The moon was full enough to illuminate the path, but I clicked on the light anyway, enjoying how my shadow stretched across the lawn, a giant in the night.
In the cardboard box were the broken spectacles, the engraved wedding ring (Forever), the shoes with their matted laces. All dried now, still rusty looking.
The riskiest things to keep are the driving licences, row upon row of tiny photographs like prison mugshots.
But I keep them anyway.
And touch each with my outstretched fingertip when the kids are on playdates, when my husband is down the pub.
Friday Fictioneers is run my the wonderful Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Come write and share and read other stories.
This week that shed took me along a deadly path by reminding me of the 19th century killing of Maria Marten at Polstead in Suffolk, otherwise known as the Red Barn Murder. My dad used to live closeby and I remember him pointing out the spot where poor Maria died. All I glimpsed was a flash of trees and a newer black barn as we drove past. The original building burnt down years ago but the tragedy lingers on.
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How did Michael decide what should stay and what should go?
They’d picked the sofa together, the stereo, the dining table. Every item discussed, fought over, every choice a compromise so that nothing in the flat was really Michael’s taste or Con’s, but that of “Michael ‘n’ Con”, an entity murdered by boredom and a million tiny irritations.
Some things he would dispose of – the yoga mat, the hand-knit throw, the rose bought for their anniversary but never given. All red, the symbol of love and danger.
Con’s favourite colour.
Was that another warning sign Michael had ignored?
The wind is sharp as a papa’s razor, cutting through my shirt, grazing my ribs. The air’s coloured with urine. A dead pigeon lies pressed on the pavement, feathers still flapping, still keen to fly.
I close my eyes, imagine the tug of the wind on wide wings, the thrill in my chest as I lift, soar above the traffic stink, leave the rotting corpse of this city behind…
‘Hey!’ Tommy’s standing in the doorway. ‘Do some goddamn work!’
I take my cloth, go back to wiping tables.
But the wind still tugs me.
Friday Fictioneers is run by the incomparable Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. One story, one hundred words – come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough.
It’s been a while since I tried my hand at FF – hopefully, I can still write a drabble that’s comprehensible! I also now hang out at my website, https://www.lynnlove.co.uk/ , where you’ll find more stories and details of my critique services. Just come and hang. Could be fun.
Dad bought the Austin from a travelling salesman he met in the King’s Arms.
The leather seats were cracked like baked mud, the window seals perished to powder and we kids could watch the road speed beneath our feet where spots of floor had rusted through.
Sunday afternoons we’d drive across sullen brown moors filmy with mist, heading for the Cat and Fiddle Inn. Mum and Dad would go inside for pints of bitter and ports and lemon, leaving us in the car sucking lemonade through flattened straws, the wind making the car rock like a lightly moored tug boat.
Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the photo and let your imagination wander. See here to join in.
The Cat and Fiddle is the second highest pub in England, set in the Derbyshire moors. Famous for its barren location and the highly dangerous, snaking road that takes its name, it’s close to where I grew up in Buxton, Derbyshire.
I’ll admit, I was jealous of my brother. While my life was unremarkable, his was extraordinary.
Beautiful girlfriends. A house in Kensington. Holidays to Tonga, Maui, Cambodia.
He lived in the house ten years, but as I walk the rooms, my footsteps echoing, the place feels like a feature in a style magazine. No photographs of family on the mantelpiece. No scrappy school paintings pinned to the fridge or toys on the floor. Not even a dog basket cluttering the hall.
I cuff my cheeks dry. The man had so many trophies and won nothing.
Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the prompt picture and let your imagination fly. See here to join in.
The fall felt sudden when it came, the troops marching along the avenues, the army encampment in the shadow of the tower, everywhere red, white and black.
Others went before us, but trouble had seemed so distant, another man’s worry. And in the meantime there had been meals to cook, clothes to launder, work and school, the thousand small things that make a life.
Now liberty sleeps, the days have taken on a darker hue and that other life has faded to a distant point on the horizon that remains just a point, no matter the miles travelled.
Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the prompt pic and have a go. See here to join in.
Apologies for the slow response to comments. I’ve dived into writing another novel and am finding hard to clamber out!
The door squeaked open. Kurt stepped out onto the tenement roof and propped the door open with an old metal chair he’d saved from a skip. He felt in the brick planter – no plants, just bricks – and fished out his tobacco wallet.
The cigarette paper slipped easily through his practiced fingers, flakes of tobacco tamed into a tube. The lighter flared, clicked shut.
The lead roof was still hot, petrol fumes dissipating a little as day gave way to night.
Laney’s voice reached him up the stairwell. ‘Kurt! Dinner.’
Downstairs the baby was giggling, hiccuping, giggling.
Not a bad life.
Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the picture and write along. See here to join in the fun.
To anyone who asked – and plenty of those who didn’t – Kate would say it was because they wanted their daughter to be bright and colourful, to be a symbol of hope, connected to both the Earth and the Heavens.
Mike would stand behind his wife, smile and nod.
What he couldn’t add was that after Kate’s drink driving conviction, her brief imprisonment and lengthy counselling, after her affair and his decision to take her back, the baby was a symbol of calm after the storm.
The sole remaining, ephemeral connection between her parents.
Written For Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the inspirational photograph and pen a story. See here to join in.
She started aged seven with her parents and four siblings – The Flying Beneventis – though the family name was Mossop and the closest Granny came to Italy was sharing a Penny Lick on Blackpool seafront.
At the age of twenty-one Granny married her manager, Gordon, and shed her leotard to become a novelty act – The Linnet of Livorno. She’d stand alone in the limelight and whistle. One moment she was a blackbird, the next a mistle thrush, always ending with a song to make the heart break – the nightingale.
Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the picture prompt write, share and read the work of others.
I don’t know what the bird in the picture is – I’m pretty sure it’s not a mistle thrush, a blackbird, a nightingale, or even a linnet. But whatever she is, she inspired me to travel back in time.
A Penny Lick was a small glass for serving ice cream most common during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The glass would be rinsed off (not very well!) before being used for the next customer.
Wilton’s Music Hall is the oldest music hall still standing in London. It really gives an idea of what a typical Victorian music hall was like.