Tag Archives: Flash Fiction

Friday Fiction – As Seen On TV

This week’s FF post comes with a moderate language warning. Also, a note that none of the characters in this story reflect any actual persons alive or dead. That’s always the case with my writing, but in this instance one of the Fictioneers might notice a nod to her profession!

For those who don’t know, The Great British Bake-Off (aka Bake Off) has been a great hit with women of a certain age and disposition in the UK recently. so much so, it’s spawned The Great British Sewing Bee and presumably other hobbies and activities are lining up to follow. Just wait until the adult entertainment industry catches up and add The Great British Fu… I digress.

Quick, before I have to upgrade that warning, here’s Renee’s photo (the way it loads on the iPad I saw the bottom first, hence my interpretation), and my story. Comments always welcome.

melting-wax-renee-heath

As Seen On TV

“Shit!” Charlotte dumped the piping bag in the bowl. “Shit, shit shit!”

She shouldn’t have used fondant. A nice spreadable buttercream, or rolled-out royal and she’d be done by now. But no, she had to try fondant. They made it look so easy on Bake-off.

Now, she had rivers of sticky icing racing down the cupboards. Soon it would reach the floor, and Andy had already called to say they’d left the airport.

The door slammed and Charlotte drew breath. They couldn’t be here already.

“Hi Mum!”

She breathed again. “Ah, kids, perfect timing. Who wants to decorate Grandma’s cake?”

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In Mon – Fridge Monster

It’s been a few weeks since I posted for InMon and I will say now it might be a while before I can again, but I’m glad to be here this time, and with a story for the prompt “fridge monster”. I hope you enjoy; your comments are welcome either way.

The Fridge

“Jules, could you pass Mummy the butter please?” She’s holding the big knife and sawing away at a loaf of bread on the counter, so she doesn’t look up when she says it. Just asks, like it’s the easiest thing in the world.

And it is, right? All I have to do is walk to the fridge, open the door, grab the butter, close the door, take it to Mummy. Easy. All things I have been able to do for ages. When I was a baby, like my little sister Mary, I couldn’t, but now I’m three and a half, I could do it. Easy, right?

But it’s not easy at all.

See. There’s a light in the fridge. And the light only comes on when you open the door, and then if you look really really carefully when you close the door, you can see it going off again just before it’s shut.

And Mummy says the light is powered by magic, but Miranda at daycare says there’s no such thing as magic and Miranda is five and goes to school, so she knows things.

So if there’s no such thing as magic, who turns the light on and off? And why? Why would the whoever it is only turn it on when I’ve got the door open? Because when the door’s open, there’s light from the kitchen anyway, so the only reason they would turn the light on is to shine it on whoever opens the door. And the only reason they would do that is to decide whether to attack you.

And if they live in the fridge, they must be pretty small, so they probably wouldn’t attack Mummy or Daddy. And Mary’s too small to open the fridge, so they couldn’t reach her. So that leaves me. And the whoever in the fridge hasn’t eaten me yet, so it’s probably pretty hungry.

I wish it liked cheese. Then it could just eat the cheese in the fridge. But it doesn’t. And that only leaves me.

“Come on, Jules, I need you to help me out.”

Mummy’s getting angry, but she doesn’t know about the whoever in the fridge. She thinks it’s magic. She wouldn’t want me to open the fridge if she knew.

 

 

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In Mon – Is That a Real Place?

More fun prompts over at BeKindRewrite this week. This take on one probably isn’t that original, but I enjoyed writing it and definitely feel I could work more with these characters. Have a look, leave your thoughts, and/or stop over to Steph’s site to use the prompts yourself.

Getaway

The bar was quiet and our host was friendly, setting down drinks then hovering behind Alice. “So what brings you to this corner of the globe?”

“Walking,” I replied, hoping he’d leave us alone. “We’ve heard there are fantastic trails up into the mountains.”

“Sure thing,” he said, pulling over a chair, “We’ve got a load of maps and guides you could take a look at in the Snug.”

“Great.” I picked up the menu and tried to leave the conversation at that.

