Sunday Snippet – 5th May 2024

Philip HarrisWritingLeave a Comment

This week, I’ve got the opening to one of my favourite stories – Vicarious. This story came 2nd in the British Fantasy Short Story competition.

It’s not currently available anywhere, but maybe I’ll publish it myself at some point.


The children were the first to spot The Memory Man. Gillian was playing catch with her older brother when the discordant chimes echoed across the valley. Immediately, she dropped the ball and ran back toward their home. She was old enough now, almost seven, and her father had promised. He’d promised!

Mia laughed as Gillian ran past, her eyes glistening with joy, exuberant shouts of “He’s here! He’s here!” alerting everyone who hadn’t yet heard the music that Professor Ernest Mau was once again about to grace them with his presence and earn a tidy profit in the process. Mia resisted the urge to check the money in her purse. She knew how much there was and it would be enough. It had to be.

Instead, she plunged her trowel into the dirt, rooting around until she found the edge of the misshapen lump of plastic polluting her garden. She levered it out and flicked off the last stray lumps of black-brown mud. It was a cat-shaped piano. Or the remains of one, at least. Most of it was missing and what little remained was twisted and warped. There were three keys, all melted into place, and one baleful eye, the surface blistered and scorched brown. Mia placed her fingers on the keys and pressed them. They didn’t move, but the notes rang out in her mind. She let the tune in her head fade away then threw the remains of the keyboard into the plastic bucket beside her.

[Sunday Snippet – 5th May 2024 by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 5th May 2024]

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