Trevor Belshaw Author

Author of Out of Control

Category: Short Stories

Desperate Measures

First published in Ireland’s Own magazine.

Michael Keagan stared despondently at the bleak winter sky. The light snow that had started to fall half an hour ago had become heavier and begun to settle.
‘Fabulous,’ he whispered, ‘the first Christmas snow we get in decades and I’m stood around in it, freezing to death.’
Cursing under his breath, he pulled his hood forward, checked his watch for the 20th time and wondered, once again, why he had chosen to wear trainers instead of the warm winter boots that were sitting under the stairs at home.

Christmas Eve wasn’t the best time to do a spot of breaking and entering, he decided.

Keagan looked around, the garden was quiet. His hiding place could not be overlooked by the neighbours, he had chosen well. The laurels were excellent cover and he could see into the drawing room clearly. The occupants, a man in his 40s and a slightly younger woman, were sat together in front of an open fire, drinking and sharing some joke or happy memory.

Keagan willed them to go to bed, it was 11.45. It couldn’t be much longer now surely? There was a child in the house, kids always got up early on Christmas day. Parents usually got up with them.
Five minutes later his patience was rewarded. The couple left their fireside seats and headed for the door leading to the stairs. The man remained for a while, turned off the Christmas tree lights and placed a metal guard in front of the coal fire. He checked his watch as he left the room; closing the door behind him.
Keagan watched as the stair light was turned off. It was replaced by a bedroom light and the duller light of the en suite close by. Not long now. He reached for a cigarette then decided it was too risky. He would have to wait.

Ten minutes later the lights were extinguished. He hoped the pair weren’t feeling amorous.

Keagan waited in the shrubbery for another thirty minutes before he decided it was safe enough to proceed. He took a final glance at the upstairs window and hurried across the lawn, crouching as he ran. The snow was coming down heavier than ever and would quickly cover any footprints he left behind.
Still crouching, he crossed the patio and headed for a set of French doors. A pair of small garden statues guarded them, one either side of the frame. Keagan lifted the right hand statue carefully and groped underneath until he found a key. He grinned and nodded to himself. He knew it would be there; people were so lax about security matters.



With a trembling hand, he turned the key in the lock. The door opened with a low groan, the warm air that greeted his entry, welcome after the freezing two hour reconnaissance. Keagan dipped into his pocket and pulled out a small pencil torch. Sliding a tiny button forward he shone the thin beam around the room. The door he wanted was on the left and with a few quick strides he crossed the timber floor and let himself into the drawing room.

The fire had begun to die down but gave out enough light to enable him to turn off the torch. Keagan wandered over to the Christmas tree, a dozen parcels lay underneath. Picking a couple at random he shook them, guessed the contents then returned them to the pile.

‘Now for the tricky bit,’ he thought.

He walked to the stair door and slowly eased the handle down. He grimaced as it creaked open, didn’t anyone lubricate hinges anymore? Keagan waited for a full minute in case the sound had been heard, but no-one stirred in the rooms above. He decided to leave the door ajar, for his heart as much as anything else. The noise had un-nerved him.
On tip toe and grateful now for his decision to wear the trainers, Keagan crept up the stairs a step at a time, listening intently for any sound of movement.
At the top he halted and waited for a few seconds; all was quiet. He turned to the right, eased open the white painted door in front of him and entered the bedroom. A small night light glowed on the bedside table, he smiled to himself; she never had liked the dark.

Keagan looked toward the small figure curled up under the covers and caught his breath. The girl was asleep, breathing softly, deep in dreams; her golden hair spread over the pillow. He moved slowly to the side of the bed, reached into his pocket and brought out a small package containing a bracelet and a short letter. Holding his breath, he gently lifted her hand and laid the package on the coverlet, then set her hand on top. Instinctively, he leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead.
He wanted to stay longer, but he daren’t. He wanted to wake her, to tell her he loved her, to tell her he hadn’t forgotten, but that could end in disaster. Laura’s mother had steadfastly refused him access, despite the court order he had won. She had even refused to pass on gifts and messages. Were she to discover him in this burglar role, her revenge would know no limits

Keagan leaned over her again, whispered, ’Soon, my darling,’ then, wiping away a tear, he turned and left the room as quietly as he had entered it.
Back outside, Keagan replaced the key under the statue and took a last look at the house he knew so well, the house he used to share with Laura before life had become so difficult. His lawyers had insisted that access would be granted in the New Year It all should have been sorted out much sooner. Had it been left to Laura’s mother and him, it would have been.

Once on the street he lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply. The snow fell steadily. It was in for the night, there would indeed be a white Christmas; Laura would love that.
Back in the car Keagan lit another cigarette, fired up the engine, turned on the radio and adjusted the dial for the heater. He had a two hour drive ahead of him, but the journey would be shortened by the feeling of a job well done.

