Friday Fiction 100 words: The village bells chimed 3pm

Many thanks to Rochelle for providing this week’s prompt.

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PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Marler Morrill

The bells chimed 3pm as I, Seb, Sally and Manny chased down the back street, laughing. The figure at the far end made us stop dead. Taller than any man, slender form cloaked by material that absorbed sunlight, it had a face none of us could later recall, although it extended a skinny index finger to unsmiling lips. The sun went in, we glanced up, and then the figure was gone. Cautiously we approached, found only a black cat sunning its belly.

Seb returned there the next day, a car hit him, and he died promptly on the 3pm chimes.

 

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Friday Fiction 100 words: The village bells chimed 3pm

Friday Fictioneer: 3rd April 2015 – Learning the hard way

Wow, this is almost becoming a habit, and we know habits are good, right? Thanks to Rochelle for running this weekly event.

Several possibilities were pondered for this strange doorway, but I’m reasonably pleased with what came up.

This week’s photo prompt by Lauren Moscato, submitted by Amy Rees

Learning the Hard Way

Serena and her daughter, Ruby, were arguing. Bernard watched with interest from his porch. “I can’t do it!” Ruby clutched her schoolbag, shaking her head. The mother, clearly at her wits end, shoved her right out the door. The little girl plummeted toward the pavement several metres below. Bernard’s heart nearly burst in horror. Ruby’s terrified scream split the morning air. Then came the reassuring swoosh of furious wings. Ruby crowed above him. “I did it!” and swooped gleefully above him, laughing, her mother close behind.

Bernard, wishing his mother had done that, waved enviously from his street level porch.

****

Thank you for reading, any and all constructive criticism welcome 🙂

Also, follow the blue froggie below for fantastic 100 word stories written by other ‘Friday Fictioneers’:

Friday Fictioneer: 3rd April 2015 – Learning the hard way

Sunday short story: 100 Words – Green

Started as a Friday Fictioneer, but as it’s now Sunday, I’ll just say it’s a piece of writing inspired by the photo from here:

The inspiration. All I saw at the first glimpse, was the green...
The inspiration. All I saw at the first glimpse, was the green…

Green

An alien ship died overhead, spraying bright juice from degraded bowels. Hungry fluid chewed all life it touched. Insatiable green turned the trees to bone sculptures, fuelling a fast-growing, acidic moss that spread faster than I could ever hope to evade. Clothes burned to nothing. Everything suffocated. Holding my breath, I dived in the fountain. Water thickened with alien weeds. Moss clambered around my spine, flowers bloomed atop my screaming lips. Planets burst behind my eyes. Emerald stars burned my lungs. I swallowed the universe. Green was warm. I wondered numbly, nerves dissolving, if there were worse ways to go.

Sunday short story: 100 Words – Green

750ish words: ‘Animal’s Theory about the guy next door’

Consistent writing does take the fear out of the process, the crippling perfectionism that can kill a first draft, let alone the minowwing idea that promises to grow into tasty words and yummy stories. So before I kill that metaphor entirely…here’s a quick story, minnow sized actually, written in 20 minutes on one of the most inspirational writing sites out there – 750words.com.  The site tracks you keeping up writing at least 750 words a day, and it’s a good way to break through any starting nerves, any hesitation can be fought through and replaced with sweetly random connections coming together. Or, you know, a rant about how mad, irrational and crappy you’re feeling at that particular moment. Lately I’ve been doing the fiction more than the internal angst, though that’s still there. Weirdly, it’s easier to fill the 750 words remit by writing a story, than by rolling around inside your brain. Most of the time, anyway.

So, below is a rough idea taken from a random verbal prompt of: Animal, Florida, Chinchilla. To the suggester, you know who you are, and thank you. It was also loosely inspired by this quote that a fantasy writing prompt tumblr account mentioned. But as it’s something of a spoiler, I’ll quote it at the very end. So, here’s the very brief reaction to the prompt:

Animal’s theory about the guy next door

Florida roiled in oily heat. Stars above shimmered in the haze. My pal, animal, fed his pet chinchilla a fat grape and cracked open his fifth beer with me and Margaret.

