Flash Fiction – Unbearable

Image courtesy of Liz Young.

 

‘I’m dying.’ Panic builds.

‘Shh. You’re not. I won’t let you.’ He tightens his grip on my hand and I remember the first time he laced his fingers through mine. We had picnicked under the sunflower sun, the smell of cut grass drifting through the breeze. Now it’s the stench of hospitals that sticks in my throat. Dettol and decay.

‘I want to die.’ I can’t bear the pain anymore.

‘You said that last time you gave birth but it was worth it afterwards when you held our baby, remember? Midwife says not long now. Relax.’

‘Relax?’ Bastard. I hate you.’

 

I missed last week’s Friday Fictioneers. I was trying to juggle the school holidays with finishing the first draft of book 3, but the end is in sight! I also took part in a local library incentive which made me cry, which you can read about here

I’ve tried to keep this week’s story lighthearted. I’m sure from the prompt there will be many entries bringing a lump to the throat. ‘Unbearable’ was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word story challenge, hosted by Rochelle, inspired by a photo prompt. 

Supporting my local library (aka crying in public)…

There’s nothing I love more than getting out and meeting readers so it was a real privilege to be invited to Corby Library for the launch of their Reading Ahead Challenge.

This is the first year Corby has taken part in this challenge although lots of other libraries in the country already take part. The scheme is designed to encourage more people to read. When you sign up you get a card where you keep track of your next six reads (or listen if you prefer audio books). There is a get together each month where you can talk books with like-minded people in your local community and at the end you get a certificate. Although today was the official launch you have between now and October to join in. I met some lovely people including some writers and their passion for books has inspired me to come home and do some work to my own manuscript.

Libraries have always been a huge part of my life. From my primary school who let me borrow far more than the one allocated book per week, to my village librarian who joked when I told her I had exhausted all of their stock that I should write my own book (I went home and started The Sister). I’ve many fond memories of visiting the big town library with my own mum, touching the books, taking ages to choose the ones I wanted, and then taking my own children to pick their bedtime stories.

I was overcome with emotion when today I saw The Sister on a library shelf for the very first time and was told how popular it is, along with The Gift. This has definitely been one of my highlights of being published and I found the thought of library users choosing my book to take home incredibly overwhelming. Luckily before I could shed too many tears at the enormity of it all the cake was brought out and I had to compose myself. After all it would have been rude not to have a slice (or three) wouldn’t it?

You can find out more about the Reading Ahead Challenge here.

Don’t go out there – #flashfiction

Image courtesy of Jellico’s Stationhouse

 

The back door creaked open. I shouldn’t go. But the thought of Jake waiting for me at the park pulled me. I shivered and it wasn’t the middle-of -the-night-chill but the anticipation of Jake’s hands heating me.

I wheeled my bike down the side of the house. Paused as the latch on the gate squeaked open. It wasn’t too late. I could go back to bed but my feet carried me forward. I pedalled as fast as I could. I pedalled so fast my dad’s warning words couldn’t catch me ‘there’s a killer out there.

I didn’t care.

I was in love.

 

A super busy week with a deadline looming and the school on their Easter holiday but when I saw the prompt it fitted perfectly with a paragraph I’ve just written for book 3 soI couldn’t resist using this excerpt.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly 100 word challenge inspired by a photo prompt and hosted by the fabulous Rochelle

My first foreign editions (aka we haven’t run out of peanut butter)

I was bleary-eyed when I answered the door to the postman this morning and took in a parcel. I couldn’t remember ordering anything, although admittedly I have been known to 1-click on Amazon and wipe it instantly from my mind. Half-asleep I opened the box and I think I must have screamed because the spaniel rushed out of the kitchen with her paws over her ears and my husband rushed in.

