A Cheese Sandwich by Rhys Jones

She was allowed a cheese sandwich for her dinner, just one. It was a good diet if you didn’t cheat it, but she always tried too. Yes, she did only have one cheese sandwich, but it was the biggest cheese sandwich ever!

The girl had a friend at a bakery who baked her a massive bap, it was bigger than her car and she had to hire a trailer just to get it home. It weighed loads! The neighbours had to help her carry it into the garage, then help her cut it with a chainsaw, flip the top off and lay the two halves next to each other. The girl shovelled butter on so thick it was awful to behold, but she liked it like that. It took almost a thousand cheese slices to cover it all and give a good cheese to bread ratio. And then with the neighbours help the top went back on and the mega sandwich was finished.

By now the girl was starving beyond belief, but she took a moment to admire the massive sandwich. My god it was big, but it was still only one cheese sandwich, so she was still sticking to her diet right?

She went at it face first eating it like Pac-Man. It took hours to eat. She was stuffed and feeling sick but she managed to finish just in time for Weight Losers.

The girl stepped onto the scales that night and was horrified to see that she had put on one thousand pounds this week! How? Shed stuck to the diet, only had the one sandwich for diner. This diet clearly didn’t work.


Sabbath by Robin Bell

"You and your questions. It's the day of rest"

"Do I have to rest? I wanted to go and play football."

"Just go."

Heather was at the end of her tether. Her son, Daniel Eight, had the worst attention span of any human ever. Ten minutes and he'd forgotten whatever had gone before. Most kids were like that now in this modern world. Heather pined for her teenage years way back in 2015. The internet was used to chat to friends and for vlogging, not the mindless crap that seemed to inhabit it now. Maybe she'd just got old, but no, it wasn't just that. How the world had turned to shit in the years following, she thought, but using her curse inhibitor to blank the word shit from her mind.

Films were now five minutes long, books three pages, most entertainment came in second long bursts of noise. Only Heather's faith in God and the sabbath felt like things she could relax into, and they were mostly ruined by her son and his inane questions, the same ones every week.

He ran back in, football under his arm.

"Why do you call it the Sabbath when everyone else calls it a Sunday Mum?"

Heather hung her head and not for the first time wondered if there really was a God. How could there be in a world like this where nothing mattered, nothing got done, and there was no point in anything and seemingly no rest from the pointlessness.

She pulled out her "Every family must have one" gun and shot Daniel Eight, it didn't really matter, Daniel Nine was on the way.

Aftershave by Robin Bell

Alan hated the present, the right now, the moment he was stood in.

It gave him intense pain to even exist in the moment, it felt terrible. It made him itch deep inside his skull, it made him breathe really fast, and want to die.

There was no way around this, to live you had to exist in the present moment. The only way Alan could get any ease was to take his mind elsewhere. He'd tried all sorts of things, pills, mind altering hallucinogens, and whilst some offered temporary relief he never found an answer.

When a problem feels huge sometimes the simple solution can be hard to pinpoint. Eventually Alan managed to find simple reasoning to control his life.

He stared into the mirror dragging the razor across his face - down his jawline. Within his mind, blood curdled thinking about how close it was to cutting the skin, letting his blood flow, opening a vein. Blades with a taste for blood.

Simple reasoning.

That's what it always came down to. He took his mind to thinking of the future, the balm of the sweet smelling aftershave that would make everything better. There was always something in the future to make the present bearable. And if he couldn't find something to focus on from the future he went back to the past, and thought of that.

But he realised as he never existed in the present anymore, that he had to go further and further back to recall a memory from the past. As time blurred in his head, he never existed in the present, he used up all his past,and nothing made him feel better in the future. He pushed time away from him, and opened up a void of thought.

Eventually there was no aftershave, no balm, no thoughts that could help within the realm of time. There was just Alan who hated the present, and couldn't live with it, couldn't think of it, couldn't function.

Without anything to make his life bearable, with no comfort, thought was replaced with a search, a journey for the aftershave. The element that would make Alan's life bearable.

And Alan realised instead of avoiding life and the present, this was what made him human.

Self Indulgent by Rhys Jones

Tom wanted to indulge in himself. Nobody was as good as him; nothing was as good as him in fact. Everything he did was aimed towards himself because he was the best. Tom didn’t care about anybody or anything else. He stepped on anybody to get what he wanted, and he denied himself nothing.

When Tom thought about himself he would become so overcome with excitement that he would nibble on his own flesh just for the taste of perfection. But that taste wasn’t enough, he just wanted to feel himself inside himself, that’s what he really wanted.

First he cut his left foot off, cooked it and ate it. The rest of his left leg followed. Then the other leg, he thought he looked very sexy in his wheel chair, so sexy in fact that he cut off his privates and ate them raw.

Eventually, when he was little more than a torso, he had to have people come in to help him, which was only right, why wouldn’t he be waited on?

He used a good portion of his savings to buy himself a machine that would keep him alive; this allowed him to eat most of his internal organs. His heart tasted the best he thought.

Tom by this point was basically just a head and a stomach held together by what was left of his body, but still he wasn’t satisfied. He still wanted to indulge in more. Slowly, helped by his waiting staff and hired surgeons, he consumed the parts of his brain that no longer served a purpose, leaving only fragments of it.

To eat the last part of his brain, Tom had to be attached to a purpose built chewing machine. As Tom ate the last of himself he finally felt complete.

Apple Tree by Robin Bell

It looked exactly the same as it used to.

Michael Holroyd, 53, was married with two kids, and hated the fact that those words defined his life. He wasn't defined by beliefs, interests or personality anymore.

He needed to get away from his life, so he woke up early and got his bike out of the shed and began cycling with no destination in mind.

Subconsciously he ended up here, where he spent his favourite summer with Jude. He stared at the apple tree, which still bore fruit, and smiled. Life seemed so much easier then, how he could bask in the smile of a pretty girl that he loved, how they could lie there chatting in the sun all day long without a care.

Life didn't seem like that now, he had non-stop responsibilities. He had to care for his family, look after his kids, keep his wife happy, stay in his job to bring the money in. He felt nothing anymore, he didn't ever feel appreciated but he was doing the right thing.

He couldn't remember the last time he smiled, the last time he'd felt happy.

He was over exaggerating but as he stared at the apple tree and remembered Jude, that felt like the last time he'd been happy. It felt like the last time something had felt real. Nothing seemed to change, his life had plateaued, and he'd let it, he accepted it.

Michael was glad that he recognised the apple tree, that it looked exactly as it did all those years ago. For once he was happy that things never changed. It afforded him to remember his first love, Jude, who died at the age of seventeen. Michael felt as if he hadn't lived since.