“Do either of you know,” he started, wiping sweat from his brow, He was so watery I was a little amazed his shoulder tattoo didn’t run. “How many of us are currently being eaten by the monsters we think are merely imaginary?”

Continue reading “750ish words: ‘Animal’s Theory about the guy next door’”

750ish words: ‘Animal’s Theory about the guy next door’

Flash Fiction Faction: Crocodile River

Wrote most of this on Thursday but didn’t get around to editing it down until today. I think it might be slightly over the 100-1,000 word limit, but see if the extra words are worth it!

Quill Shiv’s entry on her site is here. I’ll be spending this weekend cathcing up on everyone else’s work! The prompt she set is just below, music this time, and I hope I captured some of what it inspired in me.

Other flash fiction entries are on here. Or please click on the link above.

Crocodile River

Elayne’s fingers were sticky as she sucked the last of the blue juice from her skin and threw the drained croom-fruit into the river. Clustered crocodiles watched her from the banks, their cunning eyes impassive at her excitement. She rolled back onto the cushion and savoured the sweet spread of ecstasy already taking hold, the bud of joy building in her stomach, filling her chest and her head, pushing aside all the jagged cares and upsets. Worry was soon a distant memory. She floated. She was a bubble of water filled by sunlight and the universe was suffused with a purplish light, throbbing with hypnotic pulses clustering inside her clammy heat. She stretched her full length in the cushioned punt, her body rising lighter and higher. After an era of drifting she stretched her hand up and saw a face loom above her. It glowed like the sun and had a red arrow in its skull.

For a moment she thought it was God, and began laughing, until he struck her sharply around the face. The shock didn’t clear her head, but the buzz became jagged, her eyes filled with tears. No gods here.

“Hamble’s girl?” Elayne was pulled to her feet. She groaned, he shook her. “Elayne?”

She could only manage a gracious smile in response, because her tongue was currently speaking to the crocodiles, who were telling her their secrets in return. She laughed a little. Another slap to her cheek. Distantly, she pushed the man away, wobbling on the shallow boat.

“She’s out of it..she’s a dribble-head.” The big man shook her. Elayne heard muffled speech from far away. The big man said, “You know her?” There was someone behind him.

“Yeah, that’s Elayne. She was Hamble’s girl. Her dad’s the mayor, remember? She used to hide at the back of the house during Summervast parties. She’s grown up now, though. Hamble had a picture of her.” The voice was older and briefly she saw shards of blood rise upward in the purpling sky. Colour bloomed around the name.

Hamble.

Come back to me.

The memory of him jarred her more awake, and she stumbled reluctantly from her stupor. Hamble had not approved of the fruit’s delicious properties, not until she’d trickled juice into her mouth as they made love, shared the taste with him, and the experience had changed him forever. They’d rocked together in bliss for hours, wanting nothing and no one else.

They spent many nights like that until the Kalmarian battlefields decided they wanted Hamble’s blood. He had followed the call to war months ago. He had been part of a charge that was cut down by enemy guns. And that had been that.

She recognised the two men now, half remembered them both from the parties and social events her father hosted, and she wasn’t past caring what they’d do to her if they decided they could get away with it. Her father would ask too many questions if she arrived home like this. For a start, he thought she was doing needlework with her sister.

“Don’t take me home,” Elayne found her voice as they bundled her into their larger craft; she leaned against ragged sacking peopled by beer and guns. She noticed the lazy crocodiles had shifted away, sensing bigger predators were in their river. She suddenly hated the beasts for their practical cowardice. She said, “Take me to the Temple, I can find my way back later.”

“No we’re dropping you at your father’s. I can’t believe you’re taking that stuff, and the Mayor’s daughter, too.” the larger man, Sol, said angrily.

“And where did you get it?” The smaller, wirier man sneered. She thought he was called Jal or Jak or something. She hadn’t seen him around much before, but also recognised him from her father’s parties.

“Just take me to the Temple,” she said. Her tongue was hurting now, she’d come off the high too soon and now her cheeks stung hotly from Sol’s slaps.

