Sep 2013

"Adore" - Visdare #39

This week's Visdare is brought to you by the word 'adore' and the picture below.
Click on photo for Source.


Amrita surprised her beloved Aunt Dolma on her birthday with her favourite irises and cake.

‘You’re such a wonderful niece Amrita’ Dolma said - genuinely touched, ‘You know I adore you child.’

‘I adore you too,’ Amrita said, ‘You’re like my second mum.’

‘Please don’t say that - you’re mum would be upset by that.’

Amrita paused, ‘Whatever happened between you two? Why do you never talk?’

Dolma’s eyes welled up and she whispered, ‘I knew this day would come - truth will out - but I’d have died long ago without these unsullied times together.’


‘Amrita, your mother is right to hate me - to despise me - for what I did,’ Dolma stopped. ‘It’s only because we’re family that she never told the authorities.’

‘What are you talking about?’ Amrita said slicing the cake.

‘Skeletons my child, lots of skeletons.’

She never said another word.

Later mum just spat out one word - “Collaborator!”

(150 words)

Dutch - Trifecta Week 96


The waitress came back with Daniel’s Gold Card and a couple of chocolatey mints to take away the sting of the bill.

‘You are joking right?’ said Philipa as she pulled her scarf out of her handbag.

‘I’m afraid it’s true,’ said Daniel, ‘I just have to pay by card or contactless.’

‘But you really cannot go to an ATM?’ Philipa said.

‘Nope. Nor a bank,’ said Daniel.

‘Blimey, I’ve never heard of anything like it,’ she said.

‘Sense of smell is linked to the most primal of instincts you know,’ Daniel said, ‘the strongest and most instant reactions.’

Philipa touched his arm as he put on his jacket, ‘What happened to you when you were a kid then? Must have been something.’

‘Well of course, but I’m not at liberty to tell you on a first date,’ Daniel said touching her hand, ‘Suffice to say just a few bank notes and it can send me right off, pure mental. It frightens me how much of an animal I can become.’

‘Fine excuse not to tip then,’ she smiled, ‘Suppose change is okay.’

‘Like I say card only,’ he said, ‘I’m no skinflint, it’s purely health and safety - I’m usually a pussycat.’

Back at the flat Philipa sat on the sofa and smiled at Daniel as he walked into the kitchen to pick out a bottle of red. After placing the bottle and glasses down he took off his jacket - something attracted his attention - as he took his hand out of the inside pocket she saw his face change instantly and realised that this was one date she shouldn’t have forced to go dutch.

(274 words)

Flash Friday #42

Escape from Mount Vernon

‘Harsh’ Hattie Flumberbatch had ruled the Mount Vernon Helping Hand with a rod of iron and a soupçon of electricity for almost five years. The anniversary was to be celebrated on Friday with cake for the disparate inmates and a compulsory after work party for those staff unlucky enough not to be working.

The Oddfellow’s home was set up in the 19th Century with laudable intentions, but had evolved through unsavory into something evil. To be sent there was tantamount to a sentence of hard labour with additional sadism guaranteed - many volunteers were as likely to be sent there on another day.

Ms Flumberbatch loved her job though - the stench of burning flesh in the morning made her feel alive and when ‘the Ride of the Valkyries’ was piped through the home and the familiar odour hit her nasal passages it made goosebumps bloom throughout her body, whilst the inmates would become introverted whenever the music was played, conscious of its meaning.

So it’s no surprise that twenty planned to make their escape that Friday. They would make a run for it just after the strawberry sponge cake was distributed - when the entire home would be focussed on compulsory enjoyment.

The secret entrance to the passage - hidden behind the statue of Freud - had only recently been discovered. The escape went like clockwork (Freud would surely have had something to say about the group funnelling down the back passage) then. after five hundred yards, they could see the light - their escape almost complete. It needed three of the bigger guys to push at the ironwork cover but eventually it shifted. When they’d finally struggled out into the moonlight the twenty staff jumped with joy.

Hattie sat alone at the bar with a drink - absently playing with an electric socket - planning the things she’d do to tomorrow to make herself feel better.

(310 words)
Written for Flash Friday #42 - 20 September
Based on picture of 19th Century Oddfellow's Home in Springfield, Ohio. Word requirement: 290-310 words.


