Friday Fictioneers: Ruins

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

Papa kept the photographs in a drawer in his study.

‘My portraits’, he called them, though when Meggy drifted in one long and listless Sunday she found no faces, only photographs of old buildings. The shiny surfaces snagged her fingertips, as if the spires and stained glass were reaching, tugging at her.

Decades later, when his camera had long since been boxed away, she would find the old man dozing, blanket tucked round skinny knees, the images hanging from his lose grip.

She wondered if he’d realised back then that people, like buildings, become ruins of themselves.

***

Written* for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. Do visit here to take part and join this merry band of super talented people.

*Also written in my kitchen, while a builder friend fixes our boiler … along with the climate, the upcoming election and Brexit!

Friday Fictioneers: An item of little value

PHOTO PROMPT © Fatima Fakier Deria

Cora and Thomas posed to cut their wedding cake, blinking in the flash of cameras and good wishes.

Mother – proud in heather tweed and pill box hat – rushed forward once the cutting was done, levered off the top layer of cake, icing swags calving on the Axminster.

A box was ready, lined with crisp white tissue. ‘For the christening,’ said Mother, beaming.

Decades later, when clearing her great aunt’s house, Cora’s niece found a tier of greyed cake nestled in yellowed tissue.

It was tossed in the bin with other items of little value.

***

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See here to join in the fun.

I couldn’t think of a story concerning plastic boxes, but the swagged curtains reminded me of white icing on a wedding cake, so that’s where I went.

Notes

Wedding Cake Tradition. Not sure if it still is, but it was once the tradition for couples to save the top tier of their wedding cake for their first child’s christening, see here.

Axminster is the name of the oldest surviving carpet manufacturers in the UK. When I was a kid, we could only dream of a real wool Axminster carpet. It was nylon all the way for us!

Friday Fictioneers: Lost Treasure

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

When Josey was a little girl, she would spend rainy afternoons playing with her mother’s pot of spare buttons – pearlised cuff buttons, chunky wooden coat buttons, shimmery greens and blues from old skirts and blouses. Josey let them run through her fingers like sea-smoothed shells, listening to their their soft chink and slither, pebbles caught in a swell.

Now Josey carries a pair of nail scissors in her coat pocket. She snips the threads and cords while people aren’t looking, adds their buttons to her stolen treasures.

But the collection isn’t Mother’s. They don’t feel the same.

***

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. To join in and write your own tale, see here.

And many congratulations Rochelle on seven years at the helm – a more gracious, talented, generous and encouraging leader, we could not wish for.

Friday Fictioneers: Erasure

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

The photographs are dry and faded, curled like autumn leaves. They burn even better than I expected.

They are the last thing that connects us. I sold our belongings when I sold the house, forty years of a shared life distributed among house clearance auctions and charity shops, ready to be re-purposed or sent to landfill. There’s something fitting about that last, your jumpers chewed and clawed, used to line rats nests.

I watch the flames die, wait for a sense of freedom to descend but none does.

I can’t burn the memories.

***

Written for Friday Fictioneers, the writing prompt run by the wonderful Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s. See here to join in the fun.

Friday Fictioneers: Gatecrasher

PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Wayne Fields

Storm Philippa had touched down at around 2 am, buckling the thin poles of the discount store gazebo, tearing canvas, flooding the gas barbecue Trevor had hired especially. Their 25th anniversary party in ruins.

Sheila couldn’t help a bitter smile.

The mess of shoddy steel and nylon was the perfect metaphor for her marriage – something unforeseen had intruded from beyond Sheila’s comfortable domestic bubble and destroyed that too.

Only her name wasn’t Philippa.

***

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. Peruse the pic and write an appropriate tale. See here to join the fun.

Friday Fictioneers: Slices of love

PHOTO PROMPT © Valerie J. Barrett

Nan didn’t have a fire in the kitchen.

If it was cold, she’d turn on the gas oven, leaning inside with the ticking lighter, me listening for the whoomf of the burner, watching for the sapphire flame.

I’d sit on the step with the musty scent of linoleum and coconut matting, the plastic tang of cyclamen growing in the lean-to, impatient for slices of thick white toast slathered in butter, a cup of Cadbury’s hot chocolate.

She’d peer into the grill, owl eyes made large by pebble glasses, hands on hips as the toast crisped.

***

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

When I saw the old range and kettle, I instantly thought of my Nanny Cuthbert – or Lou as she was called – my dad’s mum. We’d regularly visit her in her terraced house in Uxbridge on the outskirts of London and she showed her love with food: toast cut straight from the loaf; hot chocolate; beef suet pudding cooked in an enamel dish.

Her kitchen had changed very little since the war (bear in mind I was a child in the 1970s and 80s) and to some extent resembled the kitchen below from the Imperial War Museum – though Nan did have the ‘mod-con’ of a water heater above the sink.

Friday Fictioneers: Through the narrow window of the sky

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

When the house and her parents became too much to bear, when the tide was neither out nor in, Molly would run to the beach and the ruined pier.

She’d counted the perfect distance from the rusted beams, one foot in front of the other, toe to toe – nine feet.

Standing just there, with the beams cutting off the endless sky above, snapping short the sand below, she could pretend.

Pretend barrage balloons weren’t jostling the clouds, that barbed wire didn’t loop back and forth amid the dunes and marram grass.

Pretend Charlie was home, safe.

***

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the lovely pic (this week supplied by the very talented writer Sandra Cook), write a story and join the fun. See here to find out how.

During the Second World War, many of England’s lovely beaches were strewn with barbed wire to combat an invasion from the sea. Fortunately, such an invasion never occurred, but still, that sight in itself must have been disturbing for residents, a sign that we were vulnerable, that only the narrow strip of the Channel stood between us and possible defeat.

For a child’s perspective from the time, see here.