“No, we’re taking you home. Your dad’ll be pleased to know we’ve found you.” Sol chuckled to himself. “Yeah, he’ll be thrilled we’ve turned you in.”

Elly said, “My dad won’t be pleased to hear you hit me. You think he wants to hear about this from you? He’ll send you off with an arrow in your backside.”

“You could have been tripping for hours and been eaten by crocs. Murdered. Drowned. He’ll be glad we got you back.” Sol seemed certain.

“Don’t count on it, Sol. You’re just another village boy.” Elly said.

Sol raised an eyebrow. “Yeah, I am. This should get his attention, though. You’ll go home, sleep it off, and stop taking that stuff.”

“Have you ever tried it?” she asked.

He laughed. “I’m not eating that crap. It’ll burn out my brain, like with yours.”

“It hasn’t done me any harm,” she pulled herself up. “You sure you never want to try any?”

Sol lunged at her. The little guy got between them, “Now hold on, you really never tried it?”

“You’ve tried it, Jakki?” Sol’s skin flushed. His imagination was getting pushed to its limits, she thought.

“In our unit, yeah. How else do you get through your first tour, right? You’ll find out when you go next year.” Jakki sniggered. She saw that the man was a little older than she’d thought. His eyes were quick, feral. Dangerous.

“Then you’re as bad as her.” Sol shoved Jakki aside.

Jakki said, “Look, I agree we should drop her with her dad. Unless you had another kind of party in mind?”

“She’s the Mayor’s daughter.” Sold said. He was afraid, she noticed that. She kissed his fear.

But then he looked at her and licked his lips, and Elayne shuddered.

Crocodile shapes crawled past her eyes. Grinning. Cunning. An idea struck.

“I know where to find more croomes. You could sell them, you know they’re valuable. I’ll show you in return for your silence, and taking me to the Temple.” She gauged their reactions. Some hope lifted at their thoughtful glares.

“You know where to get it?” Jakki raised his eyebrows.

Elayne leaned forward with a grin. “I can show you the croome tree itself.”

“Just tell us where it is, girl,” Jakki said, his eyes darting eagerly.

“Then you let me go to the Temple.”

“You tell us first.” Sol said.

“No.” She grimaced as Sol went to slap her again. She wriggled back on the sacking, dislodging their guns and sending beer gourds rolling and spilling yellow liquid.

“Tell us.”

“No.” Elayne shrugged. “Then just take me home to father. You’ll never know, then. You’ll never earn all that money.”

Sol glanced from her to Jakki, and he clenched his meaty fists and said. “How much money can we make?”

Jakki patted him on the shoulder. “Lots. Enough to buy our way to another moon if we want. Now say you’ll try it so we can go and find it.”

“Swear to the goddess you’ll take me home.” Elayne said.

Sol winced. No one was stupid enough to break a promise made in Her name. Elayne waited expectantly.

Finally he said. “You show us, and then we take you to the Temple. You’re coming with us.”

She swallowed back her fear at that proposal. But perhaps the crocodiles wanted her to see their fate. Stiffly, Elayne nodded. “You promise you’ll take me back to the Temple once I’ve shown you?”

Sol growled, “Yeah, I promise. In the name of Our Honored Lady Seceta, I promise, that when we have the fruit I will take you to the temple.”

“Good man,” Jakki thwacked him affectionately on the shoulder and beamed at Elayne. “Good girl. Now, where do we go?”

Elayne pulled herself to her feet. She said sweetly. “It’s easy. We follow the river until we reach the Mouth of the Gorgon. The croome trees are a few miles up there.”

“The Mouth of the Gorgon?” Sol started swearing at her. “You mad bitch.”

Jakki laughed, and Elayne didn’t like the sound of it. “That’s priceless. OK, Mayor’s daughter, Hamble’s girl, you think we can get there and back by the morning?”

Elayne felt a twinge of fear, but nodded. She hadn’t been out there to pick up any fresh fruit since Hamble’s death and her private stocks were dwindling. Perhaps these two could replenish the supply. If they all made it back. She rubbed the sore mark on her face where Sol had hit her. She shivered under Jakki’s wandering eyes. Yes, it‘s possible that this trip would solve a lot of problems. She smiled at them both.

“Of course we can.”

She didn’t want to prepare them too well, and so didn’t ask if they knew the truth about the Mouth and the inhabitants of the Gorgon’s river. Would she be spared this time? She pondered that question as the boat chugged upriver.

*****


Flash Fiction Faction: Crocodile River

Flash Fiction Friday: Dark and Deep

Madison Woods provided another great writing prompt this week and I’m happy to present my latest 100 word story based on one of her photos. Details about entering Flash Fiction Friday can be found over here.

Kind of went for my very first instincts this time. It still went through quite a few drafts (hope that shows, or doesn’t…) but I’m happy with the final result. Please feel free to comment with your responses to it, I always read them and make an effort to go through and read everyone else’s by the end of each weekend.

Don’t forget to also check out Madison Wood’s entry for the prompt on her blog, right here!

Flash Fiction Friday, Sunset White Branches, Madison Woods, 100 word stories, horror stories
Sunset White Branches photo by Madison Woods

Dark and Deep

Branches raked my arms. The forest is unforgiving. Trembling in the dark, I come again upon a stone marked with ancient carving. I sink to my knees before it and pray to my god, or theirs, to release me. My shotgun long lost, the creature’s blood is still sticky and pungent on my hands and neck.  My stomach growls. I am so thirsty. Exhausted, I soon fell fast asleep beneath the stone’s deep blue shadow. Waking at the touch of a leathery paw. The moon is shrouded. Powerful reek of animal filled my nostrils. I have no breath to plead…

Earlier Flash Fiction Friday Entries:

Send in Mitsy

Cellar Wall

Bloody Jewels

Reading the Bones

Broken Mushroom

Flash Fiction Faction (Thursday challenge run by Quill Shiv) Entries

Aunt Edie’s Bunker

Clouded

Flash Fiction Friday: Dark and Deep

Flash Fiction Friday: Send in Mitsy

I think Flash Fiction Friday is here to stay, I love it too much to miss one. Thank you Madison Woods! Had a busy day today but I’ve carved out the 100 words and I look forward to exploring everyone else’s writing over the weekend. The links to all of these can be found, under Madison’s entry for this week. Always worth checking out.

Thank you to all the lovely commentators on my entry for last week. Hopefully I got to all of your entries, too.

This week’s dog centric prompt (aww, check out Bobbie) set off a chain reaction of stories in my head. Several painkillers and many pages of illegible scribbling later, it seems that there’s no end of symbolism, meaning and narrative that dogs inspire into potential stories. Which is awesome. I think I could start a small collection of 100 word stories just on dogs. Really ended up having a lot to choose from.

But, the 100 word challenge restrictions as always are useful in whittling it all down to one story, and to its best moment. Hopefully, there’s a good result from all that just below:

Madison Wood's Flash Fiction Prompt - Bobbie - March 16 2012
Bobbie-Sue by Madison Woods

Send in Mitsy

The polished midnight gates of Hades are impossibly high and elegant. The three-headed beast snarling in front of them looks tiny. He isn’t. We barely come up to Cerberus’s panting chest as three drooling mouths snarl at us. Body parts gristle in his jaws.

I nod. “Send in Mitsy.”

Mitsy’s fluffy orange paws, each the size of a VW Beetle, pad silently across the cavern. Cerberus gives a confused whine.

Mitsy opens her four mouths and gives a big, interested “Mraaaowp”.

Then we let her loose.

It’s not really fair on Cerberus. But how else can I get Veronica back?

***

My other entries are listed below:

Cellar Wall

Bloody Jewels

Broken Mushroom

Reading the Bones

Also don’t forget to check out Quill Shiv’s fab new challenge, whose prompts vary from music, images and single words, over on her blog. Catch my two entries for that here (Clouded) and here (Aunt Edie’s bunker).

Flash Fiction Friday: Send in Mitsy