Flash

Angry Hourglass #64 - Flash Master

Oh me, oh my! One of my aims this year was to win Angry Hourglass at least once and I've gone and done it with last Sunday's story. Flippin' made up, I am.

FlashMast 100

Surprised to win it with a story that was almost all dialogue, but it must have hit a spot with the judge - the wonderful
Voima Oy (who happened to win AH last week).

The winner's podium comprised three flash dogs, and more incredibly two writers from the same writing group - Poised Pen. I wonder if that has been done before? The link to the winner's page is here, go over and read all the stories.

Below is the photograph prompt from Ashwin Rao and my story is reproduced here too.
Vinyl - Ashwin Rao 200
Photo credit: ashwin rao


Taking Names

‘That was something beautiful.’ said the stranger, as Sam left the stage.

‘Err, thanks. Like a bit of Phil Collins do you?’

‘Who doesn’t?’ said the man, preening his scarlet jacket. ‘Who you with?’

‘Just waiting for a mate.’

‘No, I mean who’s representing you? You’re recording, right?’

Sam laughed. ‘Hardly, working down the takeaway.’

The man leant forward. ‘You telling me you’re available, that I can sign you up? Because you’ve a talent I can do something with.’

Sam stepped away. ‘I’ll have what you’ve been drinking. You’re seriously off it! It’s just karaoke.’

‘I’ll get you whatever you like. But I’ve got to sign you up. Here’s my card.’ he said, smoothly taking it from behind Sam’s ear.

‘Mr Lyle, what’s the B?’

‘Brian.’

‘I’m Sam Bailey. You don’t look like a Brian, Brian. ’

‘Who does? I’ll take you to my record shop, show you who I’ve produced. Got the rights to so many people you’ll know. Honest, I guarantee you a hit like this.’ Brian flicked his fingers, producing a smoking cigar from thin air.

‘Hey, we can’t smoke in here!’ Sam said, nervously.

‘You can. You’re a star, Sam. You can do what you want. Need to do something about your name though.’

Sam couldn’t remember leaving the club but found himself in an old fashioned record shop with Brian.

‘Take a look while I think about your name. All these records, all these artists, are mine.’

John Belushi singing “Soul Man” started playing as Sam excitedly flicked through the beautiful vinyl.

‘Yazz “The Only Way is Up” - mum’s got this!”

'Did well, like I told her. She was wrong, of course.'

‘Look, I’ll sign. Bit of a laugh. Even a one hit wonder would be amazing,’ said Sam. He was being swept away by the vinyl euphoria, as he signed the contract. ‘Don’t even care if you’re a rip off merchant.’

‘You’ve got “One Direction”!?’

‘Yep, gave them an extended contract. Nice boys, well some of them. Just started taking them down now one by one. One Direction: indeed.’

‘Well, you’ve got me now, Brian.’

‘Call me Belial, or Lucifer if you prefer.’ said Belial.


Angry Hourglass - 19 April 2015

Comments

Another Quick Flash Thursday!

After a long day I got home tired. But decided I must try and get some bits out for Thursday, which is fast becoming 'Flash Fiction Log Jam Thursday' due to all the challenges which come out.
Pleased to be able to get three out for:

And tomorrow of course it is Flash! Friday. Huzzah. I need another win there at some point, but I know it'll be damn tough - all the other writerers are just too damn fine!

Comments

Finish That Thought 2-29

Finish That Thought - 2-29 was full of Flash Dogs this week. With the famous dragon lady Rebekah Postupak our host this week I had to put a dragon of some sort in it. Not to mention a Warren Zevon reference too. Welcome to 'Splendid Isolation':

Splendid Isolation
Rebekah slowly opened the window to drink in what she knew to be her very last sunrise. Her plan was scuppered by an eastern front which brought a disappointing grey-wash sky.
She’d known this day would come, when her past would catch up with her. It was at the very least what she deserved. Penance for the accident.
She’d caused it. That’s what she’d been told. So accident wasn’t the right term was it? She was guilty of causing all those deaths. Young and old. Lives smudged out in messy instant. Her fault. Her penance.
Rebekah sat on the edge of her bed feeling the bag against the small of her back. Her meagre possessions. These would be all she would take. Her choice. It was penance.
The broken mirror said much to her and she rubbed her roughened knuckles. The room was strewn with boxes, bottles, cardboard detritus of a life that had fallen apart. She couldn’t look after herself anymore.
The magazine picture of the limestone pinnacles pinned to the wall the only decoration. A clue if anyone wanted to look for her, should she be missed.
Her watch told her it was time to go. She took it off and left it neatly on the bed. She threw the rucksack over one shoulder. It dug in painfully to her clavicle. Pain she must take. She needed it. It was the one thing that showed she was alive. She could control it, inflict it. Penance.
The coach took her west. Another three progressively smaller buses took her into the mountains. She gulped when she first caught a glimpse of the monastery perched between the serrated teeth in perfect isolation. One of the monks was waiting for her at the stop and drove her up the rickety track in silence. She took tea with the monks, who were calming. There was no judgment. Not even questions.
She was pointed to the peaks where she would find a west facing cave. Where she could sit and contemplate life; death, accidents and blame. She needed to feel it all. Sometimes she felt totally responsible and hated herself. Sometimes she felt it hadn’t been her fault and she’d hated herself more.
As she walked through the mountainside brush she could see her cave in the distance. There were plenty of others but this cave chose her. The monks would bring her alms each day. She would get better out here or die trying.
When she was a child Rebekah had wanted to live in cave, she hadn’t envisaged these circumstances. She never saw the sunrise, but she got to see many fiery sunsets. A dragon started appearing in her dreams and one day she scratched the outline of one onto the ceiling. It would be the one and only companion for her journey, it would look after her.
As the weeks and months passed in her splendid isolation she had confidence that she would get better.
(496 words)

Comments

Flash Week: Microbookends, FFF and AH

Well, I didn't have a really prolific week last week. Started some or thought I'd do a few more - like Finish That Thought and Thursday Threads - but in the end last week just saw me finishing Microbookends, Flash Fiction Friday and Angry Hourglass. The latter two are the ones I am keenest to try and do come what may!

Microbookends I couldn't format as I wanted as I wasn't sure how to put it into the correct HTML code as I wanted it presented in four columns. I had to present it as a single column instead. Ho hum. Anyway the way I wanted it to look is below. The piece as ever has to start and end with the prompted words - in this case Peace and Prize - and be between 90 and 110 words.

A-Z of War and Peace: X and Make Up

PeacePrize

I managed to get
Flash Fiction Friday done. And was quite happy with it. Though someone pointed out that the last minute addition of the footnote had taken me over the word count. Which is a shame because it didn't need the note - though I quite liked it. (more ho humming).

As for the
Angry Hourglass I've no ho humming. Just up against some very talented guys and gals (very very well attended by the Flash Dogs).

Comments

Flash Fiction Friday double header

Flash! Friday Fiction - Stories x 2

Flash Fiction Friday is one of my have flash comps and last week (10th October) as part of the Flash Dog challenge I had to write two - yes two! - stories instead of one. The picture was this one of some poor ill child being visited by some creepy clowns (all clowns are creepy you know!). Here are my two stories inspired by the photo. Both are 160 words short.


circus-clowns-visit-sick-boy-boston-public-library

It’s All About Timing

There is nothing quite so soul sappingly depressing as a clown with self confidence issues apart from perhaps a whole troupe of them.

The troupe from The Great Tortellini Circus found themselves in one of the many Jacksonville’s when they had all reached rock bottom together. Smaller paler imitations of themselves looked back from the mirrors in the make up tent, their faces painted thick with smiles splattered wide across their cracked white faces wouldn’t fool anyone, least of all themselves. They were all now officially not nearly as funny as toothache.

They knew they had to get out of the rut. Perhaps they should just get fired out of the state by the giant canon. At least that may get a laugh from the audience.

When Tortellini went in for surgery, after the accident involving the lion and the broom handle, the clowns finally tried to run away from the circus. They were too far gone to recognise irony.


What do you want to be when you grow up?


The four men stood before young Charlie Dunnings, who had recently had his appendix removed. He laughed at them, which they appreciated. The art of laughing at clowns was a dying art.

Charlie laughed and laughed as the clowns squirted flowers in their own faces, beeped horns and slipped on imaginary banana skins. He laughed until his sides hurt.

The nurses would drive out the men who seemed taller on the way out of the ward, buoyed by their time with him. Clowns everywhere heard about Charlie and his wonderful powers, he healed their bruised egos with his laughter. Queues of unsure clowns lined the hospital waiting to see him. They really were funny, Charlie proved it; and it was cheaper than paying for therapy.

Once Charlie had his medication correctly adjusted he no longer laughed at the ridiculous sad men. When he asked one of them ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ they stopped coming.




Comments

Visdare #72 | "Broken Porcelain"

Visdare No. 72 was one of 'Rejection' and featured the decaying porcelain face of a doll (maybe I'll post it here later?). Only just in time but here's my tuppence worth, and 150 words to boot!
Porcelain
Photo Source

Broken Porcelain


The top of the cabinet was a roadblock of bottles, tubs and tubes. Potions and lotions branded with sweet, sassy or enigmatic names. All of them suggesting a secret that only their makers knew.

Sylvia sat back studying the mirror, searching for imperfections, happy with this week’s choices. Smooth as a babies bot and as delicate as porcelain.

‘You finished, love?’ Daniel shouted as he came up the stairs.

Sylvia took a breath, ‘Yes darling. Sorry, beauty and youth doesn’t come easy.’

‘Or cheaply,’ he replied, regretting it immediately.

‘Cheap? What price youth? Look at me! No-one guesses my age within ten years. I’m the envy of every friend I’ve ever had.’

‘Underneath,’ Daniel looked at her, ‘are you beautiful really? We wouldn’t know with these smeared concoctions holding your face together.’

‘Beauty is not just youth’ he continued.

‘Are you saying I am not beautiful?’ Sylvia said to the mirror.

Daniel walked out. ‘I’m saying, I’ve no idea.’

Comments

Visdare #71 | "Gone Like Steam"

The prompt this week from Angela's Visdare #71 was another surreal one, the photo below and the word prompt 'Ephemera'

Ephemera

Gone Like Steam


Karen was always there with me, my other more important half, glowing, intelligent and so beautiful it defied my belief that she was with me, but now she’s gone. Almost.

Sometimes I can see her at the edge of my vision, sitting in her favourite chair, in those boots, looking up from a book or pointing at the kitchen.
Coffee time.

If I try to look directly at her she’s not there, but in those instants when I least expect it, when I walk in a room or look away, then my heart rises adrenaline pumps as I sense her breathing, feel her looking at me and see those leather boots. I blush.

Then phut! she’s gone like steam.

On more days now than not these ephemeral visions fail to materialise and I’m starting to believe that perhaps not only was she not always there, but perhaps she never was.

(150 words)
Comments

Visdare #69 | 'The Vigilant Angel'

Angela's Visdare #69 was 'Vigilant', and the pic was of a very elegantly sculptured angel or else a real one. And it was hard not to think of Dr Who and Blink!

angel

The Vigilant Angel

The rock had been forged by immense pressure and temperatures, simple lifeless compounds and elements streaked together in pretty but lifeless colours, created by eons. Yet three hundred years ago this cold moment had been given such life by a man yielding a few brutal tools.

Maria walked past her angel each day in awe of its elegance, its smooth flowing lines suggestive of movement. As the sun crossed the sky shadows breathed a vibrancy even colour into her face. Maria was sure the folds of the clothes would gently billow across the torso revealing and covering the sensuous details of the sculptors genius.

But this angel was now the last in the city. One by one broken by weather, aged by accidents, stolen by collectors, sold as rock garden, their ancient lives destroyed by time and ignorance. Maria must remain vigilant to protect her angel; the irony weighed heavy.

(150 words)
Comments

Visdare #67 | 'Waiting for Death'

Waiting for Death


Two faces at the gate were expectantly gazing out. The cat from its high point was purring warmly and gently shaking like it had swallowed a mobile on vibrate, whilst is old partner beneath her crouched by the weight of years.

It was nearly time.

A content smile pushed back the wrinkles as Marion saw the black figure heading straight down the street towards them.

The silhouette of the hood and billowing cape grew ever larger as the he approached. The tall scythe of the reaper wobbled from side to side with each inexorable step closer.

Ginger meowed feigning interest as he reached the gate, whilst Marion tried to peer through the hood to see the eyes of death. Death swayed twirling the scythe before coughing, clearing his throat for his important words.

A quiet voice struggled through the folds of the hood.

‘Trick or treat gran?’


(147 words) 'Expectantt'
Comments

Visdatre #65 | The Sunshine Boys

Angela's Visdare #65 was 'Golden', and the pic was of three lads kicking back in a mediterranean city.

Sunshine


The Sunshine Boys

Thwarted by angles and physics the sun was usually unable to penetrate the steep urban gorge, but for twenty minutes each evening the sunshine was allowed in. It was here the three children met daily to soak up the solar power at this short magic time.

Raul looked down at his two young pals, ‘Never looks the same this place. All angles, colours and streaks.’

The grey drab street provided a welcome cool oasis from the city heat in the day, but the golden time was what made it most special for the friends before their mothers would begin calling them home.

‘Just feels relaxing to me, quiet and comforting,’ said Luis. ‘Warm and bright.’

Xavi, toying around with a piece of plaster looked up, ‘It’s like a natural cathedral to me. I feel closer to god,’ he said.

Raul kicked him, ‘You're such an idiot!’



Comments

Visdare #63 | 'The Rocks'

Angela's Visdare #63 was 'Poison', and the pic was a lady in a bottle. Contortion.

Bottle

The Rocks


Colin rubbed his arms vigorously as his legs bounced in staccato rhythms.

The floor. ‘Keep looking at the floor,’ Colin said.

His head spasmed violently.

The floor.

Colin’s head was facing his feet, but his eyes were not toeing the line.

The table.

‘Don’t look at the table,’ Colin snapped at himself, but the floor was already lost to him and his head rose following his eyes lead.

The table. Don’t focus on it, look at the legs, not the table top.

‘No!’

