24/05/2017

CONCERT - one hundred words - a story for this week.

CONCERT

They spent hours getting ready, filling her bedroom with perfume, laughter and excitement. Sophie borrowed my purple earrings.

Chloe’s dad dropped them off, their precious concert tickets tucked into tiny handbags, mobile phones as fully charged as our girls. They promised not to get separated, not to drink, not to take drugs – all the usual things parents worry about.

Later, I waited outside as instructed – apparently it’s embarrassing being met. I’d been there ten minutes when the bomb went off, and the world was nothing but blood, nails and screams.


I only recognised Sophie by her purple earrings.

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Looking at J Hardy Carroll's photograph of devastation, I could only write about this week's dreadful happenings in Manchester. How other writers interpreted the image can be found by following the link from https://rochellewisoff.com/
ps. if you would like to read another of my stories, I'm on p68 of Visual Verse at http://visualverse.org/

18/05/2017

EAVESDROPPING - a short story in 100 words

EAVESDROPPING

Joe’s passion was people-watching. Each night he’d regale Monica with stories of businessmen meeting hookers en route to a motel, writers seeking material, runaways looking for lifts. After a decade he considered himself an expert.

These three women, he guessed, were young mums on a break from housework, though their conversation looked rather intense for that. Joe took the coffee to refill their cups and heard one say, ‘I’ll drive – my car’s bigger.”

How nice, Joe thought, an outing, and left them to their plans. 
He was almost out of range when the blonde said, ‘Remember to bring your guns.”
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This story was written for Friday Fictioneers, ably run by Rochelle, where writers from across the world use a mere 100 words to tell a story inspired by a photograph. This week's picture was taken by Roger Bultot and posted on  https://rochellewisoff.com/

10/05/2017

STRIKE THREE - flash fiction

STRIKE  THREE

I only noticed strike one in retrospect – he forgot names and muddled dates, but doesn’t everyone?

The second strike was more troubling. I’d often catch him standing with a lost expression, clearly wondering where he was, but a gentle word would bring him back. Never one to listen to other opinions, he became angrier, and so illogical it was useless trying to reason with him.


But when he backed the car into the gatepost, stormed into the kitchen shouting, “Who put that blasted pillar there?” and then demanded, “What are you doing in my house?” – that was strike three.
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Those who have lived through similar scenarios will understand where this story comes from.
Thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on  https://rochellewisoff.com/  and also for bravely sharing the photograph of her accident - I hope the insurance covered it?

05/05/2017

GHOSTS OF WAR - flash fiction

This week's photo reminded me of two places - the market square in Le Touquet, France, where we have shopped on many occasions, and the Town Hall in the novel I am touting round submitting to agents at the moment. I have resisted the temptation to use an extract, though some of the story filters through in these one hundred words.
Thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers, and to Sandra Crook for her photo that prompted my story and all the others here; https://rochellewisoff.com/

GHOSTS  OF  WAR

Tuesday afternoon was not the best time to arrive in a small French town wanting lunch. Shuttered shops exuded an air of desolation and Gerry voted to drive on, but I wanted to explore.
In the square, fallen blossom formed drifts around a dry fountain and the air was deathly still. Fear gripped us as the flowers adorning the colonnaded Mairie were transformed into flags emblazoned with swastikas, and heavy boots stamped the cobbles.

Then a shutter banged in a sudden breeze, and the flags were flowers again, but when I touched the walls my fingers found bullet holes. 

28/04/2017

THE HUSBAND AND HIS BROTHER

TWO MORE STORIES for Friday Fictioneers - after reading yesterday's post, a friend asked for the other two sides of the triangle, so here goes -

THE  HUSBAND

All promises should be kept, but one made to your mother is sacred.
When Tony started school, Mum told me I should always look after him, so I raised my hand in the Scout salute and promised.

I knew he had a crush on Maggie, but when we married I assumed he’d find his own wife. Instead he hung around like a bad smell, even after the children were born.
Last week I finally told him to sling his hook, but today he came pleading to make up, with a bottle in each pocket.

I should never have drunk it.

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THIRD SIDE OF THE TRIANGLE

Maggie was mine ever since school, where I sharpened her pencils and protected her from bullies.

