grave mistake

Grave mistake is today’s WEP prompt, but first…


Ten years pass in flash—

plus reviews, news and info…

Jemima Pett blogs!

Ten years of my drivel or wittering or, if you’re kind, stories

The trouble with blog anniversaries is that the story of how I got started is boring.  You’ve heard it before, on the five year post. Or maybe you’ve arrived since then?

Looking through my blog posts to catalogue my flash fiction (that’s next month’s IWSG post), I reckon the golden age of this blog was 2013 to 2016.  Things have been happening in the last couple of years that made the writing dry up a bit.  Since those are over, maybe I’ll get back into the swing of weekly flash fiction. And maybe revive the Wednesday haiku. I like haikus.

Today I’m combining everything with the WEP+IWSG writing challenge, the prompt for which is Grave Mistake. All I can say is that I was reminded of a Halloween story I did in 2015 with the challenge of Muppets meets Rocky Horror Show. It features my current guinea pigs, as themselves.

Today is also the last port of call for my Princelings Revolution Launch tour.  So apart from enjoying the story, please take advantage of the Rafflecopter, and click on the Badge to check the full tour list. This includes guest appearances with Denise Covey, Alex Cavanaugh, and Ronel Janse van Vuuren (and each post is unique!). I’m sure everyone would be very happy to see you!

Feel free to comment on the story (997 words, be gentle with me), as well as answering the giveaway comment suggestion.

Grave Mistake

“Traditionally, we go out partying at midnight on Halloween.”

“Who says?” Roscoe glared at Biggles through the bars that separated them.

“Well, I was listening on the iParsnip and the folks at Hugs Towers were telling tales of dancing and champagne, and wild romances, all because of Halloween.”

Roscoe sniffed. He had never heard this, mainly because he and Neville weren’t connected to the iParsnip. Biggles had the technology to turn root vegetables into communication devices, if only they had one suitable.

He sidled off and asked Neville, his cagemate, what he thought.

“Sounds fun,” Neville said, chewing a long stalk of hay. “I’ve heard stories about the old-timers who did it. Dylan and his gang.”

Roscoe sighed. The stories of what Dylan had got up to! He was sick of them. It was time to make their own legends.

Sometime later, making sure he didn’t appear too keen, Roscoe wandered over to Biggles as he was eating. 

“So if we went out, how would we do it?” he asked.

Biggles paused, looking up at the window, while chewing a particularly crunchy pellet. “Leave it with me.”


“Are you sure this will work?” Roscoe stood on a tube leading out through an enlarged hole.

“As long as we can get back in afterwards, yes.”

“Why wouldn’t we get back in afterwards? Oh, help!” Roscoe slithered through the hole and down the outside of the drain. He dusted himself off and looked around. And up. “Whoa!” he said, wobbling a bit as he gazed into space. 

Neville landed beside him. “MIND…” 

Too late, they failed to scatter as Biggles crashed down on them. “Thanks for breaking my fall, guys. That bit had me worried.”

“Right. Where next?” Roscoe spotted the garden furniture leaning against the wall. “That way!” 

Neville looked up at the hole above the drain. It was very high. He shrugged, and raced after the white of Roscoe’s coat partly obscured by the shadow that was Biggles.

After the shed, the compost heap, and the strawberry bed, they were on new territory.

“You know this is where Mam buried Bertie, don’t you?” Biggles said. His brother had died nearly six months ago.

“Yes, she said he was pushing up the bluebells now.” Roscoe knew about bluebells, but not where they were. “Where’s the party?”

“Toby said ‘in the tunnel at the bottom of the garden.’ Let’s go down and look.” Biggles hoped he’d heard Toby right.

It was a starry night, after days of rain. They crept down the hill, between the bushes, past the raspberries, and underneath the geranium foliage. Neville started to shiver.

“You can’t be cold under all that hair,” Biggles protested.

“I’m soaking,” Neville wheeked piteously. “It’s all right for you with your thick curly hair. Water runs off you like… something or other.”

“Duck’s back, Nev. That’s what you’re thinking of,” Roscoe finished for him. “Come on, there’s a hole there, it must be the tunnel.”


Neville followed Biggles and Neville down into a passageway. He could swear someone, or something, followed them. He turned once or twice, but saw nothing. Neville shook off his unease, and concentrated on the party that surely awaited them.

“There’s a light ahead,” Biggles called back to the softly. “An orange glow.”

They emerged into a huge cavern, a fire in the centre casting orange light against white chalk walls. Voices echoed, but nobody was there. Walking around, Roscoe felt the voices came from other tunnels, or the fire itself.

“Stand still, Neville!” he called. “Wait by the tunnel we came in from or we’ll never find it again.”

Neville nodded, and retraced his steps. He hadn’t passed any other tunnels. Neville stood in the entrance to it and faced the scene in front of him.

