Friday Fictioneers : The snow angel

PHOTO PROMPT © Sarah Potter

PHOTO PROMPT © Sarah Potter


 

Danny had to wait until midnight for the lights to go out, but he was still dressed, ready to scurry across the road, to silently push the scarlet envelope through the letterbox.

The snow was falling as he darted for home, flakes soft and light as down.

The doorbell woke him next morning.

Hannah stood on the step, Valentine’s hearts visible through the torn envelope in her hand. He looked behind her, at the twin tracks in the otherwise unblemished snow – her’s heading one way, smudging his own from last night.

‘So much for secrets,’ he said.

She grinned.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the pic and write a tale. Go here to join in and to read the other stories.

FFfAW : The half-smoked cigarette of joy

Busy airport lounge

Image : Dawn Miller

Every direction

PASSENGERS go

moves the economy

FORWARD

As EconiSlogans went, it was more subtle than

EAT MORE MEAT

and

BUY MORE, SAVE JOBS

the ones Dale remembered from his childhood.

He and the kids from the block had taken up those Slogs, as people jokingly called them, acting out the screen ads that went with the campaign. They’d ape the gravel drive voice of the man in the ad, puffing their chests in a pantomime of his boxy frame, pulling their brows down so low they went cross-eyed.

The joke was, no one in the neighbourhood had money to buy meat – their parents had already lost their jobs.

Now the man from the ad was President – he was paler now, less boxy – and Dale had a job picking litter in the airport lounge. On a good day he’d find a half-smoked cigarette and savour it over his MacCheese dinner.

 


Written for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. See the pic and pic a tale. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

 

The Devil of Moravia : Kissing the earth with barely parted lips

Stone crypt, arches, creepy

Image : Pixabay

I’m not sure any of us who have come to know Edmund over the last few weeks could say he was a good man, but it would take a heart of stone to claim he entirely deserves what has befallen him.

So here we find him after the louche depravity of the ball, with a price having to be paid …

See here to catch up with the story so far – One, two, three, four, fivesix , seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelvethirteen , fourteen, fifteen and sixteen.


 

‘Do you know …?’ I could hardly ask, hardly bear to hear the answer. ‘Do you know who they were?’

‘What does it matter who they were?’ He grasped my hand, pulling me roughly to my feet. ‘Now they are empty vessels to be disposed of.’

And so began a night of the cruellest horrors.

Where Slatina found the tools required for that ghastly deed, I know not. All I recall of waiting for his return was how dim the crypt – for this was how I thought of it – grew on his leaving. The light quivered over stone and earth, cloth and flesh alike, as if one form of matter were no different from the next. This bewildered me. For how can a candle cast the same kindly light on those poor dead young women as it did on the dirt which had never sung or danced or blushed beneath another’s admiring gaze?

Slatina was gone a few minutes only, but the time – in truth blank and still and empty  – seemed to my disordered senses swelled with dancing  light, the hiss and spit of candle grease, a scratch of talons from some subterranean animal, scurrying about its secret business. And so it was with immense gratitude that I welcomed his return, for queer as my companion was, he was at least moving flesh, the blood still pulsing in his thick veins.

‘Rise up, Edmund,’ he exclaimed, handing me a spade. ‘For now you must dig yourself clean.’

I thought it an inappropriate, ungainly turn of phrase and almost said as much, but as the hours wore on it had some truth to it, for toiling over that heavy ground, my hands growing thick with sores, my body mired with dirt and sweat, so it seemed I passed through my own trial, a small penance for the two women dying beneath my home.

Time wore on. The going was as hard as the earth which was compacted with age, and indeed close to bedrock in places, and my body unused to anything more strenuous than a perusal of the morning papers.

Finally, a hole was dug just long and wide and deep enough to fit the bodies and to have perhaps two feet of dirt replaced on top of them. I put aside my spade and looked to Slatina. It struck me how odd a man he was, that for all his slight build, his frame more of an invalid than a man in full vigour, that he had matched my own digging – bettered it perhaps – and his face no more aglow than ususal, his colour as grey as the marble angels that watch and weep over the tombs of our lost beloved.

I gazed down at the bodies, suddenly at a loss for how to move them. It seemed an obscenity to grapple at their clothing, at their ankles, to haul them under the arms as if they had been found insensible in some low alleyway and were to be carried to gaol to sleep off an evening’s ale.

‘How … ?’

Without a pause, Slatina bent, slid his slight arms under those of the girl in pink. Her head lolled forward, chin resting on her chest. Sickened, I could not move, could only watch as he dragged her to the pit, as the heels of her dancing shoes carved into the dust. At the hole’s mouth he paused.

‘Come, Edmund.’

Still I stood, insensible.

‘Take up her legs.’

Finally, I moved. Enfeebled by terror and exhaustion I grabbed at the dress. Seemingly empty of limbs, the satin slipped through my hands. Horror shuddered through me like hooves pounding at my muscles, into my veins, beating at the meat of my heart. I steadied myself and tried once more. This time my hand met solid flesh.

How awful, how intimate, how degrading those moments were. The feel of that soft, solid, chill flesh beneath my hands, the pawing as the body slipped away from me and I had to grapple, to  pinch at the thighs to stop her from falling, like some ghastly pantomime of seduction.

Then the poor child was in her grave, her head bumping to the earth with a heartstopping thud. Moving her sister felt an easier task, at least less unexpected, though I shudder to admit such a thing, as if anything so awful could be made easy. Then the two lay side by side once more, eternal companions, their hair blending at the temple, their hands almost touching as if they had reached out to one another but failed to secure a grip. We had dug the hole too short by an inch, perhaps two, which meant the legs could not lay straight, but must bend at the knee and slump to one side to fit. I hated to see them in such a way, a child’s dolls crammed into an ill-fitting box, but Slatina would not have us dig more and in truth, I had little strength remaining.