But Colin caught a glance at the bottle.

‘Stop it!’ he shouted.

It was hopeless and the bottle started to grow larger, until it filled his vision.

Curved and sensuous the bottle was his beautiful baby. His lady. His mistress.

She called to him.

Seducer.

He knew it was poison but his gorgeous lady was calling him. His siren on the rocks was choosing him.




(148 words)
Comments

Visdare #61 | 'Festival'

Angela's Visdare 61 was the word festival, and looked so up beat and friendly. Yeah, right!


The Festival Experience

Fitzpatrick sat back. The herbal tea had looked innocent enough, though he’d no idea of its content. A strange feeling suffused through his head, then seemed to pulse with the beat of the drums.

Dancers with bright headdresses of feathers and wood carvings were circling him, and he felt like he was at the centre of everything. The carvings seemed to move, to laugh and sing with the dancers.

The tea.

The pulsating rhythm of the music seemed to dictate his heart beat. The festival was something incredible to behold. How lucky?

From nowhere two women appeared beside him and then he saw that he was tied to the chair. His head ached but he laughed. Their voices came to him out of order, then their lips moved. He freaked as a crescendo built.

Then he saw the knife. Such a knife.

It was a once in a lifetime experience.



(150 words)

Comments

Visdare #60 | Patience

Patience? Well it has been a few weeks since I've done a Visdare….

The Five Year Wait

Gustaf could set his watch by the gaunt man who came to his stall. He'd always carefully survey his merchandise, touching each of the clocks and watches as if feeling for life. Seemingly having genuine affection whether it was a ten Deutschmark watch or a golden filigree mantel clock.

When he finished he’d silently put down the last timepiece, turn and nod to Gustaf before leaving the square.

This had been happening for five years. While never spending a thing Gustaf mused the man was both his best and worst customer.

One day the man stopped, Gustaf noticed the tear falling down his cheek. His gaze was on a simple silver pocket watch. He picked it up and the man followed it like a dog following a bone. The inscription read: “To my darling Leonard. All my love, Irina”.

Gustalf held out the watch to the man.

“Leonard, I presume?”


(150 words)

Visdare is a great little photo prompt put up by Angela Goff. Go check it out!!

Comments

A Tale and the Ale | Flash Fiction Friday

A Tale and the Ale - Flash Fiction Friday

I've been doing Flash Fiction on and off for about three years now and more consistently over the last year. Recently I've largely been doing Visdare and Flash Friday Fiction. Last Friday I wrote a little rushed story for Flash Fiction Friday called '
The Race'.

I started writing it in the Belvedere pub and finished on my return before going to bed, having had a couple of pints of Hank (Tiny Rebel Brewery) and one Trapper's Hat (Brimstage Brewery) And lo! I only went and won it this week.

The next day I also took a minute and a half of my jogging time around Prince's Park. So
Trapper's Hat and Hank are now my best writing and running buddies!

Anyhow if you fancy reading my little story it's over on the Flash Friday site so pop on over by clicking on my beautiful winners badge ;-)

And if you're going to give it a go this week I'd thoroughly recommend a nice hoppy ale. Or two.

ffwinner-web

Comments

'Brown' | Flash on the Front Line

I have submitted three stories to the Writing on the Wall - 'Flash on the Front Line' competition. The first one was called 'Brown' which is below;


Red Flash
Flash on the Front Line


Brown



When his eyes were closed John saw the vivid colours of the countryside around Ingleton. His eyes were closed a lot these days.

At night he’d open them to see rare colour splash across his otherwise little changing murky vista. The Germans and Allies exchanging their flash bangs, illuminating their little piece of earthly hell into bizarre shadowy life. As the light of the evil fireworks played with the craters and detritus of no mans land his eyes played tricks, showing him dancing couples, bands and good timers cavorting across the macabre stage in complicated rhythms and entrancing moves. He hoped to see an entire enticing play eventually, but so far without fail they had spluttered into blackened monsters sprawling through his poisoned imagination.

These dances of the night were preferable to the usual bored quiet of the day and the haunting monotonous views. The brown mud of the trenches, brown rock, brown soil, brown uniform, brown craters, brown corpses, their brown hell. Brown.

‘Brown!’

John Brown stood uneasily to attention, grateful that he didn’t drop his gun into the muddy slop as he’d done once before.

‘Sir!’

‘At ease, Private,’ Corporal Draper said pulling out some cigarettes. He proffered one to John who took it. The tobacco briefly freed his nostrils from the stench.

‘Seems a long time since we signed up John,’ Draper said nonchalantly.

‘A lifetime or two, Sir.’ John said.

‘At least we’re here with our friends. It’s good that we know everyone here,’ Draper said. ‘Can look after each other.’

‘Yes, Sir.’ said John.

‘How you finding it yourself, Brown?’

‘Brown, Sir.’

‘That’s what I said.’

‘No, I mean I am finding it brown, Sir.’ John said.

‘Yes, I suppose it is,’ Corporal Draper said.

Draper paused.

‘How would you like to leave the trenches for a bit?’

‘Would be nice,’ Brown said, ‘A pint, then a long bath would be heaven.’

‘It would. But it’s not that far I’m afraid.’ Draper pulled on his cigarette seemingly puzzled that the barely filled paper had gone out.

‘Woods went over last night on a recon to draw any alterations the Germans have made to their trenches,’ Draper said. ‘Did well the lad too. But got caught on his way back. He’s just over there in the tree stump crater.’

Draper vaguely indicated over John’s shoulder towards no mans land.

‘We need someone to go out tonight, find him and get back whatever he sketched.’

‘That would be me, sir?’

‘Yes, Brown, that would be you.’

That night Brown did a sterling job belly crawling the short dangerous distance, finding the inert Woods not twenty metres from where he’d talked with the corporal earlier.

He eventually found the grubby scrap of paper. Woods had written:
“No changes. A bit muddy - probably brown.”

Brown lay back, laughing out loud as the night’s colourful fireworks began exploding above him, filling his vision, bombarding his ears. He waited for that nights play, hoping that there would be no monsters.


Comments

'Dig' | Flash on the Front Line

I have managed to write and submit three stories to the Writing on the Wall - 'Flash on the Front Line' competition. My second one is; 'Dig'


Red Flash
Flash on the Front Line


Dig


Dig like your life depends on it.
Your life probably does.
Dig in. Dig a hole. Your hole. Your home for the night. Maybe for longer.
Maybe eternity.
Dig. Dig like your life depends on it.

The mantra goes round and round - as mantras should. As the soil is moved from below me to the side of me, spilling up around me in a ugly grey mud. The shallow rock thankfully breaking up quickly under the bayonet, under foot and my angry pressure.

Dig like your life depends on it.
It probably does.

The hole is your whole. Your life right now and your chance of life tomorrow. Expanding quickly in your vision, but slowly in reality.

It strikes me I might be digging a grave.

Dig.

Tired men all around me are carving out their holes with urgency. Friends old and new cracking into the mudstone, creating first slabs then bite sized chunks, throwing them into the air in little one man explosions.

Dig.

Phillips keeps repeating “It’ll be over by Christmas.” I don’t know how they know that. Just another mantra - keep saying it and it’ll be true. Until it’s past Christmas, then what?

It’s so damn cold here right now, the only thing warming me is the digging.

Dig.
Your life depends on it.

Remember last summer when we sat in the glade with our lunch and cider? That little depression we hid in, watching the children walk past without them seeing us? Our little secret. That’s my hole right now. A deepening depression into the French soil.

Dig.
A deepening depression.

The guys are gradually stopping now. Happy with their holes or too tired to dig any more. They’re climbing into them. Readying themselves for the night.

I’m so tired with the marching and the weight we carry. The digging. But still how can we sleep?

We’ve heard some gunfire. Our bullets or theirs?

They are digging in too. Little pockets of protection from our guns.
They are hiding from us as we are from them, yet we could shout to them, they are that close. They are hiding from me and my gun.

I don’t want to fire it. I just want to dig.

Dig, like your life depends on it.
Dig until you are somewhere else. Somewhere safe. Anywhere but here.

It’s so cold on the ground. I can feel the heat drain from me into the soil. I’m turning to ice, to stone. I feel like I could die here without a shot being fired. We could all die from this cold. What kind of war would that be? A nil nil draw with no one left to fight to a victory.

The heat has sapped from me like sucking juice out of plum.

If I dig a little deeper would the earth give me its heat?

I need to dig a little deeper.

Dig. Like your life depends on it. Dig.

I won’t be home for Christmas.


Comments

'The Attack!' | Flash on the Front Line

I have managed to write and submit three stories to the Writing on the Wall - 'Flash on the Front Line' competition. This is my third one; 'The Attack'

Red Flash

The Attack!

The zing of coffee woke Roman up with a jolt. The aroma filled his nostrils and lungs and his eyes were popping.

‘Wow!’ Roman said. ‘Is this stuff even legal?’

‘Isn’t this the best coffee ever?’ Natalya said.

‘Wow!’ Roman said again.

‘It certainly sets me up for the day,’ Natalya said before wiping her cappuccino pencil mustache from her comely lips.

Roman looked at the mug, then the table and chairs and then around the coffee shop. He was sure all the colours were brighter and bolder after he’d drunk the coffee. He shook his head wildly trying to get back closer to his pre-coffee normalcy.


Suddenly cold he stopped and surveyed his surroundings. He was near the crest of a low hill a few hundred metres from a large stand of silver birch. The wind was blowing with a cutting bite through his face and he could smell salt. Visibility was poor but he knew he was near the sea.
His mouth was full of the taste of stewed coffee.

‘What’s wrong?’

Roman looked up and saw two men staring at him dressed in camouflage fatigues and loaded down under their own personal arsenals.

‘You okay, Roman?’ said one of the soldiers. ‘Look like you’ve seen a ghost.’

Roman felt he was in a realistic dream as he licked the salt off his lips. He tried to think what he’d drunk and eaten the night before.

He looked down and saw a tin can with coffee in his right hand. In his left he had a gun and he realised he was wearing the same gear as the two soldiers.

The coffee shop had been real. He was sure. It was tangible, solid, bright and bold. His beloved Natalya was there looking as hot as his coffee was. And the coffee, well that was as real as anything could be.

Yet here he was standing in a fox hole on a hill somewhere holding some lethal coffee cocktail in one hand and a weapon in the other. This was real as well.

He couldn’t work out which was reality, which the dream, and his breathing started to get heavy. He felt himself gasp for breathe and he dropped the tin spilling its silty contents by his soiled boots.

He could feel the concern of the two soldiers as they looked on helpless. His breathing went from quick pants to sudden stops and his vision blurred. He hoped the soldiers would fade into memory and the coffee shop would return, but as his vision failed him the cold freezing his hands told him otherwise.

‘He’s opening his eyes,’ said one of the soldiers.

‘I think you’ve had a panic attack,’ said the other.

Roman tried to sit up and felt bruised from a fall. He looked past the soldiers and saw the birch. This hill must be the reality. Surely. He couldn’t remember a thing since the coffee shop though.

‘Where am I?’ Roman said forlornly.


DSCF0404_1



Comments

Writing on the Wall 2014

It's time for Merseyside's great Writing on the Wall (WoW") Festival. I've managed to get on the Long List for the last two years. Can I make it three in a row? Or even make it to the Short List this time? Umm, not sure about that. Two years ago the theme was the End of the World (full on Mayan prophecy time), last year the theme was Horror. And this year? Well, possibly a combination of the two with the anniversary of the First World War being commemorated everywhere it's "Flash on the Front Line".

You can put a maximum of three stories (of c.500 words maximum) in for the competition - although only one per person can get on the Long List.

Red Flash
I've done two so far and will probably do a third. Will put them on here as well as the WoW website - largely because their site doesn't allow italics or bold - which doesn't help at least one of my stories ("Dig").

Watch this space. Or better still, get writing and put something out there.
Comments

"Covert" | Visdare #54

The Football Match

Going back to 1890s Woolwich to watch his beloved Arsenal had seemed a great idea when Danny initially discovered the device. Arriving in Victorian London his first surprise was the volume of mud and shit overtopping his shoes.

        
At the match his excitement was forgotten as he became transfixed by a nearby spectator that looked exactly like his dad. Danny couldn’t just approach the man, so decided on performing a covert operation. After the game he stalked him for hours through the London streets gleaning information to take back home. His brother’s ancient university coat and the hat from the fancy dress hire did a grand job protecting Danny’s face from mud splatters and the bitter cold - the coat also hid his 1970 Brazil top from any prying eyes.

        He was beginning to consider that maybe his dad hadn’t
“run off with some floozy” like his mum had thought.


(150 words)
Visdare #54 'Covert'
Comments

"Words" - My Non-Trifecta Trifecta

This was my first Trifecta attempt today, before I thought I should write something more directly about Trifecta! (see Farewell Trifecta)

Words

Judge Rodgerson recapped the shocking litany of crimes Sophie had committed. She felt naked before the court as the words washing over her, through her, etching into her flesh and bones. Exciting her.
Comments

"The End of the Mystery Tour" - Farewell Trifecta

So this weeks Trifecta is the last ever. Sad of course, but it has been a fine institution to have had some involvement in, and I'm sure we'll see each other around the great flashisphere. Fare thee well!

Farewell
This weeks Trifecta challenge was open. Really open. Only one rule - 33 words. I told you, that is open. So without a prompt I don't know where mine came from! Never you mind maybe it is obvious, here it is - "The End of the Mystery Tour" (all 33 words):

The End of the Mystery Tour

The mystery tour took in a heady mix of creations from warped minds and isolated genius. Moments and grand visions crystalised into perfect bite size chunks. The trip stuttered jarringly between shifting realities.

Comments

"Misplaced" | Visdare #53

Angela's Visdare this week was brought to you by the word 'Misplaced' and a very creepy Jane Jetson!

JaneJetson
Photo Source


Misplaced



She’d loved the Jetson’s, the black and white era giving way to primary colour future - where all things were possible.

        “
I’m going to be Jane Jetson when I grow up,” Katy had said.

        Now day and night June traced the position of the International Space Station across the sky. Following its course on the internet, always looking up for it when it passed over.

        Each morning June carefully cleaned her Jane Jetson with a damp cloth making sure it was spotless. Its plastic face staring blankly out of the window at mundane reality.

‘I saw the ISS last night, it was beautiful,’ June said, dabbing its cold white cheeks. ‘One day babe you’ll fly in space.’

        As always June spent the day scouring the news, whilst Katy’s mummified remains lay encased within her plastic tomb. June didn’t consider her confidence misplaced, her baby’s resurrection was surely just tomorrows headline away.



(150 words 'Misplaced')

Comments

"Satisfy" - Trifecta Week 114

This weeks Trifecta is another 33 word challenge to include the use of 'Satisfy'

JAIPUR10

The Jaipur

‘It is love,’ Kev said.
‘Is it really the only one that can satisfy you?’ said Tom.
Kev picked up the Jaipur reverentially, savouring its aromas, the look on his face confirming everything.
Comments

"The Introduction" - Trifecta #104

It is sad to see that Trifecta is to close at the end of March, but these weekly challenges take up a lot of time for those that organise and judge them. My hat goes off to everyone involved in it for their work over the last couple of years in providing these opportunities to write and meet with some wonderful writers.

In this week's Trifecta #104 it was another 33 word challenge and needed to include a palindrome. Mine is below:


The Introduction


Charlie turned to the camera, seeming to look into the very souls of his watching public. He shuffled his papers, assumed his trademark smirk, ‘Today, we bring evil live to you.... Piers Morgan…’


Piers
Comments

"Testing Times" - Visdare #52

Another great photo from Angela over at Visdare along with the word "Ingenious". Where will the photo take you on your 150 words journey? My story 'Testing Times' is below:

image
Photo source

Testing Times

All the grand children, nieces and nephews loved visiting the dynamic Uncle Sylvester - he was always "Uncle". He’d lavish attention on every child; draw them pictures, tell jokes, write funny poems, and (best of all) devise games. In short, he wasn’t like other adults.

The "privy climb", held deep in the garden undergrowth, was the simplest and yet quite the most fun for the boys. He’d leave timbers out for the children to clamber onto the redundant outhouses.

Sylvester was sly by name and nature though. The game was his inventive way to nudge the children towards healthy activities. Each night Sly carefully selected the timbers based on the children’s age and height. Any who couldn’t climb were not fit enough and any who broke the timber were obviously well past their recommended BMI.

Sylvester gave prizes to all the children who succeeded. Any that failed got no dinner. Ingenious!



(150 words)
Comments

"Freewheeling" - Visdare #51

Another great photo from Angela over at Visdare for No.51. Where will the photo take you on your 150 words journey? My story 'Freewheeling' is below:

Freewheel


Freewheeling

Paula freewheeled along the runway like she was under some invisible propulsion.

        Alongside her in the car David shouted, ‘I don’t know how she does that!’

        ‘Does what?’ Rob said, as he tried to stop the wind wresting away his cap.

        ‘She’s accelerating. This runway, it’s flat.’

        Rob looked at her feet on the handlebars then shrugged. ‘Must be being dragged by the car.’

        ‘Look at her, never looks like she has a care in the world.’

        ‘Like the world’s one big joke and she’s the only one in on it,’ agreed Rob.

        They both loved her of course. Every man - and a few women - in their town did.

        Paula rocked her head back laughing heartily.

        David saw the reality of her being, pressed the accelerator to the floor and steered for the fuel depot. Rob screamed.

        Paula grinned as the mothership lowered over the airfield. The invasion had begun.



(150 words) Visdare 'Carefree'
Comments

'Half a Heartbeat' - Trifecta #105

Trifecta Writing Challenge this week was brought to you by 'worm' and required exactly 33 words.

Half a Hearbeat

If there was even a sniff of gossip Edith Bassenthwaite became a phenomenon to behold. She could worm it out of the toughest characters in a heartbeat. The headhunting by MI5 was inevitable.

(33 words)
Comments

"Dogs and Lust" - MWBB#50

My first Mid Week Blues Buster for a long while… MWBB#50 was from the The The song 'Dogs of Lust'
Check out Jeff's MWBB site by
clicking here.


Dogs and Lust
by A J Walker

The urban noise outside is assaulting my ears, stopping me think properly, I just can’t turn off. Thick curtains are keeping the room air raid black I’m sure, but my eyes are hurting from some brightness, which I can still see your face in – and your body.

I’m like an iron filing to you and you’re electromagnetic power. A super magnet that makes me helpless when I’m near, the feelings just rise up in me unbidden, however I try to fight it. Sometimes I don’t off course – we’re so much meant to be together, that it must be obvious to everyone.

This morning when we said “hello” I rose inwardly, and I fear outwardly too. That’s why I had to run. Someone must have seen it, maybe even you.

And now, as I’m lying here this evening alone in this painful darkness, I can’t get you out of my useless head. I know I must find someone else, before I go truly insane, even someone that can’t live up to you. But it’s so hard when all I can think of is you. It’s so hard.

I know you’re at home tonight, watching a film, having dinner, maybe a glass of wine. With your girl. The whole family caboodle – yes, with your husband too. I know I could love you so much more than he does – I know, because I already do.

There are hard-men dogs somewhere outside barking their territorial warnings again. I’m definitely staying in tonight.

Every path in this head-based maze of mine leads to you. I always find you but when I get there you’re inevitably just out of reach. I’m never going to get you in reality or even in my head. What cruelty, when even my own dreams are playing these tricks?

In this wicked darkness your face and your body is still here with me, looking like it always does – I can feel the electromagnetism flicking me on. The heating’s yet to burst up, but I am sweating cobs with the thoughts of you.

Two dogs outside barked their testosterone reminders of my solitary confinement.

I reached for the Laphroaig and last night’s sticky glass. I needed to get some serious drink in to wash away this lust. I foresaw waves of malty oblivion. I’ll drink to you and me of course, but please leave me after this first bottle – I want no dreams to remember tonight.


@zevonesque 406 words
Comments

"The Psychic" - Visdare #50

Angela Goff's Visdare #104 this week is brought to you today by the word 'Remote' and this picture by artist Pat Perry. So, 150 words from this… well, here you go with: 'The Psychic'

Pat Perry
Pat Perry - photo source

The Pyschic


The ornate silk scarf Michelle had picked up in Paris was being alternately stroked and scrunched by Theresa. Her eyes closed tight, as she inhaled deeply. Jonathan stood by the door impatiently looking on.

        Suddenly, Theresa pulled the scarf tight and shouted. ‘I can see something.’

        Jonathan stepped closer, but Theresa held out a hand to stop him.

        ‘The vision is coming, resolving itself,’ Theresa said. 'Be patient.'

        ‘Sorry.’

        ‘I can see birches, long grasses... an old shack,’ Theresa said. ‘A trailer in the distance. The place seems remote. Hillbilly.’

        Jonathan couldn’t help himself, ‘Can you see her? Can you see Michelle? Is she okay?’

        Theresa shook her head.

        ‘Not yet.’

        The door rattled open and Michelle walked in.

        ‘Jonathan! Must you do this every time I pop to the shops?’

        Jonathan skulked into the kitchen to help with the bags. Disappointed, Theresa went home for a cup of tea.

(150 words)
Comments

'That's Not What I Meant' - Trifecta #103

Trifecta this week is one of them dead short ones. Just 33 words in addition to (and preceding):

That wasn’t what I meant.

- See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.maqnilNf.dpuf
___________________


The Last Scouse

‘The scouse tasted funny.’

‘That’ll be the strychnine,’ said Sarah throwing the pot away.

My empty plate glared at me.

‘You did say you’d rather die than see Man United win another title.’

That’s not what I meant.


___________________

In case you don't know what scouse is then take a look on this site… it's global scouse day on Friday!!

Global Scouse Day
Comments

"The Picture in the Drawing Room" - Visdare #49

Today's Visdare #49 is brought to you by the word 'Devoted' and the usual nice black and white:

Devoted
Photo Source

The Picture in the Drawing Room

The drawing room was kept pristine for Sarah, finer than it had ever been when she’d lived there. During the day Frederick avoided the room, saying he didn’t want to appear too maudlin.

But at night, under the flickering flames of the wood fire and candles, when Sarah’s portrait came alive then he really couldn’t be anywhere else. Each evening it was his reading room, his drinking room and usually the room he fell asleep in - before being roused by the cold when the fire flicked out.

Somehow Sarah's features would change through myriad moods. Usually, as Frederick read or wrote, she seemed simply to smile down on her beloved.

When he realised he was tiring he’d look up at Sarah, hoping that as the last thing he saw she would step into his dreams. Sarah was destined to be really close to her Freddie again only while he slept.


(150 words)
Comments

"Dreams" - Flash Friday

Loved this weeks beautiful haunting photo for Flash Friday Fiction "Patience' - 14 Feb '14 (140-160 words). My story for it is 'Dreams' below.
Kolmanskop
Source

Dreams

Borba’s dreams were now inevitable and they were clearly eating him up. He visibly shrank daily in front of his investor’s eyes.

        He was building a Las Vegas in the middle of the most inhospitable African desert. A monument to mankind showing the mastery over the world he lived in. It was his dream, to be his legacy.

        But now his dreams were killing him. Each night the same voice spoke to him.

        ‘Go from here.’

        ‘This land is sacred.’

        ‘Do not build here.’

        Night after sleepless night. Incessant.

        ‘Leave.’

        Fine imported marble and grand glass edifices had risen up, some incredibly high, dazzling iridescent above the shifting sands of the dunes. They were heralded around the world as a modern Wonder.

        Slowly, almost imperceptibly, but inexorably the desert moved in. One by one Borba’s buildings were gobbled up by the sand as the desert patiently took bites from man’s monumental folly.

        Borba had played dice in a loaded game.

(160 words)
Comments

Trifecta #102

The 'Lurve' Trifecta

In recognition of one of the worserest capitalist 'holidays' of the year tomorrow
Trifecta #102 has a love theme. They asked for 33 words about 'love gone wrong' - without the use any of the following words: love - sad - tears - wept - heart - pain

So here is my little (33 word effort):
_______________________

The young couple grinned when the vicar asked the congregation, “... anyone knows any lawful impediment?
Recognising the groom’s parents from the day they’d picked Louise up from the orphanage her adoptive parents screamed.

Comments

"Calling" - Visdare #48

Today's Visdare #48 is brought to you by this picture and the word 'Beneath' or something like that. Ha ha haa!

Chasm 1
Photo source

Calling


I was inexorably drawn to the stark old mansion with its faded, not unattractive facade. I somehow squeezed through a gap in the timber fence before picking my way through the frost touched grasses.

A swollen back door took a couple of shoulder barges before it fell open revealing a large rustic kitchen. The sturdy table in the centre was surrounded by aged bags and cases and the chairs were draped with decaying mounds of coats. There was no sign of recent visitors.

Then I realised that the house was stifling so I too dispensed with my jacket draping it over a kitchen hook, not thinking to wonder about the heat source - that which called me.

A closed door waited to be pushed and I helplessly relented, to find the decrepit corridor behind it pulsing reds from an unearthly chasm beneath the gouged timbers. It called silently to me.
Welcome.


Comments

"The Competition" - Flash Friday Fiction Vol 2-9

The Competition

Brothers Gargol and Rygol were playing the ultimate game of Civilization. They each started with a sparsely populated planet, which they named after themselves. They were permitted a little prodding and pruning every four years, when they could also introduce selected technology to assist their population.

Gargol was doing rather well he thought. His was a pretty and self contained planet, if not particularly dynamic. The people were happy with their lot, particularly once he’d introduced wine and beer technologies.

Rygol was envious of the general happiness observed on Gargol. There seemed to be a lot more aggression, even wars, on his planet. He mused that it may have been how he’d engineered the population. In 1896 he’d reintroduced competitions on Earth to find who were the fittest, fastest, strongest then he’d spirit away the athletes to his planetary stud - several years after their success, when no one would notice their disappearance. It had seemed like a good idea.


Flash Friday Fiction 7 February 2014
Comments

"Click, Clack" - Visdare #47

Visdare No. 47 'Contemplating'

Alfred-Eisenstaedt
Photo Source


Click, Clack

The gentle click clacking needles and the robotic looping of the wool had always been the easiest way for Jean to relax and contemplate. It was nice to create a little order out of chaos too.

Click.

The door at the back of the theatre opened and a man crept in. He looked over to Jean, trying to judge the best way to get to her. He tripped noisily over a carelessly dropped handbag.

Clack.

Jean had heard the door and smiled at the subsequent cussing. She glanced at the ball of wool, noting it was coming to an end.

Click.

The man stood before her separated by two neat rows of seats, but she didn’t look up.

Clack.

Last row. Just enough wool.

The man saw wires and the bomb in the bag, no way to get to it without Jean triggering it. He fingered his gun.

Click.



(150 words) Visdare #47 |'Contemplating'
Comments

"Angles" - Trifecta Week 111

Pasted Graphic

Angles

The orange tinged lights flickered erratically then fizzled out as the lift stuttered to a halt. Stephen’s shoulders sagged when he realised they were stuck between floors. He looked across at the other man to see if he would react.

        Grieg touched back his jacket cuff to check the time, but otherwise looked unphased.

        ‘It won’t be long,’ Grieg said to Stephen, who he didn’t recognise.

        Stephen looked at Grieg without thought to hide his disdain. His features squirmed across his face as though he was tasting waves of chili, vinegar and Stinking Bishop.

        Grieg was used to it. He was held in the utmost esteem for his magical abilities by the few, but most people treated him like something unpleasant they’d trodden in.

        They were trapped in the lift for over an hour before Stephen spoke.

        ‘How can you do what you do?’ said Stephen.

        ‘I sleep fine,’ Grieg said.

        ‘But the lies you tell affect people every day,’ Stephen said, ‘and it’s always the poorest who suffer most.’

        Grieg preened some imaginary hair and looked Stephen directly in his eyes.

        ‘I sleep fine.’

        There was a pause before Grieg spoke again.

        ‘I’ve never lied, I've never manipulated the figures. All the information I provide the Ministry are what they ask for, based on the story they want to sell.’

