Important announcement – Six of our subscribers to FLASH FICTION have had stories accepted for publication in mainstream competitions and online magazines. Congrats to RAS (Ron), KABIBA (Kate), Singers (Tabatha), Toppykat, Suzycue, and Sebnem. See what a weekly dose of FLASH can do for you? We wonder who’ll be next?
FLASH FICTION – THE PLACE FOR NEW, ORIGINAL WRITING. WHY SHOULD YOU PLAY? WELL, THE MORE YOU WRITE, THE BETTER YOUR WRITING BECOMES. WRITING OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE STRENGTHENS YOUR TECHNIQUE, AND WHO KNOWS, MAY BE THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR NEXT BLOCKBUSTER NOVEL / NOVELLA. WELCOME TO THE ‘ORIGINAL’ FFF THREAD.
The FFF Year-end Special
This is the last FFF thread of 2019, with a longer submission period. I'm hoping to get many submissions from our regular and new contributors.
The End and the Beginning
Not necessary to use these words.
NB For anyone who hasn’t taken part before. All you have to do is use the prompt in any way you feel so inclined, using your innate talent, originality and imagination.
ANYBODY CAN VOTE – Allocate 3 for your favourite, then 2, then 1
That’s the challenge in 1,000 words or less. Any genre, any style, any period, any planet or any head.
Rules? - Please respect your fellow writers.
Suggestions - One - If you start reading something and you don’t like it – then move to the next one – Don’t vote but do enjoy the next person’s work and vote accordingly.
Submissions end Sunday, January 19th at 18:00 hrs GMT when voting commences.
Please note: there will not be any voting if there are less than 6 stories.
The End and the Beginning
Your chance to show us a scene, a situation, or a character related to the prompt, something good, or maybe bad, happy or sad, something related to our existence, in any sense of the word, but ALL with a brilliant display of FLASH!
They met at daybreak. Oscurito let his dark fingers run through her blonde locks, but Luce freed herself.
‘Don’t come too close.’
‘Cautious. As always. My dear, you can trust me.’
He moved in closer and placed a kiss on her brow. Then he bowed and left. Luce sighed as she followed his retreating form. Why wouldn’t he understand that there could be nothing between them? He had his domain — she had hers. They only met by sunrise and by sunset. This was as it should be. They were part of a whole.
There wasn’t time to ponder his actions. Luce had a full day’s work to handle. It was beautiful and satisfying. At the end of the day when twilight fell, she was ready to rest.
She saw Oscurito, as she reached the border. He was waiting, his long body draped leisurely on the brink.
‘There you are, my beautiful. Did you think about me today? Didn’t you long to see me? I think about you every moment we’re apart.’
Luce lowered her eyes and hastened past Oscurito.
‘Wait? Don’t go yet. Don’t you get lonely?’
She’d already disappeared behind the clouds. He shrugged. There was time — eons. One day she’d come to him. Darkness fell and Oscurito spent the night watching the stars. Lying on the soft ground, he felt like dancing among them. He stretched out his arms and took flight in the night.
The first glimmer of dawn woke him. Surely this time. This time Luce would linger with him and brighten his time.
Writing is a journey into the veiled regions of your mind. It has a power that baffles your determination to stay the course and often your desire to surrender. You want to be another, to be elsewhere, or sometimes to simply fade into the mist.
When you read a book, you purchase a non-refundable ticket to travel into the writer’s weird and wonderful world.
Please do not blame me for being away or distant. I am here, there and everywhere, in your imagination. The world of words is inside you. Stand firm and believe in yourself. Fix your target and shoot your arrow straight into the quagmire that is writing. The first word is the beginning. The end speaks for itself.
Early Christmas morning, so early the sun barely hinted its presence on the dark blue horizon. The beach was empty, the dark sea stretching to merge with the barely lighter sky. She dropped her towel and flimsy beach wrap, all she had brought, on the rocks piled like a young giant's playthings at the edge of the curving cove. She walked to the water's edge: the water was cool, cool and soothing. She hoped it would be a balm to her sore and battered mind.
The surf was quite flat today and Jenny swam powerfully through the band of small breakers then let the ebbing tide carry her out way beyond them. She swam with a lazy flick of her feet, an occasional stroke, just enough to keep her head above water. She trusted her ability as a strong swimmer to bring her back to the beach.
That is, if she decided to come back.
The last few weeks had been filled with so much grief, so much sorrow, she wasn’t sure she wanted to return to the empty house, to her empty life. Gone, all gone – her beloved husband Marty, her two beautiful grandchildren, all lost to a drunken driver. Fate was so cruel; their parents, her daughter and son-in-law, had been killed in the same way. Christmas Eve a year ago. As she remembered the large polished coffiin with two smallwhite ones on either side, and reheard the soaring music of the Ave Maria, she felt her heart break again as she drifted, the ocean's salty tears indistinguishable from her own.