After we grew up I taught her to dance and she fitted my arms perfectly – until my brother seduced her with his money and flash cars. I still took her flowers, though, when I went round to share my home-brew with Richard. Then he got jealous of how close Maggie and I were getting and threw me out, but he couldn’t resist my beer.

After the funeral I tried to comfort Maggie, but she’s turned against me.
I wonder if she’d like parsnip wine? 


27/04/2017

BEST FRIENDS - flash fiction

BEST  FRIENDS

Richard and Tony were brothers who, with their neighbour Maggie, were a solid threesome all through school.
In their teens they went dancing together, drank cappuccinos and pooled their money to share bowls of spaghetti. Best friends – until Maggie married Richard. 
Tony was devastated. 
“I loved you ever since school.”
“Don’t be childish,” Maggie scolded, but he never gave up trying.

Over the years Maggie fended off Tony's many attempts to seduce her, hiding his brother’s disloyalty from her husband.
Then Richard died and she was finally able to eject Tony from the house, saying frostily, “Don’t come back till Hell freezes over.”
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Thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers from her blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/  You can follow the link from there to read other writers' stories.
A second thank you to Rochelle for using one of my photos for this week's prompt. A few months ago I awoke to a beautiful frosty, misty morning and went out with my camera, ending up in our churchyard. The teasels were particularly eyecatching with every detail outlined in white crystals.

TWO MORE STORIES!  A friend suggested I write two more stories from the points of view of the men in this one. If you would like to read them, click on my home page to find my post for Friday 28th.

20/04/2017

STILL LIFE - a story in 100 words

STILL  LIFE
The books, vase and shoes had adorned Helen’s desk for so long that they became known as ‘the still life’.
Even after her husband William died, as unobtrusively as he had lived, she met any suggestion to move them with an obstinacy that intrigued her children while also exasperating them, so after Helen’s own funeral they demolished the pile with almost indecent haste.

Pressed inside every indented section of the book Lily discovered a faded rose, Henry tipped a champagne cork from each shoe, and hidden inside the vase Georgina found a bundle of love-letters, all signed, Eternally yours, George.’
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All that weight had to be crushing a secret, didn't it? Thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/ and to Magaly Guerrero for her photograph of the lovely flamenco shoes.

If you enjoyed that story, check out a slightly longer one, also written to a visual prompt, and published on Friday on this site -  http://visualverse.org/submissions/minotaur/

14/04/2017

FRIDAY MORNING - flash fiction for Good Friday

FRIDAY  MORNING

Last night had been enjoyable despite the threat of discovery – thirteen men breaking bread together and sharing wine. This morning, though, the bread was a hard lump in his stomach, and he could still taste the wine on his tongue, as sour as betrayal.
He stared into the mirror as if seeing a stranger. Was it really necessary to endure today’s horror? 
He got up, feeling far older than his thirty-odd years – what he needed was fresh air. Outside, his friends were waiting, with one notable exception.
“Walk with me,” he commanded, “It will be cool in the Gethsemane garden.”
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Pizza and wine - bread and wine - today's story had to be about Good Friday, the morning after the Passover meal. I think it's safe to assume that Jesus, who was human too, was also scared.
Thanks to Dale Rogerson for the photo prompt, and to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog https://rochellewisoff.com/ .  
Happy Easter to you all, whatever you believe.



06/04/2017

THE WATCHER - flash fiction in 100 words

THE  WATCHER

“He was there again today, Mum!”
Davey’s voice preceded him down the hall, followed by the slam of the front door, the thud as his schoolbag hit the floor, and finally his appearance in the livingroom.
Sandra turned the television down a fraction. “Who was, Davey?”
“That man who watches me, I told you. Can’t you fetch me in the car?”
“You’re big enough to cycle home, Davey, and anyway, I’m too busy.”

The next day there were no homecoming sounds, but by the time Sandra realised, it was too late.

They found Davey’s bike still chained to the lamp-post.
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Each week Rochelle posts a photo prompt on her blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/  which dozens of Friday Fictioneers use to inspire 100 word stories. Thaks to Jellico's Stationhouse for this week's image. Follow the blue froggy link on Rochelle's blog to read the others after leaving a comment here :)

30/03/2017

THAMES BARGE - #flashfiction in 100 words


THAMES  BARGE

We’re hoisting the sails after water-proofing them when Churchill calls for anything that can sail to bring our soldiers home.
“We’re going to Dunkirk,” I tell Jed.
“Thames barges ain’t seaworthy,” he says, but he’s hauling in the anchor as he speaks.