November is a big deal for lots of enthusiastic creative writers out there as it is National Novel Writing Month (or #NaNoWriMo to all those that Tweet).

It is a new idea to me and I have thought - just a little - about doing it. The idea is that you sign up to doing it on the website, start thinking about your plot ideas between now and then, and then - in November - write a 50,000 word (or more) novel within the month. Following website signup (which you can link to from this page) there promises to be lots of other writers who can motivate each other through this ambitious month. The help of all those around you undertaking the same challenge and going through the same problems - and hopefully finding some useful solutions to them - must be a good motivational tool. In these days of the world wide web those around you could be absolutely anywhere and the process can no doubt lead to some good friendships developing even if some will be long distance.

It's certainly a laudable idea and I'm sure it helps a lot of writers, breaking it down into daily chunks - if you could do it every day it's only about 1666 words a day, which equates to two or three of the
usual flash fictions per day.

I'm still considering it, but currently I'm thinking that while I do want to try and write a novel -
or more likely novella - that rather than constrain myself to that month why not start now and either just 'finish when I finish' or better still aim for the end of November anyway? Even if aiming for a 50,000 word novel that would be a much more achievable 700 words a day from today. It's definitely food for thought!

(incidentally this little blog item above is 299 words, so almost half of what would be needed to write 50,000 words by the end of November...)


"Chase" - Visdare #38

The Chase

The man chasing me was huge, fit and younger. It was going to take guile and luck to escape.

I darted down the alley beside the chip shop, if he wasn’t familiar with the area I had a chance. A broken pallet gave me a start over a fence and after unsnagging myself I was in the garden of the Drunken Duck. On the other side of the beer garden I found the gate latch jammed hard, ‘Bugger!’

Minutes later the rusty latch and soggy timber splinters lay on the floor. My hands holding a brick were filthy and scarred, my Sunday trousers torn and covered in slime.

Down the alley I saw him - pristine like he’d not broken sweat. He filled the alley like a butcher’s dog. I was done for.

As his hand came out his high pitch voice surprised, ‘Excuse me mate, you dropped your wallet.’

(149 words - Visdare Challenge ‘The Chase’ 19.09.13)

Beginnings and Ends - Trifecta Week 95

Beginnings and Ends

Janna stopped in her tracks entranced by the bold rainbow which arched over Priya’s Wood and looked as solid as a stone staircase. Looking up at me with those big questioning eyes of hers Janna asked, ‘What’s at the end of rainbows?’

Scuffing-up her bowl cut hair I said, ‘Everything Janna, everything.’ As I have always been wise beyond my years.

My sister smiled at me, knowing I was right, then we looked up at our rainbows not knowing who’s was best - or where they may lead.

(88 words) from the Trifecta Writing Challenge Week 95 'Rainbow'

"Trajectory" - Visdare #37

The Crunch

‘Shoot for the stars and reach the moon,’ Lord Fotherington-Smythe sat back on the leather seat with a squeak, ‘Tosh!’

Helena looked at him waiting for the follow-up.

‘If you want to get to the moon aim for the damn moon.’

He pulled back the throttle and his bike growled into life.

Helena jumped up and down clapping theatrically,’Go darling!’

Cousin Betty shook her head, ‘Don’t do it you fool.’

LFS took the cardboard from his pocket, ‘See Betty, it’s all a matter of mathematics, the fag packet proves it. Just a matter of hitting 90 at the top of the ramp then... Boom!’

Betty looked at the crude calculations, ‘How many whiskies had you had when you scrawled that nonsense?’

‘Just a matter of speed and trajectory Betty love.’ LFS appealed with his palms out.

The hefty motorbike fell in slow motion with a worrying crunch.


MWBB#30 'Red Eyes and Tears"

Red Red Wine

Jan dropped her handbag and coat onto the armchair and took off her heels before visibly relaxing. She placed her shoes down neatly ready for tomorrow beneath the kitchen worktop, where she grabbed the bottle of wine she’d left out that morning. She plonked herself down onto the sofa and turned on the TV in one deft move. Her work night ritual almost complete.

In the dark a man watched. Entranced. He could feel his breathing shorten. Excitement growing. Quiet.

A woman on TV was wittering on about something, which washed over Jan as white noise, as the red wine started to seep through her system. Her cat meowed a gentle reminder by the bowl.

The man smiled. It was close.

