Published: The Unloved Ones

I reworked my 100-word piece into something longer and submitted it to new flash fiction mag, Stripped Lit, which accepts pieces of 500 words or fewer.

Happy to say it’s been included in issue one. It’s a bit of a departure from my usual stuff, but I’m quite pleased with it :)

“Resolution. That’s what you want, right? An explanation. You want that final breathing-out, the one that comes before you take that shaky breath and start to, y’know, rationalise it all. You want that moment where It Was All Just A Dream! Can’t give you that, son. Might find it on your own if you try hard enough – who knows?

So here’s what we’re going to do: I’m going to tell you a little story. Just float it up out there like them fungal spores – ‘cause sure, it ain’t pretty – and my recommendation for you is that you take one deep breath of your own and hold it while I do. I won’t keep you long, I promise. You don’t want to trust my word, and that’s fair enough, but what’s one little breath unless it’s your last?”

Read the rest over at Stripped Lit!

The unloved ones

They roll into town not under cover of darkness, like you might think, but in full sunshine – hiding in plain sight, I s’pose you’d call it. Striped tents, large wagons holding rusty cages, old-timey cars towed in by ordinary SUVs, friendly-looking folks behind the wheels. It’s all above board, you think, nothing but some good old-fashioned fun. They set up down by the pier, or out in a field – depends where ‘bouts they are. They never stay long.

The unloved ones – that’s who they’re after. The ones you don’t notice are gone ’til it’s far too late.

Another 100-word story for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’s Friday Fictioneers. And yes, I know it’s Sunday! Photo prompt this week courtesy of Al Forbes :) To read more entries to this week’s comp, click the blue frog:

The memory of the living

There was no such thing as immortality, he knew that. And he’d known it all along, right from the moment he’d accepted the deal, scratching out his name on the sheet of vellum that had been placed gravely before him.

The difficulty in his situation – and he supposed it was the same for all mankind – was that he didn’t know exactly how long he did have. It wasn’t forever, but it had already exceeded what most men lived to see four, maybe five times over.

He contemplated the sand timer with a sardonic eye. Not too many grains left now.

*

Another 100-word story! Thanks as ever to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for leading the way with her Friday Fictioneers project, and to the formidable Sandra Crook, who provided this week’s prompt. To read more stories, click that frog!

Narcissus poeticus

Her ear had been hot and red for a good five hours afterwards – she kept track until she realised at bedtime that she’d forgotten for a bit. Didn’t sting half as much as her pride, though; smacked round the side of the head by horrible old Mr Jepson, and just for pointing out how sad and tired his allotment looked. Good job she’d left Jamie up in the flat with mum – he didn’t need to know she’d cried.

Harriet sniffed indignantly. She’d thought carefully about her revenge. Eventually, two 40p packets of seeds had done the trick. The perfect weapons…

 

Bit late on the story front this week: my baby girl’s had a horrible tummy-bug, and I’ve had a dreadful time coming up with a 100-word tale for this prompt. Lovely pic – courtesy of The Reclining Gentleman – but just didn’t spark any ideas in my tired mind! Thanks as ever to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for her Friday Fictioneers project; to read more stories, click on the blue frog:

Lesson of a downpour

Texture. That’s what I remember about that summer – the sheer tangibility of it all. We grabbed at everything: the needles of grass under our backs, the frightening, exhilarating possibilities that gathered like storm clouds over the lake.

It didn’t last, of course. The soundtrack ran out halfway home, the storm broke – pregnant skies washing away dreams, drowning desperate teenage promises in thunder.

You’re gone now – I’ve never looked for you. I don’t need to; what I loved of you is here, hanging in the thick summer air, tangled in the weeds that lead out over the mirrored lake like a carpet.

 

Another 100-word story for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’s Friday Fictioneers! Many thanks to Rochelle as ever, and to Erin Leary for the evocative photo prompt. Take a look at other entries by clicking the blue frog, or leave me some feedback below :)

Grit

She told me stories about Chateau de Sable, my mamie: words that drifted like tidal foam, leaving fine grains to itch against my mind as I waited for sleep. Fat candles that flickered in hungry rooms, black shapes crouched high in the rafters. The attic door, its sage paint hacked away in lines. An empty house, but full of wicked echoes.

My dreams are different now. I follow footprints of sand for hours through the dark, sometimes to the Chateau, others through its cold and silent rooms. And in the second before I wake

Well, it’s best you don’t know.

 

100-word story – with thanks as ever to Rochelle Wisoff-Field for another fun Friday Fictioneers, and to C. E. Ayr for the photo prompt :)

Out of the darkness

The low keys build the dark, heavy organs: liver, kidneys and, when I push my whole hand flat on a clamour of black and white, glistening heaps of intestines that leave wet ribbons on the parquet floor. The middle keys are for the skeleton – white for the bone, black for the spongy marrow hidden inside.

High notes caressed with the tips of fingers weave together skin and hair and all the pieces that make a person look human. But by the time I finish the song, and he sits there watching me, I know he doesn’t look right at all.

This post is 100 words long for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’s weekly Friday Fictioneers challenge