‘What’s wrong?’ he shouted, a panicked expression on his face as he looked for signs of injury/electrocution/flood. ‘This isn’t because we’ve run out of peanut butter is it?’ Luckily for him I was too excited to be offended that he thinks I am such a drama queen. In the box was books! My books! My first ever foreign editions and suddenly I was overcome with tears. A little over a year ago I’d almost lost hope of ever holding a paperback in English. The thought I might one day be published in other languages had genuinely never occurred to me.

This Polish edition is gorgeous, shiny and embossed. Crammed full of words I do not understand but I wrote those words and the realisation that around the world readers are getting to know Grace and Charlie is such a humbling feeling. There are many more foreign editions to come and I hope this sense of excitement, this sense of wonder, stays with me for each and every one. And just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better I also found a new jar of peanut butter in the back of the cupboard. Hurrah. Celebratory toast was eaten by all.

The Dead Good Reader Awards are open for voting. By voting you could also win £200 worth of books. If you loved The Sister, and have a few seconds, I would massively appreciate a nomination in the Debut Category. You can vote here. Thanks. Louise x

Flash Fiction – Buttercups

Image courtesy of Jennifer Pendergast

 

You loved playing dress up, twirling in my far-too-large wedding dress until your heel caught in the lace and you tumbled onto the dried grass.

‘Mummy.’ Your lip trembled and I plucked a buttercup, shining gold in the sun, telling you it was a magic flower. All was well in your small world once more.

I blink. Somehow time has slipped passed. Weeks, months, years.

You rush towards me. This time it’s a gown and mortar board that swamps your still-small frame.

‘Mum!’ You’re nervous. I push a buttercup into your hand.

‘Collect your degree, darling.’

Your world is larger now, but I’m still here. Always.

 

‘Buttercups’ was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word story challenge inspired by a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle

 

Flash Fiction – Act in haste…

Image courtesy of Shaktiki Sharma

 

‘Dan said ‘I’m going to give Stella the sack.’ Hilda relayed.

Stella’s throat burned hot. How could he? Today? It’s 30 years since she started here. Not that anyone remembered. She’d helped his wife arrange a birthday party for him too.

Stella fired off an email telling her boss everyone called him fish breath behind his back. She pressed send and gathered her belongings and her dignity, and stood.

‘Not going anywhere, Stella?’ Dan carried in a cake. Thirty candles flickering. ‘I said this morning I’m going to get you back for the party and surprise you!’

‘Sorry,’ mouthed Hilda. ‘Misheard.’

 

This week my sister asked for a more lighthearted story and as it’s International Women’s Day and she’s the strongest woman I know I had to step outside my comfort zone and give it a go. 

Big thanks to everyone who has read, reviewed and recommended The Sister. Yesterday my publisher rang to congratulate me on half a million sales. You can read the first thought that popped into my head here. World Book Day was another step outside my comfort zone. An introverted writer giving a talk to 250 kids. What could possibly go wrong? I blogged about that here.

‘Act in haste’ was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word story challenge inspired by a photo prompt and organised by Rochelle

Flash Fiction – Can’t you kiss it better?

clouds-above-the-trees

Image © Rochelle Wisoff-Field

 

Elsa dabbed the cotton wool against Edward’s leg. It came away crimson.

‘I’m sorry,’ she whispered. ‘It doesn’t look good.’ She reached into her case and pulled out a bandage.

‘Elsa! Why aren’t you eating your chips and why has Teddy got ketchup over his leg?’ Elsa’s mum swiped the bear and began to sponge his fur.

‘He ranned out in front of a car, Mummy, just like me.’

‘Let’s get you both cleaned up.’ Elsa’s mum’s knuckles bleached white as she gripped the handles of Elsa’s wheelchair and pushed her out of the kitchen.

She wouldn’t cry again. She’d run out of tears.

 

Yesterday I wrote a post on the 15 stages we go through when writing a first draft – no wonder writers are often exhausted! You can read the post here

‘Can’t you kiss it better?’ Was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word story challenge inspired by a photo prompt. Hop over to Rochelle’s blog for instructions on how to join in.