“I also know a few more secluded trails if you’d like a personal touch. There are places I can show you where you won’t see another person for hours.”

“Except you,” Alice muttered.

Our host laughed. “Well, of course.” He pulled his chair in. “But I can be unobtrusive when I want to be.”

Unlike now, I thought. I caught Alice’s eye and she smiled, reading my mind.

“Do you remember on our honeymoon?” I asked her, excluding him as much as I could from the conversation.

“The Lover’s Island!” she laughed, then she turned to him. “We booked a private island getaway for a day. Then a bunch of Italians turned up with a picnic.”

Now that she’d included him, I tried to hammer home the privacy point. “I paid good money to get some alone time with my wife.”

“Ha, yes,” he said, “Well you’ll definitely find that here.” But I could tell he didn’t really get it. Instead he began to explain the flora and fauna we might chance to see if we took him up on his offer. Alice and I continued briefly our reminiscences, then gave up and read the menus while he droned on.

“… And the mandrakes are spectacular. Although not at this time of year, obviously.”

“Obviously,” I said, trying to sound like I knew what he was talking about.

“Mandrakes are real?” Alice said. “I thought JK Rowling made them up!”

“No, they are quite real. Nice cheap hallucinogen, if you like that sort of thing.”

“Now we’ve never been offered those before!” Alice laughed. “Someone tried to sell us Speed in New York once, and we smoked weed in Timbuktu.”

“That’s a real place?” asked our host, finally standing up.

“Yes, believe it or not. It’s a city in Mali.” He was looking at me blankly. “In Africa,” I added.

“Not like the movies, then?” he asked. “Not quite so many skyscrapers and yellow cabs.”

“What?” I think Alice and I spoke at once.

“New York. You must have seen the movies – all skycrapers, yellow cabs and Americans with loads of money. I assume it’s a bit different if it’s in Afrcia.”

I probably just stared at him. For all I know, my mouth was hanging open.

Eventually Alice spoke. “You’re kidding, right?”

The man sighed. “Did you pass the train station when you drove into town?”

“Sure, but it was all boarded up.”

“Exactly. When I was a kid, I always said as soon as I left school, I’d travel the world and see places. Then the day before my eighteenth birthday, they closed the station. I guess some things just aren’t meant to be.”

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Friday Fiction – Preserving Beauty

Wow, FF hasn’t been this difficult for me in a long time. The picture from Danny Bowman is so bleak and yet stunning, I wanted to do it justice with my story, but the ideas clanked out slowly and the resulting first draft was much too long and pointless to be worth sharing. Sometimes, the muse just doesn’t want to get out of bed – I know how she feels!

But here, at last, it my offering. I hope it’s worth the wait.

lengai_summit_from_crater-danny-bowman

Preserving Beauty

Marie nipped the flower from a crevice in the rock and into her book. She glanced around and sighed. In preserving beauty, she had crushed the volcano’s only hope of bearing life.

Tears blinded her as she stumbled back to the Observation Station. She and Louis had shared a hope once, but she too was barren wasteland.

“I ruin everything,” she sobbed.

“Another quake,” he whispered. “We need to evacuate.”

Blackness seeped into the crevice, scorching roots and stem as the research team retreated. Tucked away, the hope of the mountain survived: pollen caught in the leaves of a sketchbook.

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Friday Fiction – Delays

This week’s FF photograph reminded me of an old FF entry here, but I went a different way instead with my story and you can read it below. I welcome comments and critique; I’m particularly interested in any suggestions for a better title. I feel there must be a great one out there, but it’s eluding me this morning.

Thanks to Rochelle for hosting and Sandra Crook for the photo.

hay-bales-sandra-c

Delays

“Oh God, move it!” Dad yelled.

Amy looked up at the castle on the hill. They’d passed signs advertising “Les spectacles des chevaux”, which sounded like glasses for horses, but meant equestrian shows. She’d have made a joke, even suggested they go, but the car was thick with Dad’s anger at the tractor so she kept quiet.

“You’d think he’d pull over and let us by!”

