Remembrance


Hope everyone is well.  I’ve managed to post something this week and it should get better in the next few weeks, as I’m about to retire from work…Yippee!  Thanks to Rochelle for the photo prompt this week and for always being here, despite her hectic schedule.

Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Genre: Fiction

Word Count: 100

Remembrance

Holding tightly to my grandmother’s hand, we crossed the river to the island in the middle.

The stepping-stones were slippery and we had to take great care, the water was very deep.

My mother didn’t like me going there. I think she worried about the deep water. Her father had taken her there sometimes, when he was home from the sea. I’d never met my grandfather; he left my grandmother years ago, no one mentioned him.

We had a picnic and picked some flowers which my grandmother threw into the river. I asked her why.

‘For remembrance,’ she said, smiling.

 

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Jar of Happiness


This was my original post for this prompt back in 2012.  Can’t quite believe it was so long ago but, as the saying goes ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ and Friday Fictioneers certainly provides that in spades! Delighted to hear that Sandra Crook  a stalwart of FF, is one of ten people short-listed for the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize 2016 and that our FBM Rochelle is busy with her next book and interviews on radio etc., etc., don’t know where she gets her energy from, wish I could borrow some 🙂

Image courtesy of Sean Fallon

The boy stands anxiously in line

Money clutched tightly in his hand

As one by one a box is taken from the pile on the counter

And handed to a mother, sister, grandfather, brother, father

He has none of these.

Nearing the front, he leans forward and tries to see if there is one for him

Then a brightly coloured jar catches his eye

It is full of cars, trains, planes and robots

Tucking it under his arm, he walks out smiling

His guardian waits to take him back to the home

Back to where the old toys are cheering

 

click to read more stories…

 

Throwing the switch


I haven’t been around for a while as my life has taken several twists and turns, nothing bad, but time consuming and I have missed my friends.  I will try and keep up, thank you for being patient.  Thanks to Rochelle for never missing a beat and to Stephen Baum for the photo this week.

Copyright Stephen Baum

Copyright Stephen Baum

Genre: Fiction

Word Count: 100

Throwing the Switch

Martha looked pale and small in the hospital bed.  Was she breathing?  Harold held her hand; the realisation of his need for her overwhelmed him. It seemed she had always been with him, even before they met. Before the dream became a reality.

As the nursing team carried out their checks, he paced the room, willing her to stay, to come back to him.

‘She’s resting, Mr Jackson, do you want anything?’

I want to stay with her forever

No, thank you.’

Martha slowly opened her eyes.

‘Harold?’

Her voice threw the switch and Harold’s smile lit up the room.

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DIY – A Shorcut


Copyright - Ted Strutz

Copyright – Ted Strutz

Genre: Fiction

Word Count: 100

DIY – A Shortcut

John stepped back into the water trough a second time.

‘I hate bloody DIY! And why soak the paper? What’s wrong with old fashioned wallpaper paste?’

‘I thought it would be quicker and hopefully less messy.’

‘You thought. Here, make yourself useful, hold the brush.’

‘It seemed a better idea to do this while the boys were away.’

He grabbed the brush, held the paper off the wall and in one angry movement swept it down to the skirting board.

‘Careful, you’ve covered up the socket.’

‘Just shut up,’ he said, jabbing the point of the scissors through the paper.

 

*******************

The socket reminded me of the fiasco we had when we decided to decorate the bedroom our boys shared when they were small. It’s all true, apart from the scissors in the socket…but it could well have happened that night!

Thank you to Ted Strutz for the photo prompt and to Rochelle for continuing to light the way.

Weed Killer


It’s that time again when we Friday Fictioneers are sharpening our wits and our pencils, trying to come up with a suitable story to satisfy our dynamic leader, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (she who must be obeyed).  Great photo this week courtesy of Roger Bultot.

I may miss the ‘Call for Submissions’ next week as we are taking a family holiday in Majorca. I’ll miss you and will do my best to catch up. Take care of yourselves x

 22 AugustGenre: Fiction

Word Count: 100

Weed Killer

‘Can’t we have something other than weeds?’

‘I like weeds, they’re different’

‘I’d like some flowers Charlie’

‘Weeds are easy to grow; flowers aren’t macho’

‘And weeds are?’

‘I trim them, keep them in check’…

Sally went indoors.  They’d had the same argument for months, Charlie wouldn’t listen and she’d had enough.

She picked up the phone, it really was the only way to stop him.  And besides, neighbours had started complaining about the sickly smell emanating from the shed whenever he and Joe were in there, having a smoke.

She only wanted a few flowers.

Not much to ask.

 

More stories to delight you here –

No Forks Needed


I’m pleased to say we are having a mini heatwave here in Wales; it happens so rarely I feel completely justified in revelling in it. It is also the week of the Royal Welsh Show, last year both exhibitors and visitors were up to their armpits in mud, slush and mire, so I am really pleased they can enjoy the sunshine too.

Glad to be able to submit an FF story this week and my thanks to our top chef Rochelle for selecting such an unusual photograph to tempt us with.  Thanks also to Marie Gail Stratford for taking it.

25 July 2014

No Forks Needed

Genre: Crime

Word Count: 100

Mary sat at her usual table, her laptop open and ready. The story she was writing was going well, but now she was stuck. Did she kill off the character giving her problems, or try to rework the plot? She was watching the street, waiting for her muse to return, when two strangers came in.

One man went to the kitchen. She heard a blood curdling scream and saw Wu Tan stagger out, clutching the knife embedded in his chest. The men ran into the street and disappeared.

Mary stared at Wu and flexed her fingers, her muse was back.

 

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An Uncertain Future


Our fabulous group achieved recognition by WordPress – the comment I liked best- We love Friday Fictioneers as much for the blogging bonds it cultivates as for the range and power of the stories it inspires.’

If you missed the post you can read it here. So pleased for Rochelle and for the whole group too, as it is always a good feeling when your work is admired.

Back down to earth now, my story this week follows the lovely photo by Erin Leary.

Copyright Erin Leary

Copyright Erin Leary

Genre: Fiction

Word Count: 100

An Uncertain Future

She waits outside the door, listening to the conversation between the doctor and her husband. Her nails dig into her palm, the discomfort a distraction.

‘Last question, do you know what day it is today Daniel?’

‘Yes, of course I do.’

‘Can you tell me?’

A slight pause, ‘you know it as well as I.’

‘I’m not sure, will you tell me?’

Silence

Sadness envelops her; her worst fears confirmed.

Later when they leave he holds her arm. Safe again, he looks at her with shining eyes, and wide smile.

She smiles back at him, immediately recognising her new role.

 

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Dementia is a cruel and unforgiving thing. This story came to mind as soon as I saw Erin’s photo. It is based on a close friend and her husband – a former accountant with a brilliant mathematical mind. She always described his illness like  ‘a mist that slowly descends until the way becomes totally obscured.’

 

 

 

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 

 

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.