        ‘But the lies.’

        ‘I’ve never lied with my statistics. Admittedly I sometimes tell truths from unusual angles.’

        ‘But they’re always torn apart afterwards by the opposition and the media.’

        ‘Of course, but by then my job has been done. The story has gone days before. People have short attention spans you know,' Grieg said. 'I just do the best job I can for my wage. Never done anything wrong in my life.’

        ‘Not sure most people will agree with you.’ said Stephen.

        ‘Everyone is entitled to their view of the truth, from whatever angle they chose to see it.’

        The lights suddenly flickered back to life and the lift jerked violently upwards.



Pasted Graphic




(333 words)
Trifecta Writing Challenge - 'Manipulate'

Comments

"Stew" - Race the Date #12

Spices

Stew

Master Phillips was rudely woken by a crewman at daybreak. He struggled to see through his sleep encrusted eyes, but from the stench he guessed it was Gove.

        ‘Cap’an, chosen you for the landing.’ he growled.

        Phillips grabbed a cloth, arguably less filthy than him, and proceeded to smear dirt around his face, trying to leave the bit around the nose a little cleaner. He bounced up to the deck before most of the landing party, who ambled up in their own time showing varying degrees of enthusiasm.

        Before long they were rowing through the Pacific waves towards the broad sandy beach.

        ‘About time the weather let us in,’ muttered Spencer.

        ‘Desperate for some new friends?’ said Daniels.

        ‘Some fruit wouldn’t go amiss, maybe some meat,’ said Spencer, ‘But aye if there are any ladies…’

        After watching the island, stuck for days behind the reef, the only sign of island life they’d seen were birds. Fredricks said he heard pigs at one point. His marbles were lost during the Doldrums though.

        As they approached their landing the forest rose as a monumental impenetrable wall from the edge of the beach.

        Excitement was palpable as they pulled up the boat – the men on the ground would get their fill of the first fruits; a great position to be in Phillips thought.

        He was reconsidering this whilst he tried to loosen the ties around his wrists. The giant bubbling vats, which currently smelled of vegetable stew, were drawing his vision. Phillips was pretty sure he’d get to taste some of it shortly, but was not looking forward to his dinner placing.

        They were evidently not the first pirates to land there, as the indigenous tribe, as well as outnumbering them, were much armed better. They also had fabulous spices for their stew.


(300 words)
Race the Date #
Comments

"Spengler's Holiday Car Hire" - Flash Friday

Car Wreck
Car wreck (public domain photo) for Flash Friday 31 January 2014

Spengler’s Holiday Hire Car

Despite the primitive roads Spengler was loving the car’s smooth ride. There were hardly any other cars on the road, which meant the main issue was avoiding pedestrians. His car was certainly a spanking head turner bringing crowds whenever it slowed. The guys who’d sorted it had done a top job.

        An hour later, outside the Western Mutual, the vehicle began to judder unsettling Spengler. The man he’d picked up to take to the station seemed unphased, but he’d probably never been in a car before.

        The red LED pulsed on the dashboard, a little out of keeping with the 1920s vehicle.

        ‘Hi Spengler here,’ he said into his cuff. ‘What’s up?’

        ’Transformation field is failing,’ his other cuff reported. ‘Sorry, we’re going to have to take you out of there.’

        A loud Phutt! and the driver’s seat was empty.

        The front wheel disappeared and minutes later the rest of the car would be a memory too.

        Spengler would return.

(150 words) 31 January 2014
Comments

"Casting Shadows" - Visdare #46

Visdare #46
Another fine black and white photo from Angela's Visdare to bring out so many possibilities.

Shadow Puppets
photo source

Casting Shadows

Carla stepped through the house like it was a museum, touching nothing. It was familiar to her in the way a house would be from a soap opera. It was not a home. At her old bedroom she stopped, looking at the handle, knowing she would not enter.

        Paintings of anonymous landscapes on the wall, of places they’d never been, that meant nothing to the family, still perplexed her.

        Downstairs she found the door to the back-room was slightly ajar. Carla pushed it tentatively and it opened revealing the grand fireplace and, in the middle of the room, the ornate grate. Whenever she’d been in here with a fire blazing she’d watch its shadows play on the walls letting her imagination run free.

        Carla touched the iron grate and felt herself cast back a child again. Locked in the room; her father’s only idea of parenting.

        Finally she cried.

(150 words)
Comments

"Return of the Dead" - Race the Date #11

RTDbadge
Race the Date #11

Return of the Dead

Angelo was squashed uncomfortably into an awkward corner of the cafe and was fidgeting. There was something wrong with the taste of the coffee and he left it virtually untouched. He’d briefly contemplated a stronger drink over the road, but that way lay problems. His hands were clammy and he rubbed them hard down his pristine jeans.

Half a mile away Raul was sat in a bus station waiting room with a grin wide across his face at the thought of seeing his brother again. He’d been out of the refugee camp for a month before he’d found Angelo had survived the attack on the village and it had then taken another three weeks to search him out. He’d never felt more elated.

Angelo knew it was probably just avoidance, but his clammy hands were starting to annoy him. He stared at them willing them dry. Maria had told him he was suffering survivors guilt. So many friends and relations had died during the troubles, and he had thought his brother among them. Now he knew Raul hadn’t died but had spent all that time in the infamous refugee camp just a few hours from the city. Angelo had eventually prospered after the civil war had ended and even had a young family; he worried Raul would resent him for it. It was frightening that one wrong spelling - a simple administrative error - had robbed them of years together.

As he entered the bus station Angelo saw Raul turn towards him, his face thin and much older, yet unequivocally his gorgeous younger brother.

They sat in comfortable silence for an age just soaking up each others very existence. Over a vat of coffee their divergent histories then began to leak out as the years melted away in the tropical heat.


(299 words)
Comments

"Transformation" - Visdare #45

It is absolutely fabulous to see Angela Goff's Visdare challenge back. The photos she selects are always engrossing and she's back with a bang this week with 'Scrutiny'. Visdare has moved slightly and can now be found at http://anonymouslegacy1.wordpress.com

Scruting 10
Scrutiny - photo source

Transformation

Sam stood toe to toe with the iron man. He got so close to its engrained face he could feel the cold on his nose. He stepped back scrutinising its unearthly head and twisted body and he stared into the eyeless face. It was looking back at him he was sure. It forced Sam back onto his heels.

When he stepped closer again he had his hand on his hips mirroring it. As minutes past there was a shift. The iron man was a representation of Sam he was sure. He felt diminished by it, like his soul had been taken.

The world spiralled and his head hurt like cracked ice. He felt so cold as he looked out from the statue at the man. The man had a raincoat on and a silly hat; while he was naked, exposed to the elements.

Sam felt the rust eating into him.


(150 words)
Comments

"The Tiger's Tail" - Race the Date #9

Jaipur Snake Charmer
The Snake Charmer - (photo source)

The Tiger's Tail


Chhaya, the tiger, watched the villager's festivities. Even through the undergrowth and evening darkness he saw their brightly coloured garments as they sang and danced. They looked happy. Chhaya was not.

        Earlier in the day he’d seen a traveling man with a basket entertain the children with a
pungi and a great snake. He immediately recognised the bespectacled Aswara and saw his discomfort.

        Aswara had been missing for several days and whilst they weren’t the closest of friends their truce between each other felt like kinship. It was difficult to watch him swaying groggily for the sake of a few rupees. He needed to do something to help. Chhaya couldn’t get near the village as it was well defended - they were well aware of his presence in the jungle. He needed a plan.

        A dripping sound behind him caught his attention and he turned to see his swaying tail hovering above a puddle. Plop. He looked at his muddy tail like he’d never seen it before. Plop. A plan.

        Next day Chhaya waited in the undergrowth. Early in the morning as hoped, the snake charmer walked the perimeter with his basket, a sack and a forked branch - peering and prodding the undergrowth. Chhaya turned his back on the charmer and slowly swished his tail - he’d worked all night perfecting it.

        The charmer saw a fantastic snake he didn’t recognise and put down the basket in readiness to catch it. When his forked branch poked behind its head he was surprised to see the mud flakes. He was surprised to see orange and black fur. He was most surprised to see a tiger turn and pounce from the forest.

        Chhaya left the man trembling whilst he carried the basket into the forest and freed Aswara. They became real friends that day.



(300 words)

Comments

"Owl and the Arrogant Giant" - Flash Friday


Wawona_Tree_Road
Wawona Tree Road - Photo from National Parks Service


Owl and the Arrogant Giant

For 2000 summers the giant Sequoia stood resolute in the forest. It had seen many things, its age bringing wisdom. Animals - even minor gods - began to seek Sequoia’s regular counsel. The owl god accepted this, secure that the ultimate wisdom was his.

        One day though the only wisdom being sought in the forest was from Sequoia, and owl beseeched the tree to bow to him. Age though had bred great arrogance. Angrily owl vowed to kill Sequoia that very day. The giant swayed laughing, confident in its eternity - owl could not fight its might.

        While Sequoia slept the owl conspired with the Thunder-Bird sending back messages in time with the wind. In summers past, lightning struck Sequoia bringing fire; spring and autumn rains washed away the soils; and each winter, snows weighed heavily. Unbidden, men drove a tunnel through its damaged base - just because they could.

        Owl - once more the wisest in the forest - hooted when snow felled Sequoia.


(160 words) Flash Friday Fiction 10 January 2014
Comments

"The Morning Coffee" - MWBB Week 43

The Morning Coffee

The bubbling kettle seemed aggressive in extreme as Scott’s head struggled to deal with it. He had tried turning away from the noise earlier, but the light streaming in from the window was impossible for him to take. He was trapped in a purgatory of his own making - in his own kitchen.

        He knew he needed lots of liquids but, right now, he couldn’t even face water. Coffee was all he could think of that may do anything for him. Scott’s special thick weekend blend was called for, which could probably wake a dead man; pretty much what it needed to do.

        In the living room he sat down in the clutter thankful for the blackout curtains. He could just make out the detritus from the night before: two empty bottles of red wine, a box of wine which he daren’t check, two wine glasses, a broken tumbler and crumbs of something they’d eaten - which were welded to the table by sticky splashes of red.

        As he drew a slug of coffee he saw a single white high-heeled shoe peeping out from behind a table leg and he could trace the linear outline of something over by the fireplace. He thought it may be a stocking, it would require investigation later.

        Scott mused that the best nights were always the unplanned ones, but right now he was thoroughly regretting last night as his heads were banging (he was sure one head couldn’t be this painful).

        ‘Scott!’ Christina’s voice came from the bedroom, ‘Scott, are you up? You making breakfast?’

        She already sounded at home - it was one night of drink fueled passion for him, now for the first time he wondered what it had been for Christina.

        He knew her most intimate measurements, but didn’t even know how she took her coffee. ‘Coffee!’ he shouted, ‘Breakfast
is coffee. How do you take it?’

        ‘Black and one sugar, please.’ Christina said as she walked in. Scott thought she looked surprisingly well, which made him wonder whether he’d done most of the drinking.

        ‘Have you seen another one of these anywhere, gorgeous?’ she said holding up a shoe with a single finger.

        Scott thought he had seen one somewhere but his head wasn’t working yet.

        ‘Not sure,’ he said.


(378 words)


MWBB Week 43 - Song 'Heartbeats' The Knife/Jose Gonzalez
Comments

"The Eighth Work" - Race the Date

Palace2

The Eighth Work

Thaksin was late for college, but ambled out his bedroom without any urgency. He needed breakfast.

        ‘Thaki, have you heard? Well, of course you haven’t.’ his mother said, ‘They’ve done it again!’

        His dad looked up from the television, ‘Or
he has, I’m not sure it’s a they.’

        Thaksin yawned a chasm, scratched his balls then grabbed for the coffee jug.

        ‘What are you talking about dad?’

        His dad pointed at the television, ‘They said there’d be eight works and they’ve been true to their word. Look son that
Muay Thai has painted a whole wall of the Palace.’

        Thaksin could feel the room shudder. As the coffee began to work he realised it was his mother jumping up and down next to him. ‘This is amazing, I can’t believe they - or he - has got away with it. I know the paintings are good, but this is a pure political punch in the guts.’

        ‘Perhaps a blow to the head,’ said his dad, ‘They chose their name well “
The Art of Eight Limbs” - clever!’

        Glaring at Thaksin from the screen the stark black and white painting was beautiful to behold, he loved the contrast with the ubiquitous reds and golds of the palace. Work, poverty and death presented as an eastern Guernica. On such a venue no one could question its meaning.

        Thaksin slurped his coffee and noticed some paint flecks on his knuckles he’d missed earlier. His thumbnail removed the last of the flecks and Muay Thai was gone.

        It was Muay Thai’s masterpiece - and legacy - copycat art quickly popped up around the country, then across Asia. As the Arab Spring had spread around the Mediterranean years earlier, so the Artist Revolution began in Bangkok with the work of a little unknown artist who couldn’t fight for toffee.


(299 words)
Race the Date “Muay Thai” 6th January 2014

RTDwinner
This Story WON the Race the Date this week. My first Flash Fiction win of 2014 - so I'm chuffed to little mint balls, I am.
Comments

"The Sausage Lesson" - Trifecta 109

The Sausage Lesson

Liz couldn’t get to sleep wondering what she could do about Susan. She’d thankfully grown out of the “
Talk to the hand” stage, but still the usual refrain from any comment or question was “Whatever...

          Liz needed to get her daughter back - to get her talking!

          It was 2am when she hit upon it. She thought it may be a bit of a
kill or cure, but it would certainly get a reaction.

          Next morning as Susan grabbed some toast and coffee Liz sat compiling the Monday shopping list.

          ‘What do you want tonight love?’

          Predictable: silence.

          Liz tried again, ‘Sorry, Susan. What do you want for dinner tonight?’

          There may have been a quiet grunt, but she wasn’t sure.

          ‘I said...’

          Susan looked up and stopped Liz in her tracks, ‘Whatever!’


The stench of the Andouillette sausage was as hard to stomach now as it had been when Liz discovered it in Paris twenty years ago. Liz was having chili herself, but Susan having a lesson.

