Kabuki Helps 0

Kabuki Helps has just listed Frances Gilbert books on their site. Kabuki Helps sells books, games and educational material in support of any registered charity or school.   If you are interested in supporting supporting your local school or a particular charity buy through them!  http://www.kabukihelps.com/



In The Cloud 0


In The Cloud

She was at her place early for once; even the Big Man wasn’t around.  Better be careful though, he always seemed to know everything that was going on and had an annoying habit of appearing from nowhere. She’d been nearly caught out a few times.

Anyway he wasn’t here now. She sat down at her station, plugged into her machine and picked up her head set. The image on the big screens in front of her loomed up and swirled into focus; the accompanying data stream hiccupped a few times and began its chatter. OK, where were we today?  Northern location, pretty built up and already the signals were darting on the screen hopping from one location to another like the peripheral vision test she’d had to take once – a lifetime ago. Must be motorways, they were the worst. You would think with a straight way ahead, and enough signs there would be no problem, but no, there would always be some lesser intelligence trying to outwit her. Well today she wasn’t going to stand for it. She had never asked for this assignment, really she had wanted something challenging with more action, extreme climate, maybe. She always fancied hurricanes, but at her test she had confused the pressure bars, and they had given her this. No worries they had said, it’s all programmed, you just have to synchronize the signals with the data feed, if you get the blue light enter the keyboard code for alternate choice, the program will reorient itself; you don’t need to do anything  complicated, just capture the signals on your screen and click the mouse. If anything gets too complicated the Big Man will step in and clear it up.

She clamped on the headset and snagged an outlier signal, the data screen gave a jerk, displaying its bizarre set of references –good she hadn’t messed anything up – through her head set she could hear Max’s soothing voice instructing the driver to stay left for an upcoming exit and then merge right.

Must have been a woman driving, it usually was when it was Max leading. They would do everything he said, docile as sheep. It was the men who were a problem, some of them never followed the commands. Oops, she nearly missed that snag, OK though, the data screen wobbled, but integrated with the signal just in time. She managed to get through the next hour and was just relaxing into the rhythm of it when her headset picked up assertive instructions in a woman’s voice and at the same time a signal pulsed vigorously on her screen; she skipped the snag and the data feed stopped for an instant- in that window of time she knew she could hear the lesser intelligences in the car if she dialed up the locator in her head set; it was a game she had discovered and sometimes it was quite funny – lone women talking dirty to Max, children parroting the instructions and frustrated drivers cursing. She had never been caught but she had a feeling that if the Big Man ever found out he would wreak havoc. There was a story in the cloud that he had once overheard a weather girl who hadn’t done her prep work, forecasting mild snow flurries and he had been so angered that he had blanketed the whole region in major snowfall for three days.  The weather girl had been ‘reassigned’. No one quite knew what that meant but there was a rumor it was a back in time thing.


She tried for the snag again but missed, so she dialed up her head set and listened. A male lesser was arguing with the commands. He seemed to have a female with him who was begging him to just follow through and get off the motorway so they could re orient but he was having none of it. The blue light showed so she entered the alternate choice code. She peered at the screen and zoomed in, the car icon was stalled and she could hear the driver arguing north and south with his female, he was being very abusive and using a good few beepable words.  She knew she shouldn’t but the temptation was too much; she reinstalled the direction feed, using a fall back code she had devised herself, and then snagged the signal. The car icon began to move and the headset talk died back, she redialed her correct locator and watched the screen. The car turned and looped crazily on and off the motorway, passing the hideously looming Angel of the North sculpture four times, twice in a northerly direction and twice in a southerly. Good, serve him right, these lesser intelligences should learn to take instruction, there would be far less trouble in the world if they followed directions.

Break time; she set the ‘searching for satellite’ notice and left her station. She longed for a cappuccino but of course that wasn’t on offer up here. You were supposed to go to the conscience café and do some soul searching and spiritual soothing, but she wasn’t up for that today, maybe she would just drift around the hub and see what new folk were being taken up.


From out in the amorphous swathes of time the Big Man became aware of a ripple of discomfort.  What now? He checked his focus and bore down on a superb motorway tie up; all ready he could feel the desperate pleas for help coming his way, he could almost hear the rattle of beads and the St. Christophers dancing on the dash boards.  It must be that new satellite navigation woman, she was trouble from the start, arguing about her placement, arguing – with Him! Time for damage control or his credibility was gone. Swiftly he brought a woman into labor and directed a doctor to her help; wait, he redirected, make it a woman doctor from an immigrant group. He cleared the skies for the news helicopters and dialed up a few of his mercy crew on the ground to get involved. Excellent.


Now for the trouble maker. He located her floating around the hub, interfering with the intake. Where to put her? Send her back? Sometimes he did that, if there was a faith gap that needed strengthening. What was it she had demanded? Extreme climate? So shall it be.


Out on the prairie the wagons had slowed, black clouds had been building all day and now the temperature dropped and a fierce wind was blowing snow squalls over the canvas.

“Pull round, pull round,” shouted the leader, “we’ll wait it out, it will blow itself out by morning.”

From the third wagon back, driven by a young woman, on her own with a ragged bunch of kids, came a cry,

“Keep on, there’s a settlement ahead, we can reach it, just follow the trail until we reach the river, then go along, we can make it.”

“Would you listen to her,” scoffed the leader, “it’s because of her we’re here now, we lost way too much time following her directions last time. Take no notice of her.”


He was pleased; he increased the snow to a blizzard and blotted out the trail forward, two or three days should do it. Next time she came up there would be no arguing.

Frances Gilbert interviewed on The IndieTribe 0

IndieTribe editor Charlie Bray chats with Frances Gilbert.   Read the interview on The Indie Tribe



New! Great review on The Reading Tub 0

The Cookie Thief  just received a very nice review up on The Reading Tub  –  Read the review