Jan felt her head start to fill, expand and throb. This was too quick. She looked towards the bottle of wine as it pulsed on the table, she couldn’t focus on it, but eventually she managed to grab it. An expensive Rioja - she hadn’t bought it, she wouldn’t anymore as it had been Simon’s favourite brand, she avoided all things Simon these days. Fucking wierdo. She took another slug of the wine before these thoughts sank in.

Outside Simon smiled. She had drunk his wine. Without asking; without compunction. Easy. It was meant to be. She looked beautiful.

The room pulsated in reds and greens, flashing images splashed out to Jan who was struggling to feel anything but what was in her head. The woman on the TV then seemed to talk directly to her. She thought someone was singing. The effects seemed more sublime and enveloping with her eyes closed. She tried to keep her eyes open. Simon. Fuckwit.

Slowly the back door swung open and the cat darted out to the garden. Simon was soon stood over his Jan, stroking her hair.

Jan sensed some soothing pressure on her head, a soft massage moving the images around her head, manipulating the visions. Then she thought she heard a man's voice: love, death, peace, beauty, eternity. Her visions went bloodier with these words, the images harsher. She shivered and bucked, trying to duck away from them.

Her face was flawless. She was perfect. Why had she forced him away? They were perfect together, she made him whole. Every moment they had spent together was seared into his head, a hard drive permitting immediate recall of any moment: seaside ice-cream, Paris, that gallery in Vienna, London theatres, that cottage in Northumberland. His head was full of her - of them - and nothing else. They had to be together - it was meant to be. She’d made a mistake.

Jan was struggling to know what was real. Simon was with her though, she knew that now. Drink this. She couldn’t stop herself. Make you better. The pulsing speeding up. Red bloodier, head banging. Drink this. Feel it flow down, soothing. Flowing through you, filling you, taking you: to Simon.

Simon stroked her hair, elated, but something was wrong - her hair was a different style and shade, her lips a new colour, she had a nose ring - she wasn’t the same, wasn’t perfect. Simon could see that now. He let go of her head and it flopped back on the sofa, she was dribbling like a disgusting drunk. A red stain spread through the cushion cover, like a sunset blooming across the sky, above an embroidered purple and powder blue cat.

Jan spluttered and coughed. She could see blood - but that was probably in her head. The sound from the TV had gone, but her head was full of noise. She thought it may have been her heart pumping her thick blood through her, but there was no rhythm - it was inconsistent, first flooding her ears then disappearing in a wash, like a tide pulling back the waves, before crashing back in.

Her eyes opened suddenly and seemed to be looking directly at Simon. They were blood red and looked terrified, her face in a silent scream. There were tears streaming down her face as she spluttered out something red - which bubbled at the corner of her mouth. Then the bubbles stopped and she slumped. Simon saw her now as she truly was; ugly, disgusting, evil. Or worse, indifferent, average - like everyone else. She was all wrong.

He looked at his glass of Rioja. He’d made a mistake, they weren’t made for each other. He returned to the kitchen and poured the wine down the sink before dropping the glass in the swing-bin, which briefly revealed a shaft full of wine bottles and chocolate wrappers.

Simon left the house without looking back.

There was someone else out there for him: someone perfect.

This story was for the
Mid Weeks Blues Buster : Week 30
The song was 'Red Eyes and Tears' by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC to you)


Reboot - Trifecta Week 94


Following his short Powerpoint explanation of the plan Bubbles sat back satisfied.

‘I like it boys,’ said Grebbo looking enthusiastically around the assembled faces, ‘Neat.’

‘Not too complicated neither,’ Davos nodded.

‘Yep, not too many parts to go wrong,’ said Spamhead, ‘Not like last time.’

As one the gang peered at Spamhead.

Steady looked at his crew clapping his hands together, ‘Right, I think we can safely say we have a decent plan here. This will be world changing. Bubbles, simply great stuff.’

Grebbo clapped the diminutive Scot on his back, ‘Well done. Class.’

The following week, with the confidence from the simple plan and a couple of successful trials behind them, the delivery boys - Grebbo and Spamhead - swopped the gas masks in the hotel storeroom for theirs, taking away those remaining to leave exactly nineteen. It should have been twenty but for Spamhead giving the wrong one to poor late Davos in the first trial.

