photo by Tyler Nix via Unsplash
At midday the heat would drive Denny lumbering from the van to shelter under the makeshift lean-to. The mirror in her compact was broken which was a blessing – she didn’t relish seeing her reflection, the boiled ham flesh where once were hollow cheeks.
Still, she was grateful for the sun on her skin. Soon enough the scrub would be dusted with snow, glittering with frost. There were no trees to burn out here and few shrubs, she was down to her last canister of gas. She could freeze one night and only the coyotes would find her this side of April.
But even that wasn’t the most terrifying thought. Because the baby could come any day now, slip out of her like an eel onto a dry river bed. What if he hadn’t returned by then? What if she was alone?
Written for Three Line Tales. See the pic and write a story.
photo by Alexandre Boucher via Unsplash
It’s the end of the world. Love you, brother.
Denny had always been one for drama – every headache was a brain tumour, every stomach ache cancer. But something about the text made Stuart swerve onto the hard shoulder amid the car horns and cursing. His call to Denny failed to connect, the same for their sister Clare. Panic mounted as every number he knew failed, as the bars on his phone dropped to zero.
He was staring at the blank screen as the first blast hit, as the nose to tail cars in front of him were flipped into the air, as the pressure wave disintegrated the windscreen.
Love you too, brother.
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photo by NASA (yes, THAT NASA – which is why you want to click through to the full size picture for the full effect) via Unsplash
‘Are you there? Dawson? Are you there?’
‘Yeah, yeah, I’m here, Flores. Breathe slow now. Tell me what can you see.’
Cold misted Flores’ visor. Her limbs were stiffening, breath coming harder. She should stay quiet, conserve her oxygen, but what was the point now?
‘I see black,’ she breathed. ‘A lot of black.’ And silver, shreds of silver from the destroyed space station. And in the distance something white, a helmet shining on top of a motionless torso.
She looked away, towards the velvet black, the sprinkle of stars dancing like fairy lights on a string. If she just reached out, she could touch …
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photo by Charles Etoroma via Unsplash
She becomes a blur as she passes, rushing from store to store, caught in a whirlwind of purchases, money falling from her hands into every register like leaves spun on the breeze.
She feels herself blurring, her once hard edges bleeding outwards, flaking away like layers of over boiled potato. She thought once that things would shore her up, that the weight of her belongings would halt the crumbling. But instead, they’ve hastened it, eroded her until there is nothing but the chase, the purchase, the empty feeling when she reaches home.
One day there will be nothing left to prove she was here but plastic bags and a pile of unpaid credit card bills.
Written for Three Line Tales. See, write, share, read. Here.
photo by Vek Labs via Unsplash
‘Never stay anywhere more than one night. Never speak your real name, your real home town, your real destination. Lies are your only protection …’
Papa was long gone but his voice still circled Gordy’s brain. Each time someone was kind to him, each time he found more than a cold doorway to sleep in. Surely, the world was in too much disarray to notice one, lone man …
Still, Papa’s words stung him back to the cold road, to dew on his shoulders, to the familiar sting of blistered feet. His bloody mission.
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I see a lone and lonely man, sore and wounded by his travels, yearning for another life, goaded by his father’s teachings. But what’s his bloody mission?
photo by Sam Carter via Unsplash
Doug climbs onto the stile, sits on the limestone step. Beneath him the rock is as cold as the ice capping the water butts in the farmyard, as if it’s grown brittle in the frost and might shatter under his weight.
He gazes out over the flock, at the wind tugged fleeces, at the snow gathering along the wall line. Time to go. Still he waits, lets the flakes build in the crooks of his arms.
He could sit, let the drifts pile over him, let the walkers find him – wind dried and stringy – in the thaw … A warm, wet nose nuzzles into his palm – his collie, Flash, needing food. Needing him. Doug stands, beats the snow from his coat and heads home.
Written for Three Line Tales. See here to join in.
This reminded me of growing up on the edge of the Peak District National Park. Lots of hills. Lots of limestone. Lots of sheep.
photo by Wynand van Poortvliet via Unsplash
Kirsty would miss the puffins most in the spring, when they mobbed the island with their monochrome waddling, their sad eyes settled on bobbles of pink thrift.
Nowhere smelt like the island – the air carrying only sea scents, the deeps and crashing shallows, weed and rot and salt, a smell you could taste, that covered you like a second skin.
‘Ready to go?’ Mum took her bag, walked the short pier to the ferry. ‘It’ll all be here, waiting for you when you come home,’ she called with a sad smile. Together, they took the ferry to the mainland.
Written for Three Line Tales. See here to join in and read others.
I saw this image and smiled. Recently, I wrote a story about a very similar island environment. It was a pleasure to revisit this rugged, salt tangy scene.
Right now that story is under consideration for publication. Fingers crossed, eh?