A few miles later, the tractor turned off. Dad floored the accelerator and narrowly avoided a pensioner who’d chosen that moment to cross.

“Now, is there anywhere you’d like to visit today?” Dad asked.

 

***

An extra thought…

The lesson in this story is one I try to bear in mind as Sebastian and I are walking through the freezing wind and he stops to study a discarded plastic bottle or a pile of dirty snow. I’m not preaching – I know that it’s too easy to be “Dad” and get swept away with the need to get somewhere without ever stopping to wonder if you’re already there.

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Inspiration Monday – End of Forever

Having returned to something approaching normality, I am pleased to bring you a new InMon story, based on the excellent prompts from Bekindrewrite. If you head over there, you’ll find a handful of great other stories based on either the phrase I used as my title and inspiration, or various other words and phrases. I hope you enjoy my story. As ever, I am open to comments and critique, so please do leave your thoughts.

End of Forever

We were so different, Patrick and I. He roared into love liked a tsunami, casting aside every obstacle, every question, every other possibility except that we would be together for all time. He never professed any religion, nor any concrete ideas about what happens after death, but he was certain that love was everlasting, and that we would be together for eternity.

I admired his passion all the more, because I had none. My love was a calm emotion: waves washing gently over a shore, unstoppable as a whole, but yielding on a smaller scale to piers and groynes and to the big problems that we encountered in those early days. And I believe in heaven, but not as a family reunion; my vows were only until death us do part.

And so I bury him with more finality than he would have done me. I am free to love again. I am free to find another man who will sweep me off my feet with his passion and vigour. I am free to listen to a new promise of happy ever after, of eternal devotion, of love forever.

But there is nothing after the end of forever. There is only darkness and silence. A bed that is too big for one person and a table with too many chairs. After the end of forever, nothing and never begin, and I am there, hoping I am wrong about heaven.

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Friday Fiction – Liberties

Well the painters have gone and I’m finally beginning to feel like Canadian timings are natural again, so that’s another couple of adventures under the belt. Just in time, because it’s Friday Fiction day. Today’s photo brought two ideas (OK, tell it like it is – two puns) to mind. I hope you enjoy them, and the more serious thoughts behind today’s story. I welcome your comments and critique.

Today’s photo comes from David Stewart; as ever, Rochelle leads the way over at FF HQ. Please note this story comes with a Mature Content (language) warning.

david-stewart

Liberties

She heard their whispers as she passed – she was meant to, she thought. “Have you seen the new girl? Belle? I’d sure like to ring that.”

It was hardly a new joke, or a particularly inspired one, but Belle smiled to herself. Alice, alongside her, was affronted. “Assholes,” she muttered.

“Why? Because they complimented me?”

Alice scoffed. “You’re a victim of their objectification of your sexuality.”

“Or they think I’m hot,” Belle said.

“People died for your freedom, Belle. You should be free to wear whatever you like without being…”

“Admired?” Belle interrupted. “I’d prefer to die for free speech.”

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Friday Fiction – Enlightenment

A quick post from me today as I’m short of battery and internet time. Today’s picture is from Dawn M Miller and as ever Rochelle leads our merry band of believers and non-believers. I would have liked to add another paragraph at the end of this story to wrap things up, but it was hard enough to get it down to 100 words as it was, so the rest will have to be up to your imagination. Again, I am unlikely to have much time to read and comment on others – if that offends you, feel free to skip mine. Otherwise, enjoy!

lvbydawne_2

Enlightenment

Dad reeked of Catholic guilt like a sour cologne; Mum was Anglican and sometimes I felt only their agreement on the sixth Commandment kept them alive.

I veered wildly between the fires of Hell and the glories of Heaven: persuaded that while both could not be completely right, the truth lay where their dogmas converged. Then I met a man from the Unitarian Church.

“There are as many paths to Heaven as there are doorways in the world,” he told me. “Faith is the light that guides us, not the lantern that holds it, nor the hand that carries it.”

