FFfAW: Dreams and Nightmares

This post is for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy.  The challenge is to write a story of 75-175 words inspired by the photo prompt below – this week provided by Sonya of Only 100 Words. I’d love to know what everyone thinks.

Photo Prompt: © Sonya Only 100 Words

Photo Prompt: © Sonya – Only 100 Words

Dreams and Nightmares

The cell stood on the town’s outskirts: a warning to the inhabitants; a reminder of the power of the Overlords. Despite the rust on the supporting framework, the unusual alloy of the elevated cell remained untouched by the passage of years. Occasionally the sounds of banging and shouting, of screaming, could be heard from within, reducing in volume as days passed. No one had ever been seen approaching. No way into the cell had ever been found.

Wraedan had always lived in its shadow.

It had not always been there, however. His grandfather had whispered of a time before the tyrants came; a time when their land was free. Wrae had loved to listen to the stories. He’d dreamed of living in a world that didn’t thrive on fear and pain. When the Resistance had approached he hadn’t hesitated in joining them.

His dreams had now all turned to nightmares, enclosed in inescapable darkness. Defeat and terror sapped his strength; bloodied hands pounded in futility.

Tonight it would be his screams keeping the town awake.

Word Count: 175

To read the other entries, click the little blue frog!
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FFfAW: The Lingering Ache

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

Photo Prompt - from Pixabay

Photo Prompt – from Pixabay

The Lingering Ache

It had been years since he’d last ridden a bike.

Benjamin sighed, wishing the flimsy contraption leaning against the wall would simply vanish before his boys arrived downstairs. Their neighbour had offered him the bicycle after she’d heard Ollie and Lewis begging him to join them on a ride. His excuse that he didn’t have one had been neatly sidestepped by her generosity.

Anxiety coiled in his stomach and he rubbed at his aching temples as memories of blinding headlights and a dizzying, agonising impact overtook him. Six months of his life had been lost to unconsciousness. Over a year had been spent regaining full mobility after he’d finally awoken. The lingering ache of his injuries continued to bother him even now, years later.

He’d sworn to never ride a bike again.

The boys’ excited voices reached him long before they tumbled out of the doorway and he pasted a smile onto his face. Only one thing could persuade him to put his feet onto the pedals again.

He couldn’t bear to disappoint his boys.

Word Count: 172

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FFfAW: Tubby

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

Photo Prompt: © The Storyteller's Abode

Photo Prompt: © The Storyteller’s Abode

Tubby

Tubby liked to watch the people as they ambled by; liked to listen to the conversations of the men and women, the excited chatter of the children. It was such a pleasant atmosphere – so very different to years past.

Change had crept through the district in steady increments, the place metamorphosing from struggling fishing village to the tourist honeypot it was now. As time passed the rundown cottages were transformed into fine hotels, teashops and restaurants. The area was practically unrecognisable.

“Can’t you try to enjoy yourself?” The woman’s voice carried down the lane. “We’re on holiday. We’re supposed to be having fun.”

Her companion’s seething resentment was an almost palpable force; the woman’s irritation almost as strong. Tubby winced as their emotions hit him and automatically began to direct a sense of calm in their direction as he sought the root of their issues.

The man sighed, taking the woman’s hand. “I’m sorry, dear…” Their voices faded as they walked on.

Tubiel, the Angel of Summer, smiled. Some days he loved his job.

Word Count: 174

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


In case anyone is curious, the photograph was taken in Bowness-on-Windermere last time I visited the Lake District (Cumbria, UK). The town of Bowness was just a small fishing settlement until the 19th century when it began to rely on tourism as its main source of income. If you’d like to know more about the place you can have a look here or here.

Tubiel is actually the name of the Angel of Summer according to this website.

FFfAW: The Gathering

This post is for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy. After being absent for the whole of November with NaNo I couldn’t resist diving back in – I’ve missed the community on the challenge too much not to! This week’s photo prompt was from pixabay. The challenge is that you write a story of 75-175 words inspired by the picture prompt below. I hope you like it.

Photo Prompt - from pixabay

Photo Prompt – from pixabay

 The Gathering

The people of the plains knew that when the lights appeared the time of the gathering was upon them. Word spread, carrying like the warm breeze through the long blades of grass.

All paths turned towards the Heart of the World.

The multihued city of tents stretched for miles as the tribes came together, a massive settlement springing into existence across land left empty at all other times. Old friendships were renewed whilst strangers mingled, sharing salt and forging new alliances. Soon the scent of roasting bison began to drift from the fires where the feast was being prepared.

Acorena joined the other younglings in their celebrations, dancing beneath the towers that glowed in eerie splendour, her feet flying and body swaying in time to the unearthly melodies that sounded. Excited laughter filled the air. Anticipation thrummed an earthy beat. She waited, praying to the Lord and Lady that she would hear the summons.

