Three Line Tales : The falling

three line tales, week 83: origami paper cranes on a table

photo by Dev Benjamin via Unsplash


 

The bell went for break, the children’s whoops and laughter receding along the hall as Shona set to tidying. She’d been showing them simple origami swallows, training their faltering, stubby fingers to create sharp folds, the table scattered with a rainbow flock of creased paper wings and torn beaks. The tap of shoes in the hall made her turn.

Poppy. Sensitive, more likely to be found talking to the dolls than her school mates. ‘Miss, the birds – they’re falling!’

Shona smiled, sent the paper rustling with her hand. ‘We made them, remember? They’re not real.’

Poppy shook her head, pointing to the window. ‘Not those. Those.’

The sunlight flickered, dimmed. A sound like hard rain falling. The children screaming.

 


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales. See the prompt pic and just write. See here to join in and to read the other tales.

Three Line Tales : A thousand plucked wires

three line tales week 82: a very long skeleton

photo by Samuel Zeller via Unsplash


 

It was the spaces between the ribs Sam watched, triangles of black caught between bleached pins, growing and shrinking with each coil and flex. Crescent bones hooked together, held a moment then snapped apart, making a sound liked plucked wires.

‘How is it doing that?’ he whispered.

The serpent was stripped of flesh and muscle and skin, the elongated organs long dissolved to atoms. The diamond-shaped skull turned at the sound of his voice, blank eye sockets searching for him.

Col sighed, scrubbed his forehead with blunt fingers. ‘How are any of them doing it?’

Behind him, the sound of a thousand plucked wires.

 


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales. See the pic and write a tale … And unlike me, try to keep it to three lines! See here to join in.

 

 

Three Line Tales : The anniversary

Three line tales week 80: a pizza oven

photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha via Unsplash


 

Their anniversary dinner, their favourite pizzeria.

He stares down at his plate, at the smear of tomato, the shattered bread dough. Life gets in the way of love, he thinks – clothes dropped on the bathroom floor, plates left in the sink, a leaking cistern, overdue mortgage payments. It all distracts from the emotion that was once the centre of his world.

‘I love you.’ He reaches across the table and takes her hand.

 


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales. Visit here to read the other stories and to join in.

Three Line Tales : The dragons take York

three line tales week 80: a blue old school VW camper van

photo by Annie Theby via Unsplash


For some context … The VW reminded me of Trixie, a red campervan that plays an important role in my urban fantasy work in progress. Below is an extract in which our heroes are being chased through the streets of York by a huge and terrifying creature – all bat wings, claws and fangs. If they can only reach the VW and safety …


 

The shadow of King’s Court was coming closer and closer and below the pound and slap of their footsteps he heard something — the thrum of a VW engine.

‘We’re going to do it,’ shouted Neil. ‘We’re nearly safe.’

Suddenly there was another loud screech and it was all the movie sound effects he’d ever heard, every terrifying alien bug mother, every nameless horror – angry, frustrated, on the attack. There was a loud crash. The ground rocked beneath his feet, throwing him down. On his knees on the cobbles, Neil dared to look behind him.

The creature that had been caught up in the shop sign was free, the bracket piercing the membrane hanging from its wing, plaster clinging to the metal.

Dipping its head, it plodded towards him.

 


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

Three Line Tales : Under the floodlights

three line tales week 79: outside of the MCG; the g

photo by Arnaud Mesureur via Unsplash


 

‘Keep under the floodlights,’ said Mumma. ‘It’ll be warmer under there.’

So that’s where we stood, Polly, Mumma and me – me sandwiched between them, glimpsing the flood of frightened, muddy people. Everybody seemed to be hurt – nobody was bandaged or cleaned.

I hid behind Polly as the fighting broke out around us. Food. It was over food a lady said. I think that’s what she said – she was crying.

Then the floodlights guttered, spat. Went out.

 


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Word’s Three Line Tales. See the pic and write a tale. See here to join in.

