Tag Archives: Flash Fiction

Not really Friday Fiction

Happy New Year!

Rochelle was kind enough to mention me in her home post this week and I can’t wait to read her story. Mine is a bit of a break from the norm, for which I’ve got 100 bad excuses which I won’t burden you with. I hope it pleases or amuses, and is received in the manner intended. If you want to see some proper FF entries, click on the link back on the homepage.

tree-climbing-poppy

Photoshop

“Clearly the work of photoshop,” smiled Elmo.

“Rochelle says not,” Doug reminded her. “She says her daughter-in-law will swear to it. That’s her granddaughter right there.”

“Well, that’s proof then,” Elmo nodded, more to herself than the others.

“What do you mean?” asked Janet.

“Well, Rochelle is no way old enough to have any grandchildren. Her attitude, spirit, the photograph on her blog…”

“She and her husband just celebrated their anniversary. Forty-two years,” Janet reminded them.

“Then I rest my case. For the person who made Rochelle’s beautiful youthful blog photo, a dog up a tree would be a doddle!”

 

25 Comments

Filed under Writing

Friday Fictioneers – Acceptance

In haste this morning as there are still mince pies to eat and presents to open, but I couldn’t bring myself to miss a FF prompt! This week, Rochelle has presented us with the photo below, taken by Doug MacIlroy. I’d welcome your comments on my story. And if you’re got extra reading time and missed either of last week’s stories, I would love for you to nip back – they are two of the pieces I’m most proud of from this year.

Have a great Boxing Day!

eiffel-tower-dmm

Acceptance

The boy Frederich arrived in Saint-Etienne with the Volkssturm; a girl called Aimee made the man return. But a happy marriage and five popular children hadn’t won over his neighbours. Women spat as he passed, the men turned away or shouted obscenities.

“Doesn’t it upset you?” I asked him once.

“Why?” The slightest accent tinged his perfect French. “I did bad things in this village and a hundred others. My father taught me to resist abuses of power, and yet I conscripted to save my skin. This is the living death I chose the first time I raised my gun.”

* * *

For more about Frederich’s dilemma, click here.

For more about his father, and a hint about how this connects to the photo, click here.

And apologies for the lack of accents on Etienne and Aimee – I can’t work out how to make wordpress display them.

24 Comments

Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Inspiration Monday – A History In Scars

It’s so exciting to be writing again. I’m sure I should be doing a thousand other things, but it’s so nice to be writing. And to have such great prompts to write to – this one is from Bekindwrite’s Inspiration Monday series. After yesterday’s darkness, there’s a patch of light in today’s story. I’d love to hear what you think of it.

And while I’ve got your attention, here’s wishing you a fantastic Christmas, whether you celebrate it or not!

A History In Scars

Gerry traced a finger across Ellen’s stomach. Blue lines like tiger stripes coursed down her flesh, but it was the horizontal white one that caught his attention. The tiger stripes were slightly softer than the skin around them; this one was the opposite – a firmer ridge under his finger. He tried not to dwell on it.

He could stretch his hand out and cover the entire thing. That’s how small a newborn is. Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. He loved kids; he’d love to raise some of his own with Ellen. And he had long since accepted that dating at his time of life often involved ready-made families, but in almost six months together Ellen had never made any mention of having a child. She lived with her parents and little sister, Hope: a five year old late-arrival into the family on whom Ellen and her parents doted.

Ellen shifted under his touch. “Go on,” she whispered. “Ask.”

Ellen remembered that day in a haze of sadness and pain. She’d gone for a routine scan, but the doctor said her baby’s heart was slow and they needed to get it out. She’d been in surgery less than an hour later, her mother holding her hand, her father pacing outside.

“It’s just like when you were born,” her mother had said softly, a smile on her lips but tears in her eyes. It was, of course, nothing like when Ellen was born. It should be the baby’s father pacing outside, not the mother’s.

Ellen turned her head to face Gerry. “I know you want to.”

“It’s OK,” he replied, looking away from her face. A second white line appeared there. Not like the clean incision he’d been touching; this one was jagged and angry. It slashed up her cheek, over her eye and stopped in the middle of her forehead. He knew this scar well – he had seen it every time they met and he’d heard the story of the man who put it there. Gerry was delighted when Ellen had finally agreed to spending the night together. She had every reason never to trust a man again.

Last night, over dinner, he’d been amazed at how much her family saw past the scar, even Hope, who couldn’t have ever known Ellen without it. They all saw the beautiful woman behind it. That was the Ellen he saw too, the one he had fallen in love with. Unlike his ex-wife, who was flawless on the outside, Ellen kept her perfection hidden away.

“I want to tell you,” she said. “It was him. My ex. He gave me two things to remember him by – two scars.”

“What happened to the baby?” Gerry asked softly. “Did you have it adopted?”

“I was going to, but when they took her out, she wasn’t breathing.”

Gerry let out his breath slowly. “Perhaps it was for the best,” he said. He couldn’t imagine how Ellen would have felt raising the baby of an abusive partner.