Again I paused, unable to bring myself to cover them with earth. Slatina put me to shame, lifting his spade, hefting the dirt as if completing no more taxing a task than planting roses in some blessed cottage garden. Reluctantly I joined him, watching the pink satin and the blue succumb to weighty brown, watching the slim fingers and arms, the necks and lace chokers with their horrid secrets vanish too. I confess to cowardice, to being unable to cover those dear, sweet faces, this also being a burden I left to the Moravian.

When we were done, filthy, blistered, staring at the square of disturbed ground, I tried to find some words, some sentiment of Christian pity, some talk of Heaven or Jesus or Redemption that might save their burial from feeling so utterly lost. But if God was in that place He did not speak to me or through me, or if He did then it was in a hushed tone too low for me to hear.

After a brief silence, Slatina took up his candlestick, rested the handle of his spade on his bony shoulder and said, ‘Shall we leave the ladies to their rest?’

I was exhausted beyond words, but the thought of those angels under the ground, kissing the earth with barely parted lips, sent such a sudden shiver of fear pulsating through me, that I hurried to snatch up my own candle, my own coat and spade and with Slatina striding ahead, the shadows chased me away to my chamber where I slept little and dreamed much.

 

 

What pegman saw : Yaya’s secret

 

My yaya’s house was the brightest spot in the whole colonia.

She painted the walls turquoise herself with a balding brush and though it had grills on the doors and windows like every other house, the gaps behind the iron were stuffed with pots of trailing vines and geraniums and spider plants that tickled my wrists when I reached up with the long necked watering can. Plaster toucans and parrots roosted on the first floor, nodding to smiling suns and moons.

Her living room was snug, cluttered with clasp-handed Virgins, candles and crucifixes, each object draped with cloths or doilies or tied with the florists bows she saved from bunches of gladioli and coxcombs Uncle Arturo brought her each Sunday.

Upstairs, though, behind knotted satin drapes the colour of cayenne pepper, was a mystery.

‘Es un secreto,’ she would say, kissing my forehead with feathery lips.

So it stayed until the day she passed away …

 


What do you think yaya’s secret was? Rude, lewd, romantic, violent or just plain bizarre? Let me know what you think and maybe we’ll get a sequel.

Written for What pegman saw, the hugely enjoyable writing prompt using Google Streetview – this week, we’re in Mexico City. See here to join in and to read the other tales.

 

 

 

 

Three Line Tales : Shooting Rockstar

three line tales, week 55: concert, raised hands

photo by Edwin Undrade via Unsplash


 

He thought he’d miss the groupies, the easy access to willing flesh, the adoring submissions and the manager’s whispered shooings as the sun rose over LA.

Maybe the money – or at least the pleasure in wasting it. Private jets and fountains flowing with Dom Perignon that he didn’t even drink, the tame leopard he took for walks round the garden that terrified the Botoxed actor who lived next door.

But sitting in his Chevy, bottle resting in his lap, he misses most the waves of love, knowing no one at a gig wanted anything else more but to listen to him play. He takes another swig of bourbon and starts the engine.

 


 

Careful what you wish for.

Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales. See the pic and write a story, why don’t you? See here to join in and to read the other stories.

Friday Fictioneers: The chill island

PHOTO PROMPT © Liz Young

PHOTO PROMPT © Liz Young


 

‘This is stupid,’ muttered Stacey.

‘Short cut.’ Deb’s voice was slurred with tequila and cigarettes.

Distant street lamps glittered orange and white, silhouetting tower blocks and a squat church spire – a car alarm wailed. The chill island of wasteground felt cut off, adrift from the city. The light from Stacey’s phone turned crisp packets and broken bottles into ghostly flotsam that bobbed close before floating away.

They stumbled on, leaning together, heels sinking in the mud.

‘Still bloody daft – ‘

In the pale circle of light hung slack lips, twin glazed eyes.

‘Debs – ‘

A rustling sound made Stacey turn.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

 

 

Valentine’s Day : That baby faced killer thing

rodent

https://pixabay.com/en/meerkat-fur-small-face-mouth-316736/


 

He rests his elbows on the rail, gazing out at the twitching streaks of sandy fur, a few square yards of mounded dirt littered with scraps of drying vegetable.

‘Aren’t they amazing?’

‘I guess,’ she says.

‘You don’t like them?’

She shrugs. ‘They’re a bit done, aren’t they – meerkats?’

‘What do you mean?’

‘All that standing on your back legs looking cute and killing snakes – ‘

‘I think it’s mongooses that kill snakes.’

Another shrug. ‘What’s the difference? Anyway, they’ve got the baby faced killer thing down. But they still smell like my hamster after it ate one of its babies.’

This wasn’t how he’d imagined the conversation. ‘But they look out for one another. Their family units …’

He feels her body stiffen against his.

‘You want to talk about that here?’ she says.

‘Well. You know. Spring. Nature in all its fecundity.’

‘And kids screaming for ice cream. And kids screaming because they “didn’t see the monkey pooing, Daddy”. And kids just screaming because that’s what they’re good at.’

‘I just thought …’

‘No, you really didn’t. And next time, take me somewhere that doesn’t stink of dead rodents.’

He smiles. ‘Next time?’

 


First posted in response to for Roger Shipp’s Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practioner, Week # 15 2016. See here for full Ts and Cs.

Another repost, this time with a Valentine’s Day theme. Well, ish. Look, it’s about as romantic as I get, alright?

Will be posting and commenting in the flesh again soon, when normal service will be resumed.