We’re lucky the Channel’s fairly calm, because our boat rides the waves like a fat drunk, but its flat bottom gets us closer to shore than bigger ships. Dodging bullets, we pack exhausted men into the hold like sardines and high-tail it out of there.

Half-way home, Jed grins. “That trip’s got the fish stink out of the sails, if nowt else!”



I was lucky enough to sail on a refurbished Thames barge once – a large and practical wooden boat that still smelled of the linseed that had once been its cargo. These boats were known for their distinctive sails, tan-coloured from the mixture of red ochre, cod oil and seawater which was used to water-proof them. I don’t know whether any of these flat-bottomed vessels made it across the Channel to Dunkirk in 1940 but I hope at least one did, as I have written that possibility into one of my books!

Thanks, as always, go to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/  from whence you can follow links to read other stories, and to Fatima Fakier Deria for the photo that is this week's prompt.

24/03/2017

BARS - a 100 word story

BARS
I was barely out of the schoolroom when Mama said I must marry Henry. “He is Sir William’s sole heir, and you will one day be mistress of the entire estate.”
Henry was pompous, with fat red lips and damp hands, but Papa had lost everything in the crash and it was our only way out of penury.
The house resembled a wedding cake with its white pillars and delicate tracery, but the railings that surrounded the estate loomed like cell bars.
My choice was stark – accept life in a gilded cage or consign us all to a paupers’ prison.
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The photographic prompt for this week's story is by  J Hardy Carrol, and posted on Rochelle's blog https://rochellewisoff.com/  for Friday Fictioneers.  I am a tad later than usual this week - today is my birthday and I've been busy celebrating! 

15/03/2017

GRANDA'S WATCH - short fiction in 100 words

GRANDA’S  WATCH

Granda and Nanna’s cottage smelled of smouldering peat, and there was always a chunk of buttered brack to eat with tea.
Julie loved helping Nanna cook and pod peas, but her favourite thing was Granda’s pocket watch. He would prise it open with his thick thumbnail, saying, ‘There he goes!’ but Julie was never quite quick enough to see the tiny man who chimed the hours. Granda would pinch her cheek and chuckle, ‘Next time, poppet.’

Now Julie’s children play computer games and are healthily sceptical, but even they keep trying to catch a glimpse of the little chiming man.
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This week's photo brought two things to mind - the Laxie Wheel on the Isle of Man, and a huge Dollar I saw in Canada - neither of which I have written about! Jennifer Prendergast took the photo which Rochelle used for the Friday Fictioneers' prompt on her blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/  You can follow the link from there to read other stories, after you've left a comment on mine!

10/03/2017

HENRY'S DAUGHTERS - 100 words of fiction for Friday

HENRY’S DAUGHTERS

Henry’s daughters couldn’t fit him into their busy lives – months could pass without a visit – but Madge, who cleaned his house, often stayed past her allotted hours to keep him company. Despite vastly different backgrounds, their friendship flourished.

When Henry fell ill, Madge telephoned, “Your Dad needs you,” but neither daughter came. Only Madge held his hand and wept as he died.


After his funeral the daughters descended on the house like a swarm of locusts, but Madge barred their way with her no-nonsense arms folded. “You two can bugger off. It’s mine now – we were married last month.”

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Thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog. https://rochellewisoff.com/ and to Shaktiki Sharma for the photo that prompted this week's story. After looking it up on Google, I think this is a Large Painted Locust found only in the Galapagos Islands. A beautiful creature that wreaks havoc wherever it lands.

02/03/2017

BRIAN - 100 word flash fiction

BRIAN

‘Where have you hidden my glasses?’ Brian demanded.
Dawn sighed. ‘They’re on the table where you put them.’
Brian snatched up glasses and newspaper, but two minutes later he threw the paper down. ‘Bloody Tories! It’s your fault for voting Labour.”
Dawn chopped onions, trying not to cry. Everything was her fault these days. ‘How about a nice cup of tea?’
Taking his grunt as assent, she placed his mug beside him, but Brian deliberately knocked it over. ‘I’m not drinking that – you’ve poisoned it!’
As Dawn ran cold water over her arm she wept for her husband, lost forever in a cloud.

