What Pegman Saw : To rest among the gravestones

 

‘Can you do it?’ said Connor.

Sonny looked up from tying her laces, lights in her trainers winking in the sunset. ‘You know I can,’ she said.

Her hair was tied in a tangled pony tail, Hello Kitty tee shirt smudged with yesterday’s breakfast beans, eaten cold from the can.

Foot swinging, heel tapping on a slumped gravestone, his sister looked the eight-year-old she was. Not for long, he thought.

A blanket was already spread in the shadow of the archway. Sonny positioned herself on it and lay down, head pointing towards the tumbledown church, toes to the sweeping valley below. Her eyes closed, hands folding neatly on her chest.

He watched, though he hated to see the moment the little girl in her slipped away.

Silence.

Then her face convulsed, rearranged, settled into new folds.

‘Connor?’ said Sonny in a voice that wasn’t hers.

 


This piece of fantastical fiction was written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. See the pic and write a story, see here to do just that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Falling in love for the over forties: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

 

Falling in love is the best, isn’t it?

The anticipation when the object of your desires draws near. The raised heartbeat, the sweating palms, the desire to spend all day, every day in your loved ones company, denying all others. You can’t eat, you can’t sleep, all you can think about is them and the next time you’ll be reunited. And when that moment finally comes, when the two of you are alone, slipping between the sheets, your fingers clumsy, hungry to run over those silken pages, to open that glossy cover, to let your eyes feast on what’s inside …

I’ve loved many authors over many reading years – Susan Cooper, Alan Garner, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, later Margaret Atwood and Sarah Waters and Neil Gaiman

Yes, I’m a fickle soul, but what can I say? The heart wants what it wants.

Recently, I’ve begun a new affair with David Mitchell’s Booker longlisted The Bone Clocks. I’d like to describe to you what it’s about, but I’m only halfway through and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure myself.

There’s a teenage runaway and a predatory, swindling Cambridge undergraduate, a conflict-addicted roving reporter covering the war in Iraq and a supernatural fight between good and evil – I think.

Social commentary, love lost, fantastical horror, life and death and a family wedding – all things that keep the reader engaged.

But it’s Mitchell’s writing that’s drawn me in. Rounded characters, genuine shocks and terrifying threat – both those otherworldly and all to familiar from the evening news – make us care and sympathise for his protagonists, even those who are in the wrong, even as they’re performing the most heinous acts.

To say I’d love to be able to write with his skill and intelligence, handle a range of settings and styles and manage to hold the lot together without it falling into a mess, is an understatement.

Have I found another author to love, another to add to the list and me so damned cynical and middle aged? Perhaps I’ll only know once the last page has turned.

Like love, I don’t know where this story will lead me in the end, but for now I’m just enjoying the ride.

 


Have you recently discovered a new author to love? Did you think you’d never love again, but found a book that sent your heart a-beating as if you were a teenager in the first throes of bookish passion?

Link : What the late Ursula K le Guin thought of David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks.

 

 

 

The Metamorphosis

 

A dozy blue bottle dashes against the window pane, body tock-tocking, a sound like thrown cooked rice.

Metallic soldier flies – emerald and sapphire – ding on the corrugated roof, as if their combined effort might lift the iron sheets from their bolts, set them loose in the chill night air.

Above a bowl – contents melted by rot – dance the fruit flies, their zigzagging a distraction from the bumble bee corpses lined up on the mantle piece, furry bobbles pinned to strips of padded crimson felt.

On every sill and shelf another order of invertebrate – Coleoptera, Dermaptera, Diptera, through the alphabet  – though each frustratingly incomplete.

My menagerie, live and dead.

I close my eyes and the buzz of the dead joins that of the living and my wings shimmer like finely spun glass.

 


This piece of fantastical flash fiction’s title was lovingly stolen from the novella of the same name by Franz Kafka. It surely contains one of the most arresting opening lines in literature.

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.

Friday Fictioneers : The boy who powered New York

PHOTO PROMPT ©Jill Wisoff


 

‘Now I know, Doctor Gordon.’

Gordon’s hands lay folded on her lap. She knew not to move too much or too suddenly during their chats. ‘What is it you know, Samuel?’

A light glowed behind his ashen eyes. ‘Why I’m always so tired.’

Beneath the worry lines and shadows, she saw the child trying to escape.

‘The city lights,’ he said, hands a blur, ‘they’re powered by my thoughts. Think of it all – the subway, the stores, the buildings. So much energy.’

Through the barred window, Gordon glimpsed a streetlight. The fat bulb blinked, guttered to darkness …

 


This piece of flash fiction was written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the pic, write, share, read and comment here.

Friday Fictioneers : The silvering of clouds

PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy

There’s a light you get at twilight, when the sun is tucked behind silvery clouds. The sky’s still blue, holding onto day, but the earth is draining of colour, already sliding into night.

It was like that twenty years ago. Day Zero we call it now, but really it was just another summer’s day, a day I have no memory of. Until the broadcast.

I remember Ma’s face as the news came buzzing and tinny over the radio. A sandcastle crumbling under waves. The radio has remained dumb since.

If you could see us all now, Ma, you’d weep.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. Come on over, be inspired here, read and comment. It’s a joy.

 

 

Friday Fictioneers : The weirdest thing

PHOTO PROMPT © Yarnspinnerr

‘How long’s it been derelict?’ said Abbott.

Daniels referred to his notebook. ‘About four years.’

‘Is that all?’

The plaster had sloughed off the walls to show wooden laths, the ribs of the house exposed. He smelled Tom cat. Blankets in one corner, a stub of candle, a twist of tin foil – someone had been there, maybe not for a while.

‘Where is it?’

Daniels nodded towards a doorway. Light spilled through cracks onto warped floorboards.

‘It flows like liquid,’ whispered Abbott. ‘And the colours … Like oil on water.’

‘That’s not the weirdest thing,’ said Daniels, opening the door.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. Come share, read and comment here.

 

 

 

Friday Fictioneers : Jenny Wren sings

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook


 

She cast a slim shadow on the glassy lock, wrists and ankles fragile as porcelain. Weaving between the sculptures, she tapped each in turn with her forefinger.

‘… tad-cu, modryb, cyfnither …’

It was the eighth time Idwal had caught her on the grounds. The perimeter wall was tall, impregnable, but still she kept getting in. He watched, enthralled.

She’d stopped by the two tallest stones, one lissom arm resting on each. ‘Mam. Tad.’

Wind rippled the water, hushed through the grass. Somewhere a wren sang.

After the song faded, nothing remained of her but footprints in the damp grass.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. Write a tale, share, read and comment on others. See here to do all that.

Work stopped me from join the scribbling party last week. I am therefore, painfully late so if I don’t get round to reading your tale do forgive me.

On seeing the photo I was struck by the sculptures in the foreground and how they loosely resembled a group of standing stones. Most standing stones in the UK and elsewhere have legends attached and those legends often centre around fairy folk and the stones being cursed people. See here to read some interesting British legends surrounding standing stones.

Notes

The wren is called ‘the king of birds’ or ‘the little king’ in many languages. She’s also known as a trickster. Take a look here to learn more.

I found the following words on the Omniglot website. Beside them are their English equivalents.

Cymraeg (Welsh Celtic)         English

Tad                                               Father

Mam                                             Mother

Tad-cu                                          Grandfather

Cyfnither                                     Female Cousin

… and finally, the Welsh boy’s name Idwal means Lord of the wall.