          The key in the door quickly brought Liz back from her Parisian memories.

          ‘That you love?’ she shouted out.

          ‘Who else would it be?’ Susan said laying each word thick with sarcastic tones.

          ‘Dinner’s ready. Get it whilst it’s hot!’

          The tell tale clomp only a teenager - or a medium sized hippo - could make let her know she’d heard.

          As the kitchen door was flung open Susan screamed, ‘Has something died!?’

          ‘Just your dinner.’ Liz said placing the plate in front of her, ‘It’s supposed to smell like this.’

          Susan looked in shock at the plate, then at her mum’s.

          ‘You’ve got chili, my fave,’ she said.

          ‘Yep, it’s spot on too, I must say.’ Liz said taking a forkful.

          With teenage bravado Susan sat down and started to eat.

          ‘Every mouthful is another nightmare!’ Susan said ten minutes later almost in tears.

          Liz didn’t have the heart to make Susan eat even half of it.

          Susan never said “
Whatever!” to her mum again. Lesson learnt.


Trifecta Writing Challenge - 'Whatever" 6th January 2014
(333 words)

Andouillette1
Andouillette Sausage
Comments

"The City" - MWBB #41

The City


Patrick loved his city, he could amble round it for hours finding new things to like about it - new buildings, fragments of old architecture, fascinating people, great stories, histories - real and imaginary. It was alive and welcoming, vibrant and comforting - it was home.

          But now there was something wrong with the city, it wasn’t his any more. It bore down on him with imposing weight, making him feel claustrophobic, choking him. He now walked around the streets he’d known so well feeling lost and alone, even afraid. Its people were looking at him, thinking about him, talking about him, threatening him. So he walked quickly trying to escape its deadly grasp.

          He found himself in a cafe, holding a mug of coffee until it had gone cold. Not drinking a drop. He was facing the window, but not watching as life carried on out there in some remote fashion. Every now and again he’d see a face turn to him and look at him with pity or with anger, his soul laid bare.

          Life seemed to be continuing for others at an incomprehensible speed, while time for him stuttered to a halt. His heart was heavy, he could feel it pumping erratically and so slowly it was painful. A headache was spreading down his neck and into his arms and torso. If he waited in the cafe any longer it would reach his feet he was sure.

          ‘You want another?’

          Patrick nodded as the waitress prized away the mug from his hands, trying not to spill any.

          It seemed almost instantaneously that the next mug was in his grasp and he felt obliged to sip some.

          ‘Thanks,’ he said to the waitress, but she was already back behind the counter somewhere.

          The coffee - or the none conversation - seemed to wake him and he looked around the cafe. He remembered coming here with her several times. They’d sheltered from the weather - or the herds of shoppers - as comfortable lovers.

          He shook his head and punched himself in the chest hard. A man on the table nearby held up his newspaper higher - a paper thin wall to stop accidental eye contact with the weirdo.

          Patrick punched himself again. The action and the bit of pain was rousing him from his torpor. He was feeling better already, however temporary. The cafe had been their cafe, the city theirs too - for so long. He realised that’s what was wrong, it hadn’t been
his city at all.

          The split had been amicable enough. Neither had anyone else to go to, or so he thought, he missed her painfully but the decision, however hard, he knew would prove to be right.

          The city was bearing down on him - and was probably doing the same to her - it was upset by the shift in its foundations. The city would get used to it and, eventually, so would Patrick.

          The waitress came over again, ‘Glad to see you drank that one, do you want another?’

          Patrick smiled for the first time that day.


Coffee

(505 words)
MWBB #41 from the song 'In a Lonely Place' by The Smithereens
Comments

"Patricia" - Flash Friday Fiction

Patricia

Stephen smiled with content as he sat beneath the cloudless sky above his valley. In the dark of remoteness he felt its pulse of life.

He sensed he was coming out of his body - like a film zooming out whilst he shrank to a vanishing point beneath the emptiness flecked with dots of bright matter. Stars and galaxies in a speckled dance of life and death played out above him on a enveloping black sheet.

He reached out and touched Patricia, his old trusty telescope; an ornament now, he hadn’t used it for years, as his eyes then body failed him.

The myriad images he’d seen through Patricia splashed through his mind like a slideshow; the rings of Saturn, Jupiter and its moons, Luna itself, countless galaxies and nebulae. He’d spent months scanning nebulae, hoping to see the birth of a star - never succeeding, always expectant.

That night at his peaceful passing somewhere a star was born in glorious fury.


Scope

Flash Friday Fiction (weekly 140-160 word challenge)

(160 words)
Comments

"Coffee Stop" - Flash Friday Fiction

Snowman1

Coffee Stop


A contented smile spread across Jennifer’s face, the steaming coffee was gorgeous and the mug doubled as a hand warmer. Outside the cafe the world appeared a white wonderland glistening in the wintry sunshine. On the edge of the frozen lake, beyond the road, a lopsided snowman seemed to be looking at her.

She was half way home for Christmas and it was the same stop every year, it was as traditional as the tree and crackers. She swore the snowman was always there, but she only ever went home at Christmas, a sense of duty.

‘Do you want a fill up love?’

‘What?’ Jennifer looked up at the waitress, ‘No, thanks. Better be off shortly.’

‘Long way home? In these conditions everywhere is a long way.’

Jennifer laughed. Perhaps she should go home more often, maybe when the road was safer, the journey shorter and it wasn’t duty. She could check then if the snowman was still here too.


Flash Friday Fiction
(160 words) Word: Duty Pic: Snowman on lake
Comments

Nice HM - Race the Date

Was nice to get an HM - that's an Honourable Mention to you and me - for my story 'Cycle of Proof' on Monday. Indeed very nice!

Now hope to have time to write a MWBB for this week.

Alum Bike
Comments

"Cycle of Proof" - Race the Date

Cycle of Proof


The battered plastic table had witnessed much vociferous debate over the last week, but right now there were three men stood around it theatrically scratching their heads. Minutes passing as each tried to avoid speaking; eighty years of experience and they were stumped.

          Professor Chandler, the most eminent of the archaeologists - lately all over the television and peering out from the world’s book shop windows - couldn’t help but think of how he’d report this.

          ‘As archaeologists we can only ever conjecture when we find items without context,’ he stopped.

          Professors Zhang and Lillywhite looked at him hopeful he would just plough on, rescue them from this hole. He didn’t.

          ‘Is that it?’ asked Lillywhite.

          The pause hadn’t helped ‘
Indiana’ out as he had hoped. ‘Well, we have so much context here. It’s all dated, these are without doubt Early Bronze Age roundhouses. This was found beneath our latest dated strata - 2000BC.’

          They knew all this.

          ‘And...?’ Zhang asked a little snappily.

          ‘Well, it’s just a fantastic find isn’t it? Changes everything. I mean
everything!’ Indiana was beginning to see possibilities - TV series and books - he was more photogenic than the others and was already in the box seat.

          ‘We can’t report this! I mean look at it,’ Lillywhite held up part of a frame, ‘Aluminium metal wasn’t produced until the 19th Century and we’re going to say some Stone Age...’

          ‘Bronze Age,’ Zhang interjected.

          ‘Same difference,’ Lillywhite pulled a face, ‘some Bronze Age savages produced this 4000 years before the industrialised world could?’

          Chandler shrugged, ‘The evidence speaks for itself. Just facts.’

          ‘Look, we know that the smelting procedures are complex and all that, and that there’s 4000 years without any other bloody evidence of aluminium metal, but for heaven’s sake man, it’s obviously a bicycle!’



(300 words) @zevonesque

for
Cara Michael's Race the Date #7 'Aluminium'




iaho-1Alum Bike

Comments

"Two Hearts" - Trifecta 107

Melt

This week's challenge was the word:

MELT (transitive verb)

1:  to reduce from a solid to a liquid state usually by heat
2:  to cause to disappear or disperse
3 :  to make tender or gentle :  soften

- See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.chL0mhWa.dpuf



Two Hearts

It was a daily fight, a test of nerve - of might.

Our hearts both battle worn, compacted and hardened;

protected from hurt.

Primary defence:



          Isolation.



It was a daily fight, to beat the fear, to soften.

But the fear of winning…

          the fear

                    of losing.

It was a daily fight;

          our hardened hearts.

          Melt.

It is a daily fight. No more.

Two hearts softened. Tender.

          Together.



(66 words)
Comments

NaNoWriMoLite - Look Back

My End of NaNoWriMo Review

I didn't enter NaNoWriMo this year but tasked myself to do half as much i.e. 25,000 words. I fared pretty poorly really, as I didn't focus on it and push myself to do it - perhaps partly because I hadn't really thought about doing it in the weeks coming up to November. Mainly though I carried on doing my flash fiction, which took time and focus away from larger pieces.

That said I ended up writing just over 12,500 words in the month - on short stories, flash fiction and some on the larger project - and that is probably more than I've done before in a single month.

Since then I have found that I can quite easily write over 2200 words on a single project if I sit there and focus myself on it (I did that on Friday). Get on with it. Without distractions - and without making distractions. I know I could do 50,000 words in a month. For now I need to concentrate on just a couple of projects and get those words down on paper - or at least into my computer's memory.

So, will I go in for NaNoWriMo next year? I'll see how my writing progresses in terms of aims and methods - as much as style. Probably not.

Comments

"The Smooth Valley" - Race the Date

The Smooth Valley
John has been met by silence, his words just left to hang there. No-one will tell him what’s in the valley. It’s shown on the map as almost blank a little topography, but the aerial photographs show an isolated valley with mysterious buildings and great mounds of earth. John decides he needs to go and see it for himself.

          The car is packed - along with John there’s the driver, a man from the state owned company, a man from a ministry and two men who never speak and who haven’t been introduced. Outside the car there’s nothing for John to see - to judge where they are, or how fast they’re getting there. The cassette machine is broken, so the only sounds are the heating fans and of the snow sloughing into the windows. It’s -40C outside and there’s an almost complete white out. The blue sky above shows John that this is old snow - dry snow that has lain for months - the steppe winds are whipping the drifts in a reworked snowstorm as the sun shines just metres above.

          There is no topography today, it appears like icing on a cake. The valley - the men in the car - protected by the season.

(206 words) for Race the Date #5
Comments

"Noises" - Trifecta 96

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

_______________

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.

Comments

'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!
Comments

"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)

_____________________________________________________

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/
Comments

"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
Comments

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
Comments

"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)

_________________________________________________________________

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/
Comments

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
Comments

"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
Comments

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!

Comments

"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)
Comments

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
Comments

"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.
Comments

"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
Comments

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!).

Comments

"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)
Comments

"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)

Comments

"Sometimes Only a Boo Will Do" - Trifecta

          Trifecta 101 Trifecta Writing Challenge
          33-333 words using the following prompt (third definition):

          
boo 

          1 (interjection)
          used to express contempt or disapproval or to startle or frighten

          2 (noun)
          a sound that people make to show they do not like or approve of someone or something

          
3 (verb)
          to show dislike or disapproval of someone or something by shouting “Boo” slowly



Sometimes Only A Boo Will Do


(extract from “
Booing and Other Improvised Expressive Devices - A Handbook” - 2013)


Chapter 3.1

The Use and Laying of I.E.D.s


3.1.1

Whilst booing sounds childish to many it is noisy and surprisingly effective. As the well known quote goes:

          “
A boo is three quarters of a boom, so simple maths show that four people booing is equivalent to three booms...

This is why booing was one of the "Original Three" actions classified as an effective Improvised Expressive Device (I.E.D.).

Bear in mind that there is no easy retreat from a boo - you can’t boo quietly and you can’t hide it was you - the reddening face, curled lips, creased up eyes and heaving chest is usually a giveaway (not to mention the finger jabbing which often accompanies it).

This means that the booee - and any of their representatives - are likely to see you were at least one of the booers booing. There will be no doubt about it - you will be marked down as a booer.

So if you decide to boo you’d better mean it.

          An example of a time you may want to use a boo:

          You come across a politician just down the street from you - he’s spouting lies and other crap in front of the cameras and sycophantic supporters. He represents you. You pay his wage. You pay his expenses.

You can’t just walk away - it’s at times like these that you need an effective I.E.D. so lay one on him thick.

          "Boooooooooo! BOOOOOO!"



* the other two of the Original Three were ‘Farting noises’ and ‘Sarcastic laughing’ which are covered in Chapters 5 and 7 respectively.



(269 words) @zevonesque
Comments

"Howlin' For You" - MWBB

Out of the Bottle

On Friday night Susan and Natasha were in the Old Red Lion in Soho as usual. Susan was in one of her playful moods.

          Susan knocked Natasha’s elbow, ‘What do you reckon?’

          Natasha followed Susan’s eyes, ‘You’re an odd one Suze,’ she said giggling, ‘This place is full of attractive men and some look pretty well... well you know.’

          ‘Well off?’ Susan said.

          ‘Well, yeah,’ Natasha said, ‘May as well catch yourself a nice meal or two while you’re relatively young and pretty much single.’

          ‘Hey you know my feelings on that,’ Susan said, before draining her glass, ‘Anyway you know I like the quirky ones.’

          ‘You off then?’ said Natasha as Susan walked away from the bar towards the unsuspecting man.

          James looked taken aback as Susan barred his path towards the bar.

          ‘Excuse me, Miss,’ he said.

          ‘How very formal,’ Susan said, looking directly into James’ eyes, ‘Sir.’

          Susan was taken by his eyes. They were so intense. So unusual.

          James smiled, ‘I’m just going to the bar. May I get past please Miss.’

          ‘Why of course, in a while,’ she said holding out her hand, ‘Susan.’

          The next day she sent a short text to Natasha “His name is James and he’s an animal. I’m in lust. Think he is too. Not sure bout the size of his wallet but we aint been eating! Suze. x”


James had been a good boy for several years. It had been tough to begin with, but his perseverance paid off. Keeping his head low. Locking himself away. A very good boy.

          His first night out for three years was to celebrate his birthday - and to test whether he could get out there again properly in public - without mishaps.

          He had a big dish of beef chow mien at Lee Ho Fuchs and then headed with not just a trace of trepidation to the Old Red Lion. He had reasoned a nice old Victorian pub should be much safer than a bar packed like an old cattle market. The reasoning was solid, but there was no accounting for Susan being there.