As he was about to pull away he heard a beep from his pocket. Keagan checked the phone; a text message was waiting in his inbox.

‘Thanks Dad, I love the bracelet. Happy Christmas! Laura.

Through misty eyes, Keagan checked his mirrors, pulled away from the kerb and turned up the radio. As he drove along the deserted High Street he heard the familiar voice of Bing Crosby wishing everyone a merry Christmas.
‘Someday soon we all will be together, if the fates allow. Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow…’
Keagan nodded in agreement and headed toward the motorway.

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The Visit

The Visit.

He walked across the veranda and stopped just behind her.

‘Jodie?’

The young girl stared into the darkness and said nothing.

‘Jodie, I…’

‘Don’t talk to me.’

‘Come on, Honey, I just…’

The girl whistled tunelessly and studied the darkness.

‘Jodie don’t…’

‘You left us.’

The man bowed his head. ‘I know, Honey. I didn’t want to.’

‘You just left, without even saying goodbye.’

‘I couldn’t, Jodie, there wasn’t time, your Mom…’

‘Mom was hurt real bad. Do you know that?’

‘Yes, Honey, I know that. Do you miss me too, just a little?’

‘No, I got over you, it took a while, but I made it.’

‘I never got over you, Jodie. Never will.’

The girl got up from the step and turned to face him.

‘You haven’t changed much.’

‘No,’ he laughed. ‘I don’t suppose I have.’ He reached out to put a hand on her shoulder.

She stepped back quickly. ‘Have you seen Ryan?’

‘Not yet, I don’t know if he wants to see me.’

‘Probably not. He calls Jim, Dad, now.’

‘And you? Do you call Jim, Dad?’

She shook her head. ‘He’s not my Dad. I call him Jim.’

‘Is he looking after you Okay? Does he…’

‘What do you care? You left us. He wouldn’t be here but for that.’ She sat on the step again and wiped away and angry tear.

He placed a soft hand on her hair. She snapped her head away, then dropped her chin to her chest and began to sob. ‘You went… without…saying…goodbye.’

He sat on the step and placed his arm around her shoulder. A few seconds later she buried her head in his chest.

‘I would have given anything to stay, Sweetheart. You know that. I would never do anything to hurt you.’

The sobbing slowly subsided. When she spoke again her voice was soft, all the anger gone.

‘Christmas was bad, and Thanksgiving. I didn’t celebrate my birthday, not properly.’

‘I couldn’t send you anything, Jodie. It wasn’t possible.’

‘I know, Dad. I’m older now, I understand.’

A voice called from inside the house. ‘Jodie? Dinner’s ready. Come wash your hands.’

She stood up slowly. He crouched and took her hands in his. ‘You had better go or you’ll be in trouble.’

She threw her arms round his neck and hugged him. ‘Thanks for coming, Dad. Will I see you again?’

‘He sucked on his teeth and tipped his head to the side. ‘Never say never. It’s difficult, but I’ll try to come over now and then. It might be a while ’til next time though.’

She stepped back and gave him a smile. ‘I love you Dad.’

He nodded slowly. ‘I know, Honey, and I love you, never forget that.’

She smiled again. ‘Sorry for behaving like a brat.’ She turned away and crossed the veranda as Jim appeared in the doorway.

‘Jodie, how many more times…’

‘Sorry, Jim. I was just thinking about Dad…it’s three years ago today that he died.’

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Designer Shorts

Re-Released today. The Kindle version of my collection of Short Stories, poetry and sample chapters.

Knees provided by
David W Robinson

Designer Shorts is an anthology of short stories, excerpts from works in progress and a bonus section of poetry by the author of Tracy’s Hot Mail, T A Belshaw.
The collection includes two emails from the sequel to Tracy’s Hot Mail, Tracy’s Celebrity Hot Mail.
The Zombie Poets is a rather amusing tale about the aftermath of a Zombie apocalypse. The Zombies don’t want to eat brains; they have something far worse in mind.
The Psychic is a short story about a bored policeman stuck on desk duty, who encounters a strange individual delivering a very disturbing message.
Blind Date is a three-part story of a woman who allows herself to be persuaded to go on a blind date with the friend of a friend.
The Instant Messaging Machine, the Bath O’ Matic and The Time Machine are a series of Steampunk stories based around a Victorian inventor and the wife of his best friend who is determined to become the test driver for his amazing inventions.
The Second Valentine’s Day Massacre is a tale of gangster revenge.
Can You tell me Where God Is, tells the story, in verse, of a man struggling to bypass heaven’s insufferable, red tape.
At My Expense, is a poem about MPs expenses, whilst Clicking Gran is a children’s poem long listed in the Plough Prize international poetry Competition.

