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: 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.

TLT: Breathe You In

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Photo Prompt – Dominik Martin

Sometimes he could feel her lips upon his, a caress so familiar he expected to see her when he opened his eyes. They used to joke that they needed each other more than air. As he gasped for breath, feeling closer to her than to his mortal flesh, he wondered if they’d been right.


This post is for Sonya’s Three Line Tales. This week’s prompt is by Dominik Martin.

I’m probably not going to be on my blog very much for the next few weeks as I’ve decided to join in with NaNoWriMo again this year, this time working on an YA steampunk fantasy novella. It was a bit of a last minute decision – mainly because I still have last year’s NaNo-novel sitting on my computer, waiting to be edited! Hopefully this one won’t be in quite so much of a mess at the end of the month’s writing…

I’ll try to put up a few photography posts, and maybe a poem or two, but I don’t know whether I’ll manage much else.

Just in case I don’t manage to visit the blog at all, see you all in December!

FFfAW: Crisis Point

This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, a challenge that asks you to write a story of 100-175 words based on the photo prompt below. This week’s picture was provided by TJ Paris. Thank you TJ!

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Photo prompt – © TJ Paris

Crisis Point

The library had always been her sanctuary, her escape from life’s hubbub – until her world had crumbled.

Frances groaned, head in hands. Tears pricked her eyes. It was a sensation she’d become too familiar with over the past year. Grief clung, shroud-like, tainting her emotions. The only things she felt with any vehemence were loss and pain.

And anger.

Every action since the day she’d cradled her son’s broken body had been driven by a need for justice. Determined, she’d sought evidence against the company whose equipment had caused her tragedy – and the man at its head.

Sometimes she wondered why she bothered.

It wasn’t as if anything she did made a difference. Nothing she’d found would prove the case against Willis. He was just too rich. Too powerful. What could a single woman do against his army of lawyers? She rubbed her aching temples.

“You can do it, Ma,” Jamie’s voice whisped. His ephemeral scent haunted her senses. She breathed deep, defeat dissipating as she embraced precious memories.

She would not let Willis win.

Word Count – 175

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

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FFfAW: Celebrations and Sorrows

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

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Photo Prompt: © The Storyteller’s Abode

Celebrations and Sorrows

For the third time in less than a week Lili climbed the steps in search of her brother. She knew he’d be there even before his voice carried to her ears.

“She always loved this view,” Raen said.

“We used to play here.” Lili’s voice caught in her throat. “Silveia and I would dream of adventure while you were busy being Father’s perfect prince.”

He jumped, spinning to face her, and Lili realised his words had not been for her. Raen gazed at the baby in his arms with eyes red from weeping. “I was just telling my son about his mother.”

The first time Lili had climbed in search of him her feet had been so light upon the steps. Her news had burbled free in an excited torrent as she hugged him: his son was born.

Two days later she’d sought him again, fear driving her as the midwife’s concerns grew: something was wrong.

This day grief weighed her down.

“The funeral cortege is ready,” she said. “It’s time to tell Silveia goodbye.”

Word Count: 175

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

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I’ve had a vague story idea for this picture since I picked it out as a prompt for PJ. I knew I had a young woman looking for her brother. I knew it was a medievalesque setting and that they were royalty. I didn’t, however, know why she was seeking him out. The rest of this story was definitely inspired by my recent viewing of Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey!

The picture, for anyone who’s curious, was taken in Corfe Castle in Dorset, UK – a wonderful ruin with lots of fascinating nooks and crannies to explore. It was built in the 11th century on the orders of William the Conqueror. Whilst it would originally have been built mainly out of wood, it was actually one of the earliest castles in England to have used any stone in its construction, a sign of its high status and importance. As happened with the castle in my own hometown of Newark on Trent, it was destroyed in 1645, during the English Civil War, after the Royalist occupants were defeated by the Parliamentarians.

Here are few other pictures that I took around Corfe Castle:

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Six Word Stories – Loss, Passion and Murder

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been spotting a number of fascinating stories, all written in only six words.  This week I thought I’d join in. The challenge is run by Ben at A Hopelessly Wandering Mind and each week he gives a theme for your six word story. As I’m joining in at week three I thought I’d put responses to all three prompts in one post. In the future it will be one prompt per post.

Week 1: Loss  Darkness descends, smothering hope. She’s gone.

Week 2: Passion  With inspirational enthusiasm life is consumed.

Week 3: Murder  Bloody secrets long hidden; finally revealed.

If you’d like to read some of this week’s other entries , click the blue frog.

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FFfAW: Memories of the Lost

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

Photo Prompt from Pixabay

Photo Prompt from Pixabay

Memories of the Lost

She heard it long before she could see it: the blaring music, shouts and laughter bringing back memories she’d rather not revisit. Her footsteps slowed.

“Is that it, Auntie KitKat? The fair?” Sophie swung on Katherine’s hand as she bounced at her side. Only her niece’s puppy-dog eyes could draw her back to such a place.

The sights and smells were unchanged. Brightly decorated stalls and flashing lights were partially concealed by heaving crowds. The scents of candy floss and hotdogs carried on the air. Her chest tightened; breaths growing shallow. Her grip on Sophie’s hand grew reflexively tighter.

“Balloons! Can I have one, Auntie KitKat? Please?”

Katherine was dragged in her niece’s wake but her mind was caught in events eight years past. “Balloons!” her Joey had yelled, running ahead.

He’d been seven years old. She never saw him again.

“There’s a dinosaur!” Sophie squealed.

Katherine barely glanced at the balloons. Her eyes were locked on the skinny youth who glanced between her and the agitated balloon-seller with nervous recognition.

It couldn’t be… “Joey?”

Word Count: 175

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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.

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FFfAW: Paradise

This post if for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy. This week’s picture was provided by Sonya O of Only 100 Words. 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: © Sonya O.

Photo Prompt: © Sonya O.

Paradise

Even after the heartache of recent events, the beauty hidden beneath the ocean’s surface still brought her peace. Every morning she swam to the reef that encircled the island, where fish darted in streaks of vibrant colour between delicate coral structures. With net in hand and a crudely woven basket over her shoulder she caught her meals for the day.

Henry had called her obsessed, had accused her of loving the sea more than she did him. He was probably right.

She’d developed her fascination as a child, joyously unwrapping the book on marine life on Christmas morning. It was her parents’ final gift before the accident that killed them.

She couldn’t help but wonder what had become of her treasured text. Henry had no reason to keep it. He’d made his feelings quite clear when he left her treading water, their yacht dwindling on the horizon.

The loss of the book was her only real regret.

Other people might find being stranded alone on an island an unbearable situation – to her, it was paradise.

Word Count: 175

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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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