Three Line Tales : Heaven is a shrink-wrapped pillow

three line tales week 78: someone walks down the stairs at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC

photo by Mahdis Mousavi via Unsplash


 

‘Sterile,’ she’d called it, but he liked the clean lines, the lack of clutter, seeing every inch in one glance, no filthy, cluttered corners, no bric-a-brac, no tatted doilies gathering films of dust or rugs piling up moulted hair, dropped crumbs, shed skin.

‘Embarrasing,’ she’d said when he dragged his blanket out onto the stairwell, his shrink-wrapped pillow. ‘Idiot,’ she’d hissed, slamming the door on the scent of floor cleaner, on the speck free tiles, the moon slanting blue through the spotless window.

‘Leaving,’ she said and she did.

‘Home,’ he whispered, closing his eyes.

 


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales. See the pic and write a story. See here to join in and read the others.

Three Line Tales : Shifting the goalposts

three line tales 73 midsummer

photo by Christian Widell via Unsplash


 

Years ago it had been their pitch, a rough piece of wasteground surrounded by a ring of scrubby trees that caught tumbling crisp packets, discarded newspaper shiny with chip grease.

They’d used their jumpers for goalposts, left bottles of lemonade in the shade to keep cool on hot days. Talked about Thunderbirds and Dr Who and how Shane Lacey in the third year kept a knife tucked in his sock. Long, hot days.

Now there was a proper goalpost, crisp white lines painted on the grass. No more chip papers, no more warm, dusty lemonade. How he missed it.

 


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales. See the picture and write a tale. Visit here to read the other stories and to join in.

Three Line Tales : Scar Tissue

photo by Joel Filipe via Unsplash


 

‘Jelly sting,’ he’d said. ‘Swimming in the Gulf of Mexico with Nico. You met Nico, right?’

I’d kissed his scars – welts like bronze earthworms pushing from the surface of his back – he’d turned, pinned me to the bed as I wriggled and laughed, another afternoon lost to each other.

It was only after he went missing I searched his things, found the case, the money, the filmy packets and their dense white powder. All those scars.

 


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales. See the pic and write a tale. To join in and to read the other stories this week, see here.

And seeing as I seem to be making a habit of quoting from songs at the moment and it’s a lovely, sunny Saturday here in the UK, let’s throw in a little Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Three Line Tales : When the day really starts

 

photo by Diana Feil via Unsplash


 

The booths were closing for the night, shutters locking in stuffed bears and tigers, flamingoes with felt beaks and floppy legs the colour of raw salmon. Damian passed by the hot dog van, greasy air scented with onions.

He’d arrived early, starting off making balloon poodles and flowers, passing them into small, sticky hands, trying to smile into Bambi eyes. His day really started as the children stumbled home to bed, as the bass began to pound through the PA. It was then the women would come, teetering over the claggy grass in stilettos, clinging together for support. They’d be drunk – handbags heavy with quarters of vodka – and see him, his broad red smile, his rainbow wig. Damian’s hand would go to his pocket, balloons slipping through his fingers, sleek as skin. The women would touch his shoulder, brush his arm – kiss him sometimes. The sweet, harmless clown.

It was them he thought of when he was alone, as he fingered the slack balloons.

 


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales. See the pic and write a story.

Three Line Tales : The spell of Grimalkin

 

three line tales, week 70: a cat walking on a dock wall with boats in the background

(photo by Timothy Meinberg via Unsplash)


 

I stay by the fire. The chores will have to wait for I can’t turn my mind to them. Wood cracks in the grate, spits out sap to sizzle and dance before dying.

She’s ink black, sleek as an eel, curled tight in my lap. I feel her breathing, though her purr is lost beneath the howling wind, the groan of roof beams above our heads.

He’s out on the waves, deafened by spray, blinded by gales, fingers stiff and cracked as the boards beneath his feet. Keep him safe, little Puss, keep him safe.

 


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales. See here to join in and read the other tales.

Inspired by a line from a Wiki page on ship’s cats and superstition. Fishermen’s wives would keep black cats in the hope the animal would use its supernatural influence to protect their men out at sea.

Grimalkin was the name given to cats in general but also to witches’ familiars. A cat called Grimalkin is a familiar to the Three Witches in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth.