Guest Post: Exciting Short Story from Adrian Burrows


For those of you that don’t remember, I had the pleasure of first having Adrian Burrows on the blog a few months ago, when he wrote a really helpful, slightly comical post about how he became a writer.  He also happens to be the author of Escapades in Bizzarchaeology, which you can find out more about in that post.  But today, we have something a little different and really, really, cool.  A short story that he wrote and wants to share with all of us on my blog!!! I LOVED this when I read it, and it’s had me thinking for a long time, so let’s get to it.  (ps. I have a question for you all at the end, and Adrian wants to know the answer too, so get ready 🙂 )

‘I’m fucked’

Bishop Rutherford raised a bushy eyebrow at the verbal indiscretion, the gentle, swirling sweeps of his quill coming to a brutal and sudden stop upon the parchment laid in front of him.

‘I’m fucked’ reasserted the old man, spluttering the words from beneath beer splattered beard.

Rutherford gently eased the turkey feather into the ink pot at his desk and crossed his gnarled fingers in front of him. When he spoke, it was of the calm demeanour of a man who has seen far too much and understood too little.

‘To be fucked once could be seen as an accident, to be fucked twice? One would have to see that as intentional’.

The old man looked confused, at least Rutherford assumed that the expression was one of consternation. It was rather hard to tell, the saggy skin of the old man’s face seemed to simply crumple like paper into an undiscernible mess. Rutherford thought it best the old man sat down, and gestured with ringed fingers to the chair.

‘I’ve found the right person?’ questioned the old man as he creaked his limbs onto the wooden seat.

‘That rather depends’ intoned Rutherford ‘on what you mean by the right person?’

‘You’re the bishop, who offers’; at this the old man spoke in wheezing whisper, as if afeared that the shadows of the room hid away prying ears, ‘hell insurance?’

Rutherford’s eyes widened slightly, though the old man was not aware of this, for the dark deep bags surrounding them, hid any expression.

‘That is not a service I have been called upon in quite some time, the nature of your fucking must be severe indeed for you to require such a thing.’

‘I’ve been told’ the old man continued ‘that you can stop me from going to hell, that you can make sure I avoid that fate?’

The old man peered at the Bishop, wetness forming from the mess of his milky white eyes.

‘Is it true? Can you do it? Can you guarantee God’s forgiveness?’

Rutherford nodded, the fatty bulge of his neck folding into itself.

‘And if not God’s forgiveness, I can guarantee the Devil’s ignorance. For a fee.’

‘Anything’ the old man spat with desperation, ‘anything’.

‘This is not a fee that a man would like to pay. Are you certain?’

The old man reached forwards, grasping at the warped wood of the desk, ‘Yes. Please God yes.’

‘Very well’ Rutherford eased his bulk from his leather chair, and with a sweep of fine flowing robes, moved to the corner of the room. From a compartment, hidden from the old man’s eyes by the weakness of the pale candlelight, Rutherford retrieved an aged parchment and unfurled it upon the desk. He pointed with a stubby finger at the small and plentiful writing upon it.

‘A straightforward enough piece of legislation. And by the grace of God invested in me, capable of sparing you from an eternal fate of hell and fire.’

The old man grasped for the parchment but Rutherford swiftly swatted his hand away.

‘Can you write?’ asked Rutherford. It was a rarity for any of his clients to be able to do so, but he liked to ask, for if they could it would save him the tedious work of having to transcribe their dull transgressions. Thievery, adultery, murder. Hate, shame, fear, grief and pain. A man, Rutherford knew, could become distant and detached by the constant and reliable tedium of human frailty.

To Rutherford’s surprise the old man nodded. The Bishop whipped the quill from the pot and passed it to old man, a flick of ink darting from it to stain the wood of the table. The old man gripped the stem of the quill with trembling fingers.

‘Simply write your crime upon the dotted line. I, and the glory of God the everlasting, will take care of the rest for you.’

The old man slowly wrote four words on the parchment, his body tense and taut as he did so. And yet, Rutherford considered, on the completion of the fourth word the figure sagged and placed the quill upon the desk with focused consideration.

Rutherford gathered the parchment in his hands, turning it to face him and read the four words.

He read them again.

And again.

‘What is the fee?’ asked the old man.

Rutherford’s eyes glanced up from the parchment to focus on the man. He considered the possibility of this frail and feather light figure reshaped and reformed into the man he claimed to be.

‘What is the fee?’ repeated the old man.

Rutherford snatched the quill from the table and rammed it into the old man’s neck, who let out a soft, aching wheeze from the very depth of his lungs. Rutherford twisted and pulled, cold and crimson, across the papery skin. The old man’s life blood poured forth, darkening the deep red knots of the wooden desk, as his soulless body flopped, discarded, to the floor.

