Seeing the light


Hello, it’s great to be here early for once instead of rushing around at the last-minute. I hope you’ve all had a good week. I’m looking forward to the Bank Holiday weekend and Monday off, when I will try to catch up on some of my writing projects (she says with fingers crossed)

Thanks to Renee Heath for the photo prompt this week and a special thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for her continuing support, diplomacy and encouragement.

Copyright Renee Heath

Copyright Renee Heath

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

Seeing the light

Frederick watches the crowd gathered on the pavement.  They are getting restless. Some shout concerns, about their safety, loss of their livelihoods. Not many seem supportive of his demonstration.

‘You’ll blow us all to kingdom come, you mad German!’

‘It’ll never work!’

‘What about the poor candlemakers?’

His wife tightens her grip on his arm.

At 9pm the gas is turned on. Pall Mall is lit up from end to end; the crowd roars approval, some even come to shake his hand.

‘Listen to them now liebling, no need for your fears.  You should have more faith in your husband.’

Artist unknown. Courtesy of National Gas Museum

Artist unknown. Courtesy of National Gas Museum

and now for the history bit…

In 1807, Frederick Winsor, a German born entrepreneur, demonstrated the use of gas to light streets, in London’s Pall Mall. Fifteen years later almost every large town in Britain, as well as Europe and North America, had a gasworks. The company he founded – The Gas Light & Coke Company, continued to supply most of the gas in London, until the industry was nationalised in 1949.  Read more at The National Gas Museum website.

For more stories click on Mr Frog 

 

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Moonlight on The Ebro


I thought I wasn’t going to make it again this week – apologies to Doug for missing his very intriguing photo prompt last week.  I have been attending a conference in Italy – no, it was not lovely, nor was I lucky.  The trip went something like this – 2 hour drive – 2.5 hour flight – 2 hours on a bus – 3 hour conference – half hour bus ride – 3.5 hour dinner (no time to change after arriving) 1 hour to hotel – 6 hours sleeping – 1 hour working breakfast – 3 hours of meetings – 2 hours on a bus – 2.5 hour flight back – 2 hour drive back home.

Are you exhausted?  I was!

Thanks this week to Bjorn Rudberg for the photo prompt and as always to Rochelle for brilliantly shepherding the Friday Fictioneers into some semblance of order each week.

24 April

For some reason, I saw Spanish Civil War…

Genre: Historical fiction

Word Count:100

Moonlight on The Ebro

I remember.

The Ebro shimmered in the moonlight, unimpressed by our consuming passion. We lay holding each other so tight, we could scarcely breathe. The Brigade left quietly, at daybreak.

I taste the saltiness of tears and open my eyes. The music of the street floats in through faded shutters, it stirs memories of ‘Viva la Quinta Brigada’ your anthem, our song.

I am old, tired. I’ve waited a lifetime for my passionate fighter, mi amante.

In the cool evening air, I feel again the pressure of your strong arms. I fall freely, as I did all those years ago.

—o—o—o—o—o

 

For more information on the Spanish Civil War and of the men who went to fight against fascism in Spain –  The International Brigade

 

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Tuesday morning on the 10.25


Countryside as Seen from a Moving Train

 

“Are things any better with Jack, or still the same?”

“They’re still the same.  I’ve tried my hardest to find out what the problem is, but nothing I do makes any difference. I’m afraid I have just given up.”

As the two women take their seats across the aisle from me, I try not to stare. Their conversation has aroused my interest, set my imagination to work.

I wonder what on earth could be wrong with Jack and think up several different scenarios.  Is he ill? Perhaps he only has months to live and couldn’t bring himself to upset his wife and family. Or is he facing redundancy and feels depressed, wondering how the family will manage without his salary? Or has he found someone else?

I decide it must be the latter. It will explain the change in his attitude to his wife, the reason why she has given up.   He doesn’t really want to be with her but just can’t bring himself to end their relationship.  I imagine them in their semi-detached house with small manageable garden, they have a mortgage and three children; the youngest would not have been planned. They used to holiday abroad for two weeks each year, now they take one week and spend it in a caravan somewhere in the Devon, barely speaking to each other.

He met the woman who became his mistress at work.  She is tall and slim with a terrific personality, quite attractive with a great sense of humour. His wife was like her when they first married, he tells her, but now she is more interested in the children and her family than him.

