Thursday, 30 April 2015

Atonement - MWBB

I have been off and on with Mid-Week Blues-Buster due me judging and due to some of the songs that don't work for me. And now I will be taking a break for the May holidays. I've been busy with a lot to do in preparation for this holiday, but this song worked for me, so I wrote for it, even though my entry didn't rank in the top three.   

The prompt song was:
Ain't No Grave by Johnny Cash 

Merrick glanced up from under sweaty bangs at the dirt road ahead. There was still a way to go. The load was heavy and kept catching on rocks, but he had a good stride going, a rhythmic swish as he pulled it along behind him; it wouldn’t be long now.

His eyes remained on the rocky road just a few feet in front of him, his mind elsewhere. The sweat ran down his nose and flew off the end in spatters. He wasn’t going to stop. Twilight was drawing to an end and he needed to get this load disposed of before full dark.

As his boots scuffed the road, their sound worked to dissipate the voices that wouldn’t let up inside his head. He knew he’d done wrong. He knew this wouldn’t be the last of it, but he hoped it might be. They taunted him, telling him what he should and shouldn’t do, but they weren’t his ma or his pa, they were long gone. He was in charge now and this is how he did things.

Arguing was pointless. A part of him knew it was the voice of righteousness within him trying to bring his morality back on track. But it should know better. He lost that the night he had to end his own brother’s life. Either that or listen to a man tortured by his own addictions - addictions he had chosen over his beaten wife and bullied children. Everyone was better off. Or so he told himself.

Merrick topped the rise of the road and paused, taking a breath. He looked over the barren valley. Yes it was green, but it was empty. There were no trees, no hedgerows and no wildlife. He looked down into the gully and in the dimming light just made out the top of the headstone.

Now it was in sight the load seemed to be heavier, not lighter - even though he was travelling downhill. The voices in his head seemed to escalate, but there was no going back now.

He cut off the road and walked down across the field, his load sliding better on the grass. He saw the little fenced off square, and the handful of gravestones circling the large tombstone that belonged to the head of the family – his great grandpa. The shovel was still upright in the ground where he’d left it that morning, next to the freshly dug grave.

He’d already known it was time. She’d been in pain long enough, and no matter how much he talked to his son on the phone he couldn’t get him to come and visit. And she was so stubborn she wouldn’t go without saying goodbye, so he’d said it for her. He wanted to knock heads together, but that was never going to happen now.

He swung the load round and dropped it into the grave. It fell easily. It wasn’t heavy; her body just bones after the cancer had gnawed at them. The weight was in his mind as the voices criticised his decision. But he’d rather live with that torment, than watch her suffer one more day. Enough was enough. 

He threw in a handful of dirt and begged her forgiveness, as he picked up and started shovelling, finishing the day as he had started it. 

Monday, 20 April 2015

Five Sentence Fiction - Isolated

I am just getting my entry to Five Sentence Fiction in under the line. In fact the new prompt has been sent out, but the link is still open and I wanted to write for this really badly. So here it is.


Michella was buffeted from every side as people rushed round her running for their trains in the busy rush-hour station. She pretended to be looking at the board listing the trains, but really she was frozen to the spot with the mobile phone still in her hand, having just pressed the end button.

John had been her last connection to life beyond her tiny studio flat; the only thing that enabled her to get through the days of servitude as an office junior in a corporate world that mostly ignored her, and now he was moving away.   

Move to the city they said, there would be lots of life there, you won’t feel so alone or isolated.

They were so wrong. 

Daily Picspiration - Discovery

My Daily Picspiration entry went up on Sunday. Not easy photos to use this week, but I managed to come up with a unique idea for the photo below! I loved Miranda Gammella's tag line for it on twitter too: "An abandoned building yields strange fruit in today's", which is very apt. Miranda runs Daily Picspiration for us writers and does a brilliant job! Anyway, here is Part 7, and I still have no real clue where I am going with it. I am letting the story develop with each photo prompt!

Posted on April19th, you can read Part 7 - 'Discovery' here. 

You can read Part 6 - 'Occupied' here. 
You can read Part 5 - 'Provisions' here.
You can read Part 4 - 'Moving Out' here.
You can read Part 3 - 'New Recruit' here.
You can read Part 2 - New Location here. 
You can read Part 1 - Frozen here.


Sunday, 19 April 2015

Horror Bites - Flight

The new Horror Bites photo prompt went up a while back, but I struggled to come with anything, being that I am not a vampire story person. But slowly something came into focus and presented itself. I have had to really cut it down to get it to fit the word count, which is a shame, as it meant cutting some of the suspense. But I still like it - hope you do!

Bat on Fruit 

Rachel took a deep breath and closed her eyes, trying to settle her mind. It was her first time meditating in the loft and she was struggling to focus. Each time she found a point in her mind there she heard a fluttering sound.

Maybe it was a bird on the roof or building a nest in the eves. But it’s dark outside, a little voice in the back of her mind whispered, are you sure? Rachel opened her eyes and re-crossed her legs the other way. Don’t be silly, it’s nothing.  

But just as she went to close them again, she heard it. It wasn’t outside. She looked round the room. The loft conversion hadn’t been that long ago, barely a year, so there weren’t any hidden corners.

She remembered the night Robert had finished it; how they’d celebrated – just a month before he’d disappeared. She recalled that night too, how she’d thought he was up in the loft, but when she’d gone to find him, he wasn’t there. She’d never found him. She had no idea why he’d gone or where. Tears pricked Rachel’s eyes.

She got up and walked around. The line of four spotlights in the ceiling weren’t very bright. They didn’t reach every corner. She spotted something in one of them. Could it be a moth? But the next time the fluttering came there was a tiny squeak with it.

Oh no, Bats, she thought. I’ll never get rid of them!

She walked over to the corner to take a look. She could just make out something where the walls met. She reached up to see if she could disturb it. The fluttering and squeaking came again. Then something dashed out.

It bit her hand and Rachel screamed, the room suddenly shrinking away from her, the ceiling coming closer. Two claws extended where her feet used to be and grappled at the wall, trying to hold on. She looked down at the room. Then a fluttering announced the arrival of a bat next to her. She turned to look. It had Robert’s eyes.  

Words 348

Friday, 17 April 2015

Prickly Fingers - Flash Flood Journal Entry


In aid of National Flash Fiction Day, which takes place on the 27th of June,  I wrote for the Flash Flood Journal, an international flash-fiction journal created by writers and edited by a team of volunteer editors on behalf of National Flash-Fiction Day. Every 10 minutes a new piece of Flash is put on the Flash Flood Journal for the full 24 hours of Flash Fiction day.

My entry 'Prickly Fingers' went up this afternoon. This is a piece I already had and I reworked it for this submission.  It is very dark - as usual. You can read it here.

There are some awesome piece in a variety of genres, some worth checking out are:

Susi Holliday's - First Love
Catherine Connolly's - Her Doors Unlocked
A.J Walker's - The Lion's Share of the Cleaning

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Stuck - MWBB

I hadn't written for Mid-Week Blues-Buster for a while, and as I am judging the next one I will be missing another one too. I liked the song for this one even though there was already a clear story in the lyrics. I went with my emotions in response to it and didn't feel it was much of an actual story, just the suggestion of one, and probably why it didn't get noticed by the judge. But I liked it. Hope  you do.


The prompt song was:

“Through the Glass Darkly”, by Annie Lennox
Helena stepped out of her house, and felt their eyes on her. They followed her down the path and out onto the street. Even when she climbed into her car she could still feel them watch her as she pulled out and drove away. She wished she didn’t have to come back.

He would be home later, and it would be better. She hoped. She refused to acknowledge the voice that said she hoped every day but she was always let down.

She thought about just driving on and on, and not turning back. She ran through the scenario in her head. The reaction, the gossip, the chatter behind every door - the place would thrum with it. How she was a foreigner in their midst, she didn’t fit, she wasn’t good enough, they were better off rid of her - that he was better off rid of her.  But she always faltered when she thought of him, how he would feel, what it would do to him, how difficult it would be for him to continue without her, juggling it all, work, house, kids.

Kids. Helena took a deep breath and felt her foot come up off the accelerator as the frustration ebbed, churning in her stomach, turning into guilt.

Her mind spun, trying to find a focus point, trying to find a path that didn’t lead to a dead-end. She needed to find a way forward, a way to continue. It started with him and it ended with him.

She arrived at the supermarket and went through the motions, getting what was needed for them, to nourish them, to cherish them and keep it all together. Then she drove back, pushing down her feelings, refusing to allow any more mutinous thoughts to surface.

His car was there. He was home. On the one hand she was elated, but on the other she was afraid. She tolerated the curtain twitching, the eyes of the neighbourhood on her as she took in the shopping, and she smiled at him at the door, and he smiled back. But there was something missing, something tangible. He was there, but he wasn’t. He hadn’t been since they’d moved here – his home town. It was as though she had lost him in the move and he didn’t want to be found, even though he was standing right in front of her.

But had she lost him or had she lost herself? Helena let that thought echo round her mind as she prepared the evening meal and stared out the window at the tainted life around her which had once been filled with so much hope.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Five Sentence Fiction - Hunt

I'm quick off the mark with this week's Five Sentence Fiction as the combination of the word and photo presented a nice little story. 


Helena looked at the sign post but could only make out the name of the country, which she already knew, not the direction she was travelling in – for all she knew she could be driving round in circles.

She berated herself again as she returned to the car, for not having grabbed a map as well as her passport when she’d left, although she’d been in a bit of a hurry. It wasn’t often he left her alone, certainly not for long enough to pack a bag and make a run for it.

She’d spent the first few hours of the journey convinced she was going to see his truck pop up in the rearview mirror flashing at her to pull over, and driving her off the road if she didn’t comply – it wouldn’t have been the first time.

The only thing that stopped her despairing was that if she didn’t know where she was, then neither did he, and he wouldn’t be able to find her; she was free.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Indulgence - 100 Words Challenge

I came across a new writing challenge - 100 Words Challenge. Another friend had posted up her entry and I thought, mmm, interesting, I'll have a go at that. The only shame is there is no photo prompt, so I have decided to source my own that relates to the story. Enjoy.

Long way down: Navid Baraty's latest series 'Intersection' is on view at the Bowling Green subway station
Photo by Navid Baraty - click photo to go to his website and see his other stunning shots of New York

 She wanted to feel everything. She wanted to engage all her senses; she wanted to smell it, see it, taste it, hear it - even touch it.

Hannah imagined all the sensations as she stepped up on the tiny wall of the penthouse balcony and looked down. The ground coming up to meet her, the traffic growing louder, the rush of the air in her ears accelerating as she whistled through it; the pressure against her skin, even in her mouth as she fell. 

She wanted it all. The spoilt brat’s last indulgence as her father would say. Her last hurrah.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Daily Picspiration - Occupied

My Daily Picspiration entry went up on Sunday. I pondered on the photos for a while, as they both spoke to me but to fit them with my ongoing saga I had to get creative. I decided to bring in another character - which I was a little loathe to do as I haven't developed all the others fully yet, but when I started writing it worked out really well, and I liked the end product. I hope you do too.

Posted on April 5th, You can read Part 6 - 'Occupied' here.
You can read Part 5 - 'Provisions' here.
You can read Part 4 - 'Moving Out' here.
You can read Part 3 - 'New Recruit' here.
You can read Part 2 - New Location here. 
You can read Part 1 - Frozen here.