Napkin Story: ‘All In The Mind Game’ by June Taylor

Following on from last Friday’s post, here is another winner from the Napkin Story Project by McBookishness. The competition asked Leeds writers for short but scary flash fiction. The stories would be published in napkin format for Halloween 2013 for various coffee-drinking readers in cafés to peruse. This story is by napkin competition winner June Taylor, with her story ‘All In The Mind Game’. 

‘All In The Mind Game’

I wander through walls, looking, searching.  They see me, but they don’t always see.  So engrossed in their texting, their gaming.  Plugged into music or their friend’s lazy gossip.

I breeze by an arm or a leg, make hairs stand on end in an electric dance.

Some are simply adrift in idle thoughts, daydreaming of better things to do, better places to be.  People to love and to love them back.  Lost in swirling cappuccinos, frothy moustaches, greedy and giddy on cake.

A muffin for your thoughts, little one?

Sometimes a flicker in their eyes, a double-take, a shudder of recognition.  Is it?

Then fear.  And a chill across human flesh, so silky, so smooth.  When they look again, if I’m still there, that’s when they really see me.  They’ll get up and leave in a hurry, look back for me in the crowd.

But I’ll smile to reassure you I have you in my sights.

You can run but you won’t get far.  I’ll follow you day into night.  Night into day.  Daydream into nightmare.   I’ll cover you in a billowing black cloak, making it hard to breathe, keeping your screams inside, silent and stupid.   I’m there, but you can’t explain me.  I’ll blow cold down your ears, make waves in your stomach.  The only chatter, your teeth clacking together.  The only game is mine as I plug into your mind and download thoughts into your head – spooky and spiteful, scary and strange.

The world has gone dark.  No light at the end of the tunnel.  Even your friend’s lazy gossip is far, far away.  But if you’re smart you’ll see me for what I am.  Just a passing whisper.  A frisson.  A figment of your imagination.

Until the next time.


June Taylor

June Taylor

June Taylor is a writer from Leeds, who, from an early age realised the only way to make sense of the world was to make up stories and look at things sideways.  Or upside-down.

She writes plays, short stories and novels, and has a background in TV promos. She was the runner-up in the 2011 Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction competition with her YA book “Lovely me, Lovely You”.   In addition to several short plays performed locally, last year her full-length dark comedy farce “RSVP” played at the Preston Tringe and was a sellout at 7Arts in Leeds (produced & directed by Twisted Avenue Theatre Co).  She is currently writing her second novel and working on a musical version of “RSVP”.

She is also on the Board of Script Yorkshire.

Follow her on Twitter.

Fiona Gell

Fiona is a lifelong reading enthusiast and book lover. Her career started as a bookseller and has never really veered away from the written and spoken word. It was a dream for her to be a founder member of The Leeds Big Bookend and the Northern Short Story Festival. She continues to be its Director.

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