Flash Fiction – Seeking Silence

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Photo courtesy of Jan W. Fields

 

It’s been five days since I buried you. A thin film of dust covers the piano I’ve inherited with your estate. Moonlight Sonata slices through my mind.

Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.

I smash the axe down. Wood splinters and keys squeal. Still, I hear music.

The tyres of the Jag screech as I speed from the mansion. Away from your memory. But I still hear you playing.

Please stop. I didn’t mean to hurt you.

It builds.

I’m sorry.

 The crescendo.

My foot squeezes the accelerator as I approach the cliff, and I’m flying, falling, screaming.

But still the music plays.

 

 

Written for Friday Fictioneers. A 100 word story inspired by a photo prompt. Pop over to host Rochelle’s blog and read the other entries here

Flash Fiction – Framed

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Picture courtesy of Scott L. Vannatter

 

The kitchen window is ajar and I leap inside. My feet plunge into something soft and hot. I hop from paw to paw until my pads stop burning and I sit and lick them clean, staring at the pie I’d landed in. Chicken. Mmmm. I pick out the meat, a little salty but it fills a gap, and nudge the dish with my nose until it clatters onto the floor. I’ll share with blame the mutt. He bounds over, ridiculous ears flapping and slurps up the gravy.

Footsteps approach. I dart behind the bin – I am a ninja.

‘REX!’

Humans – nearly as stupid as dogs.

 

A light-hearted entry this week for Friday Fictioneers. A 100 word story inspired by a photo prompt. Read the other entries here. 

 

Flash Fiction – Puppet

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Photo – Luther Siler

 

‘I hate you, Dad.’

‘I needed a job, Ella.’

‘There are loads of other jobs.’

‘There aren’t. And it’s Christmas. We need the money.’

‘I don’t care about Christmas. I care about the poor animals being tortured.’

‘They’re not tortured. They’re helping us find cures. They’re very well looked after.’

‘How could you hurt them?’

‘I don’t. I’m just security.’

‘Just a puppet. Don’t you have any morals?’

I think of the plan. The welfare group will arrive at midnight. I’ll leave the door unlocked. I wish I could tell her, but it’s better she doesn’t know. Safer.

‘I’m sorry.’ I whisper as she turns away.

 

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 word story inspired by a photo prompt. Read the other entries here

 

Flash Fiction – Tired

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Photo – Al Forbes

 

A brisk walk will do you good

But I’m so tired – my legs feel like they’re made of lead.

 

Some fresh air will make you feel better

 My chest is so tight it’s an effort to breathe.

 

Count your blessings

Count? My mind is hazy. I cannot concentrate on the simplest of tasks.

 

Happiness is a choice

Do you really think I would choose to feel like this?

 

Snap out of it

Snap? I have slept for twelve hours but still don’t have the energy to move.

 

A good meal will cheer you up

I told you I cannot eat. My throat is constricted, my stomach full of swirling emotions.

 

Turn that frown upside down

I try. I really do, but my skin feels tight and it’s hard to make my muscles move.

 

If you can’t be bothered to help yourself

I am screaming for help, can’t you hear me? But the room is silent and you turn away.

 

Sunday Photo Fiction – A story inspired by a photo prompt. Read the other entires here.

 

Flash Fiction – The polished table

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The thirty-eight seconds it took the elevator to glide to the penthouse was always the worst part of Paul’s day. He furled his fingers around the Ferrari key fob in his palm, clutching it so tightly the metal cut into his soft flesh. It was here, in the cold tin box, under the harsh white light, he felt the most exposed. He held his breath and didn’t release it again until he’d slid his key into his front door. Home. His castle. Of course it was still here. Still his. 

Citrus assaulted Paul’s nostrils; the cleaner had been. He slipped off his Italian leather shoes and placed them on the rack inside the cloakroom. ‘A place for everything and everything in its place,’ his mum used to say. She’d be amazed if she could see his house, or perhaps horrified, ‘all this space for one person’ she’d shake her head. The thought of her disapproval made the furrows in Paul’s brow deepen, and he strode across his white pile carpet and took the stairs two at a time.

