FFfAW: Promises Broken

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Promises Broken

The day had promised so much.

Bright skies and a clear forecast meant their shift at the lifeguard station should have been pleasant – with only the usual idiots and accidents to worry them. The crystalline sea had lapped at the beach as if no dangers lurked in its depths. It was a postcard perfect scene.

But they shouldn’t have been surprised. They’d known to always expect the unexpected.

Perched in their tower, they’d watched the holiday-makers frolic below, chatting idly to pass the time – conversations that fled from memory soon after the words were spoken. Their hands had occasionally touched, sparks flying. After months of unresolved tension, the words had finally been spoken. Tonight would be the night.

Their shift had been nearing its end when the screams began. They hadn’t hesitated before running to help.

Afterwards, only the memory of blood in the water remained, events blurring into an incomprehensible mass. All she knew was they’d gone into the water together. And now she was alone.

But the day had promised so much.

Word count: 175

To read the 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 TJ Paris. Thank you, TJ.

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FFfAW: Unexpected Consequences

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Photo Prompt – Grant-Sud / Flooded Out With Books

Unexpected Consequences

Adrugian gazed wearily over the arid landscape, the insistent beat of the sun sapping energy he could ill afford to lose. He knew the villagers below didn’t understand why he traipsed so often to the heights. He’d seen the looks they exchanged. He’d heard their snide comments. Unfortunately, the truth was something they could never comprehend.

He sighed, tossing a pebble over the edge and listening for its faint spolsh into the distant trickle of water. Sometimes it seemed only yesterday he’d learned to skim stones, standing at that very spot. Back when the river had filled the canyon to brimming. Back when the rains still fell.

They’d been so young, then. So naive. All they’d wanted was to halt the devastation of the spring floods. They hadn’t realised the effect their rituals would have.

Now, only he remained…

Adrugian gasped as sudden pain tore through his chest. He slumped backwards, shadows darkening his gaze. He knew his time had come, but a smile formed as he took in his final sight.

Clouds gathered above.

Word Count: 175


This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. This week’s prompt was provided by Grant from Flooded out with Books.

To read the other entries click the little blue frog.

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I’d like to both thank and apologise to everyone who has visited my blog recently and left either likes or comments. Whilst I’ve been trying to put together posts, I unfortunately haven’t found the time to respond to comments or to visit anyone’s blogs. Sorry! Hopefully, now the kids are all back at school, work will quieten down somewhat and I’ll finally manage to catch up. I have to admit that all ll I’ve wanted to do with my free time over the Christmas holiday is curl up with a book!

Just to warn everyone, though, I am intending to get stuck into editing the novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo during January, so my blogging might not be as frequent as it has been in the past.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season, whatever festival you were celebrating.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

As it’s nearly midnight here, I’m afraid seeing what everyone else has written will have to wait until tomorrow morning…

Night night. 🙂

Light and Dark

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Light and Dark

Tammy hummed a tune as she walked, contentment a pleasing weight on her shoulders. Home’s warmth drew her onwards.

Until light shattered the darkness.

She stumbled back, shielding watering eyes. Her throat tightened with sorrow. She’d known the summons would arrive someday – but, so soon? How could she leave everything behind? She wasn’t ready…

But she had to be ready. This was no request, and there was no choice to be made.

With tears running down her cheeks, she stepped into the light.

***

Marcus skulked along the darkened street, dragging his feet as he made his way home. He was in no hurry to arrive. After all, ‘home’, now, was simply an apartment stuffed full of rancid memories and bitter emotions, empty of any joy.

He was tired of living such a meaningless life.

His days were spent watching the world go by, simply waiting for his summons. Misery had been his only companion for too long.

When the gateway finally flared into existence before him, he smiled.

And stepped into the light.

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. I know, it’s very late! This week’s (very nearly last week’s) prompt was provided by Maria @ Doodles and Scribbles. Thank you, Maria!