The train races along and I am tempted to take out my notebook, but it is in my bag on the luggage rack and I am unwilling to cause a disturbance. I resist the temptation. I make a mental note to always make sure the notebook is in my handbag. The conversation between the two women is spasmodic, their voices low.  I find it hard to hear anything further without making a fool of myself.

As the train enters a long tunnel, I have the opportunity to study their reflection in my window.  Although a slightly distorted view, I see two women in early middle age; the one who had asked the question seems the younger of the two and is now reading a magazine.  The other woman, the “wife”, is half-heartedly nibbling on a sandwich, staring into space.

Small stations flash past. The train will only make three stops before reaching London. I find that I feel sorry for the wife, she probably has done nothing other than carry on as she always has.  Perhaps she too longs for more; a more interesting life, a more attentive husband, but feels it’s too late to do anything about it.  She is just resigned to things the way they are, getting on with the mundane tasks life has handed her; a home to run, a husband and children to care for.

I decide that she looks like a ‘Susan’ and her friend is called ‘Louise’.  I am busy creating lives for them and their families when the train pulls into Paddington. I gather my bag quickly from the rack and follow the two women from the train.

“There they are” calls Louise, pulling Susan’s arm and hurrying her along.

They walk towards two young women, waiting by the coffee shop.

“Where’s your dad?” asks Susan sounding worried.

So, Jack hasn’t even bothered to come to the station. I feel sad for her; she is still hoping for a change of heart, while he obviously just doesn’t care anymore.

Suddenly there is a commotion and out of the crowd a man comes running, being pulled along by a very excitable West highland terrier.

“Oh Jack” Susan cries  stooping down to grab the dog, who is  trying his best to jump up to her, “you’re back to your old self.  I was so worried we were going to lose you.”

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I feel more comfortable writing ‘memoir’ pieces and would welcome your feedback if you have the time.

A Very Private Dancer


I was very surprised and delighted that Rochelle had chosen one of my photographs for the prompt this week. It was taken at the end of a fiesta in Valldemossa, a lovely little town in Majorca where we spent a very enjoyable day.

It is so good to see the number of writers taking part in Friday Fictioneers increasing week on week, justification, if any were needed, for Rochelle to continue her sterling work.

Copyright Dee Lovering

Copyright Dee Lovering

 Genre: Fiction

Word Count: 100

A Very Private Dancer

The dancer moves across wooden boards that shiver beneath his feet.   A five-year old boy watches, marrying the dance with the music in his heart.

 The crowd holds its breath then finally erupts with cheers and applause.

‘Cristobal, Cristobal,’ their chants escape through the fluttering banners, rising up into the warm night.

Alone in the shadows, the boy makes up his own steps.  Stamping and twirling in his own time, imitating the uncle he adores; determination etched upon his serious face.

All too soon the world will learn of his exceptional talent.

For now though, his world is enough.

 

Read more stories here

This story was inspired by the amazing talent of Joaquin Cortes, a classically trained ballet and flamenco dancer.  He was born in Cordoba and moved to Madrid where he attended ballet school. His uncle was a well known flamenco dancer.

 

 

 

http://www.andalucia.com/flamenco/dancers/joaquin-cortes.htm

A Silent Star


Hello fellow Friday Fictioneers, hope you’ve all had a good week.  Mine has been hectic, got back from holiday last week (will post about it soon) to a pile of emails – do emails pile? Anyway, there were quite a lot of the little devils waiting for an answer…

Today, once again we bow to the summons from  Madame Rochelle – thankfully she is still in charge of the proceedings, and to the photographic skills this week of Kent Bonham.

100 words are what is required to enter the world of Friday Fictioneers, what are you waiting for? Join us, we are quite normal – most of the time…

Copyright Kent Bonham

Copyright Kent Bonham

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

A Silent Star

Nora wanders onto the dimly lit set.  Everything is different now.  She falters then sees the lights. Standing in the bright spotlight of her memory she laughs, remembering heady days of stardom, the fawning of countless suitors.

Eyes wide, she strikes a pose for imaginary cameras, blowing kisses to imaginary fans.

‘My darlings, I’ll come back to you soon,’ she shouts to the empty space as the light fades.

‘Nora, the visit is over, time to go. Come along quietly. Look, your fans are waiting.’

‘They still adore me.’

She darts away, her high-pitched laughter ringing through the building.

*-*-*-*-*-*-

A nod to ‘ Norma Desmond’ the ageing silent star, played superbly by Gloria Swanson in the film “Sunset Boulevard”

Thanks to Rochelle, the Norma Desmond send up, by the brilliant Carol Burnett