7 Days of Office Hell: Day 1

My 2016 novel Raven and Skull is now available as an audiobook.  The Kindle and Paperback versions have also been slightly revised with updated covers and lightly polished content. And, in celebration of the book being made available as an audiobook, I’m organising an audiobook giveaway this week with more details below.

“Mr Wade,” Moira began.

She had the sort of raspy voice that suggested a lifetime of smoking and lungs the colour of a tramp’s underpants. Tony could hear every syllable struggling to make its way through layers of yellowing phlegm and tar-blackened bronchioles as Moira gasped his name in her gravel-strewn death rattle.

“I’m glad I found you here alone, Mr Wade. I’ve been wanting to talk to someone from management.”

Tony pointed to a seat and waited for Moira to sit down. His heart pounded from the surprise of discovering he wasn’t alone in the building. He didn’t particularly want to talk with Moira – ideally he would have been happier finishing his work and going home – but there was no polite way to dismiss her from the office without causing offence. Telling himself that a break from the workload might not be such a bad idea, he stretched his neck until it cracked and then he settled back in his chair.

“What’s the problem, Moira?”


He could hear the sounds of the office around him as the building breathed. The heavy sigh of an expectant printer, the constant whisper of fluorescents above, and the tinny faraway crackle of Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre building to its distant conclusion from his iPod speakers. He studied her eyes – the whites turned rheumy yellow and the pupils a black that was unnervingly deep – and waited for a response. Although Moira had been with the office since he began working there, it was the first time he had sat in the same room with the woman and studied her at such close proximity. Her hair was a tangle of grey barbs. Her face was a relief map of porous flesh and ravine-deep wrinkles. There was a wart on her jawline, a gnarled lump of discoloured flesh sprouting a dozen short black hairs. Tony thought the hairs looked like insect legs wriggling from beneath her skin. Previously, he had thought Moira was another of the forgotten office drones; a dinosaur from accounts plodding towards extinction. But staring into her eyes, he got the impression that she might be far more than he had ever imagined. The thought trailed an icy finger down his spine.

“What’s the problem, Moira? What did you want to talk about?”

“I think I might have killed them.”

The theme of this novel is that office work is a living hell. So, to be in with a chance of winning a free copy of the Raven and Skull audiobook, simply tell me: what’s your most embarrassing story from working in an office?

Email: me@ashleylister.co.uk and I’ll be selecting a random winner by Sunday 8th August 2021.

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