Friday Fictioneers : A well-placed kick

PHOTO PROMPT © Sarah Potter


 

The shed door opens under a well-placed kick, the padlock holding solid as the rusted hinges give out.

Inside spades, forks, a wheel barrow with a flat tyre, liquid in a lemonade bottle that smells like turpentine.

In a web strung corner I find a pair of shoes – they’re muddy, worn low at the heel, but once I send the current residents skittering, they fit well enough.

I look up at the house as I leave – sooty, broken glass in the window frames, paint peeling. The mouldering remnants of a house, forgotten and unloved.

I know how it feels.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the pic and write a tale, see here to join in and to read the other stories.

 

 

 

 

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How to measure happiness

 

Happiness used to be measured by the size of the ice cream I held, by the ribbons of raspberry sauce looped over the top, the chocolate flake pressed into the middle. By watching the toy ballerina in a jewellery box twirl, imagining myself wearing the same pink tulle, spinning like a dainty top on pointed toes. It used to be Tiswas and squashing Jelly Tots together to make burgers and colouring in my poster of hot air balloons, keeping within the lines.

Now I know more.

I know sugar should not bring me happiness (though it still often does), I know I will never wear pink tulle and that the Royal Ballet rarely accept clumsy forty eight year old dancers with knock knees. I know Tiswas wasn’t as good as I thought it was and that keeping within the lines in life will not necessarily bring me the rewards I think it should.

The weight of all this should bear down on me, should press the happiness from my cynic’s heart.

But it doesn’t.

I am happy with what I have, with who I am and with the people who love me and who I love. And that’s enough. That’s everything.


To understand the nonsense that were Jelly Tots and Tiswas, see here and here.

 

Three Line Tales : The Spark

three line tales week 85: sparkler and sunglasses

photo by Matt Palmer via Unsplash


 

The front room stank of beer, the armpit smell of stale kebab meat. Gingerly, Sandy stepped over discarded food wrappers, knocking over a bottle that gurgled lager onto the rug.

‘God’s sake!’

A muffled cry from the crumpled duvet on the sofa told her Dave hadn’t made it to bed last night.

‘You’re a pig!’ Why did she still flat share with this loser?

‘Didn’t find it,’ he mumbled.

‘Find what?’

‘The spark.’

Dave always claimed his night’s picking up girls in clubs wasn’t selfish gratification, but a quest for the ‘spark’, an indefinable moment of connection that would tell him when he’d found his soul mate.

Sandy pulled back the duvet, revealing a mass of tangled brown hair, lids firmly shut over what she knew to be dazzling blue eyes.

‘You can’t even see in front of your face, you idiot.’ She let the duvet drop.

 


Written for Sonya’s Three Line Tales. See the pic and write. Visit here to read the other stories.

Friday Fictioneers : Owt or Nowt?

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Kelvin M. Knight


 

The sun squatted low, puffs of apricot cloud still bubbling along the horizon. The colours brought to mind summer, despite the cold that had snuck into her boots.

Edith waited patiently outside the bakers for a loaf, a roll or perhaps a chunk of parkin too misshapen or overcooked to grace the shining tables of Clifton. She wasn’t particular – a full stomach for a ha’penny was hard to come by these days.

The baker’s boy tugged the door with meaty fingers. ‘Nowt today.’ The door slammed, snapping off his words.

Sleeping rough was always colder on an empty stomach.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See here to join in and read the other tales.

If you’re wondering what ‘parkin’ is, look here. And if you’re wondering what ‘nowt’ means … why, it’s the opposite of ‘owt’ of course! Nowt meaning nothing or naught and owt meaning anything – Northern English slang dropped down from the Old Norse and still very much alive up north and in our house, we being defected Northerners! So when someone asks is there ‘owt or nowt’ they’re saying is there ‘anything or nothing’.

What Pegman Saw : The flooded orange grove

The space is cramped, the air hot enough to snatch the sweat before it pearls on his skin.

Below breakers crash, hiss to silence before building again, a sound that fills his dreams with frilled waves and sharpened rocks. He used to dream of home, of orange groves and trees speckled with flowers, a thousand stars in a sky of polished emerald leaves. But each crash of the sea has stripped an inch of his past until there is nothing but the fort, the rocks, the waves.

He will die here.

It’s a certainty that he doesn’t know so much as feel, a knowledge hammered into his bones, a thread spun through every tendon and muscle.

Night begins to fall, the cold beam of the lighthouse a lance subduing the sun until it retreats below the sea.

The waves crash louder in the darkness.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, a writing prompt using Google Streetview. See the pic and wander. Go here to join in and to see the other stories.

I saw the fort, saw the little turrets on the side called garita or bartizan and wondered what it might have felt like to be a soldier in there, looking out on a foreign sea.

 

 

Three Line Tales : Miss Salome’s world stops spinning

 

three line tales week 84: glamping

photo by Niv Rozenberg via Unsplash


 

Miss Salome was nervous of her new home at Lombardi’s World of Physical Wonders.

She was used to the contented cluck of the hens, the rhythms of a farmhouse bound by sunrise and seasons. But Lombardi’s was a like a city, all noise and bustle under canvas and always a new face – Atarah the alligator woman, Sherman the dogfaced boy, the half and half Charlie, Abdu who they called the leopard skin boy … too many to remember.

She had once lived rooted to the earth, now the soil beneath her was forever changing from red to brown to grey, back to red with the rumble of cartwheels.

Then one day she saw him, a man in miniature, so small and perfect he could be cast from porcelain. He sat on the top step of the neighbouring caravan, hands resting on his knees, watching her.

‘Welcome to the neighbourhood,’ he said smiling and for once she was pleased of her beard, pleased it hid the flush of pleasure that rogued her cheeks.

 


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales. See the pic … and you know the rest. Go here to read the other stories.

To learn more sideshow acts and terminology see here.

 

 

Friday Fictioneers : The Long Night falls

PHOTO PROMPT © Danny Bowman


 

The sun was low by the time Alison made it out of the city. The streets had been clogged with traffic since the alarm sounded, every lane blocked by dumped cars. In the end, she’d left the Ford and joined a river of humanity drawn to the desert. Beyond the concrete and steel, things felt calmer, voices hushed over the sound of feet stumbling through sand.

A last emerald flash of sunlight and the Long Night fell.

She thought of all those she’d loved as the frost furred her lashes and the cold grew hard. Finally, her heart slowed, stilled.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See here to join in and to read the other tales.

The ’emerald’ sunset refers to a phenomenon called the Green Flash. See here.