          She’d pounced on him. Pounced. On him!

          Susan was all over him. Loved his eyes, she’d said in the taxi back to his. When she was there it was evident the eyes were not that important as the lights were soon off. Although it had been three years he’d thought he hadn’t missed nights like these. But Susan had reawakened him. The animal within him.

          In the morning Susan made James a cooked breakfast which he wolfed down. He couldn’t remember when he last felt this alive, but he was also a little worried about where it may end.

          ‘Want to see me again?’ Susan said.

          ‘You want to?’ said James, trying to hide his excitement.

          ‘Oh yeah!’ Susan said as she knocked off a crumb of toast from her top lip.

          James looked at the shirt she was wearing, ‘That my shirt you’ve got on there?’

          ‘Err yep. Don’t you remember tearing off my blouse last night?’ Susan said holding up what was left of it.

          ‘Did I do that?’

          ‘Oh yeah. And that howling during our first... well, you know.’ Susan grinned. ‘Such an animal.’

          James realised he didn’t remember much from the night and it worried him - a little.

          Susan had let the genie out of the bottle - well the hairy-arsed werewolf.


(566 words) @zevonesque


Mid Week Blues Buster #36 - this week's Mid Week Blues Buster from J Tsuruoka was a ballad "Howlin' for You" sung by Black Keys.

Comments

Christine - Trifecta Week 100!

Christine


Christina looked at the blank magnolia wall opposite her bed and could feel her rage slowly dissipate. She’d always left the wall blank so there was nothing there to hate - to focus on. Her breathing was returning to normal and she swept her hair away from her flushed face. As she did so she noticed a little blood on her thumb and went to instinctively lick it away, but a powerful smell of nail varnish remover made her recoil.

          Strewn debris of beauty products, china cups and trinkets beneath the drawers and shelves testified to the fit of anger that had hit her home like a tornado. The broken bottle of nail polish remover had glugged its last into the old carpet. That was Christine for you.

          Her alter ego was not well known these days, Christina effectively kept her to the house - most of the time. All her friends knew Christina as a bubbly and exciting young woman - just last week Susan had said her epitaph would read “Always up for a laugh” but when Christine came calling you wouldn’t want to be there.

          Christina had wanted to give her other self another name, to separate herself from her actions, but she only changed one letter to show how close the two were. Her life was always on the edge Christine was a simple vowel away and could appear at any time.

          The whirlwind damage had now left Christina with no mirrors or photograph frames with tell tale reflections. Without a mirror she wondered how she would know if she was Christina or Christine - how would she know when it was safe to take herself outside?

          An open window let in the autumn breeze and the rippling curtains made her shadow dance on the magnolia wall - a phantom battle flickering between good and evil.


(305 words) - Trifecta 100 "Phantom"
www.trifectawritingchallenge.com
Comments

What Makes You Scared!? - Trifextra

Teeth

Teeth 3
Photo Source

I’m scared of people with teeth - precisely, those that seem to have too many massive glowing ones, filling their head with that false man-made white. There’s something decidedly wrong with those people.


(33 words)
_______________


This was from the quick Friday Trifextra prompt - looking for a 33-word explanation of what scares you (or your character).

This weekend's challenge is 
community judged.

  • For the 14 hours following the close of the challenge, voting will be enabled on links. 
  • In order to vote, return to this post where stars will appear next to each link. To vote, simply click the star that corresponds with your favorite post.
  • You can vote for your top three favorite posts.
  • Voting is open to everyone. 
  • You have 14 hours to vote. It's not much time, so be diligent! We'll send out reminders on Twitter and Facebook.
  • The winners will be announced in the comments of Monday's post and will be posted in our typical fashion in the post on the following Friday.

Comments

Weekly Flash Fictions

Trifecta 30
http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com
From the Trifectans!: Trifecta
33-333 words - Weekly from Monday to Thursday


Visdare 30
http://anonymouslegacy.blogspot.co.uk
Angela Goff's: Visdare challenge
<150 words - Weekly from Tuesday



MWBB 30
http://thetsuruokafiles.wordpress.com
Jeff Tsuruoka's: Mid Week Blues Breaker
300-700 Words between Tuesday and Friday


Flash Friday 30
http://flashfriday.wordpress.com
Rebecca Postupak's: Flash! Friday Fiction
Word count variable
and sometimes exact!
Dragons welcome.



Looking back I think I actually started with the Mid Week Blues Buster then quickly discovered Visdare after that, which I probably do the most (150 words, you can always fit in 150 words). Since then I came across Trifecta, which is great, and then more recently the Flash Friday Fiction.

All four are fun to do - else why would you do them - and they have a good community of people too.

So don't be afraid if you haven't done it before, if you are looking to put your toe in the water with a splash of flash fiction then give them all a go and see which one(s) suit you best.


…These are my favourites, other writing challenges are undoubtedly out there.
Comments

"West" Mid Week Blues Buster

Mid Week Blues Buster #35
This week's Mid Week Blues Buster from J Tsuruoka was a ballad 'I Am Going to the West' sung by Connie Dover (great voice, bit of a boring song).

Going West

Sue was looking out the window at the familiar view, the wheelie bins were strayed across the narrow footpath like an urban assault course.

          ‘Life is a young person’s game,’ Greig said.

          Sue was still feeling stunned.

          ‘It’s a great opportunity,’ she said, ‘Fab job and a bloody house thrown in. What’s to stop you?’

          ‘Yeah, it’s great,’ he said before taking a sip of coffee, ‘You’d be a fool not to take it.’

          Sue turned and faced the kitchen wall mouthing a swearword.

          ‘A house. A job. A great job in a great place. It’s what we wanted,’ she half shouted, ‘Plenty of time for you to find something there.’

          Greig shrugged and the silence lingered between them.

          He slurped his coffee to break the silence and palpable tension, ‘Look, I’m settled here. I’ll find something here, eventually. But I’m not going to up-sticks to move out west now. I’m past all that. It’s a young person’s game.’

          Sue looked at him not bothering to hide her anger, ‘You’ve said that already.’

          She’d been excited before telling him moving to the US - to Cali-for-ni-A! - and now she felt like she’d been punched in the solar plexus by a heavyweight.

          Later that day Sue went around to her friends in a terrible state and told her all that had happened. Fiona then told Sue what she wanted to hear, along the lines of: “too good for him” - “he’s an idiot” - “what is he thinking” - “dickhead” - “better off without him” - “let’s get drunk!” and after a couple of bottles of wine she did feel a bit like it could end up being a good thing.

          Meanwhile Greig rang his dad, ‘Cheers for doing that. She’ll do a good job for your business. She should never find out anyway.’

          ‘She bloody well better son!’ Greig’s dad said, ‘Trust your new woman is worth it.’

          ‘Oh yeah, she is,’ Greig said, ‘Maybe we’ll be both be over for Christmas.’



(330 words) MWBB

Comments

"Outnumbered" - Visdare #42

The Panorama


Outnumbered1
Photo source

On the day of liberation much champagne was uncorked, but mostly the smart dressed men in the Panorama Restaurant were simply high on the excitement of being there. Below them the allied armies swept through the streets taking in the accolades from the jubilant crowds - ecstatic to have survived through The Occupation.

     
     ‘There’ll be some hard times ahead but at least we can finally see light again,’ said the tallest suited man.

          ‘Tomorrow will be hard enough with the hangover I’m working on,’ said another raising a glass.

           The man to his right - in a suit two sizes too big for him - said, ‘I thought this day would never come.’

          No-one noticed the woman in the smart white suit as she sauntered across to view the main square.

          ‘I thought this day would never come either,’ she said slugging back a little wine and swallowing a small bitter pill.



Visdare #42 - 'Outnumbered'

anonymouslegacy.blogspot.co.uk
Comments

Early Demise of a Hedonistic Archaeologist - Trifecta #99

Trifecta-1

It is the
99th ever Trifecta Writing Challenge so to celebrate such a special occasion the challenge is suitably different - instead of 33-333 words on the 3rd definition of a word the challenge was to write about any of the words on the 99th page of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Well forget that, how about trying to throw most of them in instead? Here goes with a story of the early demise of a Filipino archaeologist - with a Russian grandmother - and a penchant for the odd vino tinto and a cheap cigar on his road to Babylon…


The Road to Babylon


When I was a bouncing baby on the Babuyan Islands

sat in my stretch forever
Babygro,

my
babushka rocked back and forth reminiscing about the Steppe,

I remained
babyish never playing with other children.

Alcoholic
babysitters explain my later lurch

to
Bacchanalia, together with my love of

smelly
baccy, this caused my

longterm
bachelorhood.

When I passed my
baccalaureate I

celebrated with
Bacardi

then headed to
Babylonia - a Bachelor archaeologist.

Concern with bathroom cleanliness was easily put to the
back of one’s mind,

sadly returning
back to haunt me,

as now I’m dust blowing through Mesopotamia - simple
bacillary ignorance.



(99 words)
@zevonesque


Comments

"Transfixed" - Visdare #41

The Butterfly

Ballet
photo source

Maria had worked constantly to get to the top, with her skills and beauty there was some inevitability about her becoming the Bolshoi’s lead. She travelled the world a dazzling star - the newspaper’s who once referred to her as “Maria from the Projects” now called her “the Angel Maria”.

          She’d never forgotten her humble roots and returned one day to where she used to practice her dancing on the sandy floor beneath the flyover. She danced here again by herself a transient beauty - a butterfly.

          People from the project happened across her and soon the word got out causing a sensation bringing ever more residents in to watch her one woman show.

          “She’s from here you know?” said one woman.

          “She can’t be. Look at her.” said another.

          Women and men alike were brought to tears.

          Children stared, transfixed by the woman. The beautiful woman who’d got out, but returned.


(150 words)

Visdare #41 - 'Transfixed'
anonymouslegacy.blogspot.co.uk
Comments

"A Beautiful Morning" - MWBB #34

A Beautiful Morning

A thin mist was drifting slowly across the low Cotswold hills giving them an ethereal quality. The watery grey sky was transitioning ever quicker through blues as the sun rose above the eastern hills and began to kill the mist. The sky was dotted with the large black flecks of jackdaws as their harsh calls were punctuating the quiet dawn. In short it was a stunning morning - one of those days which made you just happy to be alive.

          “Beautiful isn’t it?” the man said.

          “Stunning,” Daniel said, “Feel privileged to see it.”

          “Indeed, sir,” the man said following the flight of a jackdaw across the sky.

          Daniel could feel the sun begin to warm up the October morning, but it was still very cold and he couldn’t help a shiver.

          “That’s Raven Wood over there isn’t it?” Daniel said nodding over towards the copse at the base of the hill.

          “No sir, that be Hangman’s Copse,” he said, “Don’t know of any Raven Wood around here.”

          “Hangman’s Copse! Of course it is,” said Daniel.

          “Sorry sir,” the man said - looking like he wasn’t sorry at all.

          “There is a distinct lack of my brother in the landscape,” Daniel said scanning the horizon.

          “Yes, I’m sure you must be getting a little troubled by now sir,” said the man as he fondled the rope, “but we did say 8.30am so there’s still some time sir.”

          Close to the copse Daniel could see a river sparkling with little sun’s - it made him think again of the cut glass goblet he had stupidly stolen. He’d never seen such a thing of beauty and it had been a stupid spur of the moment mistake trying to capture it. So now he found himself on this beautiful morning awaiting the hangman’s noose.

          Daniel’s beloved Jenny had gone to get his brother - and the payoff for the hangman - twelve hours ago. Christopher only lived an hour away and alarm bells were now beginning to ring.

          As Daniel’s hope deflated a single magpie hopped along the track towards him and then flew up on to the nearby gatepost. It seem to look directly into his eyes and then from somewhere he thought he heard someone say sorry.


(371 words)
@zevonesque
MWBB #34 - the song prompt was ‘Gallows Pole’ by Led Zeppelin
Comments

Zombie for Love - Trifecta Week 98

Zombie for Love


Georgia had that dress on with the simple 60s cut and bright flowers - Sarah loved that dress but had to admit that with Georgia’s long blonde hair she looked the archetypal flower child. Still, Sarah thought it would better suit her.

          ‘Cheers!’ Georgia said clinking Sarah’s glass.

          ‘Bottom’s Up,’ Sarah said, ‘Here goes nothing.’

          Georgia took a sip of her lager as Sarah slugged back half her Zombie.

          ‘Donnie’s due in an hour - when I’ll be suitably relaxed,’ Sarah said knocking back the other half, ‘I’m going to make the move on him, he’s just not going to do it.’

          ‘You need a little lubrication to make that move too?’ Georgia said.

          ‘Hell yeah!’ Sarah said, ‘Still, these are gorge just taste of fruit.’

          ‘You’ll regret it tomorrow,’ Georgia said.

          ‘Risk-reward strategy babe!’ said Sarah.

          By the time Donnie walked in Sarah had defeated four Zombies and was feeling rather fuzzy. She could feel a grin grow across her face like a slow spreading dawn. He looked lovely - in a foggy sort of way.

          ‘Hi Georgia,’ Donnie said air-kissing her cheeks, ‘Hi Sarah, you two enjoying yourselves?’

          ‘Hi Donnie,’ said Sarah, ‘you’re looking love-er-lee today.’

          ‘Thanks,’ he said, ‘You both okay for drinks? Looks like I’m playing catch up.’

 
          As Donnie stood at the bar Sarah found herself blinking erratically trying - but failing - to clear her vision. When Donnie returned with a bottle of Blue Moon her ears seemed to be fogging and throbbing too - which she couldn’t shake. The last thing she remembered was trying to give Donnie the biggest most obvious of come-on smiles.

          In the morning Sarah woke up to a banging headache and the light sound of snoring. She could feel the warmth of skin against hers - she couldn’t remember a thing but at least her plan had worked.

          Sarah’s eyes then fell on something familiar draped over the chair and her stomach suddenly went queasy - it was Georgia's flower power dress and handbag.



333 Words - Trifecta 8 October 2013 “Zombie”

Nice to get to name check a
Green on Red song!




