The Reflective Instruments Inspector

Martha had her son David and her grandchildren to stay. The children were quiet and well-behaved. Sometimes it was hard to believe there was anyone in the house at all.

On Thursday, David was away early to see about a job. By the time breakfast was over it was still raining, so the children accepted without complaint that they would have to play indoors. They made little noise but fiercely communicated their imagination to each other. Now the room was the bridge of a galleon flying in the teeth of a storm. Pirates were boarding; cannons roared and swords flashed in the starlight. Martha gripped the arms of her chair and watched the children play.

There was a knock on the front door and the whole fantasy billowed gently down to earth. Only a bowl of cherries on the table, a chest of heaped rubies, was unaltered by the intrusion.

“Morning,” the man said. “Mrs Martha Janus?”


“Excellent. I’m from the Council. Reflective Instruments Inspector. Spot check.” He proffered a card. Martha looked at it quickly. The man stepped inside and consulted a clipboard. “Nasty day.”

“Yes.” There was a slightly awkward pause.

“So…I’ve got it here that you have six reflective instruments. Is that right?”

“Er…yes, six…I think so, yes.”

“Could we start in the bedroom?” They went upstairs and stood at the full-length mirror on the wardrobe door. The man produced a strange-looking torch which he shone onto the glass. Out of the corner of her eye, Martha saw the reflection of a woman moving across the landing.


• The rest of this story is now available in a paperback book (as are 25 others) – Unaccustomed as I Am (RRP £9.95).

It is stocked by the Hungerford Bookshop and you can place your order here.

Copies are also available at the White Horse Bookshop in Marlborough, the Mad Hatter Bookshop in Wantage and through an increasing number of other retailers.

You can order it from any bookshop: they will need to know that the ISBN is 978-1-8382580-0-9 and that it can be ordered from Gardners or Central Books.


Brian Quinn
• For further articles, please click here
• For songs, please click here

The Reflective Instruments Inspector


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