Friday Fictioneers: Help me

PHOTO PROMPT © Peter Abbey

PHOTO PROMPT © Peter Abbey


 

‘What’s your tag?’

Ethan jumps, aerosol sputtering, prickles of black paint hitting his new trainers.

‘Dammit.’

There’s a girl – narrow shoulders humped under a too-big coat – standing at the edge of the footbridge.

‘Get lost,’ he says.

‘Help me across and I’ll clean your shoes.’

The bridge funnels the wind, the smell of urine, the whiff of a distant kebab hut. His stomach rumbles. The thought of the paint splatters hits him hard in the chest.

‘Help me.’ Her voice feels like icicles sharp against his ear, before melting, seeping into him.

He takes a step.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the photo, write a story to match. See here to join in and to read the other tales.

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62 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers: Help me

    1. Thank you, Neil! That’s lovely of you. I’m not sure what her intentions are, but I think Ethan needs to kep hold of that aerosol for defence purposes! Thanks for reading 🙂

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    1. It is a problem for me, not being able to read the initials because they’re so distorted. Though perhaps that’s the point. If the authorities know your initials, they might work out who you are. Maybe not. We have a lot of grafitti art here in Bristol and it’s fantastic, though the talentless taggers irritate me when they spray over something that’s taken time and effort to paint. Though maybe that’s the point – freedom of expression and all. Thanks for reading 🙂

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    1. I think she is. I had the idea it might be a vampire and thresholds type deal – she needs a human’s help to cross over. Not sure she’s a vampire, but she sure is best avoided. Thanks for reading Iain. 🙂

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    1. It is an issue. If some creepy, half starved kid knocked at my door, rolling her bloodshot eyes asking for help, would I call social services or reach for something sharp? I’ve seen way too many horror movies, so implaing would probably ensue 🙂 Thanks for reading

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  1. I’d hate to think I’m that skeptical about lost little girls but this one does not seem so innocent. What got me was that she wanted help crossing the bridge. The bridge he was already standing on and apparently not having a hard time crossing. Hm, why? That made me think of something supernatural – creatures who can’t cross water, for instance. Plus her voice seeping into him, that sounded like some sinister magic to me too. Methinks he’s going to regret not running the other way. Great ambiance!

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    1. Thanks Joy! Yes, it was my thought that she needs help to cross the bridge – like a vampire needs help crossing water. Perhaps some bright spark imprisoned her on one side years ago and now she sees a chance to venture to the side where all the tasty people are? Thanks so much for reading 🙂

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  2. I found her scary for the same reasons as Joy. Why did she need help? The atmosphere, setting, the whole scene are so gripping, I don’t know how you do it and how you know all these details. You must be very good at observing people.

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    1. Haha! And why not Jane? That would be much more interesting. Have you read Let the Right One In? Monstrous child loves and protects normal child and they live happily ever after. Sort of. 🙂

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      1. I haven’t read that – it sounds interesting. I’ll put it on my List – the one with an upper-case L. The list with the lower case L has cheese and demerara sugar on it – that is, they’re not on it, obviously – I haven’t got any – well, I’ve got some cheese, but not enough; there’s never enough. Anyway, back to what I was saying – what was I saying? 🙂

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      2. It is interesting … it’s also very gory, Scandi vampire fiction. Did I not mention that? 🙂 It’s very good, a cut above stalk and bite trash but rather downbeat. Cheese and demerara on toast for tea then? Used to be my nan’s favourite 😉

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    1. Ah, thanks so much. It’s tough sometimes, cutting and cutting, but it proves to me what I can do when I don’t waffle – my natural tendency. Thanks for reading 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much! Could go either way – she seems sinister but maybe she can offer him and exciting alternative to his current life … Thanks for reading 🙂

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  3. I too was a little confused as to why she needed help crossing the bridge but it added a spooky element to the story. I loved the line “Her voice feels like icicles sharp against his ear, before melting, seeping into him.”

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    1. That’s the thing with flash, isn’t it – so many questions remain unanswered, bigger stories form in my head and not enough words to encapsulate them. Thanks for the feedback – glad you liked that line. I wanted the reader to know something odd was happening. Thanks so much for reading 🙂

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    1. I know! But I’m increasingly wondering if she could be a scary but interesting influence on his life. Maybe his life is pretty awful and he could do with it shaking up. Thanks for reading 🙂

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    1. Ha! I take your revulsion as the greatest of compliments! I think she might be worth steering clear of, but not for him. She’ll do anything for him. And he for her. Thanks very much for reading 🙂

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