 

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InMon – The Doctor Is Sick

I hesitate to post this story for two reasons. One, it opens up a discussion about Dr Who, which I don’t follow and don’t want to follow; two, the post contains swearing, for which I can only apologise and blame the character.
However, when this week’s InMon prompts came into my inbox, I was caught by the phrase “The Doctor is Sick,” and this story wouldn’t go away until I wrote it. So here you are, please enjoy. And please don’t ask me anything about the Dr – Janice is much more up on these things than I am!

The Doctor Is Sick

“It’s Liz now,” her niece, Bella, had declared over the phone this morning. “Bella is a baby name.”

Janice hadn’t argued. She’d always dreamed of being the Cool Aunt: someone her niece and nephews would look forward to spending time with and be able to confide in when they couldn’t talk to their parents. So if Bella wanted to be called Liz, Liz it would be.

She carefully pulled the gift tag off the biggest parcel under her tree and wrote a new one. “Merry Christmas, Liz. Hope these are as sick as the new ones. Love, Auntie Jan x”

Sick, apparently, was a good thing and Janice was rather pleased with her gift. Last time she’d been over there, Bella had been glued to the television and the latest episode of Dr Who, so Janice had dug in the attic, pulled out all her VHS tapes of old episodes and had them put onto DVDs. Then she’d spent hours on the computer, making covers that were exactly like the old ones, but fit into the new sleeves. It had taken her hours, but this was finally a way they could reconnect, so she wanted to exploit it.

* * *

Janice left the other adults in the kitchen and wandered back to the living room. There was wrapping paper strewn everywhere. The boys were fighting with their foam swords and she realised she should have moved a few more ornaments, but resisted the temptation to grab them now lest it make her nephews self-conscious about their game.

Liz was curled up in the armchair tapping on her phone. She looked up at Janice.

“Thank you for my present,” she said, the lack of emotion clear in the spaces between the words. She was saying it because she’d been taught to.

Janice was confused. “I used to watch Doctor Who a lot, I thought you might enjoy a bit of the back-story.”

“They’re all on Netflix,” Liz muttered and looked back to her phone.

“Oh,” said Janice. “But there’s nothing like having your own copies.”

“No. Thank you.” Again, the tone was wooden, and Liz didn’t look up.

“I imagine Slyvester McCoy is a bit different from David Tennant. Not as good-looking, for a start.”

Liz seemed to realise she wasn’t going to get out of this conversation. She put her phone to one side. “He was the Tenth Doctor,” Liz said. “Do you actually know anything about it?”

Janice saw the opening, but not the trap within. “I know Daleks can’t climb stairs.”

“Jesus! Stop trying so hard to be my friend!” Liz stood up, grabbed her phone and flounced into the kitchen. “Daleks can fucking fly!” she yelled over her shoulder.

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InMon – Hatching

A long story for this week’s InMon entry, but I included two of the prompts (unattended children / midwife), so perhaps you’ll forgive me. One of my aims for this year is to vary the length of my writing more, so this sneaks in around 1000 words. If that’s too long for you, I understand. I’ll try to go shorter next time to mix it up!