The wardrobe mirrors sparkled but there was a smear in the bottom left corner and Paul tutted as he wiped it with his tie. He’d ring the agency on Monday. Request a new girl. Insist on an English one this time who could read the manual he’d written. There was no excuse for sloppiness.

He shrugged off his jacket and pulled a padded hanger from the rail. ‘You can always tell a man by the cut of his suit’ his dad said. As if he knew. He’d only had one good suit, ‘for weddings, funerals or court’ and that came from Oxfam. Not like Paul. He surveyed the monochromatic rainbow in front of him, Armani, Hugo Boss, and wondered what his dad would say. If he’d be proud?

His parents had crept into his thoughts a lot the past few weeks. Paul found it discomfiting. It wasn’t that he missed them exactly but he wished they could have seen his success. You could have fitted their whole house into his kitchen. Paul grew angry when he remembered sharing a bedroom, sharing a bed with the brother he no longer spoke to, but he was never quite sure who he was angry with. His idiot brother had repeated his parents mistakes. A tiny terraced house and grubby children who clamoured for attention, sucking the life from their mother who huffed and sighed but pretended she was happy, despite the purple smudges under her eyes. Paul had visited once – he shuddered – never again.

Downstairs, Paul rang his favourite restaurant. They didn’t do home deliveries as a rule but for him they made an exception There hadn’t been time for lunch. He wanted something quick. Quality food. Not the hotdogs his mum used to serve night after night. He’d huddled next to his brother in front of the one bar fire, the smell of gas battling with fried onions, hoping there had been enough money for ketchup. Paul vowed he’d never eat a hotdog again but an image flickered across his mind of staring up at the inky sky as fireworks exploded – red, blue, gold – and Paul remembered the grease dripping down his chin as he bit into the sausage, the sharpness of the mustard, and tears sprang to his eyes. He rubbed them away and fidgeted on the leather sofa he’d chosen for looks rather than comfort.

All this emotion. It was most unlike him. He needed a holiday. He was working too hard. His laptop whirred to life and he searched for The Caribbean. An image popped up of a family on the beach, Mum lying on an orange towel reading, Dad playing cricket with two laughing, freckled children as the aquamarine sea lapped at the golden sand behind them. Paul felt a pang of something but he wasn’t sure what. He was happy wasn’t he? Look at his life. Look at all his things.

The doorbell rang. His meal was here. Paul sat at the polished oak table that seated eighteen, seventeen of the chairs he had never used, and, like every other night, began to eat his dinner alone.

 

As ever, constructive criticism is welcome, particularly this week as this is the first time I have ever written in third person and it felt rather strange! This piece was written for Streams of Consciousness Saturday. Write what you feel following a prompt and post, No editing allowed. This week’s prompt was the words ‘stuff.’

Flash Fiction – Run!

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Photo courtesy of C.E. Ayr

 

My heart pounds in my ears but I can still hear his footsteps behind me. The smell of fried onions hangs in the night air, even though the burger van has long gone. The streets are deserted. What does he want? Alcohol churns in my stomach and I stumble, kick off my heels, and run. He’s getting closer.

My bare feet slap against the wet pavement. I don’t see the broken glass but the shards slice into my flesh. I fall. Scream. There’s a hand on my shoulder. Hot breath against my neck.

‘Miss? You left your purse in the club.’

 

Written for Friday Fictioneers. A 100 word story inspired by a photo prompt. Read the other entries here

 

Tricky titles

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Many moons ago when I started writing for publications I’d submit copy according to my brief but omit a title.

Editors would always come back to me, ‘Great, but what’s it called?’ and I’d spend hours longer than it took to write the article drumming my fingertips against my desk, sweat prickling in my armpits while I tried to think of an amusing or thought provoking title.

Whatever I offered, I’d usually get a ‘Thanks, but I think we’ll call it ……. instead.’

I’d (mistakenly) hoped that the more writing experience I gained, the easier it would be for titles to trip off my tongue, but sadly, this hasn’t been the case.