“She fought so hard to be with us, I couldn’t let her down after that.”

Gerry felt the breath catch in his throat again, but he waited. Ellen would tell him when she was ready.

“Hope.” Ellen whispered. “When she’s old enough to understand, I’ll tell her. Perhaps she will want to stay with me.”

“With us,” said Gerry, pulling Ellen towards him. “If you’ll both have me.”

14 Comments

Filed under Inspiration Monday, Writing

Friday Fictioneers – Dreams

Next week being Christmas, I might be skipping FF to celebrate. Sebastian, bless him, found a present this morning and opened it, so he’s obviously ready! I’m close… just one more thing to buy, I think. Whatever you’re doing, even if it’s not celebrating ancient rites or a Christian festival, I hope you have a great couple of weeks and a happy day on the 25th.

As usual, the Friday Fictioneers are hosted by Rochelle and many other responses to the prompt can be found through her master page over the next few days. Our picture comes from Jean L. Hays, who holds the copyright. [I’ll link her site later if I find it, please feel free to send me a link if you have it].  I hope you like my offering; I welcome your critique and comments.

dolphin_01

Dreams

She dreamed of backyard swimming, of friends splashing in the pool. When the dreams grew tired from overuse, she added dolphins. In desperation, she imagined a lazy river and waving to her mother who wore a pretty dress and a wide-brimmed hat.

The hat was necessary, to hide the face she could no longer properly recall. The swishing water drowned out the voice she couldn’t bring to mind. The garden, she knew, no longer looked anything like the one where she had played. Before she agreed to help Him look for his dog. Before the room. Before the nightmare began.

***

Click here if you don’t think it can happen

 

40 Comments

Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Friday Fictioneers – My News

I hope I’m not the only one who had to write their news as a child, every Monday morning, a hundred words or so about what you did at the weekend. Maybe it’s the equivalent of Show and Tell, which we very rarely did. I sometimes wonder how much counseling primary school teachers need, and how many of the stories get passed around the staffroom – “George says his Mum took him shopping to Ann Summers!” or “Jane says her Mum was away and her Dad had Auntie Mary to stay!”

I hope you enjoy this week’s Friday Fiction story. We are hosted, as ever, by the incomparable Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, and this weeks picture comes from Adam Ickes. In other news, the compilation of FF-type stories I’m in is now available in Paperback ($4.49 / £3.09) as well as digital versions (98c / 77p). If you’re in the US or UK, click on the price to be taken to the relevant page. Otherwise, search the books section of your local amazon for “1 x 50 x 100” to get yourself a copy!

adamickes-childsboots

My News

On Saturday, we went to the farm. I saw horses and cows and sheeps and trees. Theres a man at the farm called a farmer and he sed that cows is where milk was from. But I know bottles is where milk is from and machines and the man sed yes, now-a-days milk is from machines.

Daddy says in the old days there was real animals and trees and you could climb on the tractor. But Mummy says I would of got my new boots muddy on an olden days farm. I think we are better with the picture one.

 

30 Comments

Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Inspiration Monday – Second Bookmark

Finally, back to InMon and what fantastic prompts this week. One of them, second bookmark, reminded me of this picture that’s been doing the rounds on facebook etc recently. In addition, I’ve talked to a lot fo my fellow writers recently about editing and it seems the highs and lows of pride and doubt are fairly universal. And so my story below was born. I’d love to hear what you think, if you ‘get’ it and if you like it.

***WARNING: Mild offensive language***

Second bookmark

Warren picked up the pad of sticky notes and peeled one off. The only other one he’d used so far flashed at him from the second page of the print-out. He knew exactly what it highlighted: a piece of epic description about Briggs’ descent from low self-esteem into madness. He was no longer certain it was any good, but he’d thought it was at the time, back when he was expecting to need pads and pads of sticky notes.

45 pages further in, it was still the only flag on the manuscript.

He stopped, the single sticky note held in mid-air, somewhere between the pad it came from and the wedge of paper he was going to stick it to. His mind flashed back to the image on Facebook where he’d got the idea: George R R Martin’s Fire and Ice series, with every death labeled by a luminous sticky note. He’d liked the look of it. But his manuscript looked nothing like that picture. And Warren wasn’t flagging deaths. He was flagging passages of excellence. Places he didn’t feel needed radical editing. Parts he was really proud of.

“Parts,” he muttered with a low chuckle. “The part.” The only part so far that hadn’t made him want to throw the entire thing out of the window and sit with his head in his hands rocking and crying and wondering why he’d wasted all those hours on writing this steaming pile of crap.

But now there was a second brilliant passage. He read it through again. This was where his hero, Castor, and his villain, Briggs, came face to face for the first time. It was the scene that had made him want to write the novel in the first place. It was a denouement of sorts. It was the part when he’d really felt as he wrote it, like he inhabited the characters. Briggs especially, who was only the villain at this stage and would later turn out to be the one in the right.