Hatching

“How long have they been there?” The nurse held piece of yellow paper in front of her mouth, but Joey could still hear what she said.
“Three hours,” the other nurse replied. This one wore a paler blue. Joey wondered if that made her the boss of the other one, or the opposite way around. “They’re very well-behaved though, barely a peep out of them.”
He was being well-behaved, Joey decided. He and Kirsty had been deposited in the waiting room by their father after he picked them up from school early. He hadn’t seen Mummy since this morning, but she was here too. In that room across the corridor. Kirsty said it was because the baby was eating its way out of her tummy, like when a baby chick pecks open the egg and hatches. She said Joey had done the same thing when he was born and Mum was OK after that, so she would be OK again.
But Joey didn’t like to think about the baby eating Mummy’s tummy. It made him feel sick. And that was why he was being good, really, because if he stood up or moved, he thought he might be sick all over the clean carpet.
“How’s she doing?” The pale blue nurse looked straight at him, but she was too far away to be talking to him.
He couldn’t see the dark blue nurse’s face because of the paper, but it didn’t sound like she was smiling when she spoke. “Epidural’s in, but I don’t think baby wants to come out.”
Epidural sounded bad. And it was in. Joey tried to picture the baby pecking Mummy’s tummy. What would be in? Surely out would be better than in.
“Shall I see if they’ve got any biscuits?” Kirsty’s voice roused him from his thoughts. She’d been sitting next to him, swinging her legs and reading out loud all the posters on the wall. “Breast is best,” she said as she stood up, then she giggled. “We’re not allowed to say Breast at school, because it’s rude. I’m going to write that in my news book on Monday. I’m going to write ‘We went to the hospital and had a baby brother and breast is best!”
“Yes please,” said Joey, ignoring all the stuff about breasts and news books and baby brothers.
“What?”
“Yes please, I’d like a biscuit.”
“Oh.” Kirsty turned away and ran over to the nurse’s station. He heard her asking about biscuits and then the pale nurse took her hand and led her away. He wondered if he should follow, but the dark nurse was coming towards him now, so he sat up straight and tried to look well-behaved.
“Hello, Joseph. My name is Britney. I’m your Mummy’s midwife.”
“Mummy hasn’t got a wife,” Joey said. “Mostly only Daddys have wives, except Ian Pilbury’s Mummys. They are wifes and he hasn’t got a Daddy except in Hawaii.”
“Right,” said the dark nurse. “Well, I’m a special kind of nurse and I’m going to help your Mummy have your baby brother or sister.”
“What happens to the baby’s beak?”
The dark nurse looked a bit confused, but before she could answer, an alarm went off on her belt and then the whole room seemed to be shouting “Code Pink!” and the dark nurse, who wasn’t Mummy’s wife, stood up really quickly.
“I’m going to have to go, Joseph. Can you sit there nicely until your sister gets back?”
Joey nodded, but the dark nurse ran towards the same room they had Mummy in, and he suddenly needed more than anything to know that Mummy was OK. He followed the nurse and slipped through the door behind a man in a white coat.
The room was small and bright and there were loads of people all gathered around a really tall, thin bed. Everyone seemed to be busy, but nobody was saying very much. He couldn’t see Mummy, but Daddy was standing by the top of the bed, and the pale blue nurse was there already. Worst though, he could hear Mummy. She was puffing and panting like she’d just run in a race, only really loud and occasionally she shouted out, like she was angry.
Joey stood close to the door and wished he hadn’t come. But now he was there, he couldn’t leave. “Mummy?”
No one heard him. They were all busy with Mummy and the baby chick that didn’t want to come out.
“Mummy?” he called louder, but Mummy’s breathing was getting louder and now one of the doctors was barking orders at the baby chick, like “push” and “breathe” and “easy now”.
Joey suddenly felt a hand grab his hood and pull him backwards. He stumbled for balance and looked at his attacker. Kirsty was there in front of him, blocking the doorway.
“We shouldn’t be here,” she said. She looked kind of whiter than normal, and her eyes were red. “Come and have your biscuit.” She took his hand and led him back to the chairs.
There was a plate of biscuits and two plastic cups full of juice waiting on the little table, next to the toys that belonged to the hospital.
“What’s happening?” he asked, when they were sitting down again.
“Mummy’s having the baby. We just have to wait here a bit longer.” Kirsty pulled a police car out of the toy box. “Why don’t we play with this?”
“Is she going to be OK?”
Kirsty looked over at the door to Mummy’s room. They couldn’t hear her now, or see the nurses and doctors crowded around her. “Yes, it won’t be much longer now. Come on, Joe, you be the police car and I’ll be the burglar trying to steal something.”
Joey did his best to play, but Kirsty kept looking at Mummy’s door and he kept thinking about the doctor shouting. They had nearly used up all the toys in the box when Kirsty stopped playing at all and smiled. Joey turned round and saw Daddy coming towards them with a blanket in his arms.
“Kirsty, Joey, meet your baby brother, Issac,” he said smiling. “Then we can go in and see Mummy.”
He crouched down so that Joey could see the baby’s face. It was red and scrunchy and really really small, but it still looked like a person.
“Where’s the beak?” Joey asked.

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