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I did try to think of a 'silver lining' story but this is what came out ! Thanks to Rochelle for the photo prompt and for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/  from whence you can follow the link to read how other writers interpreted the prompt.

23/02/2017

NURSE FIONA - flash fiction

NURSE  FIONA

Fiona settled at her desk to complete a job application, and was dithering over the question, Why are you leaving your present job? when she heard a faint sound from the corner bed.
She soothed the old woman’s restless hands. ‘Are you in pain, Mabel?’
‘No, dear. Just sit with me. I see it’s snowing – like when I met Arthur.’ She giggled girlishly. ‘I threw a snowball to catch his attention.’ Suddenly her head lifted. ‘Arthur?”
Fiona caught the briefest glimpse of an old man before Mabel’s hand relaxed in hers.
After completing the formalities she tore her application into tiny pieces.
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This week's lovely photo was taken by Sarah Potter and reproduced as a prompt on Rochelle's blog https://rochellewisoff.com/ . From there you can follow the Blue Frog trail to read other interpretations of the picture.
I would like to thank the 25 other writers who commented on my blog last week - the most I have ever had for one story - most of whom liked the photo of mine which Rochelle used.
If you like my writing, you can find another of my stories on this site  http://visualverse.org/  which also uses a pictorial prompt,, but although the word limit is greater there is a time limit of an hour - one hour!


15/02/2017

THE HIGH LIFE - fiction in 100 words

THE HIGH LIFE

Karl wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he was good at football – very good – and was quickly snapped up by a major team.
He was regularly front-page news, blinking in flashlights outside nightclubs with a series of stunning girlfriends. 

His team managed to keep his worst excesses out of the papers – he was their golden boy as long as he kept scoring goals with his world-famous headers. His life was the envy of many – until he developed a blood clot on his brain.

Deprived of the adulation on which he thrived, his downward spiral was swift, and ultimately fatal.
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This week's photo is one which I took myself ! I was out for a walk one morning in Tenerife when I spotted this macabre still-life. To read how other writers inerpreted the image, go to  https://rochellewisoff.com/ and follow the link.
This story is not the only one I've written this week - I am delighted to tell you that on  http://visualverse.org/about-visual-verse/  you will find my name in the list of authors.

08/02/2017

RATS & COBBLESTONES - Flash Fiction in 100 words X2

RATS

Twenty years we’ve lived here, but I’ve never felt comfortable.
I imagined the kids drowning, but of course they were soon swimming like ducks, and when Derek bought a narrow-boat they were ecstatic.
Admittedly the gently sloping gardens are lovely, but every passing boat brings gawping strangers and, since a photo of me in a bikini appeared on Facebook, I’ve stayed indoors.
Then last week it rained, in biblical proportions.
“We’re safe,” Derek declared, sitting Canute-like beside the canal bank, but had to admit defeat when a rat swam past him, heading for our terrace.

When the water recedes we’re selling up.
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For some reason I thought yesterday was Wednesday, so when I saw the next photo on Rochelle's blog I thought it was the Friday Fictioneers' prompt. So here's the story I wrote yesterday - two for the price of one!
Please feel free to comment on both before you follow the links from    https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/   to read other stories.
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COBBLESTONES

The villagers protested but the mayor carried the vote – the cobblestones that rattled his Rover’s suspension would be covered with pulverised gravel from his quarry, which the village could have at cost.
Within days every carpet was grey with dust, and the men covered their drinks whenever someone drove past the bar. Complaints poured into the Mayor’s office, but he shrugged, “What can I do?”
Then the rains came – a true tropical storm that raced down the steep village street and washed every grain of grey onto the beach, leaving only ancient cobblestones to gleam under the next day’s sun.
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And yes - the theme of rain seems prevalent this week - must be due to  the weather in Sussex :)


01/02/2017

EXOTIC FLOWER - FLASH FICTION in 100 words

EXOTIC  FLOWER

Malee’s only way out of poverty was to marry a rich foreigner, and her photograph on the Agency’s website caught Vincente’s fancy – after one carefully orchestrated meeting he proposed.
His apartment in Malaga wasn’t the palace he had described, but Malee told herself she was fortunate – Vicente was a considerate husband, she had found a shop that stocked familiar ingredients, and beneath the trees of the park she almost felt at home.
Then winter came, and the park was buried in snow. Malee spent her days sitting by the window, an exotic flower dying by slow, cold degrees in a foreign land.