When I decided to write a novel I worried about the title. Everyone assured me that something would come to me, a line from the book perhaps, something in a dream, a song lyric. It didn’t for a long time, until one day it did. I had a title, a really good one, and I did a little happy dance to celebrate.

A few weeks ago a new book was released with the title I’d thought of and it has done phenomenally well. Back to the drawing board for me. Luckily I had a plan b. The title I’d been reserving for my second book. Last month a book was released …. argggh.

Novel one is now finished. Novel two is underway. They both have titles, but neither of them are quite right. How crazy is it that 85,000 words was a complete joy to write but those few words needed for the cover have me stumped?

Any advice? How do you think of your titles?

Flash Fiction – Beneath the surface


Photo – Dale Rogerson

 

‘You can’t pay the rent again?’

‘No.’ My nails carve crescents into the palms of my hands. I fight to keep my breathing measured.

‘You’re two months behind. I’m not a freakin’ charity.’

‘I’ll make it up to you.’ My stomach rollercoasters and I force a smile, unbutton my blouse.

His hands reach for his belt buckle. ‘You want this?’

I nod and lick my lips, quash the rising nausea and drop to my knees.

‘You bitches are all the same.’

Swirling blackness floods my veins and I clamp my teeth together, hard.

He screams.

I’ll have to move house.

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 word story inspired by a photo prompt. Read the other entries here.

Flash Fiction – Take a chance

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I pull into the layby, fish a tissue from the glove-box. In our early days I’d stop here on my way home to fix my make-up, wanting to look my best for you – now I pull in here to cry.

A rainbow streaks the sky. I used to believe there’d be a pot of gold at the end, used to believe in so many things; the man in the moon; wishing upon a star. I used to believe in you.

The lights of the bus loom closer. Take a chance. I leap from my car and flag it down. It’s time to start again.

 

 

Written for Friday Fictioneers. A 100 word story inspired by a photo prompt. Read the other entries here.

Today Rochelle is celebrating three years as facilitator of this challenge (congratulations!) and has asked us for our thoughts. Friday Fictioneers was the first thing I ever did on WordPress and I was so scared to post my first story. The feedback I received during my early attempts was invaluable (I often muddled tenses among many other things)! Participation in this challenge has tightened my writing and sparked a creativity I didn’t know I had. A huge thank you to Rochelle for giving me the confidence and the space to grow.

The WoMentoring Project

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I have recently (and tentatively) entered the world of creative writing and subsequently felt slightly overwhelmed at times, both by the amount of words in my head and what I should actually be doing with them.

A fellow writer told me about The WoMentoring Project and when I checked it out and saw Louise Walters, author of the amazing Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase, was volunteering her time as a mentor I couldn’t resist applying.  Ignoring the little doubtful voice in my head which was telling me not to bother, I will never be able to write a book, I pressed the send button.

Applying for a place on this scheme was a pivotal point for me. I was finally acknowledging to myself (even if I didn’t share with anyone else) that I was ready to work towards turning my dream of being a published fiction author into a reality. I made a conscious choice to no longer pay any attention to my insecurities. We are what we believe we can be, our thoughts create our world and the inner me is now offering a high five and a “you go girl”.

I was more than a little bit excited to hear on Friday evening that Louise Walters has agreed to be my mentor. Cue a celebratory bottle of wine, a take out and much happiness. It wasn’t really until Sunday that it suddenly dawned on me that I haven’t actually written or published anything yet. Best stop dancing on the table and crack open the laptop rather than another bottle then.

Yesterday was spent scrambling around trying to find discarded envelopes and old post it notes with odd ideas frantically scribbled on them (I really must develop a system). It was a challenge to say the least, trying to decipher my handwriting and attach meaning to random words, which I am sure at the time were integral to the story, but now make no sense to me. What I lack in a plot I make up for in enthusiasm though and a willingness to work hard, take all constructive criticism on board and learn a craft I have loved for as long as I can remember.

Whatever happens (and I am putting no pressure on myself or my mentor to produce something spectacular**) I am so grateful for this opportunity.

Wish me luck.

 

** I want to produce something spectacular 🙂