Ninety-nine words…

for Friday Fictioneers

 

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‘Hello dear’ she would say as she hung her bag and brolly on the hook. 

Every day. 

My other regulars always waved to her.   ‘Hello dears’  she’d shout! 

Masie always said that. 

She’d study the menu for ages.  ‘Whatever you suggest and a nice cup of tea dear’ she’d say. 

Every time! 

*

I’ll never forget that day.   I walked over with her meal. Steak pie it was.  She seemed to be asleep.  

She never woke up.

It’s not my cafe any more, but her bag and brolly still hang on the hook.  I like that.  

Masie probably would too.

 

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Thanks to Rochelle for hosting and to Dale Rogerson for the photo of the spooky cafe!

 

Feed the frog to join in the fun!

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A short story…

for Sunday Photo Fiction

 

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A congregation of dark clouds watched over the priest as he muttered his final few words and scattered a handful of soil onto the coffin.  The assembled few stood in silence save the occasion sniff and whimper.

High in a nearby tree sat a bird.  A black bird.  They say birds don’t cry, but I swear it shed a tear.

The priest gently closed his book and the family and friends turned to leave.  He stood for a moment, his white cassock fluttering in the breeze.  He gazed up at the bird as it flapped its wings then flew skyward.

As night fell, the mourners reflected on the day before heading for their beds. The priest, unable to sleep searched for a book in his study.  In it, he’d read of an ancient belief whereby the recently departed sometimes returned as birds.  Black birds.  Despite the Good Book not referencing such an idea, he often reflected upon it following a funeral.

In the darkness of the churchyard, a bird flew down to the grave.  A black bird. It stood upon the freshly turned soil preening its glossy feathers.

*

At the crack of dawn, two birds sat in a tree, whistling joyfully.  Two black birds.

Together again, at last.

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cropped-stranger (1)Several years ago I wrote a piece along a similar theme which was published in a book of short stories. Unfortunately, it’s now out of print but the tale lives on HERE if you are interested in reading it!  It’s called The Stranger.

 

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Thank you, Donna, for hosting. The picture is from Pixabay.

To see what others have come up with click HERE.

 

 

A story from ten years ago today…

for Fandango’s Friday Flashback – August 16  where we are invited to re-post a piece which originally appeared on our blog on this date in days of yore!

What follows is a story I posted on August 16  2009 in response to the now discontinued Sunday Scribblings prompt site.  It received the princely sum of 11 comments, most of which were from folk who are still blogging today!

 

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For the best part of a lifetime the words of Phaedrus lived inside Mike’s head.  The words were written over 2000 years ago, yet they could have been written yesterday. They could have been written especially for him.  ‘The old knives that have rusted in my back I now drive in yours’.

For the best part of a lifetime Mike had been the victim of taunts, deceit and scorn.  Quite what happened I know not, but suddenly some kind of higher being scooped him up and promised him that his time had come.  Time to reap the revenge he so deserved.

He’d lived in the area all of his life.  He’d walked in the woods since he was a child yet he’d never before seen the crumbling Gothic bastion he saw before him that day.  The rusty iron gate was open, a chain and padlock swinging from the bolt.  An irresistible force drew him in, along an overgrown avenue and through the sagging doors of Hades Hall. He found himself descending a flight of stone steps and entering a grey cellar illuminated by a dozen flickering candles.  A table was set along the length of the room.  It was covered with a white cloth and adorned with gleaming cutlery and sparkling crystal glasses.  There were huge vases of white lilies and in the centre sat the skull and twisting horns of a deer.

A voice inside his head told him what he must do.  The scene was set.  All he needed now were the players.  Seven people were to be chosen, and seven people were to each receive an invitation.  An invitation they were strangely powerless to refuse.

Childhood for most people is a precious time, but for Mike it was a time when he was bullied and isolated from his peers.  One boy in particular made his life a misery, and one of his teachers persuaded him that he was worthless and inferior.  They were both invited.

His real father had died when he was quite young and his mother remarried.  His stepfather abused him both mentally and physically and when he went to his mother for comfort she accused him of lying and punished him severely.  She died believing that everything he’d said was nothing more than attention seeking.  He couldn’t blame her. After all her man could be very persuasive.  But her man was to be one of the seven guests at the table tonight.

It came as a complete surprise to everyone when Mike married.  His young wife was an outsider but she made sure she integrated herself into village life from the day she arrived.  His parents had been comfortably off and somehow she just knew that when Mikes mother died he would be heir to a small fortune.  She gained a somewhat unsavoury reputation in the village.  It seemed that there was hardly a young man in the area had not fallen prey to her not inconsiderable charms.  Mike knew of course but was too weak to do anything about it.  When his mother eventually died his wife made off with more than half of his inheritance, plus the boy from the blacksmiths.  But tonight she would be back.  She was powerless to resist..

There were three more places to fill and he chose one person from each of the last three decades, someone who had taken advantage of him, ignored him or made him feel inferior.  A place was laid for the bank manager who tried to help himself to the money entrusted to him in the hope it would go unnoticed.  There was a place for the so-called friend who had tipped a beer over his head in the pub one night.  He did it for no other reason than to get everybody laughing at our sad victim.  It was not to be forgotten.

The seventh chair was to be taken by the counsellor who he’d had by his side for most of his life.  The counsellor had done nothing to help him.  If anything he’d made him feel even more inferior.  It was obvious that to him the regular meetings were an unnecessary chore and a waste of time.  didn’t go unnoticed and the counsellor was to join the others at the table tonight.

