Nov 2013

"Noises" - Trifecta 96

Hey Trifectans! It’s my first ever Friday Trifecta Writing Challenge and today was a 33-word free-write.

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Picton

Picton Reading Room, Liverpool Central Library (by A J Walker)


Noises



Daniel returned the same time every week. His laughing reverberated horribly around the Victorian reading room challenging anyone to react. The noises he made today after one timid bookworm turned were briefly disturbing.

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'The Practical' - Flash Friday Fiction

The Practical


After an hour Miss Robertson’s class were getting fidgety.

          Tina tentatively raised her hand. ‘Excuse me, Miss Robertson?’

          The teacher, leaning on a drinks table, looked across to her. ‘Yes, Tina?’

          ‘Miss, this is down as a Practical, yet we’re reading this book - again. Is it not time we moved on?’

          Miss Robertson - almost - smiled.

          Behind Tina, Tom slumped to his desk.

          Sylvia slid off her chair.

          David’s eyes bled.

          ‘Class, what Chapter did I ask you to read?’

          Bob swore, then muttered, ‘Chapter 5 - Identification and Treatment of Poisons.’ He threw up.

          Unfortunately there were no graduates from Robertson’s School for Spies in 1913.



Flash Friday Fiction

It's Flash Friday so usually there's one injury, a death or maybe two, sometimes there be dragons. But today I've killed off a whole classroom of students… ha ha ha!
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"Goodbye, Mr Chip" - Trifecta

Goodbye Mr Chip

Stephen had woken with a burgeoning excitement - like a bygone Christmas. He jumped out of bed singing before diving into the shower. He frothed and foamed with once expensive gels he hadn’t used for a decade. It really was a special day.

          James knocked dead on 10am, ‘Right mate, excited?’

          ‘Oh yeah,’ Stephen said beaming.

          ‘Phew! What’s that perfume?’ James laughed, wafting his hands.

          ‘Overdid the showering a touch,’ Stephen said sniffing at his pits. ‘I swear the flat would smell of Christmas if I had some tangerines.’

          As they left James laughed. ‘I remember the day I did it - like yesterday.’

          ‘When did you get yours removed?’ said Stephen as they got into James’s car.

          ‘Gone eight years,’ said James. They started the short drive to the church, ‘I was worried I’d rushed into into it, but it was the right thing.’ He rubbed an imaginary itch on his neck.

          ‘I know. Should have done it years ago,’ Stephen said. He was still nervous though, not completely sure he was doing the right thing. He wasn’t sure how he’d manage without the newest entertainment, the joy of The Game, and the free Information feeds.

          At the old church James knocked on a rear door. Stephen was pleased to see his sister there and couple of his old friends for the occasions. James then introduced him to Jeremy who’d be doing the work.

          ‘It’s not a difficult job,’ Jeremy said. ‘Done it thousand of times - I even did it for James. Many years ago.’

          James nodded, ‘There’ll be a bit of pain, but nothing as bad as toothache. You’ll be fine.’

          ‘Just remember - keep the scar moisturised and protected for the first few weeks,’ Jeremy reminded him. ‘Get yourself a pretty scarf.’

          As he’d talked Jeremy had carefully sliced away the skin. Then, without warning he gave the chip a stiff pluck. A little blood, but that was it - the chip was out of Stephen’s neck. He was now offline.

          Lost. Missing.

          Free.


(333 words)

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This was for this week's Trifecta prompt, which was:

PLUCK: (transitive verb)

1: to pull or pick off or out
2
a : to remove something (as hairs) from by or as if by plucking    
b : rob, fleece
3: to move, remove, or separate forcibly or abruptly
4
a : to pick, pull, or grasp at    
b : to play by sounding the strings with the fingers or a pick

http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/
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"Nuts" - Race the Date

Nuts


The pair of us surveyed the breathtaking view from the edge of a spotless black sand beach. We were both awaken from our thoughts when a coconut fell with an ominous thud just a foot behind us. As one we edged forward on to the beach, away from more nutty danger.

          Herman looked at me. ‘You can see that this is the most recent of the islands, as it’s so much larger than the next one ,’ he pointed. ‘Behind it in the haze I think I can make out a couple of much smaller islands - the tail of the archipelago.’