This piece actually began life as two separate stories that I tried to write for this prompt. I couldn’t really get anything to work. After leaving them for a few days (work and Christmas tasks keep conspiring to keep me away from my blog) I realised that, with a few changes to each, the two actually fit together quite well.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide what exactly ‘the summons’ and ‘the gateway’ are… Have the character’s died? Were they alien spies, now called back by their masters? Were they creatures from a different realm of existence?

I’d be interested to know how you interpreted it. 🙂

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Harvest

Harvested Wheat

struck

with scything blades

the king falls

laid low

in golden splendour

beneath nefarious skies

as mournful gazes

watch

shadows creeping

rivulets of life-blood

seeping

teardrops withheld

as duty is

done

Cut ShortIt’s harvest time here in England, and the farmers have been busy in the fields around the village. Mostly I’ve come across the fields showing only the aftermath of their activity, though I have been lucky enough to catch sight of them in action on a few occasions.

Bailing Hay

MftS: The Bare Bones

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.

Photo Prompt: © 2015 Barbara W. Beacham

Photo Prompt: © 2015 Barbara W. Beacham

The Bare Bones

The cemetery spread along the area known as Devil’s Abode. Some knew it by a different name: The Gateway, home to the King of Bones.

The group paraded in solemn order, Andrew’s coffin borne aloft. Will’s despair grew with every step he took. Had he not left early, not been distracted by seductively swaying hips, he could have stopped them – his brother would still be alive.

Tears dampened his cheeks as they entered the mausoleum, descending into darkness. For centuries their family had interred their dead within the chamber below, the underworld’s guardian assuring the departed soul’s safe passage.

“Farewell, brother,” Will murmured as they placed Andy’s casket before the king upon his skeletal throne.

Piercing eyes glinted as the ancient being turned his gaze in Will’s direction: uncovering truth; easing guilt. A voice rumbled through his mind. “No blame lies with you, wise protector. The brave one made his own choices.”

Will bowed his head, accepting absolution.

Word Count: 150

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

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Friday Fictioneers: Beating Heart

This is my entry for this week’s Friday Fictioneers Challenge run by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s picture prompt was provided by Raina NG. The challenge is to write a story within 100 words.

Photo Prompt: © Raina NG

Photo Prompt: © Raina NG

Beating Heart

Mary’s gaze swept the kitchen one final time as she prepared to leave. The room was imbued with a lifetime of memories.

Sometimes it seemed only yesterday that she and Bobby danced to the wireless, newlywed, their future unbounded. Soon children played underfoot: laughing, crying, squabbling; growing through each youthful phase. Years slid by and teenage moods faded into mature conversations, culminating in an emptiness that only her husband’s steady presence eased.

She remembered weeping, lost in grief with Bobby’s ashes clasped to her chest, children and grandchildren surrounding her.

“It’s time,” Bobby whispered. She turned and took his hand.

Word Count: 100

Click the little blue frog to see other entries or to add your own.

FIC

FFfAW: The Photograph

This post if for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy. This week’s picture was provided by Ellespeth’s friend. The challenge is that you write a story of 75-175 words inspired by the photo prompt below. Here’s my entry.  I hope you like it.

Photo prompt - © Ellespeth's Friend

Photo prompt – © Ellespeth’s Friend

The Photograph

Hanif wasn’t prepared for the deluge of memories as he lifted the tattered photograph from the box. The faces staring out were so eager and young, untainted by the world’s miseries. They’d thought they were prepared for anything. They couldn’t have been more wrong.

Everything had changed after that trip.

“What have you found?”

He shook his head and slipped the picture back into the box as Safiyah sat beside him. “Just a photograph,” he told her. “From a school trip. Nothing important.”

“Really?” He didn’t realise his hands were shaking until hers settled gently over them. “You don’t have to hide things from me, Hani – but I won’t push.”

The whole group had been close, inseparable since their first days of school. It had always been them against the world.

Until Jamal disappeared.

He’d spent the last twenty years trying to forget about the events of those days: the arguments, anger and accusations. The guilt. He wouldn’t tell her anything. How could he?

She’d hate him if she knew he’d killed his best friend.

Word Count: 175


I’d like to think that Hanif didn’t kill Jamal on purpose. I hadn’t planned for him to have done it at all – that final line kind of wrote itself! His name was actually chosen because it means ‘true’ and’upright’ in Arabic and that’s the type of person I intended him to be – a good man haunted by the events of his past. Maybe it could even be that he blames himself when the guilt is not actually his to bear…

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FFfAW: Goddess Made Flesh

This post if for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy. This week’s picture was provided by Ady. The challenge is that you write a story of 75-175 words inspired by the photo prompt below. Here’s my entry.  I hope you like it.

Photo prompt - © PricelessJoy

Photo prompt – © PricelessJoy

Goddess Made Flesh

Some days the longing to be reunited was all-consuming. His existence lacked vitality. Even the air felt thin. Grey. He lost himself in memories of when life had pulsed with youthful possibility, with May his shining light.

Her chiming laughter still echoed in his ears, a joyous trail to follow. She’d loved the wild places, the forests and hills; revelling in the chorus of birdsong, the caress of sunlight on her face. She’d always wondered how people could feel close to God enclosed within four walls. The towering trunks of mighty oaks were the pillars of her church. A lake’s reflection shared the perfection of a stained glass window, depicting eternity’s harmony.

He had just worshipped her – his own goddess made flesh.

He’d scattered her ashes on the hillside. Sometimes he could sense her presence as he climbed, a phantom touch soothing the ache of old bones. The years since he lost her had not been kind.

Soon his time would come. He’d follow her laughter and bathe in the light of her existence again.

Word Count: 175

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FFfAW: Complete

This post if for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy. This week’s picture was provided by Vanessa Rodriguez. The challenge is that you write a story of 75-175 words inspired by the photo prompt below. I hope you all like it.

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Photo prompt: © Vanessa Rodriguez

Complete

Smiling in satisfaction, Samuel positioned the last figure on the platform. It had taken months of work but his model railway was finally finished.

The day’s last light streamed in through the attic window, lighting the scene with a gentle touch. The sounds of the house drifted to his ears: Freddie and Alex squabbled over toys; Lily warbled nursery rhymes to her dolls; his beloved Jennifer clattered pots in the kitchen. They were sounds he loved to hear.

Flicking a switch, he set the trains in motion.

“Have you boys been in the attic again?” Jennifer’s shouted. Silence briefly fell.

“Nope.”

“Not me!”

“Then why can I hear your father’s trains?”

A moment later Jennifer stormed into the room, Freddie and Alex trailing behind.

“Boys?”

“Still weren’t us, Mum.”

Absently flicking off the trains, Jennifer brushed her fingers over the newly completed station.

It had still been incomplete when he died.

Samuel smiled as Lily toddled into the room. “Daddy!” she chirped happily, looking right at him.

He set the trains back in motion.

Word Count: 175

To check out other entries or to add your own, click on the little blue frog.

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Friday Fictioneers: Ten Years

This post is my entry into Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers Challenge. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and asks you to write a complete story in 100 words. This week’s picture was provided by Jan Wayne Fields.

dining-room

Ten Years

I died in this room, ten years ago today. They’ve barely used it since. My family was broken like crockery.

Mother looks old, all vitality lost; Father drowns himself in drink. He’s back in his study again, staring at the phone. Maybe this time he’ll make the call. And Georgia… she’s now seventeen. She revels in her influence over them – has since the day she drove the carving knife into my flesh.

Everyone was told I’d left home. No one questioned it. They buried my body beneath the courtyard.

The sound of sirens is drawing nearer. He made the call.

Word Count: 100

Click the blue frog to see other entries.