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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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’.

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.

 

Friday Fictioneers : A Criminal Conversation

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bulltot


 

Light from the computer screen filled Campbell’s glasses, masking his eyes. ‘When might your great-grandmother have been admitted to Northmead?’

Sally handed him the details, the paper damp from her hands. Annie Giddings. DOB 4th January 1886. Last seen Bonfire Night 1903.

Campbell hummed tunelessly. ‘Found her!’ he said. ‘Admitted 25th November 1903 for falling into criminal conversations with low men. Hmm … various treatments … Ah! Failing to recover her wits, a hysterectomy was performed.’

The printer clicked and whirred a copy of Annie’s records. Sally clenched and unclenched her fists, relieved Northmead was a ruin so she wouldn’t have to burn it down.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. The best flash fiction prompt on the web. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

I saw the photo and though ‘insane asylum’ then did a search for 19th century teatments for women with mental health problems. Some doctors advocated gynaecological surgery such as relocating the uterus and hysterectomy. Read more here.

Read more on the appalling Victorian treatment of ‘fallen women’ and on the foundling hospitals where many were forced to leave their offspring here (this article is also where I found the euphemism ‘criminal conversation’).

As a side note, 25th November is Saint Catherine of Alexandria’s feast day. Amongst other things she is the patron saint of spinsters.

Friday Fictioneers : A fairy tale ending

PHOTO PROMPT© Jan Wayne Fields


 

Some anniversaries through their thirty year marriage he’d left a hastily scribbled card on the mantlepiece – though more often there was nothing but the carriage clock and an unpaid gas bill. Life had delivered her Prince Charming only for him to turn into a frog the moment she had a ring on her finger.

This year, fairy lights, candles, a bottle of the sparkling wine she’d liked from their trip to Italy years before.

He gave her a shy peck on the cheek. ‘Thought you deserved something special.’

Her heart – dormant for so long – began to beat.

 


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

Friday Fictioneers : In the bathroom

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields


 

The skirting board is hairy with fluff, carpet and towel fibres mixed to make a grubby flesh tone. One of the tiles is lifting, flashing dingy grout.

So intimate this space. An important room.

Bill and I found out we were expecting Sally here, hunched over a strip of plastic, waiting for that blue line.

And here we first realised something was wrong with Bill. Those terrifying splashes of red, the first of many.

Now I’m lying on the floor and I can’t move. The pain in my head’s easing though, growing softer at the edges.

Bill? Hold my hand.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers, the best flash prompt in town. See here to join in and to read the other cracking tales.

Friday Fictioneers : A visit to the Widow

PHOTO PROMPT© CEAyr


 

The sun was fading as Sal approached the Widow, the crag black against a golden sky. The breeze was chill, autumn coming on before her time.

Producing the flowers from her apron pocket, her voice shook as she spoke.

‘Widow, I bring you rosemary for remembrance of him I lost. Heather for an earnest wish come true. Windflower for anticipation of my dear man’s return.’

Hands quivering, she placed the stems in the rocky hollows, the stone cold and rough against her fingertips.

The breeze blew against her ear like a warm breath carrying a whisper.

Windflower for fading hope … 

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. The most fun you can have at a keyboard. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

According to The Flower Expert, heather ‘indicates that wishes will come true’ and anemones (known by some as windflowers) ‘symbolizes anticipation’ as well as indicating  ‘fading hope’.