Rutherford carefully slid the bloodied quill into the ink pot from whence it came.

‘The fee is far greater than you can pay.’

Isn’t that amazing? Aren’t you desperate to know what the words are?  Me too!  But unfortunately for all of us, Adrian told me that he won’t let anyone know, because he’s thinking about making it into a longer story for all of our enjoyment.  Still, we’d both love to hear your guesses, and who knows, maybe it will provide him with some inspiration!!

What do you think the four words were? 

If you loved that story, make sure to head over to Twitter and follow Adrian @adeauthor, check out his, or follow him on Goodreads

Thank you so much to Adrian for letting me share this story with everyone here!!

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Review: Love in LA (Short Story)

A 4 star review of Love in L.A, a short story by Dagoberto Gilb

By Dagoberto Gilb

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

This short story seems surface level at first, but its themes become more complex the longer you think about it.

Love in LA is about a man named Jake who is driving on a weekday morning.  Unlike most commuters, Jake isn’t going to work.  Instead, he is driving and thinking about the glamorous lifestyle that he wants to live.  Because of that, he ends up getting into a car accident with a beautiful woman named Mariana…. and it goes from there.

Mariana is essentially the opposite of Jake.  Where he is ungrateful for what he has, but doesn’t want to work for it, she is going to work every day but still lives with her parents.  Where he is a liar and a cheat, she is trusting and earnest.  This creates an interesting dynamic that progresses as the story goes on.

Before you start thinking about an amazing love story, let me just tell you that what happens is not what you will expect.  The author writes this in a way so that as you read, you become increasingly shocked by the main character.  He is characterized throughout the story so that it is not until the very last paragraph that you get a full vision of who he is.  Because of that, I would highly recommend a second read-through (it’s only a couple pages long) in order to pick up on the little details that you may have missed the first time.  Gilb does a great job of adding those small details that make the story much clearer the more you read it.

Another thing that I love about the story is that there are many different layers to the meaning, so you pick up on new pieces the longer that you think about it.  This story has themes about wealth, hard work, and relationships (If you pick up on any more let me know).

What I believe Gilb did best is that if you told the story from Mariana’s perspective instead of Jake’s it would be COMPLETELY different.  It is ironic thinking about this fact, and it makes you question other interactions that you have had with people in your life, and their validity.  I think this is really cool, becauses it creates an emphasis on the main conflict of the story (trying to write this without giving anything away).

I would recommend this story to anyone, both male or female, middle school to adult.  It is an interesting, enjoyable read whether you are looking to dissect literary elements or not.

Have you read this or another story by Dagoberto Gilb? Let us know your thoughts below!


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Review: Revelation (Short Story)

A 5 star review of Revelation, by Flannery O’connor

by Flannery O’Connor

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

This short story is about a woman, named Mrs.Turpin, and her thoughts and feelings over the course of a day.  The main setting is a doctor’s waiting room, where Mrs.Turpin goes because of her husband, Claud.  Mrs.Turpin is instantly judgemental, thinking about the different classes each person in the waiting room falls into, and how she is better than the majority of people on Earth.  Then comes Mary Grace, an “ugly” overweight, acne covered girl who sits there, glaring at Mrs.Turpin and reading a book.  Mrs.Turpin, being the way that she is, doesn’t exceptionally like Mary Grace… and it goes from there.

This is a classic Flannery O’Connor short story whose theme relates good-from-bad, and right-from-wrong.  It has a great plot, and it leaves you filled with emotions about each of the main characters.  It should only take about 20 minutes to read, so it is great for if you, like Mrs.Turpin, are stuck in a waiting room.  Even though it is short, the themes and the thoughts which it provokes will stick with you for much longer.  I found myself judging Mrs.Turpin, and then wondering if I was just like her, and panicking (you’ll understand if you read the book) and then going back to wondering just what the author was trying to convey.

For the most part, it is entirely realistic even if, like me, you are not a devout Catholic.  The only part where I found it to be a bit too dramatic was the very end.  O’Connor added this part, as it was not originally included, and in my opinion I feel as though she should have just left it out entirely.  It became very religious, god comes back to Earth feel, which I personally didn’t like.  That being said, it is only for the very last paragraph of the story so by all means do not let that discourage you.

The book is filled with the in depth thoughts of Mrs.Turpin, and her descriptions of the people around her, but there are also some very comical moments interspersed, allowing you to become even more involved in what you are reading.  This is a great short story, and I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a short yet thought provoking next read.

Have you read this or any of Flannery O’Connor’s other short stories? What did you think? Let us know, comment below!