The weekly prompt.  Using the THIRD definition of the word, as always.  

ZOMBIE (noun)

1
usually zombi

a :  the supernatural power that according to voodoo belief may enter into and reanimate a dead body
b :  a will-less and speechless human in the West Indies capable only of automatic movement who is held to have died and been supernaturally reanimated
c :  a person markedly strange in appearance or behavior
2
a
 :  a person held to resemble the so-called walking dead; especially :  automaton
3 :  a mixed drink made of several kinds of rum, liqueur, and fruit juice

  • See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/
Comments

With Friends Like These

With Friends Like These

I took one sip and agreed it was just “gorg!” Georgia had said it would count as one of my five a day, so why not have two?

          ‘Go on, it’s really just a fruit punch with a teeny bit of a kick,’ Georgia said.

          An hour later and I was well passed my five a day and feeling pretty good about it.

          Donnie arrived and seemed to look a bit concerned about something, I think I saw him talk animatedly with Georgia before he came over. I gave him a big sloppy kiss on his smacker.

          ‘So, you’ve been on the fruit punch then I believe,’ Donnie said to me as he tried to peel the glass from my hand.

          ‘Yep, and they are love-err-lee!’ I said trying to suppress a burp.

          ‘You do know it’s not just fruit juice though don’t you?’

          ‘Of course, silly!’ I said grinning widely, ‘it’s got just a wee bit of a kick too.’

          ‘A wee bit? Why do you think it’s called a Zombie?’

          ‘A what?’

          Hic. Giggle. Burp.

          ‘Well it does taste lovely,’ Georgia said from somewhere behind me, ‘but perhaps you shouldn’t have any more love.’

          What a condescending cow.

          Donnie turned to Georgia, ‘What have you been drinking anyway while you’ve got her in this state?’

          ‘Oh I’m on the lager,’ Georgia said raising a half pint glass, ‘You wouldn’t catch me drinking that loopy juice.’

          I peered out at Georgia struggling to make her face out clearly - the room had suddenly fogged up. I was preparing to say something really witty or vicious - or preferably both - to Georgia.

          I don’t remember what happened after that and I’ve a couple of odd bruises I’m struggling to explain.



(252 Words)


(originally written for Trifecta but dropped in favour of the Zombie for Love story)

Comments

MWBB #33 and Flash Friday

A very quick burst of brain juice produced two rapid Flash Fictions this morning for Mid Week Blues Buster #MWBB and Flash Friday Fiction #FlashFridayFic

          MWBB #33 was using the Everything But The Girl song 'Missing' and as usual is for a story between 300 and 700.

          Whilst Flash Friday Fiction was a photograph of a drinking fountain with a prohibition notice on it. A nice short one this week - had to be
exactly 150 words.


Both MWBB and FlashFridayFic are paste in to the website - rather than link through - but for a change I've reproduce them below:


The Library Fountain


Libraries had been getting progressively strangled by governments for years. As they were starved of funds for books and building maintenance many of the customers stopped coming.

          Dingly Dell Library was seemingly bucking the trend with increasing numbers coming through the doors many keen to stay all day and enjoy the ambience. Some stayed so long they would fall asleep there and were difficult to get out. There always seemed to be a queue at the drinking fountain, which seemed odd to the librarians as it wasn’t as if the building was hot - the boiler needed replacement.

          By Thursday the local press were there reporting on queues waiting to get into the library. It was all very perplexing.

          On Friday afternoon and the “Class 2C Incident” the mystery was solved. The plumber who’d connected the tank at the Vodka distillery across the road to their water fountain was never identified.


The Dry Valleys

There’s some ignorant man sat opposite me - in your seat - looks constantly like he is about to pick his nose. I want him to so that I can look at him with disdain. He is in your seat - today.

          Two years ago you sat there and we talked as we always did - “soul mate talk” you called it. I sometimes have our conversations over in my head again, sometimes I tweak them a bit, sometime I invent new conversations too. Who am I kidding? I do it every day.

          Our last real conversation - two years ago today - had been about our favourite deserts, I’d said had to be the Chilean one - the one with the Nazca Lines and all that hokum - but you trumped me with the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica. They sounded properly fascinating them and I’d agreed that on our fantasy honeymoon the desert part of it would be spent in the dry valleys.

     
     He did it! - the ugly man thought I didn’t notice but he just picked his nose - I look at him with superior superiority through the window’s mirror reflection - in your seat.

     
     Over that last week we had sorted out our fantasy honeymoon destinations in terms of the tropics, cities, national parks, sporting events (because I loved you) and finally deserts. And then you left me without a word.

    
     Having this daily commute doesn’t let me forget you. We met here, we talked here, we gradually fell in love here, we realised we were soul mates here, how it was just meant to be - even though we both said we didn’t believe in any of that clap-trap I’m sure we both secretly did.

         Each day since I have sat in the same seat opposite yours - ignoring the morons who take the train with me. Most days we’ve talked.

    
     God I miss you Simon.

         It’s a special day today - two years since the McMurdo decision - so ’m going to walk past your house and talk with you there for a change. Where ever you are. Perhaps you can tell me why you left me here - alone. We were soul mates, strike that - we are ARE soul mates.

         Tomorrow if I’m strong enough I may visit your grave, but that would be like admitting you really did die in that crash. If I did that then I’m afraid that I wouldn’t be able to have these conversations with you anymore. And I’d miss that.


@zevonesque
409 words


MWBB #33 “Missing” Everything But The Gir
Comments

"Oblivious" - Visdare #40


Oblivious
Photo source

Oblivious

Geraldine was one of the characters in the neighbourhood. Ask anyone and they knew her as “the old lady with the lamp”.

          She shuffled along the sidewalk towards the subway with her 6ft mahogany lamp stand - as she did Monday to Friday without fail - today it’s shade protected her blue rinsed hair slightly from the lashing October rain.

          She paid for two tickets - one for "her Henry" as her lamp stand was known. The ticket man wished her well as she tottered down the stairs - he was always amazed that she was there at the same time every day and how she held the stand vertically while looking so frail.

          At her destination the reliable Police Sergeant Finnegan helped her up the stairs.

          'There you go,’ Finnegan said as he released her arm, oblivious to the kilo of cocaine being couriered within the lamp.

          ‘Have a nice day,’ she said.


(150 words)

Visdare this week was the word "Oblivious" and the picture of the woman with the lamp stand above.
Visdare is a weekly - 150 word or less - challenge brought to you by Angela Goff at
http://anonymouslegacy.blogspot.co.uk
Comments

"Adore" - Visdare #39

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

Skeletons


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.’

‘Unsullied?’

‘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)
Comments

Dutch - Trifecta Week 96

Dutch

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)
Comments

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.
Comments

"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)
Comments

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'
Comments

"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.

Comments

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)

Comments

Reboot - Trifecta Week 94

Reboot


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
@zevonesque

Comments

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)

Comments

''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.

Arrow1
photo source

Stars

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)
Comments

"Fearless" - Visdare #34

Week 34 for Visdare and the word is "Fearless" with it's usual unusual photo composition, which I've added below. My little 150 word effort is called "Last Meal." Enjoy!

Sheep
Photo Source

Last Meal

Lord Fotherington-Smythe, or LFS as he preferred, had met the shaman whilst on a birdwatching trip deep in a south American jungle. Over a long night ingesting strange fungi and odder drinks the shaman had told him that he could help him come back after his death in the form of his choosing. If he could be with him at his death he would plead to the gods of the winds and animals, whilst all LFS would have to do was focus on his chosen beast.

So here was the shaman doing his shaman thing - muttering, screeching, dancing, shaking sticks, throwing strange coloured powders and the like - around the death bed of LFS.

In his cold sweat LFS dreamt of being an eagle gliding high above the mountains. Lording over the land below. Fearless.

At exactly the wrong moment his last meal of minted lamb repeated on him.


(149 words)
Comments

It's All About the Bland - Trifecta - Week 91

It’s All About the Bland


The marketing manager stood up. ‘Right, we’ve completed the market research and all the indicators show that we will be just ahead of the curve here. Perfect timing, we will be riding the wave, we reckon for a good two, potentially three, years. Crispin...’

Crispin, the new marketing assistant, stood up a little nervously in front of the gaudy powerpoint presentation, ‘As you can see the kids absolutely love this Product, particularly after we ran some advert mock-ups past them. The thirty-somethings also feel it is a really good fit with the existing portfolio and can see themselves drinking both Products. With the proposed premium this should result in a projected uplift in profits of some 12% plus or minus 2% for the whole lager range. Err, that’s after marketing costs.’

The CEO stood up below the neon logo and the gold crown seemed to hover above his head, ‘Look guys, if we make it people will buy it. Simple as,’ he said. ‘There’s nothing we cant sell these dumb asses. Our Product is blander than tepid water on a wet Sunday and what do we do? We water it down, that’s what we do. And what do these characters do? They lap it up even more of course. For a premium too. Love it guys, love it. Good work fellas.’

He rocked back into the deep leather chair and took a satisfying sip of an expensive rioja. He rose the glass up to the happy committee and ended the meeting as he usually did, ‘It’s not about the Product guys, it’s all about the brand.’

He left the room with the sound of the committee’s self congratulatory applause still ringing in his ears. It was another great day for the company.



(294 words )



_________________________



Fancy a go at Trifecta? Why not give it a go now? The one-word prompt this week was:

BRAND (noun)
1a : a charred piece of wood
  b : firebrand
  c : something (as lightning) that resembles a firebrand
2: sword
3a (1) : a mark made by burning with a hot iron to attest manufacture or quality or to designate ownership 
     (2) : a printed mark made for similar purposes : trademark
  b (1) : a mark put on criminals with a hot iron 
     (2) : a mark of disgrace : stigma

4a : a class of goods identified by name as the product of a single firm or manufacturer : make
  b : a characteristic or distinctive kind
  c : brand name
5: a tool used to produce a brand

Please note that we are asking for the noun, not the verb.


Remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words. 
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post. 
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response. 
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above. 
  • Only one entry per writer. 
  • If your post doesn't meet our requirements, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz. 
  • Trifecta is open to everyone. Please join us.
- See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.oNGkHimA.dpuf
Comments

"Undecided' - Visdare #33

It's mid weekish and time for another Visdare from over on Anonymous Legacy Blogspot. The word was 'Indifferent' and the photo was a rather odd posed shot of three ladies in the rain.

Umbrella copy
source


I got stuck in quickly and managed to write my 500 words, before I remembered it was Visdare and therefore only 150 words. Doh! Some serious editing ensued! So here is my piece. Fresh air, rain, women, guns and the like.



Fresh Air


Lefty said, ‘It’s that type of rain that gets you really wet. Really wet.’

‘Wet rain,’ Righty replied, ‘Know what you mean.’

The woman in the centre said nothing. Enjoying being out.

‘Couple of guys over by the fire exit looking sus,’ Lefty said.

‘Yes, been four minutes,’ Righty replied, ‘Keep looking at us, but to be fair who wouldn’t?’

‘Indeed.’

The woman in the centre said nothing; enjoying the cool fresh air.

‘They’re moving,’ Lefty said tightening her grip on the gun.

Righty fingering her pistol’s safety.

Geoff nodded at Tim, he was sure and ready. He quickly plunged his hand deep into his pocket. Lefty turned to face him, tensing a little as she watched him pull out his hand.

He was gripping a Parker.

‘Excuse me, any chance of an autograph?’ he said.

‘Why of course!’ said the starlet, ‘Who should I make it out to?’
Comments

Chomp! - Trifecta 33

33 words prompted by the 'Trifecta Tooth'

Chomp!

Tooth, a lonely singular word telling of loss and pain. Toothache. Drilling. Filling. Blackening. Missing. You can’t crunch with just one tooth.

It needs a social collective, union. Teeth - together we are strong!
Comments

"Undecided" - Visdare FF

This week the Visdare word was "Undecided" and had it's usual nice photo composition, which I've added below. My little 150 word effort is called "Fluid."

Glass
source

Fluid


Sun streamed through the curtains onto the glass as Jenna stared at it, sensing it dominate the room even more now that it was under a spotlight. She’d always been a glass half empty person, but this glass was most definitely full. Her trance was broken by the kettle whistle and she shook herself into breakfast action.

She supped her tea then dunked a strip of crusty bread into the egg, briefly enjoying her breakfast, transfixed as the yolk oozed down the side of the cup. This moment was all too short as her mind returned to the glass.

The phone rang and she let the machine pick up.

‘Hi Jen. Just checking up. Have you tried it yet? Just drink it, sit back and enjoy the ride. Don’t believe that Daily Mail nonsense - it ain’t addictive. It’s beautiful. Anyway. Enjoy!’

Jenna looked back at the glass. Still undecided.

(150 words)
Comments

"Cheesecake" - Trifecta FF

Cheesecake

Jeremy stood at the fridge pointing accusingly at the plate. A single crumb of biscuit base seemed to make the point even harder.

‘I didn’t take it man,’ Adil pleaded innocently, ‘I was in my room. There is something odd going on here mate.’

‘Something odd?’ Jeremy sarcasmed. ‘It was here 10 minutes ago before my shower and no one else is, or has been, here. So what you suggesting? Beamed up by a passing space ship perhaps, or maybe thrown out the window by a mischievous poltergeist?’

‘Well man, I don’t know, but I ain’t had it, have I?’ Adil sounded sincere and a little annoyed, ‘The absence of proof don’t mean it didn’t happen does it?’ He looked out the window half expecting to see cheesecake splattered across the path.

‘You are having a laugh mate, I’m not believing in something without proof and reason,’ Jeremy explained. ‘Just admit it and go and get me a new one and I’ll say no more.’

‘I don’t even like cheesecake. Show me something, anything, that points at me. The fact that I am here is just a weak argument man. There ain't no evidence.’

Jeremy looked again for even the vestige of a crumb on Adil's shirt and growled, ‘There is no other explanation. I didn’t have it, so you must have. QED.’

Somewhere between the sofa and a parallel universe the little space alien looked on and laughed. It then looked down and wondered whether the cheesecake had gone straight to his hips.