As the G20 came to it’s usual petering out stage the crew watched the BBC with growing excitement. Steady selected “Send to All” and at 2.26pm the email went out to Government press secretaries and news agencies throughout the world.

The Capitalist System has failed. Following todays 2.30pm attack the worlds self nominated most important countries will be leaderless. Let the world take this opportunity to start again with a blank page and an honest heart.” it was signed off “From, Reboot”.

At 2.29pm timed devices went off in the air conditioning units spreading thick evil looking smoke throughout the entire hotel.

In the ensuing panic the leaders of nineteen of the nations donned their masks with relief, whilst their entourages said their prayers to their various gods. The French President cursed never being good at musical chairs, or fighting, after the masks had come out.

Fifteen minutes later all the leaders were dead except for the Frenchman, who would briefly be blamed for the poisoned gas masks. The world paused; except the Reboot crew, who partied.

333 words by A J Walker


MWBB #29, Flash Fiction, Visdare

After no submissions last week I've managed to do Visdare, Flash Friday and also MWBB. Slam Dunk!

Put up my first
Mid Week Blues Buster for a couple of weeks. Didn't like the song at all ('Stay' by Hurts), but hey gotta go with what you've got.

Click on this link to get to the stories for MWBB
Week 29.

The story itself is also reproduced below:

Can’t Say, Can’t Stay

Darren watched Clara walk down the road to a waiting car. She waddled a little comically as she struggled with her unwieldy bags. Her words were still ringing in his ears “emotionally stunted.” Clara had said it mid diatribe on the way out of the house. He’d remembered hearing that from someone else, he thought it was Melissa, though it may have been Michelle. Or Lisa. As Darren saw the car’s brake lights go on he closed the front door then headed for the sofa.

The thing is Darren didn’t disagree with it. He’d never been good at showing his feelings, he expected people to know what he thought of them without actually requiring proof of it, or heaven forbid just the damn words. Emoting was for other people. As a kid he never noticed he didn’t discuss them and he grew up a little distanced from his emotions. They were his, nobody else’s business. By his late teens he realised something was amiss, but it was too late and in any case emotions seemed far too much like hard work and not at all helpful. Keeping them hid would largely be a good thing. Surely.

Clara said she had left him because he had never said ‘I love you,’ but he had never said it to anyone. His thoughts were what would that really change? He would still be the same person. Surely they should just know. As she left Clara had said “If you ask me to stay I will,” but this seemed to be a roundabout way of her getting him to admit he loved her. He wasn’t going to fall for that.

‘Of course I bloody loved you. Sorry, love you. But they are just words,’ he muttered to the wall as he put the TV sound back on.

He flicked through the TV guide picking something he could watch which Clara wouldn’t have liked – just because he could.

He would miss her. Her warmth. That smile and her sense of humour. Her washing up. Oh, and the love making. There really was a lot to miss.

Still, if she really needed to hear just those three words once to make her stay – or for him to just say ‘stay’ – then perhaps it was her that was emotionally stunted, not Darren.

There was a Die Hard marathon on Channel 5, just the ticket. Clara had hated Bruce Willis. With the left over chilli in the fridge and Uncle Ben’s microwave rice, together with the box of unspecified red wine, Darren’s night was sorted.

The empty bed later though seemed bigger than he remembered and colder.

He’d had a good night though. He loved Bruce Willis.

(449 words)


''Implore" - Visdare #36

Week #36 and the Visdare word from Angela's weekly website update was 'implore'. The picture was this shot of a statue alone in a room with a man walking away.

photo source


by A J Walker

‘Prove you love me, make a difference,’ Diana implored, ‘Move me.’

Samuel sighed, he hated what he was doing to her.

‘But if I move you to a windowed room, you can be see. We can. This dead-end is ideal for us,’ Samuel said.

‘Not us. You,’ she said, ‘I’m trapped here, chained to this plinth for eternity.’

‘At least we have each other,’ Samuel said.

‘I don’t know what you have. A relationship with a statue by day, a hostage at night,’ Diana said.

‘But what if you were seen?’

‘I am the goddess of hunting, of the mountains and forests. Can you imagine a worse fate for me than this basement?’

Samuel looked at his goddess.

It wasn’t his curse. Not his fault. He recalled that first night finding her sobbing. Every night since she’d said the same words, ‘Let me see the stars.’

One day. Maybe.

(150 words)