He could see Roscoe and Biggles jerking about in the middle, jumping and twisting, and generally enjoying themselves beside the fire. He couldn’t see anyone else. Why were they doing that? He didn’t mind standing on guard. He wasn’t really a party animal. It all seemed very odd though.

He felt a cool mist at his back. “I’d get them out of here if I were you, Nev.” said a familiar voice.

He turned. “Bertie! I thought you were…”

“I am,” Bertie said. “It’s Halloween and we get to come out of our graves and feast and party till dawn. You shouldn’t be here. Get them away, before it’s too late.”

“But I can’t go down there, I’ll lose our tunnel.”

“Call them.”

Neville called and called, but Roscoe and Biggles ignored him. Bertie went down to lead them back, but he would get them to the side of the dance area and they’d slip away.  

“What can’t they resist?” Bertie called.

“Oh, Biggles, cucumber! Roscoe, cucumber!”

Each faltered, only to be swept up by another partner, as Bertie could see. 

“Try something else.”

“Biscuit time!”

Both Biggles and Neville stopped and looked straight at Neville. Bertie pushed them off the dance floor. They stumbled towards Neville as he called them again, promising their favourite biscuit. Bertie continued to herd them to Neville, who turned as they reached him, letting the word ‘biscuit’ echo in the tunnel as he raced towards their entrance.

Finally they reached their garden. First Neville, then Roscoe, then Biggles climbed out, pushed by Bertie from the rear. They turned to thank him. 

He wasn’t there. All they could hear was his voice. “It’s wrong to come looking for people underground at Halloween. Look for me in the spring instead. I’ll be pushing up the bluebells then.”

It took all Neville’s pushing to get Biggles and Roscoe back up into the hole above the drain, but once back in their room the spell wore off.

“I reckon we had a narrow escape, there.” Roscoe shook himself and smoothed his coat.

Neville took the iParsnip into safe-keeping. Biggles said nothing. Meeting the ghost of his brother had nearly been a grave mistake. 

© J M Pett 2020


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Ten Years of Jemima’s Drivel – A WEP+IWSG Grave Mistake
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37 thoughts on “Ten Years of Jemima’s Drivel – A WEP+IWSG Grave Mistake

  • 21 October, 2020 at 6:10 am

    Not to tell something. 41 years ago.

  • 21 October, 2020 at 7:16 am

    Congratulations on the blog-iversary! Hardly “drivel,” I’m looking forward to the next ten years!

    • 23 October, 2020 at 5:28 pm

      Thanks 🙂 It’s those insecurities coming out again!

  • 21 October, 2020 at 11:59 am

    Ten years is impressive! And almost all the content has been fantastic, no drivel to be found anywhere.

    • 23 October, 2020 at 5:29 pm

      Well, you’ve been kind enough to comment on most of it, so thanks 🙂
      PS best for you to skip Sally’s WEP at no 20, I think.

  • 21 October, 2020 at 11:59 am

    I like this story, too. Spooky but not too spooky.

  • 21 October, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    Congrats on your blog anniversary. That’s awesome you have stuck with it. My early years of blogging in 2012-2014 were the best because more people were into blogging back them.

    • 23 October, 2020 at 5:30 pm

      I think you’re right. We logged because we wanted to, not so much because ‘it’s expected’
      Also I think there were fewer of us about, so we got to know each other better.

  • 21 October, 2020 at 10:11 pm

    Clever story- just the right amount of spooky and good tie in with the prompt. Congratulations on 10 years blogging. As far as I can tell, there’s no drivel here. Looking forward to many more years.

    • 23 October, 2020 at 5:31 pm

      Thanks, Toi. Lighter than yours, but just as heartfelt 🙂

  • 22 October, 2020 at 2:09 am

    Hi Jemima! You’re right. Blogging was so much more satisfying once, now it’s taken a back seat to FB and Twitter and the like. A time-poor world is in for quick soundbites and blogging offers so much more. I’ve only found your blog through WEP and your offerings are hardly ‘drivel.’ You flash today has the right amount of spooky for ‘grave mistake.’

    I hope you enjoyed your blog tour. I’m sorry I was traveling and missed most of it through lack of time and wifi.

    Enjoy WEP week along with us!

    • 23 October, 2020 at 5:34 pm

      I’m very grateful for the opportunity to camp on your site for the day, Denise. I hope you had a good trip. And even FB and Twitter have lost their appeal. FB have introduced too many ways of people gathering cliques while the rest of us just get ads.

  • 22 October, 2020 at 11:30 am

    Congratulations Jemima on tenth anniversary. A dramatic story indeed.
    Should it be Biggles instead of Neville in the sentence, “He could see Roscoe and Neville jerking about in the middle, …..” in this segment, “Neville nodded, and retraced his steps. He hadn’t passed any other tunnels. Neville stood in the entrance to it and faced the scene in front of him.