She didn’t know how long she'd been drifting but eventually she realised the sun had cleared the horizon and she could feel its warmth on her face. She opened her eyes and trod water, turned to look back, surprised to see how far out to sea she'd been carried. The beach had disappeared; only the hazy outline of the mountains in the hinterland could be seen now. The crooked finger of the massive rock called Tibrogargan seemed to stand out, fiercely beckoning. She remembered taking the grandchildren to the park there and reading from the notice board:
"Tibrogargan is a volcanic plug from an ancient volcano of about 27 million years ago. It is the third tallest of the Glasshouse Mountains …"
The kids, nine and ten, quickly lost interest and ran off to buy icecreams. Marty smiled and ambled after them, laid back as always. She shut down that memory. The pain was too much to bear. She turned her body away from the sight of that mocking finger of rock.
Decision time … could she make it back? Did she want to? Not really. Then suddenly she felt something touch her foot. Shark! was her first thought. Panic swamped her and faced with the hideous possibility of those cruel, ripping, tearing teeth, she realised she desperately wanted to live. To be taken by a shark had never occurred to her.
Then the will to live surged through her. Yes.
That touch on her foot had not been repeated, nevertheless she struck out strongly for the shore, confident, hoping, that it had just been a piece of seaweed or maybe a jellyfish, her fears tucked firmly away. After a few minutes she realised she had overestimated her strength and the cold water was sapping it even further. Cramp seized her and she screamed in agony as her leg muscles seized up. Bitter salty water sloshed into her open mouth; she choked then sank. Clawing her way to the surface with strong arms she realised it would take a miracle to reach the shore now. The pain in her calf muscles was worse, if anything. She let her useless legs dangle as they would and tried a breaststroke to keep her head above water. But it was no good. The wind had got up and the chop of the ocean sent small waves washing over her.
She tried to lie on her back and float but the swell tossed her around as if she were a piece of human flotsam. She thought about her small pile of belongings on the beach – if no one stole them, somebody would realise she hadn't returned. So this was it, this was how it would end. She felt a pang of sorrow for Mousetrap, the stray cat she and Marty had adopted. Who would feed the greedy fat cat now? She closed her eyes as she sank beneath the waves, trying to hold her breath, but it was no good.
Then she was back on the surface. No! She was above the waves! How was that possible? And moving towards the beach at considerable speed too. She could feel something on either side of her body, something smooth. She opened her eyes and glanced around.
She was in the middle of a small pod of dolphins, two of them supporting her. Miraculously her cramp had eased and, free of pain, sheer joy and wonderment surged through her body. Somehow that was communicated to her escorts; they moved slightly away from her as she started to swim on her own, but kept coming back with encouraging little nudges every few seconds. They hovered, their clucks and whistles music to her ears, still tending to her, or so it seemed, as the beach came into view then grew and grew until she realised she could stand, could touch the sandy sea bottom with her toes. She caught a small breaker and rode it back to the beach.
Jenny stood up on shaky legs and turned to thank her lifesavers. But they had gone.
Had she ever intended to come back? She'd never really know now, so it wasn’t the end but a new beginning. Tomorrow, now that there was a tomorrow, she would visit the Glasshouse Mountains and give thanks.
Mia stared down at the skeletal face of her Grandmother... at the translucent, gossamer skin almost as pale as the pillow on which her head rested. She pulled a chair over to the bedside in the sparse, clinical, side ward with its bleeping monitors, where the shrunken form of her Grandmother lay motionless under a blue cotton, cellular cover. She squeezed the limp, gnarled hand with its network of slippery, purple veins and lifted the back of it to her lips. “My dear, dear Grammie,” she uttered through her tears. “I know you can hear me, so you had better listen to me, right?”
Mia swiped away the tears that spilled down her cheeks and, defying the knot in her throat, continued. “You and me are one of a kind, we are different, Grammie. We share that special gift... the gift of extra sensory perception, the gift that you awakened in me when I was just a little girl.”
Mia felt the bony fingers of the hand in hers give the weakest of responses... but a response none the less.
“Grammie, I can't bear to think of losing you... you've been a constant in my life, always there to advise, encourage and support me, the mother I never had. I used to find it weird that my school friends felt sorry for me when, in truth, I felt sorry for them. I want you to know I've had a privileged, enriched life, Grammie... maybe Mum abandoning us the way she did was meant to be. She had been so young, no doubt overwhelmed by the prospect of having the responsibility of a child, when she was still no more than a child herself. But I need you to know I've had the happiest, most fufilled life a girl could have hoped for, you gave me so much more than just a home, you brought out the best in me, brought out skills that may well have otherwise remained dormant. Anyway, how can you miss what you've never had?”
Mia smoothed back her Grandmother's limp, grey hair, moistened her dry lips with a sponge and kissed her forehead. “Grammie, I know you always held the steadfast belief that the spirit never dies, that you existed in a former life and will continue to live on in a new life when you pass away. It would give me so much comfort to know that your spirit lives on, and I need you to find some way of letting me know. Do you think you will be able to do this for me?”
Again, her Grandmother's fingers gave a slight twitch in response.
The door opened and the nurse on duty strode purposefully through it. “Sorry to intrude, but I need to take her obs.”
Mia moved aside to allow her to do her job, and watched intently as she recorded numbers on a chart.
“Her vital signs are getting weaker, I'm sorry Mia, but you need to prepare yourself for the worst.”
Despite stringent security measures and procedures, a new born baby girl has been abducted from the Labour-of-Love maternity unit, the most secure and sought after private maternity facility in the country.
Favoured by both royal and celebrity mum's to be for its excellence in terms of service, state of the art facilities and specialist staff, this abduction has understandably resulted in a sudden and dramatic downturn in business for the facility.
Police are currently carrying out an investigation into the crime and have issued a photograph of Mia Metcalfe, a senior and most trusted midwife at the unit, who has gone missing and is believed to have been involved in the abduction of the child. In a televised appeal, the distraught, high profile parents made a tearful plea to the public for their support and vigilance in helping to reunite them with their baby daughter.
Staff at airports and railway stations have been put on red alert.
Mia cut off her long dark hair into a trendy pixie cut, then dyed it a sun streaked, ash blonde. With the aid of contact lenses, she also changed the colour of her eyes from dark brown to blue, before sculpting her face into a different shape with skilful use of cosmetics. As she stared with satisfaction at her reflection in the mirror, from the bedroom, the baby girl's vociferous cries reminded Mia it was feed time.
After preparing her bottle, Mia tenderly cradled the infant in her arms. Like a chick in the nest, she opened her mouth wide before sucking greedily on the teat. “We're back together again, Grammie, only now the tables have turned, it's time for me to look after you and we're going to have a fantastic life together.”
With the baby full, sleepy and lying swaddled and content against her chest, Mia waited in the foyer of the Travel Lodge for the cab she had called to take her to the train station. As she gazed lovingly down, the baby opened her eyes and stared back at her with that unmistakable spark of recognition, that same spark Mia had observed when she had lowered her onto the weighing scales shortly after her birth.
“This is it, Grammie, a new beginning for both of us.”
Bradley were a laugh, most of the time, when he weren’t fighting. Aye, fighting and drinking - them were the only things he took serious. He were like that since we were kids. He’d get into trouble at school, and got me into trouble too, so we shared detention. That were before we both got kicked out. Not that we spent much time there in the first place. Most days we bunked off. Then we were off for good, and Bradley had more time than he knew what to do with.
Some say he were a bad un, but no. Nobody who laughs that much is bad. Not jokes - he didn’t tell jokes - but he saw the funny side of everything. We were doubled up sometimes, laughing so much my face hurt. If he did bad stuff, it were just that he didn’t see things as serious. He thought nothing about nabbing stuff from shops. He’d run down the street laughing with things sticking out of his pockets and his sleeves.
We didn’t notice the change. It were so slow, like. More drinking, more getting into fights, more stealing ... then the drugs. But where he led, I followed. More serious drugs, more serious stealing. I knew it were wrong. I knew we were wasting our lives, but he was my best mate. I owed him, whatever mum and dad said, I would never walk away. I knew prison waited in the future. We took too many risks, and we deserved to get caught. I often wished we would get caught. I liked Bradley, but I didn’t like myself.
Turns out he didn’t like himself. I guess that were why he topped himself. Could have been an accident, overdosing like that, but it would be hard to OD that much by mistake. Ripped me up for a long time. I went home. Stayed home. Did nothing for months on end. Then me dad got me an apprenticeship. Seemed a good way to pass the time, now there were no more laughs. So, I worked hard, harder than anyone, buried myself in it.
Now here I am, years later. My own business, a nice house and car, a gorgeous wife and grown-up kids. Who would have thought? Not Bradley, nor me. Truth be told, if he’d lived, I would have wasted the rest of my life on him, in and out of jail. I saw it back then as clear as I see it now, but back then - like I said - I couldn’t walk away. I doubt I ever would have. Bradley’s death changed my life, changed it for the better, wrong as that sounds. I still visit his grave, now and then, tell him how I’m doing ... just in case, you know.
Deleted: Wishing one and all a historically significant New Year! Let's enter a new decade fully awake, with our eyes wide open, so we may observe the nightmare our world has become, and dream of creating a paradise on Earth, for everyone! 20 /20 vision!
Jan 1, 2020 2:54:35 GMT
Toni: Flash Poesy resumes Sunday 5 January. Look for #207
Jan 2, 2020 23:23:08 GMT
Toni: It's raining in Oz - so of course we get floods now.
Jan 19, 2020 23:03:51 GMT