FFfAW: Waiting for the Returning Tide

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Photo Prompt – © The Storyteller’s Abode

Waiting for the Returning Tide

“Suzy would’ve loved it here,” Janet said, her gaze fixed on the panoply of vessels bobbing idly in their moorings. “She was always fascinated by boats. Do you remember? They filled the bathtub!”

“I remember.”

“She was such a happy child. And that smile was so infectious. But she was always so desperate for adventure.” Janet halted, ‘if-onlys’ running through her mind as she listened to the seagulls cry. She sighed. “I should never have let her learn to sail.”

“I doubt you could have stopped her.”

“I could’ve tried.”

She lapsed into silence. Peter remained, a reassuringly steady presence at her side.

“We should head back,” he finally said. Rising, he offered her a supportive hand. “Visiting hours start again soon.”

“Hmm. We can tell Suzy all about our outing.” She took a last look at the boats before turning away. “Do you think she’ll ever wake up?”

“We can only hope, my dear.” Peter squeezed her hand as they walked back towards the hospital. “Suzy would say that, eventually, every tide has to turn.”

Word Count: 175

To read the other entries, or to submit your own, click the little blue frog:

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This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. This week’s prompt was provided by me. It was taken in St Ives, a seaside town in Cornwall that I visited last year. If you’d like to know more about St Ives, my mum, Millie Thom, wrote a post about the place that you can find here.

FFfAW: Winter’s Child

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Photo prompt © Ioniangraphics

Winter’s Child

He had to wait for winter to arrive. Or so they told him. The summer, they said, belonged to others. He had to wait for the air to turn chilly and the wind biting; for the frost to form on the trees. Only then would it be his time.

But the summer seemed without end.

He willed the leaves to begin their change – the shift to golden browns would herald the approach of colder days. But disappointment dogged him. No matter how he hoped and wished and prayed, how he yearned for the seasons to shift, the green of summer remained dominant.

All the while, children laughed and played in bright sunshine, while he looked on.

He had to wait for the days when children wore warm coats to play outside, bundled up in hats, scarves and gloves. And when maybe, just maybe, the snow would fall and they’d build snowmen in the park.

First, though, the long summer had to end.

Charlie scowled. It wasn’t fair.

He wanted it to be his birthday now!

Word count: 175

To read the other entries or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.

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This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. This week’s prompt was provided by Ioniangraphics. Thank you for the prompt!

I hadn’t intended to post anything this week – mainly because I haven’t managed to respond to any of the comments on my last post yet (sorry) – but the words came into my head last night and wouldn’t leave me alone until I’d written them down. It seemed a shame not to share it.

I hope you like it. And I’ll try to respond to some comments and visit a few blogs this evening!

FFfAW: Greeting the Four

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Photo prompt © Yarnspinner

Greeting the Four

The seats had been placed with utmost precision: north, south, east and west, each one carefully aligned. Veraen nodded in satisfaction.

“Anything else, Sir?” his assistant – Jaeden? Jened? – said, and he gestured in dismissal, shooing the man out of the sacred space. He’d spent too long in preparation to let the bumbling fool ruin things for him.

He alone would greet the Four.

Veraen recited the invocation with practiced ease, excitement growing as power gathered. Figures began to coalesce, unbounded energy taking humanoid form. He fell to his knees as four sets of eyes turned upon him. Four voices spoke in unison.

“How dare you?”

What? No! That wasn’t right! He tried to speak, but no words emerged. He tried to move, but his limbs were weighted, immovable.

“Greetings, Great Ones,” his assistant – Joren, he now recalled – said. “May I approach?”

As Joren strode past he dropped a page before Veraen’s frozen form. Instructions to avoid insulting the Four filled the sheet. The torn edge and Joren’s smirk told him exactly why he’d never seen the page before…

Word count: 175

To read the other entries or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.

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This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. This week’s prompt was provided by Yarnspinner. Thank you, Yarnspinner!

It seems like forever since I last wrote a piece of flash fiction – though its actually only a little over a month. That month, however, has been insanely busy. I’m now living in a house in Lincoln (UK) with my sister and my teenage nephew, rather than in the village with my parents. Luckily, for a countryside loving girl like me, we’re right on the edge of a green stretch, with fields and woods only a few minutes walk away, so it doesn’t really feel like I’m in the middle if a city. I’ll try to share some pictures soon!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the story. Hopefully it doesn’t feel too rushed – it was originally over 300 words long, so a lot had to be cut out of it! I’d love to know what you think.