    He could see Roscoe and Neville jerking about in the middle, jumping and twisting, and generally enjoying themselves beside the fire.”?

    • 22 October, 2020 at 3:00 pm

      Oh, Gosh, absolutely right! Well spotted, Sanhita.😀

    • 23 October, 2020 at 5:35 pm

      Now corrected. Thanks for pointing it out.
      I liked your one too, Sanhita.

  • 22 October, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    Congrats on your tenth anniversary. i hope you’re around still blogging for ten more years.
    Your story is engaging and I am glad thy had the chance to have some fun even though they had to return. Maybe we’ll see them again in spring.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

    • 23 October, 2020 at 5:36 pm

      Another ten years? I wonder what will be going on then? Hmm, I feel a predictions post coming on…
      Thanks for all your support, Pat, you’ve been ace.

  • 22 October, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    Hi, Jemima!
    Congratulations on your ten years. Both my 5 years and 10-year anniversary passed by and I didn’t even notice. LOL I’m at 12 years now and most definitely, at one time it was the best fun. I just deleted FB because it’s too radical. I do tweet, but I don’t have it connected to my phone. I just hate the thing. 🙂 It’s really why I don’t get the benefits most do from marketing. I find it all too time-consuming. I still enjoy blogging, although I too am doing it much less. I’m wishing you all the best with your latest book! Congrats on that too!
    Your story is sweet. I just loved the pictures it conjured as I was reading. So glad they all escaped that ghostly party. Great job!

    • 23 October, 2020 at 5:39 pm

      Yes, marketing. That’s what I’m supposed to be doing with social media. I don’t really know how, now. And all the guidance I see seems to be the same old stuff that you and I and a lot of other people around here know makes little difference, really.
      Thanks for your kind words. You can get out the bubbly for your fifteenth, perhaps!

  • 23 October, 2020 at 12:25 am

    An interesting tale. An iVeggie is just the thing. Hope they learned their lesson. Congrats on 10 years.

    • 23 October, 2020 at 5:40 pm

      Thanks, Nancy. The iParsnip was an invention of my friends, Bob and Doris, who called their flat Hugs Towers and had loads of guinea pigs 🙂

  • 23 October, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    Hi Jemima – love the inventedness of your stories and this one is fun – so glad they got home safely … in real life I expect it was a dream … but I did enjoy the read. Do I want an iParsnip – well sounds promising … it’s certainly cheaper!

    Congratulations on the ten years … I never got into FB or Tw … for which I’m grateful – I can slowly do my blog in my own space. So pleased you’ll have a chance to write more .. now you’re a little more settled in your new home.

    Take care and stay safe – Hilary

    • 23 October, 2020 at 5:41 pm

      Thanks, Hilary, and thanks for your support over the years. It’s much appreciated.

  • 23 October, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    Congratulations on sticking it out for ten years! I much prefer blogging to other forms of social media. Blogging takes time, but when it’s done well, it’s a much better way to connect with fellow writers. Thanks for your contribution this month and letting us meet your great characters.

  • 24 October, 2020 at 5:14 pm

    Congrats on ten years! that’s a long time. I don’t think the other SM platforms have the same level of variety, creativity and/or fun. Blogging is a more in depth way to connect with like minded people, imho.

    Enjoyed the story as I always do, great use of the prompt.

    • 24 October, 2020 at 5:36 pm

      Thanks, Nilanjana. That’s a good way of thinking about it, and you’re probably right. One thing about posting this has been a rejuvenation of my blogging interest because of your messages.

      Thank you all!

  • 24 October, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    Congratulations on 10 years of blogging! I thoroughly enjoyed your story, and it fits perfectly with this time of year. Definitely spooky, and I’m glad Bertie convinced Neville to get them all out of there. Thanks for sharing!

    • 27 October, 2020 at 1:14 pm

      Thanks, LG 🙂 Glad it was spooky enough!

  • 25 October, 2020 at 10:15 pm

    Congrats on a decade of blogging. Along with presenting an adorable tale. Well done, Jemima.

  • 25 October, 2020 at 10:21 pm

    I’ve been blogging since 2009, I think. Wow, long time. Lots has changed, especially the frequency I post. Perhaps if I get more writing done I’ll blog more about it. Yuck; work gets in the way. Happy 10th blogversary.

    This was a cute take on the prompt. Fascinating characters.

    Good luck on all the sales from the blog tour.

    • 27 October, 2020 at 1:16 pm

      Thanks, Donna. I abandoned one I started earlier before I started writing. Recently I wondered about starting it up again, but…. writing!

  • 29 October, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Great story, touches of humour and a bit of darkness.

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