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The recent snow in the south of Spain has been an unwelcome surprise to many locals and expats alike - for someone from a warmer country it must have been a horrible shock.
This week's photograph was taken by Roger Bultot and posted on Rochelle's blog  https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/  From there you can follow the Blue Frog link to read how other Friday Fictioneers interpreted the prompt.

25/01/2017

FLIGHT - 100 word flash fiction

FLIGHT

Father said they wouldn’t come this way, but this morning we could no longer ignore the thunder of guns.
“Ten minutes!” Grandfather roared, and like hens we scattered, gathering food, clothes, and suddenly precious things – mother’s mixing bowl, father’s books, my doll – and piled into the motorcars.
We could actually see the enemy when we reached the ferry.
“Everyone!” Grandfather ordered, and all, from eighty to eight, hauled on the rough rope, bullets hitting the leather seats to prove that our lives depended on speed.

As Father’s axe cut the rope I cooled my burning palms in mud. Mother scolded but she was smiling.
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My regular readers may recognise this week's photo prompt, taken by Al Forbes, as it was used on Friday Fictioneers last year, but this is a completely new story. If you'd like to read what I wrote before you can find it archived in February 2016.
Thanks to Rochelle @ https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/ for hosting FF - follow the link on her blog to read many other and vastly different stories.
Oh - and welcome to James, who has become my 100th follower - check out his blog @  http://jthargreaves.blogspot.com/  for longer short stories.

20/01/2017

OVIDUCT - Flash fiction

OVIDUCT

The entrance beckoned across the dinosaur theme park – gentle curves in the warm white of a breakfast egg. The children clamoured, so I paid the entry fee.
I walked easily through the first two arches, but when the third one touched my hair I felt a frisson of unease. 
“Wait for me!” I called, but they scampered ahead, and by the time I’d ducked through arches four and five they were nowhere to be seen. Childish giggles drew me further in until I was crawling on hands and knees.
When I couldn’t even force my shoulders through, the screaming started.
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I'm late on parade this week. I had my second cataract operation on Tuesday, and at the moment I'm managing with off-the-shelf reading glasses.
Today's prompt photo was taken by Dale Rogerson and posted by Rochelle on her blog  https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/  You can follow the Blue Frog link from there to read other stories, after you've commented on mine, of course. Thank you.



11/01/2017

STRIKE - a 100 word story

STRIKE

I promised her she’d regret leaving me, so when I’d collected enough pills I dissolved them in my morning coffee. Bloody doctors and a stomach-pump put paid to that plan.

I faint at the sight of blood, so knives are out of the question, I’ve no idea where to buy a gun, and the gates to the canal towpath were locked.


So here I am on this railway bridge, sitting with my legs dangling over the edge, waiting for a train, and I’ve just remembered the drivers’ strike. Who would have thought it would be so flaming difficult to commit suicide?

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Another story prompted by a photograph on Rochelle's blog  https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/ , from whence you can follow the link to read how other Friday Fictioneers interpreted  C E Ayr's photo.

05/01/2017

THE MILLS OF GOD

THE MILLS OF GOD

Each of Dusty Miller's first two wives had drowned in the mill-race. Tragic accidents, he claimed – they’d slipped on the steps whilst drawing water – but his temper was legendary and people had seen the bruises. 

After failing to find a third wife locally, he settled for a woman he met in the town tavern.
The first time Dusty raised his fist she ducked. The second time she struck back. There never was a third time. Somehow his smock became trapped in the machinery – they had to scrape him off the wheel to bury him.

Missus Miller III was strangely dry-eyed at his funeral.
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'The mills of God grind slowly / Yet they grind exceeding small / Though with patience He stands waiting, / With exactness grinds He all '  

On seeing this week's prompt photo, the 'Mills of God' sprang instantly to my mind - If you've never heard the quote, this link will explain it.  http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/2000/l/long52.html

Thanks to https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/ for hosting Friday Fictioneers. a link from her blog will take you to a list of other FF writers whose 100 word stories were also prompted by Sandra Crook's photograph..

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL THE KIND PEOPLE WHO READ AND COMMENT ON MY BLOG.