FFfAW: The Lady’s Advice

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The Lady’s Advice

“You need to hold your head up high, child,” the lady said, lifting Gilli’s chin with elegant fingers. “Keep your spine straight and your shoulders back.”

“I can do that.”

“Act as if nothing anyone says or does bothers you. Confidence is essential. You must remain cool, calm and collected at all times.”

Gilli nodded, repeating the words like a mantra. “Cool, calm and collected.”

A kind smile softened the lady’s face. “Just remember, the Choosing is never wrong, and you’ll be just fine, my dear.”

***

“Cool, calm and collected,” Gilli breathed aloud as she roused herself from trance, the lady’s words continuing to echo in her ears.

On the wall before her, the painting – the only decoration in an otherwise stark room – glowed with an ethereal light, the spirit bound within canvas and paint making her presence clear.

Gilli rose to her feet, wrapping a sense of self-confidence around herself like the royal cloak she would soon don. After all, the lady was correct: she had been Chosen, and the Choosing was never wrong.

Word count: 175

To read the other entries, or to add your own, click the little blue frog.

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This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. This week’s prompt was provided by me.

The picture is a photograph of some of the waxwork figures in Warwick Castle. These depict a dinner party from 1898 that was hosted by Daisy, the Countess of Warwick, and that was attended by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) and a young Winston Churchill.

I’m incredibly behind at the moment in both visiting blogs and responding to comments left on my own posts, so I’d like to apologise to everyone who has paid my blog a visit recently. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to improve any time soon. This is because I’m about to move house. My sister and I have been talking about getting a place together for a while now, and we’re finally actually doing so. We get the keys on Wednesday, after which we’ll have a lot of decorating and moving in to do…

FFfAW: Silenced

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Photo prompt © Mike Vore

Silenced

It seemed an age since music had last filled Abigail’s home. The piano remained covered: its melodies smothered by leather; its keyboard untouched. But it hadn’t always been so.

Once, joyous refrains had resonated throughout the building. Music had been her life. Her passion. And Robert’s, too. Their skillful playing had filled concert halls around the globe. Their life together had been a blissful perfection made only sweeter by news that she was pregnant.

Until tragedy struck.

As she’d knelt at Robert’s graveside, the music in her soul had faded into silence. She’d withdrawn from public performance, devoting herself to the raising of her newborn daughter. It was seven years, now, since she’d last played.

Which was why it was so unusual to hear music drifting up the stairway.

“What do you think, Mummy?” Lucy called, her fingers dancing over the keys. “Miss Elliot say’s I’m a natural!” The joy in her daughter’s expression stirred something vital within Abigail, drawing her towards the piano.

Maybe the music in her soul wasn’t completely silenced, after all…

Word Count: 175

To read the other entries, or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.

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This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. This week’s prompt was provided by Mike Vore. Thank you Mike!

 

 

FFfAW: Happy Families

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Photo prompt © Singledust

Happy Families

It was supposed to be a celebration.

David drummed his fingers on the tabletop as his siblings exchanged barbs. Couldn’t they make an effort to get on? Just one evening was all he asked for. But no – they couldn’t even maintain the facade of a happy family for a few hours. He gritted his teeth.

He’d planned the meal so carefully. The table had been booked at their favourite Chinese restaurant – the one they always visited for family occasions – and he’d persuaded everyone to attend. Attendance, though, did not mean cooperation.

Jenny’s hand came to rest upon his, her gentle touch stilling his fingers.

It was his eldest brother who noticed first, falling silent as his gaze fell on the ring. One after another the others followed suit.

“You’re engaged?”

“Yes. But that’s not all.” He placed a hand on Jenny’s still flat stomach, and his family erupted into excited congratulations.

“I don’t know why you were so worried,” Jenny teased.

David rolled his eyes. “How do you feel about our baby being an only child?”

Word count: 175

To read other stories or to add your own, click the little blue frog.

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This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. These week’s prompt was provided by Singledust. Thank you for a great prompt, Gina!

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FFfAW: The End?

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Photo prompt © Shivangi Singh

The End?

“It’s finally over.” Jonin’s voice held a mixture of relief and sorrow as he gazed at the courtyard below.

Helleni hummed her agreement. Leaning into his embrace, she watched in satisfaction as the final cobble was laid. Only they and the workmen were aware of the crypt hidden beneath the stones – and no word of it would be spoken. She’d make sure of that.

The past five years had been filled with turmoil, as Fenrin sought to claim his brother’s throne. He’d used every scrap of dark energy at his disposal to remove Jonin from power. Not even death had halted his quest.

“He won’t escape now,” Helleni reassured. “The crystal will hold him for hundreds of years. We’re safe.”

“Because of you, my love.”

She smiled as Jonin’s lips met hers in a tender caress. With every kiss, further tendrils of control tangled his heart.

Once, Fenrin had promised her power. He’d promised her influence. Eventually, she’d grown weary of waiting.

Now she knew – if she wanted power, she had to take it for herself.

Word Count: 175 words

To read other stories, click the little blue frog.

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This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. This week’s prompt was provide by Shivangi Singh. Thank you Shivangi!

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FFfAW: Time to Leave

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Photo prompt – The Storyteller’s Abode

Time to Leave

The boats were full, despite the lateness of the day.

Ingrid paused, her foot poised on the gangplank as she looked back at the town. Her throat tightened as tears threatened to fall. How could she leave? The place was central to all of her memories: she’d married Jimmy in the church on the market place; borne her children in the local hospital. She’d walked those streets with steps both weighted with sorrow and made light with joy. Even the thought of leaving chilled her.

“I’m afraid it’s time, dearest,” Jimmy said.

Unfortunately, she didn’t have any choice. The town that had been so bright with life would soon be darkened by death. These would be the final boats to leave. On board, men and women clung to each other, their fear and sorrow almost palpable. Despite the exodus having begun days earlier, many had hoped the situation would change. Now, with ash clouds obscuring the sun, all hope was gone.

Ingrid gripped her husband’s hand and stepped on board.

Word Count: 175

If you’d like to read the other entries, click the little blue frog.

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This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. This week’s prompt was provided by me. The picture was taken in York a couple of years ago, when we visited for the Christmas market. It was an incredibly cold day, and we were amazed to see the boat trips still going on – though at least no one was sitting on the open-air top level.

As always seems to be the case when it’s my own prompt, I found it really hard to write a story this week! Luckily, I did manage to come up with something in the end. This was inspired by a programme about Pompeii I was watching.

I hope you like it.

FFfAW: Susceptible

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Photo prompt – Joy Pixley

Susceptible

Willow spotted the pair long before they reached her. The man was perfect, open minded and curious. The woman was more… problematic. She exuded confidence, carrying a fixed world-view that prevented any tampering to her thoughts.

But the man was too good to ignore.

“Come,” she whispered into his mind. “This way.”

He stopped, his vacant gaze turning towards the doorway where Willow glowed enticingly. The woman continued on, unaware of her companion’s distraction.

“Follow me.”

The woman’s frantic voice drifted from below as Willow led him steadily higher, but it was distant, unable to infringe on the enthrallment entwining his thoughts. Soon they’d reach the portal. Soon she’d be able to return home.

“Come closer.” She ignored the approaching footfalls. “Quickly.”

“James!” The woman pounded into sight. Cursing, she dragged him away from the banister onto which he’d climbed. “What the hell are you doing?”

Willow’s hopes disintegrated along with her hold on the man’s mind.

“I… I don’t know,” he said.

The shaken pair retreated. The portal continued to drift in mid-air, demanding blood.

Word Count: 175

To read the other entries, click the little blue frog.

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This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers Challenge. This week’s prompt was provided by Joy Pixley. Thank you, Joy

FFfAW: Captivated

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Captivated

Raedan’s hands clenched around the gift box as he listened to the announcement. Lady Seleste had chosen her suitor.

And it wasn’t him.

Everyone else faded into insignificance as she glided across the hall. With each tilt of her head, each flash of a smile, she set his senses reeling. She’d captivated him from the first. Now he had one final chance…

“A gift, my lady.” He knelt as she passed.

He didn’t see her companion until a masculine hand intercepted the box and flipped it open. His protest died in his throat as he looked into a familiar face. He wanted to flee – knew he should flee – but his body refused to obey.

“So this is the man who thinks to own me?” Seleste’s disgust burned.

“Indeed.” The treacherous wizard at her side lifted the gem he’d enchanted for Raedan free. “This stone was intended to control you.” He pinned the delicate confection into her hair. “Instead it will control him. My wedding gift to you, my love.”

Unable to do otherwise, Raedan followed in their wake.

Word Count: 175

To read the other entries, click the little blue frog.wpImg


This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. This week’s photo prompt was provided by Jade M. Wong. Thank you Jade!