THAMES BARGE - #flashfiction in 100 words


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.


BARS - a 100 word story

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.
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! 


GRANDA'S WATCH - short fiction in 100 words


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.
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!


HENRY'S DAUGHTERS - 100 words of fiction for Friday


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.”

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.


BRIAN - 100 word flash fiction


‘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.

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.