Category Archives: Friday Fiction

FF – The Art of Conversation

Thank you Ted Strutz for this photo. You can check out his blog here: https://tedstrutz.com/

The Art of Conversation

“I love talking.” Mum would say, “And he listens better now, especially when he’s got his pipe.” A lifelong non-smoker, Mum had cleaned and refilled that pipe every day since Dad’s death, then placed it unlit on top of the blue carved box that held his ashes. A habit of devotion.

Maria stared at the pipe and box and wondered what she should do with them now. Should she add Mum’s ashes to the box, or scatter them somewhere together?

Maria emptied the pipe into the bin. The tobacco smelled like Mum. She opened the pouch to fill it again.

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FF – Rescue

Thank you to Alicia Jamtaas for the photo, her site is here: https://lishwriter.wordpress.com/

Rescue

Lyla woke with a start. The room was dark and quiet. Gentle breathing from her left the only thing to hang onto. The world wasn’t ending.

She wrapped herself in a blanket and padded into the next room. The baby was sleeping soundly, her mouth slightly open, her face calm. Lyla’s mind spiked again with the vision of that same face contorted in terror, dropping away into the abyss and her own arms reaching desperately through the air.

Lyla’s face touched the baby’s hair as she climbed into the crib. “You caught me,” she whispered, finally able to relax again.

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FF – Solidarity

Photo credit: Trish Nankivell https://trishsplaces.com/

Solidarity

Louise remembered all too well that telltale red stain on Ayah’s white pants last week… the looks, the comments. She felt bad now, for laughing along. She stumbled into the washroom, and crashed onto the seat. It didn’t numb the pain, but it still brought relief. The sanitary pad her Mom gave her this morning had worked; there was no blood on her pants or underwear. Safe.

She reached for toilet paper and her hand hit metal. An empty roll. Louise began to cry.

She heard her name from outside the stall. “You OK?” Ayah whispered, “Do you need anything?”

NOTE: As ever, I’d love to hear your feedback – this week, if you have any ideas about the title in particular. I’m not thrilled with it, but couldn’t settle on anything better.

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FF – Mrs Mwanna and Jesus

Photo credit, Marie Gail Stratford https://www.mgisms.org/

Mrs Mwanna and Jesus

Everyone’s eyes were red. Someone she didn’t know touched Daddy’s arm, then pulled away like he was fire. Melanie stared at a water bottle someone left on a pew.

Daddy was in the pulpit, talking. Melanie couldn’t hear him, her ears were stuffed with rabbit fur.

Mrs Mwanna was staring at Jesus and muttering, which was funny, because Mrs Mwanna didn’t believe. What was she saying to Him? Was she telling him off? Melanie wanted to tell him off too, but she didn’t want to be smited. She needed Jesus to be on her side right now. More than ever.

*****

Extroduction: For those who haven’t followed this blog since the dawn of time, Melanie is a recurring character. Melanie is around 8 years old. Her family attend a Christian church with a fire and brimstone priest. Mrs Mwanna is her wonderful, non-Christian neighbour. Her Mother has terminal cancer. Melanie’s story is one of her trying to reconcile her faith and the teachings of her church with the realities of her experiences. Where this particular clip fits in, is for your imagination to decide.

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FF – Vacation 2020

Thank you to Sandra Crook for this week’s photo. Maybe it’s the mood I’m in, but it struck me this way, so here’s a fairly say-what-you-see response from me for Friday Fiction. Critique away!

https://castelsarrasin.wordpress.com/

Vacation 2020

Sandy was so excited to be going on holiday, she even joined in the bus transfer sing-a-long. She needed this break, after all the drama with Jackson: to lie on the beach and swim in the pool, to read, flirt and sip cocktails alone in the sun.

The hotel was smaller and shabbier than she’d expected, but it didn’t dent her excitement. The water was calling to her. After checking in, Sandy stepped out onto the pool deck. Stinky black seaweed covered the ground and clung to her sandals. Then she saw the sign: “Desole – la piscine est ferme”.

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FF – Choice

Another quick Friday Fiction to celebrate being home alone today. Thank you to Rochelle, who has sustained the group for so long and so wisely, and to J Hardy Carroll for this intriguing photograph. The link to my story is something of a rabbit warren of tangents, but here it is. Your comments and critique are welcome.

Choice

Josie passed another brown-bagged sandwich into outstretched hands.

“Thank you,” said the woman, tucking it into a worn-out backpack hidden in the bushes behind her. “I’ll have it when I’m done.” She waved Josie away and struck a pose, aimed at a black car approaching slowly.

****

Dad turned the phone towards her and she caught a glimpse of a torn backpack underneath a chilling headline: The Kingston Ripper Strikes Again.

“Why do they do it? They must know the risks, especially now.”

Josie took a deep breath. “If you were starving, wouldn’t you sell the only thing you had left?”

