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.

 

 

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74 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers: The chill island

  1. Love the idea of ‘ghostly flotsam’… and I hate how your heels will sink into a lawn. That’s a very striking visual as well, the kind of uncanny that makes you shiver.

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    1. Thanks my dear. When we lived in Hull, we had a large wasteground near us and I thought of that when I saw the pic. Some nasty things happened there and I would never have crossed it at night. Sad Stacey and Debs weren’t as sensible

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      1. I prefer “The Bloody Chamber” much better personally… but you can see links between that collection of shorts and this novel. Aint a happy book by far, but definitely sustains its own atmosphere.

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  2. Well crafted atmosphere. I felt like I was watching the first scene of a horror movie and wanted to yell at the screen, “No! Go back!” The stupid and drunk ones are always doomed in those stories.

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    1. Very true! It’s one of the horror movie tropes that have you screaming at the screen – don’t go and investigate a strange noise / creepy wood or house / anything called ‘Deadman’s’ something or other. And never relax if the noise was caused by a cat! Thank you Joy

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    1. You never know, it might turn out okay … I wondered if they were stranded souls, stuck in a wasteland limbo, able to se the world but unable to reach it.

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      1. Any inanimate object simulating a human is bad news. Did you ever read much Steven King, like Tommyknockers? A scene in that with a bunch of porcelain antique dolls.

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      2. No never read Tommyknockers, but Nan used to have a whole room filled with porcelain dolls – she used to find the original hands and heads and make new bodies for them from stuffing and cloth. A Doctor Frankenstein for dolls. Walking in her spare room was a very creepy experience – all of those glassy eyes, staring …

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      3. Like a woman dipped in wax. Ever seen Carry on Screaming? Do you get ‘Carry On’ films in the States? ‘Screaming’ was their horror outing, where a creepy (possibly vampiric) brother and sister stole women, dipped them in some kind of waxy susbstance and sold them off as shop dummies. The idea stuck with me as a kid. It looks very dated now, but funnier than it sounds 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jPn4g-eR48

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  3. I agree, you set the scene beautifully. I felt and empathized with the slightly drunk young women stumbling around the vacant lot. A well set spooky scene.

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    1. Well, many of us have done daft things when we’ve had drink. But most of us are lucky enough to live to tell the tale. Not all are so lucky … Thanks so much for reading 🙂

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  4. Lyn, your story was so well written and I could really feel myself there, as one of those girls. That saying about putting an old head on young shoulders, is very true and when I think of the risks I took when I was young, I shudder and give thanks I’m still around. Young people haven’t changed. My son was out riding his bike in a severe electrical storm today. He’d thought the storm was over and the power was out so he went out to see what was happening and then a second storm hit. I saw him driving home with my daughter remarking: “Who’s that idiot out here on their bike?” It was him.
    You think that as your kids get older you can relax and not need those eyes in the back of your head quite so much. However, you end up needing to maintain this vigilance from a longer distance and using rat cunning. It’s no wonder my head hurts.
    xx Rowena

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    1. Scary, isn’t it? I remember when my son was a baby, being so grateful when the risk of cot death was past and he survived. Then he started walking, falling, hurting himself, climbing trees, riding his bike too fast, skateboarding … The list of possible risk never ends, does it? And they just don’t see it when we do! All we can do is guide and advise and hope they make the right choices.
      Thanks so much for reading, Rowena 🙂

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