Flash Fiction – Tired

132-11-november-29th-2015

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.

 

Sunday Photo Fiction – One Day

IMG_2699.JPG

The shrill peel of my alarm thrust me into another unwelcome day. I stumbled to the bathroom and turned on the taps. The pipes groaned in protest. While I waited for the water to warm I stared at my reflection through slitted eyes. I looked older than my 40 years. I felt about a hundred. I winced as the water stung my red raw hands. I rubbed them dry. No lotions for me. What was the point of softening skin that had never caressed a lover or soothed a baby?

In the bedroom I squeezed my bulk into the too small dress I wore yesterday, picking off the congealed egg with my nail. I glanced at the clock. It was 6.27 am. Mother would be sitting up in bed now, walking stick poised ready to bang on the floor if I was so much of a second late. She would readily empty her bladder in protest at my neglect, grimacing as she told me she couldn’t help it. Couldn’t possibly wait another moment for her selfish daughter to tend to her needs.

Every day was exactly the same, monotonous, backbreaking and lonely. I dreamed of breakfast in bed, of holidays in the sun, sometimes I even dared wish for love.

One day things would be different, the thudding of the stick on the ceiling above me sliced through my thoughts, I was forever waiting for that day.

Written for Sunday Photo Fiction – a story of around 200 words inspired by a prompt.

Sunday Photo Fiction – The Bell

20140706-093803-34683746.jpg

‘So, to recap we provide the transport and a map marked with a specific target location. You will be responsible for creating your own route within this area. You can stop as many times as you wish.’

‘And that’s when I ring the bell?

‘Yes, you ring the bell and people will come to you’.

‘It sounds simple enough. The money isn’t great though.’

‘Don’t forget the bonuses. It’s set to be a scorching summer, you should do well.’

‘When can I start?’

‘Ah, the last gentleman had to leave quite suddenly, so right now if you wish.’

‘I can’t believe my luck finding steady, long term work. My wife and kids will be thrilled.’

‘Why don’t you make the first stop your street so they can see you in action as it were. I will just familiarise you with the transport and equipment and you can be on your way.’

I slowly pull into my street, stopping outside my house. My family will be so proud of me, we will eat well tonight. I reach for the bell, ringing it as loud as I can.

‘Bring out your dead.’

Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. A 200 word story inspired by a photo prompt.

This story is based on the Great Plague that swept through London in the summer of 1665.

Sunday Photo Fiction – The Flaming Ball

20140629-093542-34542733.jpg

We stare intently at the flaming orange ball, through squinted, watery eyes. ’10 seconds to launch Sir,’ Jim informs me.
I turn to my second in command. ‘What do you think our chances are?’
‘Good,’ he lies. He is sweating as much as the rest of us.

With an almighty roar the ball catapults into space. There is a whooshing in my ears reminiscent of the time Dad taught me to swim. No matter how many times I slipped under the grabbing waves he never let me go. I managed a few strokes with tired arms and emerged triumphant from the ocean, running to our picnic spot to be encircled by a dry towel and my mother’s pride.

We silently watch the ball’s progress on the monitors. The control room feels suffocating, too full of silent prayers and regret. I remove my tie and try to loosen my top button with shaking fingers.

The ball approaches the target but instead of colliding they miss each other by millimetres. Our one chance to detonate the alien craft vanishes into deep space along with our hope. We take a second to slump before the crew rush to the evacuation pods where spouses and children are already waiting.

‘Sir?’ Jim shouts as I stand transfixed by old memories. There is no one waiting for me in the pod. My parents are 60 miles away. I remember the feel of my father’s hands supporting me in the water. Never letting me go no matter how roughly the waves tried to snatch me away. I grab my car keys and run toward the door.

Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. A story inspired by a photo prompt.

Sunday Photo Fiction – Be careful what you wish for

Image

 

‘Well,’ says the shiny suited announcer, ‘this is the moment we have all been waiting for. The votes have been counted and verified and I can confirm the winner, who will receive a 5 year recording contract, is….’

I squint into the audience, blinded equally by the spotlights and the judging panels teeth. Spectators hold their breath, hands grip each other tightly. Who will win? Will it be the one they have supported and voted for? Am I their favourite? It means such a lot to them. I have given my best performance tonight, I am confident of that.

I glance at the other semi finalist. Sweat beads on her forehead, hands clenched tightly by her sides as she sways slightly. I hope she doesn’t faint during overdramatic tv pause. It means such a lot to her.

What does it mean to me though? How would the accolade of being the nation’s winner change things? I would have an album out by the end of the year. Possibly a tour. I envisage myself being mobbed wherever I go, recording music I don’t like to a crowd who doesn’t appreciate the real me.

My heart hammers as the presenter touches his ear lightly, acknowledging the result coming through.

My nan used to say ‘be careful what you wish for’. I never understood what that meant until now.

Clutching my guitar and my dignity I run.

 

 

Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. A story of around 200 words inspired by a photo prompt.

Sunday Photo Fiction – Serene Sunday

Image

 

The waves soothe my aching body as I float in the cool water, the crisp salty air revitalising me. Seaweed curls itself around my long hair, gently caressing my bare shoulders. I tilt my face up towards the sun allowing its warmth to release the knots from my muscles. Tranquility floods through me, this feeling is almost worth the bitch of a day I had at work yesterday. Almost.

Deftly I flip over onto my stomach and begin to swim, determined not to let the past seep into the present. The sea, aquamarine from a distance, is translucent and I dive down towards the sand. The colourful shoal of fish beneath me, rush past like an aquatic carnival.

Surfacing I groan as I see Jenny, my boss, heading towards me. ‘Tamsin, a boat’s heading this way, we need you.’
‘Uh uh,’ I protest. ‘It’s my one day off, do you know how hard I worked yesterday?’
‘I appreciate that but,’
‘I don’t think you do,’ I interrupt. ‘There were 15 sailors on board that trawler yesterday. 15 and I drowned 6 of them alone. Have you any idea how exhausted I am?’

Without waiting for an answer I swish my tail and swim away from the chief mermaid. Nothing is going to spoil my serene Sunday.

Written for Sunday Photo Fiction, inspired by the photo prompt.

Sunday Photo Fiction – The Shoes

 

Image

 

When Papa came home on leave he bought a pair of shoes so heavenly they gave me goosebumps just looking at them. Mama refused to touch them. ‘I ain’t got no need for dancing shoes til you’re back home for good.’

She said I could wear them to the village dance. Excitement popped and fizzled in my belly. They were a good size too big but I stuffed the toes with tissue to pad them out, along with my bra. ‘You’d better hope nobody lights a cigarette near you girl, you’ll go up in flames.’

Jimmy didn’t smoke but he damn sure lit a fire in my heart.

We danced as though our lives depended on it. Twirling round faster and faster. We danced to create memories to remember. We danced to forget.

Jimmy walked me home. When we kissed, heat rose through me so fast I was sure my head would explode. I let him touch me in places Mama said were for husbands only. He promised he would be mine.

We packed the shoes away, Mama and I, declaring we would wear them when our men returned at the end of the war.

I never saw those shoes again.

 

 

Written for Sunday Photo Fiction, a 200 word story inspired by a photo prompt.

http://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

Sunday photo fiction – He loves me

Image

 

I sit atop the hill wrapped in a cardigan and Joe’s love. I always come here when I need to think. I breathe in crisp air, tinged with the scent of honeysuckle and rub my arms. The brilliant sunshine and aquamarine sky foretells a warmth that will emerge later. It is still early. The birds sing me their morning song, ‘make a decision,’ they urge.

The village looks tiny spread out before me. I take comfort from the familiarity. There is security growing up in a small community. Some may find it suffocating but I have never craved the anonymity of a city. Never longed to see the world.

Joe is down there somewhere. Later he will want my answer. I don’t know what to say.

The weather vane gently rotates on the church roof. I feel envious. Imagine knowing you are always pointing in the right direction.

I absently pick the petals from a daisy ‘he loves me,’ ‘he loves me not.’

He loves me, that’s never been in question, clarity comes. A year’s travelling had seemed so terrifying but I will always be home as long as I am with Joe

I run down the hill to pack.

 

 

Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. A 200 word story inspired by a photo prompt. 

 

Sunday Photo Fiction – Trapped

Image

 

I stare out of the window into the bright blue sky wishing I was a bird who could soar far away. Instead I am stuck here until 3.30.

I have come to really hate school. My mum sends me off in the morning with a smile and a sandwich full of cheese and her love. She has no idea how my stomach churns like crashing waves at the thought of seeing Adam Bennett.

Adam has picked on me since I joined this school even though I have tried to make friends. I have no idea why. Everything about me is funny to him. My clothes, my glasses, even the way I speak. His taunts ring in my ears as I cross the playground, and my cheeks flame as I try to ignore the sniggers of the meaner children.

I tell my mum in a jumbled outpouring of shame how I am being bullied, how unhappy I am. “Try a different approach,” she urges.

I am in the staff room when the cocky sports teacher enters. “coffee Adam”? I ask. “I have made it especially for you”. I keep slowly stirring the liquid until the white powder has completely disappeared. I’ll teach him to mess with a chemistry teacher.

 

Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. A 200 word story inspired by a photo prompt.

http://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2014/05/18/sunday-photo-fiction-may-18th-2014/

Dear Mum- Sunday Photo Fiction

 

Image

 

 

Dear Mum,

I am having a brilliant time sunbathing and swimming. It’s really hot here. My tan looks amazing! This is the best experience of my life.

Miss you.

Rachel xxx

 

Dear Mum,

I have met someone! His name is Pierre and he is absolutely gorgeous. He is taking me to dinner tonight. Going to wear my black dress.

Love you.

Rachel xxx

 

Dear Mum,

Guess what – Pierre has proposed!!! I know it’s only been a week but he says he can’t imagine life without me. I can’t wait for you to meet him. I love him 🙂

Love Rachel xxx

 

Dear Mum

I can’t believe the way you spoke to me on the phone. I am not naive, I am a grown woman soon to have a husband and guess what – I don’t need you. You’re not always right. Don’t bother picking me up at the airport. If you can’t be happy for me I never want to see you again.

Rachel

 

Mum,

I was so frightened when the officers smashed the figurine Pierre had bought me for our engagement and the cocaine fell out. I swear I didn’t know. Mum, you were right about him. Please come. I need you.

Rachel

 

 

Written for http://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com

200 words inspired by photo prompt.