, I was just thinking aloud.”

Robert’s parents had telephoned asking if she could make a place for Jenkins. Michaela hadn’t realised he’d been Robert’s man even before the army. Assigned to be Robert’s valet when he was still young, if a little older than Robert himself, he’d signed up at the same time. Quickly appointed as Robert’s batman, he’d remained faithfully at his side thereafter – even to the extent of being injured at the same time. Undoubtedly, Robert’s death would leave a hole, unfathomable to any other than perhaps Michaela herself.

While rather on the pompous side, she knew Robert always felt safe in Jenkins’ care, and he was said to have considerable skills. She decided to talk it over with Tink and Billy. If they both thought he could be useful, maybe they could share the Sierra story with him.


Author’s note: For those new to the world of the November Deadline, Echo is keeping a number of secrets. There are only four people who know everything – Benjamin Franklin might have revised his opinion if he’d met Jack, Mike, Tink, and Billy – and the Sierra story is almost everything.


© 2021, David Jesson & Debra Carey

#A2Z Challenge: R for Romeo

During 2018’s A-Z Challenge, we wrote the first draft of “The November Deadline” and to celebrate that this is now (finally) out with beta readers, we’ll be producing a daily piece of micro-fiction linked to it – some prequel, some containing a detail not included in the story, some snippets from sequels currently being written.


“Calm yerself down…”

“But he grabbed me!”

“Don’t you worry m’lass, I’ll be putting him straight on that. Ain’t no call to try ‘n kill him though.”

“But…”

“Silly lad’s betwaddled with romantic thoughts is all.”

“Yes but…”

“No doubt them other kiddies been geeing him on. I’ll be having a word with them ‘n all. No way to behave is that.”

Isaac seemed to have a way with Juliet. Sometimes she found his slow manner of speech frustrating, but at times like these, it did the trick cooling that hot temperature of hers.

“Now, you get on with stripping that weapon down while I straps up ‘is arm.”


© 2021, David Jesson & Debra Carey

#A2Z Challenge: Q for Quebec

During 2018’s A-Z Challenge, we wrote the first draft of “The November Deadline” and to celebrate that this is now (finally) out with beta readers, we’ll be producing a daily piece of micro-fiction linked to it – some prequel, some containing a detail not included in the story, some snippets from sequels currently being written.


Quantum manipulation of the world around,

Uncertainty brought under control,

Escape from tyrants…

But at what cost?

Ethics jarred by the abandonment of friends,

Callous fae become tyrants themselves.


© 2021, David Jesson & Debra Carey