The night arrived and the guests assembled in the cellar.  A ghostly looking master of ceremonies rapped three times on the table then asked everyone to take their place at the table.  A fleet of waiters carried in platter after platter of delicious food and the wine flowed.

Mike stood up and banged the table with the back of a spoon.  All seven people stopped talking and stared in his direction.  ‘The old knives that have rusted in my back I drive in yours’ he said.   It was greeted with mocking laughter, then the seven got back to their talking.

Nobody noticed him slip away. So intense was the conversation that the locking of the doors and the sliding of the bolts went unheard.  So did the sound of his laughter as he walked through the gates, locking them behind him, then into the woods.  He stopped and looked over his shoulder.  Hades Hall was no longer to be seen.Perhaps it was never there. Maybe this was all a dream.  But he still held in his hand a bunch of rusting keys. At least he did until he tossed them into the stream.

A distant clock struck midnight.  The day  about to start was to be the first day of the rest of his life.  A new life. Mike’s life.

A few words…

for Friday Fictioneers

 

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cartoon-scared-grandma-running-vector-image_csp49247571It was really windy.  My flower pots had blown over and Norman the Gnome was flat on his back.

Suddenly Gail’s gazebo hurtled past.  A couple of cars swerved to avoid it.  Gail was trotting along behind, swerving between the swerving cars.  It was like a scene from a cartoon!   Suddenly it took off and landed in a tree.

I had warned her.  ‘Gail,’ I said, ‘it’s going to be windy, take it down’.  Did she listen? 

Gail called the Fire Brigade.  They rescue cats from trees so why not tents?  But no, so I said I’d help her – when the wind dies down! 

 

 

demolished-purple-tentFriday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle and our picture prompt this week is by Jon Wayne Fields.

Catch the frog to join in the fun!

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One hundred and forty-two words…

for Sunday Photo Fiction

 

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He’d not been back for seventeen years. The coffee shop was still there. It looked just as it used to.  He ventured inside and ordered a latte with a chocolate muffin just for old time’s sake.

He noticed a girl, drinking a smoothie whilst staring at her mobile phone the way teenagers do.  She reminded him of his girlfriend back then, Alison. She even looked a little like her.  They always sat there, they once scratched their initials on the tabletop!  He wondered if they were still there.

The young girl stood to leave, looked at him for a second or two, smiled, and was gone.

Last time he and Alison were there, seventeen years ago, they’d argued and she’d stormed out.  Try as he may he never saw her again.  The words she’d shouted before rushing into the street flooded his mind.

‘By the way, you are going to be a father’.

 

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Thanks to our host Donna. The picture on which my piece is loosely based is from Morguefile.

Post 1864

A short story…

for The Sunday Whirl.

 

It’s been a couple of years since I last visited the Whirl, so I thought I’d pop back to find out what’s going on!

 

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zzzzMaestro Mike invited me to his place the other night.  He said to bring my friend Rosey.  He’s more into Mozart than Meatloaf.  At uni, he got a first in what Rosey calls ‘musicing’!

Mike’s treasured possession is a magnificent Steinway piano.  After a drop of fine wine and some very fancy nibbles we suggested he play something, or as Rosey put it, ‘let’s watch ya bash out a tune on the ‘ole Joanna’!

Mike entertained us with a rousing rendition of someone or other’s piano concerto. Apparently, it was in A minor, but Rosey whispered it sounded B flat!

Once over, Mike rose from the stool and bowed. Rosey shot across the room; she couldn’t wait to take his place! Mike begged her to be gentle with his beloved instrument.  She only knows one tune, Chopsticks.  She’s as bad at playing it as he is eating with them.  Only the other night she accidentally poked one up her nose in at the Poo Ping Chinese eatery. 

Thankfully, Rosey’s concert was interrupted when Mike’s phone rang. Saved by the cell! Apparently, it was good news about a deal he was negotiating so he suggested we open a bottle of bubbly.

Having lost count of the glasses we’d emptied, driving was a no-no so Mike said one of us could have the spare room for the night, and the other could sleep on the sofa.  I tossed a coin, said ‘heads I win tails you lose’ and duly got the bedroom!

About 4.30 in the morning I heard Rosey scream. In the semi-darkness I stumbled downstairs to find her in a bit of a state, bedsheets held before her face.  Apparently, she woke up, and in the gloom saw a shiny black monster, its gaping mouth baring an alarming set of gappy teeth. 

When I switched on the light she peeped out and realised it was Mike’s piano!

 

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This week’s words at The Sunday Whirl are found, cell, sheets, watch, held, news, wait, bring, shot, state, count, and deal.

A fistful of words…

for Friday Fictioneers

 

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He was always the same.

“Don’t touch, it’s hot” they’d say, then he’d complain about burning himself.  After being warned not to walk on thin ice, he’d moan about being cold as he clambered from the pond. I once advised him against betting on a horse, though that time he had the last laugh when it won!

“I want ‘I’m a Survivor’ played at my funeral’ he once joked!

So it was no surprise when faced with a daubed message prohibiting trespassers he ignored it. We’d begged him not to. 

Yesterday was the first time I’d heard that song at a funeral.

 

trespass_randy_mazie-1Thanks to Rochelle for hosting and to Randy Mazie for the photo.

Prod the frog (gently) to join in the fun.

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