He held his breath as Castor opened the door and saw the whole of New York City set out below him; as Castor searched the penthouse apartment for the man he’d thought was dead; as Briggs – hiding in the shadows of the perfectly-appointed kitchen, his hand resting on the knife block – watched his old friend and sometime rival complete a circuit of the main open plan living / dining room…

The sticky note gradually descended as Warren lowered his arm. It was all too melodramatic. And that New York penthouse was such a cliché. At least he could have chosen a more interesting setting: a city no-one ever used, or a different path for Briggs’ life that hadn’t left him a millionaire.

He put the note back on the pad. It didn’t stick properly and the slight angle it made to the rest annoyed him. He’d drunk so much coffee while writing that now he was on a detox, but the lack of caffeine made him tired and irritable and he could smell it wafting through the apartment. Warren prowled into the kitchen.

“How’s the editing?” asked his wife, her fingers wrapped around a mug. Warren’s eyes flashed to the knife block, then back to her.

3 Comments

Filed under Inspiration Monday, Writing

Friday Fiction – Testing Spelling

Maybe it’s the grammarian in me, but one thing jumped out of this week’s FF prompt, copyright to and courtesy of Randy Mazie. And it gave me a chance to reprise three of my recurring characters. If you like them, check out their previous exploits here, here and here. However, this story is designed to stand entirely alone. I welcome your honest feedback.

trespass_randy_mazie-1

Testing Spelling

“Next one: Trespassing.”

Matty chewed his lip. “T…R…E…S…S?”

“No!” Luke shouted through the wall. “One S, then two!”

“Shut up, Shrimp!”

“Boys,” I warned.

“I’m helping,” Luke said from the doorway.

“You’re not. I can do it.” Matty is sharp as a tack, but he’s not as academic as his little brother. It drives him nuts.

“Luke, back to bed.”

“Think of trees, passing,” Luke whispered. “Then take out the extra e.”

Matty glared at the door as I pushed it closed. “T…R…E,” A longer pause for the e, “S…P…A…SS…ING!”

The muffled sound of proud applause came through the door.

30 Comments

Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Published!

Another small publishing credit to my name!

1x50x100 is a collaborative project: 50 authors, brought together by Madison Woods of Friday Fictioneers fame, and featuring a few handfuls of Fictioneers as well as some others. The result is fifty remarkable pieces of flash fiction, all based on a single photographic prompt. One of the stories is my own, and not one you’ll have seen on my blog. It’s a project I’ve been involved with for about a year now, although Madison gets the credit for most of the hard work, the rest of us just write and edit our stories!
A paperback version will be available in due course, but if you prefer your reading digital, or just can’t wait, the Kindle version (also readable on other digital readers via the free Kindle app) is available now for $1 USD, $1.03 CAD or £0.77, depending on your location.
Search Amazon (books department) for 1x50x100, or click on the price above to make your purchase.
Thanks for reading!

7 Comments

Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Friday Fiction – Legacy

This week Friday Fiction gives us the Want no evil, Think no evil, Feel no evil picture below from Sean Fallon. There are so many things I wanted to do with it, but time and rules permit only one story, and the one below is what I chose. Even then, this is a scene I can see so much more of in my mind and wonder how well I’ve captured in 100 words. I hope you enjoy it. If you have time, please let me know what you think – good and bad – in the comments section.

Other stories based on the prompt can be found on Rochelle’s site. After you’ve read the story, if you’d like a brief musical interlude, click here, or here. Both are relevant.

**UPDATE: Based on the comments posted today, I’ve made a few edits (two, really, and then a few other tweaks to keep the word count). Hopefully this version is a little more clear.

sean-fallon

Legacy

“Deuce is wild,” said Tommy, cutting the deck. “I wanna legacy, like them novels Ron, here, wrote.”

The four men sorted their cards.

“Donate your body to science,” said Ian. “That’s my plan.”

“Don’t think they’ll want mine.” Geoff rubbed arthritic knuckles and glared at the mixed bag of nothing in his hand. “I figure my legacy’s all the scribbling on walls I did during ‘Nam. Peace graffiti never gets cleaned off, right?”

“I’d forgot you’re a Peacenik,” Tommy spat.

“That’s your legacy then: death and destruction. That and your bui doi.” Geoff dropped a fifty on the table. “Bet.”

 

35 Comments

Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Friday Fiction – In Memoriam

This week’s FF picture (courtesy of Kent Bonham) reminded me of something else. In case it doesn’t have the same effect on you, another picture follows the story. Thanks, as ever to Rochelle for hosting us all; you can find many other stories through her site.

alley

In Memoriam

That summer, we built a ramp. Dad found some wood in the shed and I helped him saw and screw, sand and stain it, then we ceremoniously lowered it into the corner of the pond and banged a couple of nails in to keep it steady.

I used to imagine elves and fairies using it as a slide, covered with ice in winter. But nothing could remove the image from my mind: Mrs Tiggywinkle floating face down among the marsh marigolds. I obviously wasn’t the only one. Three years later, Dad filled the pond and planted  wildflowers over her grave.

hedgehogramp

32 Comments

Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing