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: 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 She’d withdrawn from public performance, devoting herself to the raising of her newborn daughter.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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TLT: Picture-Perfect

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Photo Prompt – © Grant McCurdy

He’d wanted a picture-perfect life: a happy family and well paid job with all the perks. Instead, young voices argued yet again while bills piled high. He sighed as gentle hands massaged the stress away, accepting reality – his life might not be picture perfect, but he wouldn’t change a thing.


This post is for Sonya’s Three Line Tales Challenge. This week’s prompt was provided by Grant McCurdy.

FFfAW: Preservation

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Preservation

Loreli scratched at her temples where the threads made contact. After nearly twenty years of treatment she should be used to the sensation by now, but they still made her skin crawl.

After all, while she knew she’d visited the clinic for years, it wasn’t as if she could really remember it…

“How much longer?” she murmured. The doctor would hear, no matter how softly she spoke. Each sound within the room was caught by the sensors, just as every pulse of energy along her synapses was caught by the threads, copying her memories into crystal storage.

“Not long. You’ve been active this week, I see.”

She had. Her sons had visited, their young children in tow. Loreli smiled at the thoughts and feelings dancing through her mind as she lay back.

The session could continue as long as necessary.

The details of her own boys’ early years had been lost to the initial ravages of her illness. Through the crystal and its itchy threads, at least her memories of her grandchildren’s childhood could be saved.

Word Count: 175

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

FFfAW: Time to Reconnect

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Photo Prompt – © The Storyteller’s Abode

Time to Reconnect

She hadn’t written to them in far too long.

Back in the early days, Felena had penned letters weekly, though each one had simply been added to the stack in her drawer. Eventually she’d forced herself to stop. She’d needed to move on.

It was now over a decade since anything had actually been delivered to the house.

Felena read through her words for a final time before sliding the page into the envelope, the familiar address setting memories dancing through her mind. She’d been so young back then. So wild. And carefree – until her mistakes had caught up with her.

That final missive to her parents had been tear stained and smudged as she’d explained the reason for her decision, her apologies profuse. She’d known her actions had brought them pain. Plus she’d left them with a heavy burden to bear.

But now it was time to reconnect. Her years within the temple, hiding behind concealing veils, were over. She needed to see her son.

Even if he had no idea who she was.

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 me.

The photograph was taken at Warwick Castle, and is of part of a display with waxwork figures showing people from around 1898. At this date a party was held that was attended by the Prince of Wales, Albert Edward (who later became King Edward VII), and a young Winston Churchill. The woman in the picture is, I think, Daisy Grenville, Countess of Warwick, a woman who had affairs with several powerful men of the time, including the prince.

Daisy had become the semi-official mistress of the prince after he became involved in a scandalous affair caused by a vicious letter that she’d sent to another lover, Lord Charles Beresford, on learning that his wife was pregnant. The letter was intercepted by the man’s wife, who, horrified, gave it to her solicitor for safekeeping. The prince tried to persuade her to give it back, but Lady Beresford said she would only return it if Daisy stayed away from London for the season. Daisy refused this, and the prince and Lord Beresford got into a fight over the situation. The whole quarrel only came to an end when the prime minister, Lord Salisbury, stepped in and helped an agreement to be reached.

If you’d like to know more about the scandalous life of Daisy Grenville, you can check out her wikipedia page here.

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TLT: The Flying Banana

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Photo Prompt – © Wolf Shram

Each weekend they’d piled into the backseat, little ones on older siblings laps, ready for an adventure. It had been part of their family: the Flying Banana, the greatest car in the world. Which was why, despite being told it was only good for the scrapheap, the rusting wreck continued to sit in their garage – some day the banana would fly again.


This post is for Sonya’s Three Line Tales.

For anyone who’s curious, the name ‘Flying Banana’ was the nickname my grandad gave his bright yellow car, back when my mum was young. When I was little we had a car we called Brown Cow, which all six of us kids would sit in the back of. It was a bit of a shock to us when the rear seat-belt law was introduced!

FFfAW: Seven PM

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Photo Prompt

Seven PM

Edmund stood on the shoreline. Waiting. It was something he was good at.

As a child he’d waited for his father, watching the ticking clock. At seven pm, daily, the man would hear the governess’ report, granting him a fragment of his time: a smile, a question, a word of praise… if the report was fair. On days when he’d displeased the woman, the attention would be far less pleasant: a reprimand, a strike of the cane, a reminder of their family name.

He glanced at the watch. Not much longer, now.

Over the years, his resentment had grown. The gift of a pocket-watch on his sixteenth birthday had epitomised every wasted moment. His anger had exploded at the sight of the timepiece. The heavy gift-box had become an instrument of death as he’d swung it at his father’s head. The chain had wrapped easily around his fleeing governess’ throat.

As the watch indicated seven pm, he placed it neatly onto the stones of the beach – a monument to a wasted life.

And he walked into the sea.

Word Count: 175

To read other entries, click the little blue frogwpImg


This post is for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, a flash fiction challenge run by Priceless Joy that asks us to write a story of 100-175 words based on the provided photo prompt. This week’s picture was provided by me.

For anyone that’s interested, the watch in the picture is actually a necklace that belongs to my sister. It’s a lot smaller than it looks in the photo – less than two centimeters in diameter. She bought it in Whitby when we were on holiday there a few years ago. I couldn’t resist borrowing it for a few photographs when we were sitting on the beach later that day.

I hope you enjoyed the story. It’s rather darker than most I write so I’d love to know what people think of it. It was originally meant to be the background for a ghost story, but unfortunately I couldn’t fit the whole thing into the word limit. This one had to be chiselled out of a much larger piece. That does mean, of course, that I now have another 350 word story ready for inclusion in a flash fiction collection. Yay!

TLT: Tug-of-War

This post is for Sonya’s Three Line Tales, a challenge that asks you to write three lines based on the photo prompt below.

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Photo prompt – © Wynand von Poortvlien

Tug-of-War

With feet apart, teeth bared and fists clenched, they battled yet again for supremacy. Chloe turned away, dialling a familiar number on her phone. She refused to be the prize in her parents’ tug-of-war any longer.

No More

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Image from Shutterstock

No More

You take and
You take,
Never caring,
Never wondering who
You hurt.

You rant and
You rave,
Throwing accusations,
Throwing blame
Regardless of truth.

It’s time,
Time to realise
The only one to blame
For your misfortune
Is you.