Friday Fictioneers: The Paper Trail Jar


PHOTO PROMPT © Priya Bajpal

Meg invented the Paper Trail jar when we first moved in together.

I’d come home from work to find a confetti of candy coloured paper folds leading me to it. I’d stoop, snatch up each slip in turn –

Welcome home, love … You’re my star … You warm me … Never leave.

This morning when I woke, mouth sour and gummy from last night, her side of the bed was cold, empty aside from the jar. I tipped the contents on the sheet.

Your sadness stifles me … You don’t see me anymore … You’ve murdered my love for you … I’m leaving.

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

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Friday Fictioneers : The Hollow Girl


PHOTO PROMPT © Russell Gayer

‘How long has she been missing?’ Papa pulled on his boots, his braces still hanging loose, bouncing at his thighs.

‘An hour ago.’ But I was reading up in the attic before that, hiding from my sister, avoiding the grief that hung about her like a shadow. I stared up the hill, towards the foot of the glacier. ‘She wouldn’t go up there alone.’

The old Nancy wouldn’t, but this hollow girl that had replaced her, who drifted like mist through the house since the accident … Maybe.

‘If I’m not back by nightfall …’ The door slammed behind Papa’s back.

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Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See here to join in, read and comment.

What a happy place to be, back on Friday Fictioneers. And what a cracking, inspiring photo too. Thanks Russell.

Friday Fictioneers : Odd Fish

PHOTO PROMPT © Randy Mazie

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‘Odd Fish.’

The old women whispered as he passed the yard, rocking in their chairs, fanning damp faces with crimped newspaper. Samuel dipped his head, avoiding their dry, puckered gaze.

Clouds of dust rose as he crossed to the cemetery. Passing sharp, white headstones he reached a wooden cross in the shade. Taking out a well-thumbed book, he peered closely at the text.

‘Here’s the book I was telling you about, Mama.’

Clearing his throat, he read, ‘If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born …’

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

I’ve been away for a while and what a joy to be back in my blogging home.

Note – Samuel is reading the opening lines of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.

Christmas 1914

PHOTO PROMPT © Björn Rudberg


Winter of 1914, we made a parcel for Albert – a block of Ma’s sherry-soaked Christmas cake, two packs of Woodbines, a bar of Fry’s chocolate and a hat she’d knitted herself.

‘He’ll need summat warm over there.’ She caressed the stitches, brown and thick as our Albert’s flop of hair.

I hadn’t told her what I’d heard whispered down the pub – the ankle deep water, the bodies lain still and stiff in No Man’s Land till bombs turned them to Flanders mud … the rats.

She slipped a card in too, signed ‘your loving Mother’.

‘That’ll warm him.’ I tried to smile.

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First written for Friday Fictioneers. Visit here to see what you’re missing.

Notes

Woodbines – at the time, a popular brand of cigarettes mad by the Wills tobacco company here in Bristol. Cigarettes helped with morale in the trenches and were also used as currency.

I was going to use the brand name Five Boys chocolate but didn’t quite have the word count. Five Boys was made by Fry and Son – another Bristol company – and was famous for the image on the front of the wrapper.

The Fate of the Flower Seller

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook


Ninny, they called her.

Sold flowers under the gas lamp, corner of Great Earl Street and Queen Street, Seven Dials. Old enough to be your Nana, though not yet old enough to be mine. Hair dyed black as a coal hole, always a pheasant feather or a silk rose tucked in her crumbling straw hat. Face like a patch of dried chamois leather. Shared a room with some other biddies – a boot lace seller, a sheet music peddlar and one who peddled herself, if you know what I mean.

Nah, don’t know where she went. People just vanish, lad.

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Story originally posted on Friday Fictioneers. See here to find out what you’re missing.

Friday Fictioneers : A watchful eye

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Nathan Sowers grandson of our own Dawn M. Miller


 

Dew had settled on Bertha’s shawl, seeped through to her dress. The damp drew out the warmth from her shoulders, making her shiver.

She glanced into the mirror, at the reflection of a wormy shed, the path leading to it choked with fleabane. Back when she was ill, she would have seen the shed’s lone window as an eye, wide, watchful, judging …

A scrape, a thump. The demons were awake inside the shed. Thank goodness she’d thought to lock the door, to protect herself against their grasping claws, their greedy mouths.

‘Mama!’

How the devils screamed! She closed her eyes.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. Write a story and join the fun. See here to learn how.

NB Bertha’s name just sprang to my mind when I went to write this. Hardly surprising for anyone who has read Jane Eyre, for Bertha Mason is Rochester’s disturbed wife, the original ‘madwoman in the attic’.

As a teenager, I loved Jane Eyre, but grew to have greater sympathy for Bertha after studying Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, which explores the themes of racism, colonialism and prejudice in Charlotte Bronte’s original telling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Fictioneers : The sting of ash

PHOTO PROMPT © Carla Bicomong


 

‘Dodie, wait!’

Gray’s voice carried over the scrubby boulders, through gnarly sea oak and salted grass. I should have stopped, but the smell of burning pushed me on, pulled me up the hill when I stumbled.

Not wanting to see, needing to see.

I reached the cliff edge, a sudden wind nearly knocking me sideways, nearly blinding me with the stink of burning, the sting of ash. I looked below through squinted eyes.

A hundred pyres drifting on a mirror sea, each one a livelihood, each one a future.

‘All the boats,’ I gasped, disbelieving. ‘They burned them all.’

 


Written for Rochell Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the picture and write a tale and don’t forget to share, read and comment on other stories. See here to join in.