The women gathered at the fountain each day: Elodie – her single, long brow dipped in a frown, always a fresh hole in the same, worn smock; Ottilie – tugging her sleeves to cover the bruises; Maribel – pregnant for the seventh time despite the empty cradle at home.
Other women came and went, cooling hot cheeks in the fresh water. But these three would stand apart, heads so close their hair mingled, their voices lost below the burble of water.
One thing is true – they all vanished on the same day, leaving the water to speak alone.
Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers, the best writing prompt on WordPress. See here to join in the fun.
Papa kept the photographs in a drawer in his study.
‘My portraits’, he called them, though when Meggy drifted in one long and listless Sunday she found no faces, only photographs of old buildings. The shiny surfaces snagged her fingertips, as if the spires and stained glass were reaching, tugging at her.
Decades later, when his camera had long since been boxed away, she would find the old man dozing, blanket tucked round skinny knees, the images hanging from his lose grip.
She wondered if he’d realised back then that people, like buildings, become ruins of themselves.
Written* for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. Do visit here to take part and join this merry band of super talented people.
*Also written in my kitchen, while a builder friend fixes our boiler … along with the climate, the upcoming election and Brexit!
When Josey was a little girl, she would spend rainy afternoons playing with her mother’s pot of spare buttons – pearlised cuff buttons, chunky wooden coat buttons, shimmery greens and blues from old skirts and blouses. Josey let them run through her fingers like sea-smoothed shells, listening to their their soft chink and slither, pebbles caught in a swell.
Now Josey carries a pair of nail scissors in her coat pocket. She snips the threads and cords while people aren’t looking, adds their buttons to her stolen treasures.
But the collection isn’t Mother’s. They don’t feel the same.
The photographs are dry and faded, curled like autumn leaves. They burn even better than I expected.
They are the last thing that connects us. I sold our belongings when I sold the house, forty years of a shared life distributed among house clearance auctions and charity shops, ready to be re-purposed or sent to landfill. There’s something fitting about that last, your jumpers chewed and clawed, used to line rats nests.
I watch the flames die, wait for a sense of freedom to descend but none does.
I can’t burn the memories.
Written for Friday Fictioneers, the writing prompt run by the wonderful Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s. See here to join in the fun.
Storm Philippa had touched down at around 2 am, buckling the thin poles of the discount store gazebo, tearing canvas, flooding the gas barbecue Trevor had hired especially. Their 25th anniversary party in ruins.
Sheila couldn’t help a bitter smile.
The mess of shoddy steel and nylon was the perfect metaphor for her marriage – something unforeseen had intruded from beyond Sheila’s comfortable domestic bubble and destroyed that too.
Only her name wasn’t Philippa.
Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. Peruse the pic and write an appropriate tale. See here to join the fun.
If it was cold, she’d turn on the gas oven, leaning inside with the ticking lighter, me listening for the whoomf of the burner, watching for the sapphire flame.
I’d sit on the step with the musty scent of linoleum and coconut matting, the plastic tang of cyclamen growing in the lean-to, impatient for slices of thick white toast slathered in butter, a cup of Cadbury’s hot chocolate.
She’d peer into the grill, owl eyes made large by pebble glasses, hands on hips as the toast crisped.
Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See here to join in and to read the other tales.
When I saw the old range and kettle, I instantly thought of my Nanny Cuthbert – or Lou as she was called – my dad’s mum. We’d regularly visit her in her terraced house in Uxbridge on the outskirts of London and she showed her love with food: toast cut straight from the loaf; hot chocolate; beef suet pudding cooked in an enamel dish.
Her kitchen had changed very little since the war (bear in mind I was a child in the 1970s and 80s) and to some extent resembled the kitchen below from the Imperial War Museum – though Nan did have the ‘mod-con’ of a water heater above the sink.