FFfAW : Waiting to drown


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

***

It’s just me and dad now, two left out of the five that once made our family. Susie and Jess left within months of Mum dying.

Susie told me it was Dad’s drinking that finally made her leave, the cycle of alcohol and anger and self-recrimination.

Jess never told me why, only that she was going and that she would never return. I remember her expression as she boarded the ferry for the mainland, that mix of shame and sorrow. And relief.

I’ve never blamed my sisters for leaving but I can’t. Dad and I circle each other like boats caught in a whirlpool, pulled by the same forces, unable to separate. Without me he’d sink and without him I’d have to rejoin the world.

Here we drift, trying to stay afloat, wondering when we’ll grow too tired to paddle, waiting to drown.

***

Written for FFfAW. See the pic, write a tale but don’t forget to read and comment on others. See here to join in.

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FFfAW : The Great Black Bird


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

Another two inches of snow had fallen overnight, a frost following close behind. When Lou finally ventured out, the wooden sledge she used to haul firewood skidded waywardly behind her over the hard surface, while she cracked the ice and sank ankle deep, the snow holding her every footfall.

The cold wants me, she thought, her thigh muscles burning, skirts growing heavier, stiffer. 

Not for the first time, she was tempted just to stop, let the snow take her. Take the arthritis swelling knuckles, knees and wrists, take the knocking in her left lung, the ulcer on her ankle that wouldn’t heal no matter how many hawthorn poultices she made. 

She stopped a moment, breathless from the wind and effort. The crows were arguing in the tree canopy, great black wings flapping like huge sheets of paper. Somewhere in the future, a black bird waited for her.

But not today.

Tugging the sledge, she headed on. 

***

Written for FFfAW. See the prompt picture, write a tale and share with others. See here for the full rules and to join in.

 

FFfAW : Digging the Dirt

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


 

Everyone on the little cul-de-sac of sooty terraced houses said what a good neighbour Beryl was.

When Mary at number 5 was laid up with a broken hip, it was Beryl who fed her budgie, put the ancient Hoover through its paces. And when Fred and Sylvie’s son died in a car crash, it was Beryl who organised the wake, made the beef paste sandwiches, kept the mourners topped up with tea and sweet sherry.

On the day she passed away there were many tears shed. By the next day – when her diaries were found – there were no more tears.

There was a diary entry about the baby Mary had given up for adoption when she was fourteen, a sad little snapshot of the golden haired baby boy – the only picture Mary had of him.

There were newspaper clippings of Fred and Mary’s son taped on one page, about the trouble he’d got into in Exeter with that young typist and the reason he drank.

Only the vicar attended Beryl’s funeral.


Written for FFfAW. See the picture, write a tale, share, read and comment – here.

Yes, I’ve gone a little left field. I struggled to begin with but once the title phrase blipped into my head, the rest came easily.

FFfAW : The night’s events

 

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


 

‘Do you like the fish, Annie?’ Julie stayed the hallway side of the bedroom door, toes on the metal rod that pinned the carpet to the floorboards.

She’d read the file, though had skipped over the details – even after fifteen years, the random cruelty of adults could keep her awake at night. Annie still wore the nightie she’d been found in – grubby, and not from the night’s events – her face black from the fire, hands and forearms prickled with dried blood. She’d been checked by the medical officer – nothing physical to worry about, though the other scars she carried …

‘I’m making pancakes for the others if you’d like some. Maple syrup, lemon and sugar, chocolate spread – we’ve got the lot.’

The golden head moved back and forth, following the dash of the fish through the weed. The child needed a bath, a change of clothing – a hug. But she knew better than to rush these things.

‘I’ll be in the kitchen if you need me.’

A slight nod of the golden head.

A start.


Written for FFfAW. See the prompt pic and pen a tale and don’t forget to share, read and comment.

 

 

FFfAW : The barman and the golden girl

 

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Michelle DeAngelis. Thank you Michelle!


The beachfront’s infested.

I see’em on every slipway, bumping their asses against the fencing. On the beach tangled in fishing nets like red snapper.

I found a pair behind the bar this morning, making out on a crate of Bud Light. Thought it was raccoons going through the trash again.

Meg used to laugh at my bitching, shake her head as she sliced lemons for the evening. ‘Leave ’em in peace. They’re only young once.’

Maybe that’s why I’m angry. Cos that used to be me and Meg rattling beer bottles, slipping into warm, gritty sheets of sand, waking when the sun seared the backs of our necks.

Now I’m here tending bar, slopping out drunks at closing, getting turned over at least once a season by some junkie too glass-eyed to see his way to the register.

And Meg’s in an urn in the back room, my golden girl stored in tarnished plastic.

 


Written for Priceless Joy’s FFfAW. See the pic and write a tale. Don’t forget to share, read and comment here.

 

FFfAW : In search of other colours

 

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


 

I rub my palm on the misted bus window, clearing a porthole of clean glass to peer through. Lawns stretch along straight roads, dust-dulled grass cut by grey tarmac, grey houses, grey pavements.

There’s a man mowing his lawn, stooped back turned towards me, grey head down as he follows the straight line in the grass. His cardigan flaps in the breeze, the colour of gunmetal. He could almost be my dad, bent under the weight of geometric lawns, pub and pint Saturdays, roast beef Sundays, back to work Mondays.

The bus passes on and leaves the man behind and I begin my search for other colours.

 


Written for the FFfAW Challenge. See the pic and write a tale, share, read and comment. See here to join in the fun.

The image of green and grey through a gloomy window reminded me of one of my favourite New Model Army songs, Green and Grey. The song is all about someone who escapes a small town life … and the people they leave behind.

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers : The loss of Folly

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


 

‘Stay down. Stay hidden.’ A last flash of Poppa’s eyes in the darkness and he was gone.

Folly did as she was told. She knew the forest well, the creak of the trunks in the wind, the sound of twigs falling to leaf litter, the scurry of creatures smaller and more terrified than herself.

But she searched for other sounds – the soft rustle and pause of a lean wolf, the hiss of breath through his snout; the grunt of boar.

Most of all she listened for the Others, the clumsy thrash of their limbs, the hushed, garbled words, the scrape of metal just before …

Come the grey paling of the dawn, the Others had not come. Nor had Poppa.

She crawled from the hollowed out tree, brushed dead leaves from her skirts, evicted a beetle from her shoe.

A voice cried out, lifting the crows from their roosts. Crashing footsteps,  garbled words – sharp, ringing as a sword hitting stone.

She closed her eyes and wished …

 


Written for Priceless Joy’s FFfAW. See the pic and write a tale. See here to join in and to read the other stories.