(254 words)

___________

The story is based on the 'Trifecta' word of the week, namely; 'Weak', 3rd definition;

___________
WEAK (adjective)

1
: lacking strength: as

a : deficient in physical vigor : feeble, debilitated

b : not able to sustain or exert much weight, pressure, or strain

c : not able to resist external force or withstand attack

d : easily upset or nauseated weak stomach>
2
a : mentally or intellectually deficient

b : not firmly decided : vacillating

c : resulting from or indicating lack of judgment or discernment

d : not able to withstand temptation or persuasion weak>
3: not factually grounded or logically presented weak 
argument>

- See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.wUbSvfYo.dpuf
Comments

More FFing

This week I managed to get in the Mid Week Blues Buster again (warning the odd swear word) as well as Visdare and today Flash Friday too.

Busy. Prolific. Ideas. Death. Drinking. Bombs. Swearing.

MWBB

Flash Friday

Visdare
Comments

"Focusing" - Visdare FF

This week the word was "Focusing" and had it's usual nice photo composition, which I may add later… In the meantime, my little 150 word effort is called "Change of Focus"



Change of Focus

The man who’d committed that mornings atrocity had quickly been identified. A lowly clerk with a vendetta against his boss, both dead from the explosion.

IronCogCo made widgets for toys and was unimportant, as was the boss. Nevertheless the State owned the company and an attack on the company was an attack on the State. It could not be seen an easy target.

When it came to morals I often found myself on the wrong side, but for the greater good the rights of the few were unimportant. So I efficiently poured through the hours of footage from CCTV searching for an alternative culprit. Eventually I found a man who looked appropriately foreign, walking against the commuter tide. By tonight he would be the bomber and we could focus our hate in a more appropriate direction.

The State was right and I was proud to be one of its protectors.
Comments

"Basking" - Visdare FF

This week the word was "Basking" and the picture was this shot of a man enjoying some black and white sunshine in Trafalgar Square (I assume).

basking
source

Walla Crag

The Lakes were as damp as they usually were when I visited. In the clouds I saw gran’s smile as I climbed.

‘In each life a little rain must fall!’ I muttered, one of gran’s little philosophical tidbits.

The rain only stopped when I’d passed up into the low clouds themselves. The drifting fog gave me glimpses of limestone walls, sheep, and isolated trees as I continued up the steep path to Walla Crag soaked.

As I ascended through the cloud it thinned quickly to nothing and I found myself standing almost at the crag beneath the deepest azure sky. Beneath me the cotton clouds were spread like a table cloth across the lake and valley surrounded by hill top islands pushing through it. I scrambled across to the crag and sat perched on the ancient bum smoothed rocks, basking in the warmth and euphoria of finding this view alone.
Comments

"Pensive" - Visdare FF

One of my favourite little weekly brain exercisers is of course the Visdare. This week the word was "Pensive" and the picture was this evocative shot of a lady with a lot of draping going on...

Pensive
source


The Corner

The stench of cheap cologne and smoke hung thickly around Sarah. She could feel it cling to her clothes, insinuating its way into the expensive silks. Modifying the structure of the cells, turning the soft scarves and shawl into a light suit of armour. After two hours sitting alone waiting for her lover she hoped it was making her invisible too.

While the people around her enjoyed their night out time stretched out feeling like a week. Smiling faces surrounded her like a blanket of stars, with Sarah sat in the centre of the lonely universe.

Her lover elsewhere, probably with his wife, Sarah tried to disappear by playing dead.

Something began to feel different. Perhaps her cells were altering too. She felt on the cusp. She was better than this; than him.

In the two hours she’d sat there unmoved she had come a long way and changed direction.


(150 words)
Comments

"Maybe Shropshire" - Trifecta FF

"Maybe Shropshire"


The fissure had loomed over me for years. In the right light it could fade away to magnolia nothingness in the plasterwork, but more often - especially at night - it would become a foreboding crevasse cleaving dynamically through the wall facing my bed. I could hear it sometimes, whispering and crackling at me. Taunting. I would see it growing, changing shape, expanding like a cruel clown’s smile, splitting the whole wall in two. An opening to something otherworldly.


In the morning when I would wake the crack would have returned to it’s former size, leaving no evidence of it’s nighttime activity. No trace would be left of what had come out, or been taken through to the other side.


My wife always managed to miss these terrifying nocturnal episodes. She even suggested that there maybe some correlation between the severity of these paranormal events and my occasional late night cheeseboards. She tried to wean me away from Shropshire Blue and Stilton on to Cheddar and Leicestershire, but I wouldn’t have that. That would be like letting the fissure win.



CRACK
1a : a loud roll or peal
  b : a sudden sharp noise
2: a sharp witty remark : quip
3a : a narrow break : fissure   
  
b : a narrow opening —used figuratively in phrases like fall through the cracks to describe one that has been improperly or inadvertently ignored or left out
4a : a weakness or flaw caused by decay, age, or deficiency :unsoundness
  b : a broken tone of the voice
  c : crackpot
5: moment, instant
Comments

"Obscured" - Visdare FF

The word this week is "OBSCURED" and the picture this photo of a man blowing smoke. Ahh, remember those days. My story for it is called 'Un/Realities.'

obscured
source

Un/Realities

For just a penny exciting glimpses of beauty and horror flash past in an exciting temporary reality. Escapism for the masses.

David loved his job maneuvering the big manly levers and the chunky knobs, tweaking the views with his smoke and mirrors. His phalanx of buttons were there to add characters to his visual story telling - perhaps dogs chasing their tails for the children, fire breathing dragons, ships rolling in a tempest above watching mermaids, or some sensuous silhouettes for the middle age gents.


His attraction was filled with equipment capable of creating such unrealities that people would inevitably leave in awe. Forgetting, briefly, the problems of their mundane lives, in wonder at the magic.


Alone in the dark surrounded by the thick spotlit smoke David found reality was as obscured to him as to his public. He was lost, no longer able to separate his stories from real life.

(150 words)



Can hardly believe I'm up to my seventh VisDare If you fancy a go then click on the VisDare link, it's just 150 words to create your own bit of magic!

Comments

"Dessert" - Trifecta FF

Dessert

In company Jake found he could turn off his swearing with relative ease. Occasionally an inappropriate word would leak out, but he felt that was okay.

His biggest problem was his automatic responses during general conversation. If he felt like it was being teed up it was almost impossible for him not to follow up with a punchline.

Sitting on his hands and biting his lip didn’t seem to work for Jake. Indeed the harder he tried he found he was more likely to blurt out something louder and more embarrassing. It was usually crude childishness, like something from a 60s seaside postcard or a Carry On film, certainly not worth the effort or small laugh that might result from it.

Everybody who knew Jake expected it of him. So what on earth was his mother thinking when at the end of the meal she offered the vicar a tart?


(150 words)



___________

The story is based on the 'Trifecta' word of the week, namely; 'Crude', 3rd definition;


CRUDE

1: existing in a natural state and unaltered by cooking or processing

2 archaic : unripe, immature


3: marked by the primitive, gross, or elemental or by uncultivated simplicity or vulgarity

4: rough or inexpert in plan or execution

5: lacking a covering, glossing, or concealing element :obvious

6: tabulated without being broken down into classes -

See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.8f8DHsMS.dpuf
Comments

"Bruised" - Visdare FF

My sixth VisDare was thankfully post Glastonbury. This week the word was BRUISED and the picture was this black & white of a pretty unfortunate young lady. The effort from me is called 'Succumbing to Gravity.'

Bruised
photo source


Succumbing to Gravity

Li softly explored the purpling bruises beneath her eyes and her cheekbone. Her cut lip was rapidly thickening. Her husband, Jonnie, was pounding back and forth in the bedroom, occasionally punching the walls. She could feel his anger rising, scaring her cold. It had never been this bad before.

Next door’s banging stopped and Li knew that they’d called the police.

There were crashes upstairs as some shelves were torn down, then she heard Jonnie sobbing.

She stood in the doorway looking down at him. He looked pitiful on the floor head in hands, surrounded by spilled books.

‘You can’t tell them,’ she pleaded.

‘She needs our help,’ Jonnie looked up at her, ‘I can’t take it anymore. Look at what she’s done to her own mother!’

‘Just one more chance,’ she said, ‘she won’t do it again.’

Dark blood bloomed on her bottom lip before succumbing to gravity.



(149 words)

Comments

"Engraved" - Visdare FF

My fourth VisDare was delayed by Glastonbury and I have only just got it in on time. This week the word is ENGRAVED and the picture was this black & white of a truly interesting oldie. So a another quick effort from me called 'Boring'

Engraved
Photo Source

Boring

I was bored, needing stimulation.

That's how I found myself stood on tiptoes on mum’s bed. I could see a wooden box on top of the wardrobe, pushed to the back away from prying eyes.

It should hold treasure.

A tall stool was dragged in and soon I eked out the box and grabbed it.

Inside there was no gold or jewels, but postcards and photographs. Much more interesting than treasure. Stuff my mum kept.

Kept hidden.

“The past is a foreign country” my mum says and I was keen to travel.

Beneath a cloth lining to protect it, or hide it, was a single photograph. An old man with a face lined and rucked up like a morning duvet. I stared at this engraved face fascinated by its potential stories. Then I noticed his dark eyes boring into me and froze. They were my eyes.

This was my past.
Comments

Mid Week Blues Buster - Week 17

The Mid Week Blues Buster is a weekly Flash Fiction competition where a song is provided as a prompt - last week's (Week 17) was Rag and Bone by White Stripes. Found out yesterday that I was awarded a second place in last week's. Even though there were only 6 permitted entrants this week I am still made up. Nice to get a bit of a mention and hear that it made a few people smile. The story was titled 'Locomotion', though I nearly called it 'Drag & Bone', see it reprinted below.

If you fancy having a go check out the
MWBB site each Tuesday for a new musical prompt.

In the meantime my story for Week 17 is below:



Locomotion

blue
Every week Joe drove slowly around the estates of north west London in his rusty flat back wagon. The old speaker on the roof would crackle out with one of four familiar calls, none of which would be discernible if you didn’t know them. His 45 year old face was long and a little thin and his hair greying. Life had made him look older, but it was still a jovial and welcoming face.

The rag and bone was a throwback to the 19th Century rebranded since the 1990s as ‘recycling’ and he loved the simplicity of it. He just moved crap that was too big for the bins that people couldn’t get down to the tip. More often he was actually just taking stuff that people couldn’t be bothered dealing with. He loved other lazy people.

Occasionally he would hit pay-dirt of course. People not knowing what they were disposing of, the ignorance of the general public, was his very best friend. Joe hated the proliferation of TV programmes like Antiques Roadshow and Bargain Hunt. Still, each day he would drive his old banger of a wagon back to the yard packed with tat and at the end of his day he would be climbing into his new Merc to drive to his rather handsome home in the suburbs.

This particular Friday was to be a good day. A young man in a rush to clear his grandmother’s flat was stood by the road with some boxes. ‘Can you take these of my hands mate?’ the man called across to Joe.

‘Looks light, is it clothes?’ said Joe trying to sound friendly and slightly uninterested at the same time.

‘Yeah, just a few rags I’m afraid mate, a few books,’ the man said, ‘Sorry there’s nothing more interesting. She didn’t have a lot my gran.’

‘Pile them on the back then,’ Joe shrugged, ‘I’ll get rid of them for you.’

He loved ignorant people.

Back at the yard Joe was on his knees going through the boxes methodically, whilst a mix CD was blasting out classic songs from the 1960s. A smile grew wide across his cracked face. His eyes sparkled too and the years seemed to drop away from him.

‘Mary Quant, Ossie Clark. Oh my!’ Joe showed the dresses to Ted, the rather uninterested doberman pinscher, ‘Yves Saint Laurent!’

These vintage classics would sell for a small fortune on Monday. Better still though, today was Friday and there was one dress in particular which looked stunning.

‘His gran must have been a tall lady,’ Joe muttered. Ted emitted a low growl as Joe measured the navy blue dress against his torso.

Tonight was a big 60s night down the club, and on Friday nights Joe became Jo. He could feel his excitement rising as he closely studied his find. He couldn’t wait to be doing the ‘Locomotion’ in that dress.
(484 words)





#MWBB
Comments

"Mastermind" - VisDare FF

After finding VisDare just yesterday and submitting a little story to that it turned out I just got in within the week, so the new picture and word has already gone up for this week. This week the word is MASTERMIND and the picture was this black & white of a man wearing glasses consisting of two clock faces. So a very quick effort from me called '8:49'

mastermind clocks
Photo source

8:49

Derek liked people. To be precise he liked studying people. He could read about them, or listen to stories about them, all day long. But, he didn’t like talking to them. He craved anything but interaction.

Sod’s Law dictated that every day when he was about his business he would be stopped in the street and asked the time. Being a creative sort he developed a pair of spectacles with clocks on them - he called them clocktacles. Now people could find the time of him without engaging him in conversation.

Whilst being creative Derek was by no means a mastermind and failed to develop a pair he could also see through. On his first outing in the clocktacles he tripped over the kerb outside his home. The paramedics noted that apparently this happened at 8:49.




Comments

"Ornate" - VisDare FF

Newly found a writing website, which runs a little Flash Fiction comp using a word and a photo - called VisDare. So gave this a go today. The word was ORNATE and the picture was the black & white of a grand old hall below. My 150 word effort is called Oak below.

Ornate
photo source



Oak

The oak shelves, columns and balcony on the periphery of the hall were all intricately carved with sprawling idealised exuberance. A false nature remade in wood and stone by so many skilled artisans. Clever ornate flourishes always tantalised when you found something new. In contrast the centre was furnished with great utilitarian tables on a simple marble floor.

Even the most careful footfalls could not avoid creating echoes from the floor, and as I moved a chair the resultant screech was predictably loud.

Despite the space somehow the cavernous hall felt terribly oppressive.

The summer evening sunlight streamed low through the stained glass illuminating the ancient books and dark shelves with splashes of rainbows. It would look beautiful to many people, but I abhorred this room.

I purposely let the bucket down with a crash, then bent down to take out the polish and cloths. It paid the rent.
Comments