At each gathering only a few would be Chosen. This time, maybe, just maybe, it would be her…

Word Count: 172

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I’ve only recently heard the tragic news about Barbara Beacham, the lovely host of Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, who sadly lost her battle with cancer last month. She will be missed. Rest in peace, Barbara.

FFfAW: Flutterby

This post is for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy. This week’s photo prompt was provided by TJ Paris. Thank you TJ!  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: © T.J. Paris

Photo Prompt: © TJ Paris

Flutterby

Sometimes she forgot that the world kept turning. Her own life had frozen in a single moment of despair. Annabelle gazed out over the bare field, a veil of tears obscuring her view as memories taunted her mind. It seemed only yesterday the place had brimmed with life: brightly coloured wildflowers swarming with insects; long grasses swaying in the breeze. Now the meadow was as empty as her existence.

Only a lone butterfly drifted along the hedgerow.

Nova had always loved to run among the flowers, the tattered wings of her fairy costume trailing behind her as she chased butterflies from blossom to blossom. Her joyous laughter had filled the air. “Mummy look! I’m a flutterby!” she’d called.

Annabelle choked back a sob, trembling fingers swiping away tears. Dark bruises had marred pale flesh. How could she not have known? It was a mother’s job to protect her child – how could she have failed so abysmally?

The butterfly landed on her hand, tattered wings aglow in golden light. “Mummy look! I’m a flutterby!” she heard.

Word Count: 175


I’ve always loved the symbolism of butterflies. Mostly this relates to themes of transformation and movement from one phase of life to the next. They’re also said to symbolise joy and the soul, among a number of other things. This story, however, was mainly inspired by a line on this website that states that in some parts of England the folklore has it that butterflies contain the souls of dead children brought back to life.

The story was also inspired by one of my favourite places to sit and write – the wildflower meadow in the village. This picture was taken in August:

August 5 edited

and this was taken two days ago, on the same walk as yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday picture:sunbeam over meadow edited

It gives a rather different view!


In case anyone didn’t see the note on this week’s MFtS, I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo this year so my blogging will be slowing down over the next few weeks and during November will reduce to only the occasional photography post and writing update. I’ll be working on the first draft of a fantasy novel called ‘Age of the Dragonlords’, an idea that’s been sat in a file on my computer for several years now and really needs writing! If I don’t manage to get to your blog over the next few days, I’m not ignoring you – I’m just distracted by planning out my characters’ exploits. 🙂

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FFfAW: A Place of Safety

This post is for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy. This week’s photo prompt was provided by Sonya O. Thank you Sonya!  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: © Sonya O

Photo Prompt: © Sonya O

A Place of Safety

They huddled together in the shadows, waiting for the brief time when they could board unobserved. The guards’ line of sight would be obscured for minutes only as the cargo swung into place. They’d have to be quick and careful. His daughters trembled at his side, their eyes wide and scared. He pulled them close, unwilling to ever let go.

“You know what to do?” he asked.

He knew they did. His girls might be young but they had their mother’s indomitable spirit. They’d run, climb and hide as ordered and soon be sailing to a life free of fear. They wouldn’t worry about riots and starvation; wouldn’t huddle in terror as armed men stalked through their home. They’d be able to laugh and play. It hurt to send them, but it was for the best.

“Look after each other. Remember I love you.” Tears filled his eyes as he watched them go.

Only he would stay. He’d fight to make their land a place of safety once more. Someday his family would come home.

Word Count: 174


Just out of curiosity, of what nationality did you picture the characters in this story and where and when did you imagine it set?

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FFfAW: Withered Dreams

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

Photo Prompt: © Etol Bagam

Photo Prompt: © Etol Bagam

Withered Dreams

The buzz of excitement was almost palpable as Sarah eased through the crowds of chattering theatre-goers, her ears still ringing from the applause that had thundered as the curtain fell. She’d felt such a glow of pride as Gemma took her bow, the audience on their feet.

Creeping envy was forcibly quashed.

Her sister’s dressing room was filled with people, alcohol flowing in celebration. Curious eyes turned in Sarah’s direction.

“Sassy – you made it!” Gemma pulled her into an excited hug.

“So this is the enigmatic sister,” a deep voice said. “You also act, I’m told.”

“I…”

She and Gemma had always dreamed of becoming actresses. As children they’d performed before audiences of stuffed toys. It was with the onset of teenage insecurities that nerves took over. Even the thought of a sea of faces caused nausea to rile.

“My next play is about sisters,” the man continued. “I’d be interested in seeing you audition.”

“Think about it, Sassy.” Gemma grinned. “Stage fright can be overcome.”

Sarah’s breath caught as withered dreams blossomed anew.

Word Count: 175

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