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: Victim?

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Photo Prompt Sunayama MoiPensieve

Victim?

she felt sick

seeing him there

performing his songs

as if he didn’t have a care in the world

after everything he’d put her through

everything he’d done

to her

and to those she loved

seeing him so blithely carefree

set her guts to roiling

*

she carried the knife in her bag

for protection

she didn’t feel safe any more

not since that night

that dreadful night

when he’d trampled over her life

that hellish night when

all her personal liberties had been

infringed

and all her illusions destroyed

*

she didn’t remember

afterwards

taking hold of the knife

as she approached the figure who

haunted her nightmares

but she would always remember the

feel of the blade sinking deep into flesh

and the rush of satisfaction as

the spark of life

faded from his shocked gaze

Word Count: 136

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 photo prompt was provided by Sunayama MoiPensieve. Thank you, Sunayama!

I’ve actually had this little piece written for a few days. I just wasn’t sure for a while whether to post it as it is or to turn it into prose. I eventually decided, after asking my Mum (Millie Thom) for advice, that I’d leave it in the form it initially came to me in. I hope you liked it.

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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: 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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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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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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