My Mistake was highly commended in the Farringdon Poetry competition.

Available on Kindle, Click Here. Amazon UK



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The Steampunk Instant Messaging Machine

From 2011

‘What an interesting device, Sir Oswald. What does it do exactly?’ Albert Parkin straightened his cravat, leant back in the stiff leather chair and took a sip from his brandy glass.

‘This,’ said Sir Oswald, ‘is my latest invention. I call it the IM machine. It is capable of sending short messages to recipients anywhere in the world. Providing they have one of these devices of course.’

‘Doesn’t the Telegraph system already do that?’ asked Albert.

Sir Oswald nodded. ‘Yes, but this little beauty can be set up in a person’s own home or office.’ A huge grin spread over his face. ‘No waiting for the delivery boy.’

‘It does looks very impressive,’ said Mrs Parkin from the back of the machine. Her head appeared through a cloud of steam. ‘How does one send an instant message?’

Sir Oswald puffed out his chest and stood proudly in front of the contraption. He opened a small door and threw in a single lump of coal. A fresh burst of steam hissed from a valve at the rear making Mrs Parkin scurry round to the front. She laid a soft hand on Sir Oswald’s arm as a small cloud of smoke snaked from a funnel on top.

Let’s say,’ said Sir Oswald, ‘that I wanted to send a message to Mrs Pettigrew, my secretary at Crankshaft and Piston Ltd. All I would have to do is this…’

Sir Oswald pulled a red lever, twisted a dial, then pulled on a green handle. He turned to Mrs Parkin with a smile as a panel slid to the side and a typewriter keyboard presented itself.

‘Voila.’

Sir Oswald fingers danced across the brightly polished keys. As he hit return, the machine emitted a small toot. There was a crunching of cogs, and more steam hissed from the safety valve. To Mrs Parkin’s delight a thin strip of tape appeared from a slot in front of her.

At Sir Oswald’s invitation, Mrs Parkin pulled the tape from the slot and read aloud.

‘Mrs Pettigrew. Please reply to this message immediately.’

Sir Oswald fed the tape into a second slot just above the first, and pressed the return key again.

‘Shouldn’t take a minute,’ he preened. ‘We have an identical machine in the office. We’re hoping to have thirty of them littered around the county by the end of next year.’

Sir Oswald poured himself another brandy and strolled back to the IM machine.

‘It’s taking longer than usual,’ he said with a frown.

Continue reading
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The 2nd Valentine’s Day Massacre

My first, and last, gangster story. From circa 2011. This story got a good few thousand hits with a lot of interest from the USA.

The 2nd Valentine’s Day Massacre

I climbed out of the model A Ford, closed the door behind me and tapped on the side of the car to signal Jimmy to pull away. We chose the Ford deliberately, a car so common that no one would remember. I would have liked to have travelled in style but we couldn’t risk Luigi’s Cadillac, someone would be sure to notice it.
I turned up my collar against the biting wind, pulled my hat down over my eyes and crossed the slush-covered street. It was quiet, but I was still wary. I looked around to check that I wasn’t being followed. I needn’t have worried, only a few people braved the cold February night. I rapped on a glass panelled door and it was opened almost immediately by a guy wearing greasy trousers and a vest. He was sweating profusely, even though it was freezing cold in the hallway. He noticed my quizzical expression.
‘Laundry,’ he muttered. ‘We have a laundry at the back.’
I grunted and followed him upstairs to a room overlooking the street. My host nodded to the window and turned to leave, but before he reached the door I’d slipped the cheese wire round this throat. He died a minute or so later.
The dirty, single curtain was pulled across, so I stood to the side of the window and inched it open. Whoever had selected the vantage point had chosen well, I had a clear, unhindered view of the restaurant over the road. I pulled up a chair, lit a cigarette, checked my pocket watch and waited for Mary to signal.
At 8.30 I saw the light in the room at the side of the restaurant flick on and off twice. My audience had arrived, it was time to get the show on the road.
I took the stairs two at a time, then stood for a moment to give the adrenalin time to settle. Satisfied, I let myself out, checked the street as I crossed, then walked down the alley at the side of the restaurant.
Mary was at the back door with a smile on her lips and a glint in her eye. She looked good, even in her waitress clothes. She leaned forward and our lips touched. Her scent took me straight back to her bedroom, to one of the many nights we had spent together over the past few weeks. My eyes dropped to that wonderful chest, I felt the sap rise, I wanted her there and then, on the cold floor tiles.
Mary sensed what was going through my mind. ‘Easy Tiger.’ Continue reading

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