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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

Friday Fictioneers : Trouble in leather

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields


 

‘Trouble,’ judged Mum, eyeing Mickey’s leather jacket, the guitar slung across his back.

Still she let him come in as long as he took off his boots, left his bike helmet in the porch.

So the three of us gathered round the teapot, its bobble hat cosy, a plate of custard creams. The electric heater ticked into life – three bars as we had company – and Mum took Nana Cally’s cups from the dresser, a sure sign she wanted to impress.

She nodded to the guitar recumbent on the settee. ‘Can you play Danny Boy?’

I knew then we’d be okay.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers, the hot ticket of writing prompts. Write, share, read and comment here.

And for those of you who fancy a sentimental wallow, here’s Eva Cassidy’s version of Danny Boy.

Friday Fictioneers : City of a Thousand Scandals

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Fatima Fakier Deria


 

‘Always something to see,’ sighed Signora Bianchi, sweeping open the muslin drapes. Her pillowy bust pressed against my arm. She smelled of garlic and bread dough and crushed lavender. ‘City of a Thousand Scandals,’ she said with a sly wink and sashayed from the room, slingbacks slapping her heels.

She was right, of course.

That summer the city unfurled beneath my window – the bargemen rising with the sun, setting with the midday heat, the thieves and shysters and gigolos slinking out with the midges as the sun wallowed.

And then there was you, the biggest scandal of all.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. Indubitably the best prompt on Word Press. See here to join in, to read and comment on others.

This week’s entry reads more like an opening to a 1940s/50s novel, a young man caught in a foreign city, alone, naive … in danger?

Who do you suppose he’s taking to and why is this person so scandalous?

Friday Fictioneers : Mr Quail’s misplaced beak

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays


 

Mr Quail would strut down the local alleyways, along the garden paths, peacock feathers nodding from his pork pie hat, an early warning to those who valued their privacy.

His lapel badge read ‘Neighbourhood Watch’, the letters written in blue marker pen on a circle of grubby card, a safety pin taped to the back.

‘Always sticking his beak in,’ Gramma would say, sucking her bubble gum pink chops.

One day, the pork pie hat vanished along with its oil slick feathers and its owner.

‘Reckon he stuck that beak in the wrong place,’ said Gramma, smile shining pinkly.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers, the grandest prompt around. See here to join in and to read other stories.

More apologies necessary as I’m late again. Work is crazy with no respite on the horizon, so apologies if I don’t get around to reading your story.

  • NB For those unacquainted with UK English –

Badge – this is a pin in US English.

Beak – a slang word for nose, so the phrase to ‘stick your beak in’ just means to be nosy.

Friday Fictioneers : If I could cast a magic spell

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot


 

If I could cast a magic spell I would not wish for doubloons nor gems large as apples, heavy as the ice that seals our well these bitter mornings past.

Ermine and mink, rivers of silk and satin hold no glamour in my heart. I seek no fortune or renown or any home outside our shuttered cottage, its mossy thatch, the scent of tallow and our lowing beasts.

The only spell I crave is to be made as stone, a sculpted woman with no flesh heart beating in its bony cage.

Perhaps then I should miss you less.

 


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

I struggled a bit with this one. Then I saw the back of that impressive sculpture in the foreground and thought of being turned to stone.

Apologies in advance. Due to work commitments I’m very late to the party and doubt I’ll Be able to read many other posts before FF comes round again. Sorry if I miss reading your story and many thanks if you take the time to read mine.

 

 

 

Friday Fictioneers : A demon in Pa’s seat

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Connie Gayer


 

A demon sits in Pa’s seat by the fire.

Head to toe brown, bulbous feet slick and shining, bear-like paws flaking crust. The demon smells dark, of fields after muck spreading and woods just before the first snow falls. The demon stares dumbly into the flames, wide bleached marble eyes, pinprick pupils black as his soul.

I shift, my bare feet cold on the flags. The beast looks up and I’m about to run –

‘Esther?’ The demon stole Pa’s voice.

This is the  night the river bank breaks, turning our farm to mud.

The night Pa’s mind is lost.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. Join in and share and don’t forget to read and comment. See here.