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 way down from the cliffs was a struggle, the boulders less even than they looked from a distance. The bladder wrack was still wet, slippery under her heels and she had to use one hand to hold her skirts up – she could just imagine how much trouble she’d be in if her only black dress was marked with slime and seawater.
‘Wait for me,’ she called.
Charlie was already a way ahead, striding from rock to rock. His trousers wore twin stripes down the hips, brown and green where he’d carelessly wiped his hands. His patent boots were muddy to the ankle.
Every part of her life felt shackled – working at the big house, the housekeeper with her sharp black eyes, the mistress running pudgy fingers over every mantel and sill. Free time was rare and even then she was not permitted to walk along the Front or go to the music hall or the fair, only to Church or on ‘improving walks’.
How she envied him those boots, those trousers.
She closed her eyes, breathed in the salt tang. Her corset pinched at the waist, on her lower ribs, cut under her arms. Even her breathing wasn’t free.
This was the closest she came, though.
If they sneaked down the beach, out of sight of the Grange, in the shelter of the boulders, there was privacy of a sort. The wind whipped sand in her face, tugged hair from its pins so it caught in her mouth, flicked against her cheeks – she loved it all.
Gulls soared overhead, hovering, wheeling, calling her to join them, mocking when she couldn’t.
Charlie had made it to the mouth of the cove. He sat on the sand, peeling off his boots and socks, turning up his trouser legs. He wriggled his toes in the sand like a little boy.
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.