FFfAW : The frostbitten heart

This week’s photo prompt is provided by loniangraphics. Thank you for our photo prompt!


 

Each time the snow fell, covering the land in gnawing cold and ankle deep crunch, she went out looking. And when ice turned the world to a hard snap … she searched then too.

Looked for the lamp post with its prism of glass, for dancing, gaseous shadows falling on hard packed earth. Looked for the faun and his presents clothed in paper and trussed with string.

Sitting under the fir trees, waiting for chattering beavers, for sleigh rides and Turkish Delight  – Always Winter, never Christmas – she was filled with so much yearning, such a need for magic, it was as if the frost had bitten her heart, as if it was in shards in her chest, cracked like a broken ice puddle. Beneath her feet there was never magic, only the parent of grey, gritty slush.

She’s old now, still searching. Still driven by that frostbitten heart. But sometimes, I swear her breath smells of rosewater and lemons and I wonder  …

 


Written for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.  See here to join the fun.

And if – dear, bereft reader – you are ignorant of the land I am describing, then you merely need to step this way. Mind those moth balls, now.

 

 

 

FFfAW : The dandelion’s nod

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Yarnspinner. Thank you Yarnspinner for our prompt!


 

The precision of her neighbour’s manicured garden unnerved Maeve. The hedging with its right angles and sharp edges – so controlled. She imagined him on his hands and knees, snipping at the grass with nail clippers, producing a set square and spirit level to ensure everything was ‘just so’.

She eyed her own patch, the moss springing in the lawn, the dandelions nodding their downy heads, buttercups, valerian, nature in mid-riot.

She’d seen him peering over the fence when he thought she was out, pristine garden gloves on his slim fingers, mini sheers in hand, poised.

‘You bloody dare,’ she’d murmured.

So far he hadn’t. Though he might if he caught her on moonlit nights, tufty dandelion heads in hand, watching as the wind caught the seeds, tugged them up, over the fence. Parachuting a little wildness into his life.

 


Written for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. See here to join in and to read the other tales.

 

 

FFfAW : The girl who wept herself away

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Maria with Doodles and Scribbles. Thank you Maria!


 

By the burn she’d sit day after weeping day, shawl pulled tight over bun and bonnet.

The old women – sooty jackdaws on pin legs – took turns to scold her. ‘D’ya think you’re the first? D’ya think y’all be the last? Life is naught but strife.’

Mother came, arms crossed tight as barrel hoops. ‘I could drench the moors o’er my losses,’ she said. ‘Pull up your boots or you’ll settle where you sit and wither to a stump.’

Brother came with hands of bark to haul and maul the lass away home, but still she wept, snatching at the foamy water for the face gone on before.

Then the frosts fell, the burn turned bristly with ice, salting her lashes, cracking on her lips.

When the thaw came she melted too. They found her shawl, the bonnie bonnet now paled, silk orange blossom twisted in the band.

A bloom for love eternal, faded.

 


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

FFfAW : What Nanty said

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


 

The tree was a wild thing, Nanty said.

Neither good nor bad, friend nor foe, a creature that lived only for itself. Drawing mosses close as the world turned and cooled, making fresh sticky buds the colour of Angel Shades caterpillars when the sun wheeled high over the moors.

Tiddle Spence learned how wild the tree was, Gordy Prin too the day they went wassailing. Full of last blow’s cider they beat each branch and bough with walking canes and cricket bats, hallooing across the gorse like cattle under the slaughter man.

Tiddle they found plaited in the tree’s gnarly roots. Gordy was never found at all – except the middle finger of his right hand, discovered in a knot hole, wedded to the trunk.

Nanty just nodded when she heard. ‘Wild,’ she said.

 


Written for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. See here to join in and to read the other tales.

Although less popular than it once was, wassailing is still done here in the South West of England, in the cider making counties, such our own Somerset. I’ve been a wassailing myself, in a chill January, drinking warm cider, beating pots and making lots of noise to encourage the apple trees to wake up and give a good harvest. See here to learn more about wassailing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FFfAW : Twilight warning

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Sunayana MoiPensieve. Thank you for our photo prompt!


 

She takes a last draw on her cigarette and throws the stub in the gutter.

A wave of commuters flows from the station, heads down, dashing past the busker and his open guitar case. Five twenty pees and a shirt button  – but he’s been plucking the notes and pound coins out, stuffing them in his pockets, careful to leave a few behind.

The sky changes, an eerie twilight that warns of more rain. The first drops fall, shivering the surface of the puddles. She lights another cigarette.

 … He points his camera at the busker, pretends to take a photograph while watching her from between his lashes. She smokes too much. He tries to imagine what she tastes like but he’s never kissed anyone who smokes before. He wants a photo of her to keep but she’s out of shot and he doesn’t want to move, to draw attention. A man approaches her …

‘Where have you been?’

‘Stuck at work. Come on. It’s going to throw it down.’

… He turns his lens away. Always looking …

 


Written for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. See the pic and tell a tale. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FFfAW : A last flap of broken wings

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Tim Livingston with the blog, The ForesterArtist. Thank you Tim for our photo prompt this week!


 

Archie pushed through the ferns, the fronds pleasantly scratchy on the backs of his hands. The light grew brighter as he walked on, the canopy of leaves thinning. Ahead was the LaSalle’s rust brown body, part masked by green, the tarpaulin that covered the hole in the roof shifting with the wind, imitating the sound of the sea.

A ham sandwich was warming in his pocket, a flask of tea cooling. Enid slept in an old car, but she still loved her morning cuppa. His eye was caught by movement, like a bird flapping broken wings. One of her National Geographics. Images of yellow sand dunes flashing with each twitch of the pages.

‘Enid?’

On the car’s dashboard was a flattened cigarette packet, a note scrawled on the inside.

Dear Archie, it’s time for me to go home. Something’s calling and I can’t ignore it longer. Take care of La Sally for me. Enid

He sat in the driver’s seat eating the sandwich, inhaling the scents of ham and rotting leather.

 


Written for Precious Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. See the pic – a gorgeous one this week, I’m sure you’ll agree – and write a tale. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FFfAW : The half-smoked cigarette of joy

Busy airport lounge

Image : Dawn Miller

Every direction

PASSENGERS go

moves the economy

FORWARD

As EconiSlogans went, it was more subtle than

EAT MORE MEAT

and

BUY MORE, SAVE JOBS

the ones Dale remembered from his childhood.

He and the kids from the block had taken up those Slogs, as people jokingly called them, acting out the screen ads that went with the campaign. They’d ape the gravel drive voice of the man in the ad, puffing their chests in a pantomime of his boxy frame, pulling their brows down so low they went cross-eyed.

The joke was, no one in the neighbourhood had money to buy meat – their parents had already lost their jobs.

Now the man from the ad was President – he was paler now, less boxy – and Dale had a job picking litter in the airport lounge. On a good day he’d find a half-smoked cigarette and savour it over his MacCheese dinner.

 


Written for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. See the pic and pic a tale. See here to join in and to read the other stories.