          ‘It’s roasting hot here,’ I stated the obvious, ‘I think we need to find some shade.’

          ‘I agree,’ Herman said, ‘Somewhere away from falling coconuts.’

          He picked the one up that had attacked us moments earlier, ‘Waste not, want not,’ he said. Then he led the way into the island.

          It was slow progress away from the beach through ever thickening vegetation. I was unsure if Herman had any idea where we were heading other than inland, but I certainly didn’t. Eventually though we found ourselves at a grassy area on the edge of the trees, giving us shade and a priceless cooling wind.

          ‘I’m not sure what to say,’ I said.

          ‘Well, we’re on the largest island of a volcanic archipelago somewhere in the northern tropics,’ Herman said all matter of fact.

          I looked at him, incredulous.

          He took a look at the rock outcrop we were sat on, ‘Looks like basalt pillow lava to me.’

          ‘Forget the geology lesson mate,’ I said as I put my briefcase down then fanned myself with the Evening Standard, ‘Just tell me how the hell we got here!’

          ‘I would think the more pertinent question is how we get away,’ Herman said.


(300 words)


Race the Date - Cara Michaels
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The Pear Shaped House

Pear Shaped
source

The Pear Shaped House

Jake was rarely wrong - in fact he said he was always right and he wasn’t the kind of child to argue with.

          To begin with other children had been impressed with his knowledge and his obvious ability to be right, even though that meant that those who disagreed with him were wrong. As they grew up together and became more confident they realised that Jake wasn’t always right. In fact he was usually wrong.

          Jake began to lose friends, but he didn’t lose influence as he began bullying to prove he was still always right.

          One day after he’d hit Jamie - for agreeing with the teacher that Paris was the capital of France - he’d gone looking for Stephanie who’d laughed at him when he’d said Dublin was the capital of Germany.

          Stephanie agreed after several punches and some hair pulling that Dublin was of course the most famous of German cities and she couldn’t believe how wrong she’d been.

          When Stephanie arrived home her Aunty Doris was appalled at what she saw. It took a while, but Doris eventually learned the facts.

          That night using one of Jake’s hairs, found entwined in Stephanie’s satchel, Doris placed a strong enchantment on Jake - one he’d never escape.

          Jake’s answers continued to be wrong, but now his fighting began to go awry. He’d painfully hit a tree instead of a child or he’d pick up a thistle instead of a stick. It always ended badly for him, so he stopped fighting and each day he sat meekly at the back of the class, never answering a question.

          When he was older he won a fabulous competition for a new house, he thought his luck had finally changed, but when he got to see it he found even that had gone pear shaped.



(299 words)
Visdare w/e 22 November 2013

From
Visdare's three photo 300 word challenge
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"Maybe Suzanne?" - Trifecta

Maybe Suzanne?

She bought his socks, washed his underwear, ironed his shirts, told him when his girlfriends birthdays were - and his wife’s. She booked the MOT for the car, paid for the parking fines, booked the restaurants, arranged his meetings, put up with his moods, lied to his wife and packed his weekend bags.

          He wasn't sure of the name of his companion and certainly didn’t know how much he paid her.

          A postcard from Cuba said: "
Thanks for everything, Suzanne."

          He thought the name sounded familiar, he’d ask his wife later - after he called the bank to see why his bank card had been refused at lunch.

(106 words)

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Trifecta Writing Challenge 18 November 2013

As usual, third definition, 33-333 words:

COMPANION (noun)

1:  one that accompanies another :  comrade, associate; 
also:  one that keeps company with another
2:
obsolete :  rascal
3
: a :  one that is closely connected with something similar

b :  one employed to live with and serve another

See more at:
http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/
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Second is Nowhere

Second is Nowhere


‘First to the other side the spoils,’ the tall girl said, ‘Second place is nowhere.’

‘I’ve heard that somewhere before,’ I said flatly.

The six of us crouched down by the gate, not wanting to start, but also anxious to get it over with. The mournful horn was due any moment.

‘One of us is going to be rich beyond our wildest dreams,’ said a young blonde lad.

‘I don’t know, my dreams are pretty wild,’ I said.

We fell silent and all looked out across The Field, nerves jangling. It had looked innocuous just twenty minutes earlier in the flat grey hardly-light, but as the sun rose and cut through the thin mist and the shadows began to shorten then the debris and game paraphernalia could be resolved in its cruel reality. The legacy of former architecture was strewn across The Field as mangled metal work, piles of stone, bricks and timber and in between these grotesque barrages were random eruptions of soils and rock - craters of death from earlier races.

Just 15 metres from the gate was a crater still containing the remnants of Clara, the first loser from last months game. Everyone remembered her bravado on the telebox, she was so gung-ho she’d been blown up before the other five contestants had even left the gate.

I shuddered thinking about her, it brought me back to the reality of it all. Only one of us would get to the other side to be feted, or maybe none at all - any left on the field alive after someone had reached the other side was blown to pieces in a gory firework display. I could see how the rapid dart for it would be preferable to being “so near but so far” - second really wasn’t anywhere.


@zevonesque
299 words
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"Green" - Flash Friday Fiction

Green

Dave’s head felt like it had been rattled between a couple of walls. His heart was exploding in his ears and his body felt mummified. He lay still as he could hoping stillness would make it go away – he couldn’t really be as bad as he felt.

          Dave wasn’t sure if it was seconds or hours that he lay there.
 
         He noticed something in his hand. Eventually it came to him that it was a big plastic token – green on one side, red on the other – he’d taken from a restaurant.

          The restaurant. The Argentinian meat feast place. In Buenos Aires. That was it, he was in Argentina. Things were coming back.

          There had been a conference.

          His head throbbed as he thumbed the counter.

          Dave remembered leaving the restaurant and going to some bars. Dancing – he never danced.

          There had been cocktails and rums. Lots of rum. No wonder his head hurt.

          Sand. The token felt like it had sand on it.

          Raul. He’d met someone called Raul. Said he was a real life cowboy.

          The token was gritty. He span it in his fingers. It reminded him of the drinking. Green all night. He’d just not stopped.

          Raul had said he’d take him to cowboy country if he wanted, but Dave had a plane to catch.

          Green.

          Raul had dared him to spin for it. Red and he would give Dave his snake boots and cowboy hat, green and he’d take Dave to cowboy country.

          Green.

          He could feel wind blowing past his ears. He wasn’t in his hotel.

          There was sand in his nostrils.

          He battled to open his eyes through the brightness.

          There were mountains, but not a building in sight. He was a long way from Buenos Aires and a million miles from Swansea. There was a horse coming down a road with a cowboy on it.

          At least there was nothing green – he hated green right now. And rum.


For
Flash Friday Fiction 300 words (+/- 25 words)

@zevonesque 325 words
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NaNoWriMoLite Update

NaNoWriMoLite Progress

  1. Flash Fiction 1 - 1000 words
  2. Short Fiction 1 - 2000 words done - 2675 words
  3. Short Fiction 2 - 2000 words done - 2227 words
  4. Novella length story - 20,000 words

So far I have completed two of my short stories, B and C above. With both of those I ended up extending them a little beyond the 2000 words and so have now written
4900 words now out of the aim for November of 25,000 words. Think that makes me about 2500 words down on the schedule. Not brill but certainly catch-up-able.

Target Small


Now I have to decide whether to do the Flash Fiction A first, or to try and get stuck into the Novella. The latter is scarier of course.
Eek!

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"Monitors" - Trifecta

Monday is a Trifecta Writing Challenge day (33-333 words). The prompt this week was more than a nod to Remembrance Day:

Remember (verb):

1 :  to bring to mind or think of again
 
2 :  archaic    
       a :  BETHINK    
       b :  REMIND
3 a :  to keep in mind for attention or consideration    
  
b :  REWARD
4 :  to retain in the memory 
5 :  to convey greetings from 


My little effort has a similar nod or two…

Pop

Monitors

Daniel pushed back his untidy hair as he let out a resigned sigh.

          ‘A bad day, Dan?’ Stephen asked.

          Daniel put his head in his hands, his elbows splayed uncomfortably either side of his computer keyboard.

          ‘You could say that,’ Daniel muttered.

          Stephen wasn’t sure he wanted to continue with the questions, Daniel had been a bit preoccupied lately.

          ‘This damn job,’ Daniel continued, ‘Not sure I can justify it to myself anymore.’

          Stephen turned from his computer screen to face his colleague, ‘Something happened?’ he said.

          ‘Yesterday was my granddad’s birthday,’ Daniel said, ‘may he rest in peace.’

          ‘Sorry mate,’ said Stephen trying to place an ounce of sincerity in his voice.

          ‘He died years ago, but I was with my dad yesterday and we were remembering what he did in the wars. Wars plural mind,’ Daniel said, ‘What a man.’

          ‘Aye, got to give all the guys every credit for defending our freedoms from those that would take it away from us and all that,’ said Stephen.

          ‘But we’re here monitoring emails and websites of our own people. Monitoring bloody Prime Ministers phone calls from our allies too,’ Daniel said.

          ‘Guess we won the freedom to do that, haven’t we?’ Stephen said without irony.

          Somewhere across the warehouse sized monitoring post an alarm began to pulse.

          Daniel banged his head viciously on to his desk sending a staple gun flying.

          On cue Chris, their line manager, turned up with a couple of refrigerator sized Prism security guys.

          ‘Your conversations are monitored here too,’ Chris said.



(257 words)
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There is always trouble - Flash Friday Fiction

Wrong Turnings (150 words)

‘Sometimes wrong turnings turn out to be the right ones,’ Sara said.

‘Okay, I like exploring let’s have another five minutes and see what we find,’ Jon said.

‘Then we’ll turn back,’ said Sara.

The children came to the edge of great fracture through the rock. It was starkly beautiful, impassably wide. They threw pebbles down it and judged it to be bottomless.

They walked along it for a while, marveling at its form. Then they saw the bridge, it was stocky yet ornate. They couldn’t see where it came from on their side of the fracture, but could see a gateway on the other side.

They looked at it for a while, both wondering who built it and where it went to.

‘That’s a faerie bridge,’ Sara said confidently.


‘That’s not no faerie bridge,’ Jon said as the sound of marching echoed ever louder through the crevasse becoming thunder.

Dragons

This was for Flash Friday Fiction and had to be exactly 150 words. It is strange though, there's usually fear, death, and very odd things going on when it's Flash Friday Fiction
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"Tea Time" - Race the Date

Tea Time

Derek played with his thinning hair whilst he looked into his steaming mug of builder’s tea. He was dreaming of time travel. Again. If he could do it he was keen on the old favorite of going back a few years setting up a bank account and investing a few measly pounds in stocks that he knew would soar. Oh how easy life could be now. He’d be in the Savoy hobnobbing with the nobs instead of being sat in the greasy spoon re-reading a ragged copy of the Metro.

Then of course there’s the time travel tourism; popping back to see key moments in history - not getting involved of course (it may impact on future stocks). A pretty good life it would be.

He picked up the mug and took a slurp. It was a good honest brew - probably much better than he’d get in the Savoy he mused. The tea worked its magic and stopped him in his tracks. All this time he kept wasting thinking about time travel and other things that would never - could never - happen to him.

‘We’re all time travelers, we’re all just going in the same direction’, he muttered to himself.

He picked the mug up as Patricia wiped his grotty formica table down in a none to subtle “If you don’t buy something else then it’s time to leave” motion. She then switched on the old cathode ray TV in the corner - he’d never noticed it before - and it spluttered into life just as “Back to the Future” was starting. Again.

On the way home Derek bought a lottery ticket. Well, you’ve got to dream.


(274 words @zevonesque)
Written for 'Race the Date' (first ever one) on Cara Michaels website - 4 November 2013
Race the Date is a new Flash Fiction challenge for between 100 and 300 words.
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"The Prince" - Trifecta

The Prince

The first book on Gerald’s Kindle had been The Prince. The first book on his second Kindle - having sat on the first - was The Prince. It was the only book he had read more than once. He saw it as something between a bible and an instruction manual.

Gerald loved his job. It defined him. He had no hobbies, no real friends to speak of. There was nothing he enjoyed doing but a good job - achieving his targets with minimum fuss.

Should he ever find himself cornered into a conversation he wasn’t steering - which was rare - if asked he would say he was removal man. That’s how he described himself to his bosses - removing people from where they wanted to be to where his bosses wanted them to be.

To himself he called himself the maneuver man. He was far too often just required to bully and threaten to get results, but he much preferred the cerebral way. Gently leading people to where they thought they wanted to be - without them knowing they were being led.

One day he would look back on his career as a modern day Machiavelli with pride, but there would be no one there to listen. His was a craft that was respected like an atom bomb or a cold assassin - it didn’t attract friends.


(220 words)

www.trifectawritingchallenge.com w/c 4 November
Trifecta is for stories between 33 and 333 words for the 3rd definition of a word - in this case 'Craft'


Craft
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NaNoWriMo-Lite

After due consideration - and not a little last minute flip flopping - I decided not to enter the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) project. For those of you who don't know about it NaNoWriMo is run every November with the participants aiming to write a novel length story (of at least 50,000 words) within the month. Starting from scratch completing a story within such a timeframe is quite a task, and having not really thought about it before hand I opted myself out of this one. Several of the really nice peeps I follow on Twitter are going for it and my hats go off to them along with my best wishes - but most of all I send my wishes of luck and creativity to one of our Poised Pen group who is doing it for the first time (I won't name her for fear of putting any added pressure on her!). Kudos all!


Target

That said, I like the idea of having a decent target for the end of November outside of the NaNoWriMo so I'm going to have my own target(s) to complete by the end of the month. Instead of 50,000 words on one novel I'm going to go for 25,000 words. For this I'm splitting these in to re-writing three of my flash fictions (probably taking two from 500 words up to 2000 words, and one from 500 to 1000 words) and then the one biggy of a 20,000+ words story - of course I'm calling this challenge NaNoWriMo-Lite!

  1. Flash Fiction 1 - 1000 words
  2. Short Fiction 1 - 2000 words
  3. Short Fiction 2 - 2000 words
  4. Novella length story - 20,000 words

There you go - I've put that out there now. So I'll have to tell you all why I haven't done these if I don't. Unfortunately as I will be aiming to put these into various competitions then they won't be getting put up on the website until each has been thoroughly rejected and torn apart (or much less likely won something!).

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"The Mirror" - Flash Friday Fiction

Continuing the mirror theme from Visdare this morning here's a story for Flash Friday Fiction taken from their "Old Car" prompt (requirement was 240-260 words).


The Mirror

Harry Sadler was a traveling salesman with a lovely new car - it was comfortable for long distances, had room for his products, it went a fair lick and seemed to stay shiny. But there was something not quite right about it that he couldn’t place.

          The mirror sprite could not believe its luck when it found its way into the rear view mirror of an executive car - it was a happy little daemon. Mirror sprites feed of the energy of souls and as everybody knows the eyes are the window to the soul.

          As Harry ate up the miles the daemon would feed. Every time Harry looked into the mirror it fed a little more growing ever larger and stronger.

          One day outside Maryport Harry suddenly felt ill. A migraine sent flashing images from a nightmare across his vision. At one point he even saw an evil grinning face in the rear view mirror. Frightened he stopped the car and moments later he felt something inside snap. The daemon laughed as it sucked up the last vestige of Harry’s soul.

          Days later the body was found in the car and the official report said “probable heart attack due to a sedentary lifestyle.” There was no mention of the blank eyes fixed on the mirror.

          No-one wanted a car the driver had died in so it was left to decay in an unused lot outside Maryport. The daemon had taken it too far, but it could wait until some unsuspecting soul came along. Some days it heard children playing nearby.

(260 words)
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"Parallel" -Visdare #44

Visdare #44 is up and this week the word is "parallel" and the photograph is this one below and here is my little story.

Parallel
photo source

Approximate You

When was the last time you really looked at yourself in a mirror, studying its image of you and comparing it to the real you? Our eyes see the differences of course - the un-mirrored imperfections, the image just an approximation - but our brains do not want to comprehend what that means.

          If you look properly (although that is not recommended) you will see differences, blemishes on one but not the other - that childhood scar still on the mirror image but long gone from you, a liver spot on the back of your right hand yet to show on the mirror
approximate you.

          The mirror spirits have stopped looking properly, their chore of reflection not appreciated - that’s why their copies degrade. If you look in their eyes you’ll see their festering jealousy - of you and your freedom to leave the mirror world. In the dark they plot their escape.


(149 words)

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