 

 

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FF – Freedom

Waking before the kids for the first time in a while, it occurred to me that it was Wednesday and I could use the time to join in Friday Fictioneers for the first time in years. The prompt is one I’ve used before (see my previous story here: https://elmowrites.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/friday-fictioneers-dreams/) but I decided to make up a new one. I’ve missed my favourite character, Melanie, so I let her have her say about the picture this time and my story is below. Your comments and critique are welcome.

The central FF post is here: https://rochellewisoff.com/2020/07/29/31-july-2020/ with a link to other stories. Thank you again to Jean L. Hays for the photo.

dolphin_01

Freedom

I want to swim with dolphins, but we should let them go free.

We’re caged ourselves now. No parks, no school, no visiting Mummy. Dolphins have been trapped like this forever: staring at the ocean through the bars of a cage.

They say swimming with dolphins makes you feel free, but how can you feel free in a cage? I want to jump off the back of a fishing boat when a pod comes by, and splash through the waves and hang onto a fin when I’m tired, like Daddy carrying me home from school back when there was school.

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A return to Friday fiction

Hi there,

This blog has been quiet so long, I bet you wondered if I was ever coming back. I did too. But here I am, possibly for a one-off, possibly for a sporadic return to the fold. We’ll have to wait and see. Those little boys whose births were announced here 2.5 and almost 5 years ago are growing, and growing up and definitely keeping me busy. Here they are in a forest, up to some cute mischief!

But I’m really ere to share a story, to try my hand at getting back into the Friday Fiction party, and for that, I present to you a picture (Copyright Sarah Potter) and 100 words of story. I’m not happy with any of my current ideas for a title – feel free to suggest one if you are inspired. Either way, I welcome your constructive critique, I’m a bit rusting on writing, editing and what-have-you, so I’m sure there’ll be plenty to say!

For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.

The line flew unbidden into Alice’s head as she stared at Joey’s old boots, stuffed away and forgotten when summer called for sandals. She’d spent so much of their marriage cleaning up after him, it’d probably been her, but she couldn’t remember. Occasionally he’d swept through the house and made it look like she never put any effort in at all; annoying her even more.

A spider dashed out and shot across her hand.

“Oh Joey,”  Tears washed black spots onto the shoes again. “I wish you’d come back and piss me off again.”

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FF – Gilded Cage

Another post from afar, hence the lack of photo and the haste of writing / posting. You can see it at Rochelle’s FF homepage. Your comments and feedback are welcome.

Gilded Cage

It was a storyline that filled his wife’s shelves in the library: forbidden love. A girl of lowly birth who falls for the son of a Duke, but is forced to marry a blusterer while her true love enters a ‘proper’ marriage with a woman his social equal.

Teddy wondered if Diane’s sympathies for the lovers ever stepped off the page; if she ever thought of him and the gilded cage that she represented. He did, daily. And every time he read a story about Lois’ horse breeding business, he wondered whether his story would share the novels’ happy ending.

****

A brief extroduction…

Our excellent prompt photo this week, courtesy of J Hardy Carroll, reminded me of a thought that’s been mulling about in my head recently regarding the British royal family: Prince Charles and Camilla really need a better spin doctor. Because theirs is a love story.

Years ago, ten years before he had even met Lady Diana Spencer, the young Prince Charles met and fell in love with Camilla. The match was frowned upon and eventually he was married off to Di while she was dispatched to Captain Parker-Bowles. Maybe they went willingly, maybe not; we can never know.

The story we have been sold is that that should have been an end to it: Charles should have accepted his lot, and with it his beautiful, upper class and appropriate wife, leaving the less ‘correct’ Camilla in his past. But love stories don’t run like that, and in fiction most of us don’t want them too. Furthermore, until really very recently, royal Princes weren’t expected to be faithful to the trophy wives chosen for them by ‘the machine’ – and the trophy wives weren’t expected to mind. Charles and Diana happened to live at a tough time for the royal family, when automatic deference was dead, but people still wanted them to be greater than human and without our failings or feelings. Under intense scrutiny and modern expectations, I suggest neither came out particularly spotless. I certainly don’t defend any party’s actions during their respective first marriages.

But Diana has been dead 20 years and Charles has now fulfilled the romantic, love story ambition of a happy ending. He and Camilla may not be innocent, or beautiful, or particularly easy to put on a pedestal, but I suspect they are better for each other than either’s first spouse ever was, and I for one , wish them all the very best in the final act of their love story.

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FF – Footprints

My photo this week, but I’m out and about so I’ll have to catch up properly in a couple of weeks. Also means I can’t add the image from here, but you can see it on Rochelle’s ff homepage.

 

Footprints

The years ticked past as she sat rocking baby after baby through the cries of hunger, teething and fearful dreams. Each one grew, learned to walk, then talk and then push her gently away.

They returned, when the pain or fear or joys heaped upon them by the world were too great for their broadening shoulders to bear. And she, faithful comforter and trusted confidente, embraced them each time anew.

Then one day her chair rocked empty. Gathered around it, they saw for the first time the grooves her feet had worn into the floor, as she had etched footprints on their hearts.

 

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