Friday Fictioneers: Red sky


PHOTO PROMPT © Renee Heath

There used to be a saying about shepherds and skies – do you know it?

I sit awake nights, trying to remember the sky Before.

The nights the wolves grow brave, snuffling round camp with their hollow bellies and frosted eyes. The nights cold shoos the black bears from the mountains and I sit vigil with my rusted rifle, cradling our last shells like a miser with his gold.

Memories of the world Before are slipping from me, you see, turning to dreams, to fictions. Only that rhyme proves the sky wasn’t always red.

Tell me you remember it.

***

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the pic and write a tale to suit. Visit here to join in the fun.

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FFfAW: Bittersweet


This week’s photo prompt is provided by Jodi McKinney. Thank you Jodi!

‘What about this one, Gamma?’ Solly held out a glossy red berry.

Tan looked up from her own basket of fruit. ‘Bittersweet. Eat a handful of those and you’ll be running to the privy for a night and a day.’

Solly let the baubles fall, crushing them with the toe of her boot.

The sun was high, heat building under Tan’s arms, gathering in the channel of her spine. She closed her eyes for a moment, focused on the breeze, how it carried the scent of the distant shore, the quarrel of gulls.

The lights went out twenty years ago today. How had anyone survived those early days? How had she? The loss of all they’d known, all the comforts they’d taken for granted …

‘This is a funny one, Gamma – all spiky.’

She opened her eyes to find another berry under her nose, Solly’s eyes sparkling like fireworks.

After all they’d suffered, here was her silver lining.

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Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

Bittersweet is a member of the nightshade family with glossy red berries that can cause sickness or even death.

What Pegman Saw : The Last Freeway

Mads was getting tired now, her boots tearing up the fallen leaves and twigs like miniature bulldozers.

At first Col had scolded her, worried they were leaving tracks the Militia might follow.  But as the sun bottomed on the horizon the forest grew quiet and still, every branch snap making him jump, smothering his whispers. 

He tried to focus on the plan. 

Everyone in HomeState knew the stories. If you cross the Last Freeway and scale the Wall, the Grey City authorities put you in a holding camp until you’re shipped back across the border. 

But in the camps they fed you, give you clean clothes … medicine.

Mads coughed, skinny limbs shivering. The rattle was worse. He’d seen the red in her spit, the stuff she’d tried to stamp into the forest floor so he didn’t worry.

One more day, he thought. Just one more.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as it’s starting point. This week, we visit Frankfurt, Germany. See here to join in.

What Pegman Saw: Best Watchtower on the Wall

 

Gregor had scavenged blankets and sheep skins, even a couple of ex-military sleeping bags from when army patrols still made it as far as the Wall. Improvised wooden shutters and squares of tarpaulin kept out the worst of the knife cold wind.

‘Home sweet home,’ he’d said, blind eye shining pale in the torchlight. ‘You’re lucky to have been posted here, man,’ he said. ‘Best watchtower on the Wall.’

That night he showed me how to operate the night vision camera, what to look for in the grainy green image.

‘Always scan the ground,’ he said, drawing deep on a roll-up. ‘They try to dodge the cameras by keeping low.’

A flicker of fear bumped in my chest. ‘They’re clever enough to avoid the camera?’

He flashed a jagged smile. ‘Don’t believe what they teach you at school, Con. These mutts are smart.’

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the inspirational prompt that uses Google Street View as its source. This week, we’re in China at the Great Wall. Be inspired, share, read and comment here.

 

 

 

Three Line Tales : Zero bars

 

three line tales week 117: don't text and drive

photo by Alexandre Boucher via Unsplash


 

It’s the end of the world. Love you, brother.

Denny had always been one for drama – every headache was a brain tumour, every stomach ache cancer. But something about the text  made Stuart swerve onto the hard shoulder amid the car horns and cursing. His call to Denny failed to connect, the same for their sister Clare. Panic mounted as every number he knew failed, as the bars on his phone dropped to zero.

He was staring at the blank screen as the first blast hit, as the nose to tail cars in front of him were flipped into the air, as the pressure wave disintegrated the windscreen.

Love you too, brother.

 


Written for Three Line Tales. Pop along here to join in.

 

What Pegman Saw : The Bone House

‘How long has he lived here?’ called Taylor.

Baruti shrugged, sandals slapping on leathery feet. His easy gait and slim frame made Taylor feel huge and awkward, an elephant beside a gazelle.

‘Could be an indicator of how far -‘

A hot wind blew up the valley and there it was – the same sound in Philadelphia, Bologna, Yekaterinburg. A wind chime made of bones.

‘There,’ said Baruti.

On top of the hill, a large hut on stilts.

‘Did he make that?’ said Taylor.

Forester had been an accountant, the least practical man Taylor ever met. But many of the sufferers had developed new skills. The virus’s capacity to construct new neural pathways in the brain was the reason he was there. One reason.

Baruti was already hurrying away, dust swallowing him.

Taylor checked the comforting swell of the Beretta under his jacket and pressed on.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Street View as its inspiration. This week, we’re in Botswana. See here to join in, share and comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.