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: Testing Times

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Photo prompt MajesticGoldenRose

Testing Times

Gretnya gripped her husband’s hand, writhing anxiety choking her as the final calf was led into the testing area.

Please, she prayed to any deity listening.

“It’ll be fine,” Brindel said. “This time it’ll have worked, you’ll see.” The tremble in his voice contradicted the confidence of his words. She squeezed his hand tighter.

The strange sickness had swept through the herds with rampant disregard for the livelihoods depending on them. In the space of a month the carcasses had piled high. Two winters later and smoke from the pyres continued to hang, a heavy death cloak, over the plains.

Faced with ruin, many tribesfolk had left, seeking work in the distant towns. The few who remained continued to try every spell known to the mages, desperate to protect the remnants of their herds. Hope lay with the young. Surely something, eventually, would stop the disease from taking hold.

Please, let it be this time, Gretnya prayed.

Finally, the mage emerged from the testing pen. His expression told them more than words ever could.

Word Count: 174

To read other stories, 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 MajesticGoldenRose. Thank you!

I actually have one word free in my story this week, and I was tempted to put an extra one in the final sentence, before the word ‘expression’. I couldn’t decide which one to use, however – ‘joyous’or ‘stricken’. They leave you with very different endings! In the end I decided to use neither. You can all decide for yourselves whether the results of the test are good or bad.

I hope you liked it.

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TLT: Sweetheart

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Photo prompt © Roman Kraft via Unsplash

He’d seemed like such a sweetheart. He’d brought her flowers, held her hand, and kissed her with a passion that whispered ‘forever’ into her dreams. But then he was gone, leaving nothing but the scattered crumbs of her broken heart in his wake.


This post is for Sonya’s Three Line Tales challenge. This week’s photo prompt is by Roman Kraft via Unsplash.

My internet connection is still practically nonexistent, I’m afraid, so yet again this post has been scheduled while I’m on my lunch break at work. To everyone who has visited, liked, or commented over the past week, I’m not ignoring you, I’m just finding it very hard to return visits and reply to comments at the moment! I do appreciate every one of you. ❤

FFfAW: Puddle Splashing

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Photo prompt Jessica Haines

Puddle Splashing

“What are you doing?”

Mikey pulled a face. What a daft question. “I’m splashing in puddles, of course.” He was tempted to add ‘silly girl’, but Mummy said he should be nice, even when he didn’t want to be.

“Why?”

“Because it’s fun.” He leapt towards the next puddle.

“Can I have a go?”

Sighing, Mikey looked the girl up and down. With her blonde ringlets, frilly white dress, and delicate slippers, she looked like a fairytale princess. “Not dressed like that, you can’t. Ain’t you got any wellies?”

“Wellies?”

He pointed at his own pair, perfect for puddle splashing. The girl shook her head. Mikey wrinkled his nose in thought.

“Well, you could borrow mine. For a while.” He glanced to where flashing lights and a gathering crowd marked the place of his accident. “Just don’t jump in any puddles on the road. A car might hit you. That’s what happened to me.”

“I won’t,” the girl said. “That’s what happened to me, too. Roads are even more horrid now than when I died.”

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 the 100th challenge for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writers. Congratulations, PJ, on reaching 100 weeks of this wonderful challenge. This week’s prompt was provided by Jessica Haines. Thank you Jessica. 🙂

This story actually took me by surprise. I intended to write about a child (Mikey) meeting a ghost. I wasn’t expecting them both to be ghosts, but that’s the direction it decided to go. Sorry if it’s a little depressing…

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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WPC: Graceful

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History’s enigmatic weight settles, cloak-like, upon your shoulders as you walk beneath the graceful arches. The weathered stones may be mere remnants of times past, but still they stand, elegant and proud, marking the route along which devout men once walked. As the wind dances around the columns you can almost hear the sound of male voices raised in prayerful song, their worship resonating down through the ages…

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This post is for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. This week’s theme is graceful.

The photo was taken at Fountain’s Abbey – the ruins of a Cistercian monastery near Ripon in North Yorkshire. The entire site, built out of richly golden sandstone, is beautiful to photograph, but I found the arched walkways running alongside the nave particularly graceful and attractive.

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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Twittering Tales: Witness

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Photo prompt – from pixabay.com

“None of them knew I was there, under the bridge, but I heard everything.”

“And…?”

“Yes. I’ll testify. He did it. He killed them all.”

Character count: 134

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This post is for Kat Myrman’s Twittering Tails prompt. I’ve never taken part in this challenge before, but I loved the photo prompt and was inspired. For this challenge you’re asked to write a story in 140 characters or less in response to the picture. To make sure your character count is correct you can use the online character counter. It definitely helps!

I hope you liked it.

TLT: Fallen Flag

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Photo Prompt – © Andrew Neel

“You shouldn’t have abandoned the flag,” Mikael said, his voice an angry growl in the blood-soaked twilight.

Raen looked from their celebrating opponents, who remained unaware of their presence within the trees, to his friend who nursed injuries that could have been so much worse.

“It was either lose the flag or lose you,” he replied – though he knew Mikael would never accept that his choice had been a foregone conclusion.


This post is for Sonya’s Three Line Tales. This week’s prompt was provided by Andrew Neel.

I wasn’t sure I was going to manage to post anything for this one – mainly because the story really wanted to be longer than three lines / sentences. Eventually I managed to reduce it down, though I do still really want to divide the final line into two!

I hope you like it.