Friday Fictioneers – A Different Kind of Fame

Claire Fuller (7)

Copyright – Clare Fuller

This post is for Friday Fictioneers, run by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Please click here to read the instructions and find other entries.

I sit and watch as the swollen figure sobs, tears dripping down bloated cheeks, and I wonder where my compassion disappeared to over the years.

“Even my name, “ Michelin Man gasps, “Is an insult!”

I think I became aware of its gradual erosion after my 43rd session with Ronald, yet again ending with hysterics and yowls of, “Nobody knows who I am behind the face paint!”

More recently, Mr Muscle sought out my help. “Have you seen the new Aquafresh guy? He’s totally ripping me off…” He’s blasé, but underneath, he’s furious.

These mascots, they need more than therapy.

Sunday Photo Fiction – Equal and Opposite

75 08 August 31st 2014

Copyright – Al Forbes

Sorry that I’ve been neglecting the blog, but I moved to Kent yesterday. Hopefully I’ll have more time for writing now! If you’d like to see the rules or the other stories, click here.

“Who’s the lady at number 17? I never see her talking to anyone.”

She is Karen Hannah. A wretched woman who isn’t welcome in my home or in the homes of my friends.”

“What did she do?”

“What she did is irrelevant. The point is that she got what she deserved. You might disagree with the phrase ‘An eye for an eye.’ You might think it’s unbecoming for ladies like us. Not in her case.”

“Is she really so bad?”

“Let me tell you, that woman did what she did for attention. If she wasn’t, then she ought to know that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Since she clearly has no conscience, we’re simply teaching her that there are consequences to the things she does.”

“Hold on, is this the same Karen who Susan mentioned? The one who… Oh.”

“Exactly.”

TBAM – Chapter Three: D

To see the rest of the novel, click here.

Levi didn’t look back as he travelled down the gravel pathway to the street. Mansions lined the road, but he barely glanced at them. He couldn’t process what they meant, and they didn’t matter as much as getting away from the house he’d just come from. He walked in a random direction, feeling the moisture on his back gathering into beads of sweat. This was probably a bad decision, but he was walking now and found himself without the will to turn around.

Without a watch or phone, Levi had no way of knowing how he walked for. The mansions disappeared and turned into a steep cliff-side road. He could see the city below him to his left. The view was magnificent, but Levi was not in the mood to appreciate it. He tried to gauge how far away the city was. An hour? Two hours? Perhaps he would find something before that, but he didn’t know what he was looking for. There were shrubs to his right which he stayed close to and tumbled behind when he heard cars approaching.

Levi’s guestimates turned out to be somewhat conservative. For about an hour after the road began to level out, Levi followed it through a section of rocky moor. Without a view from above, Levi was petrified he would end up off course. He reached a junction and his heart sank. By the road, on a blue painted road sign, there were directions. They weren’t in English. And he was actually pretty sure they weren’t in Welsh. In fact, the characters looked Asian. He stared for as long as he dared to stay still.

If he saw Lekivan and Soriah again, they owed him an honest explanation. There was no way for Levi to decipher the sign, so he took the right turn and hoped for the best. After another hour, Levi was desperate. He saw a black car approach from the distance. His first instinct was to hide, but by then he was so sick of walking he didn’t even care if it was Lekivan behind the wheel. He flagged the car down and, mercifully, it stopped.
The car’s left window rolled down, and a dark skinned man appeared. He wore sunglasses and had close cropped hair.

“Hi, thanks for stopping,” Levi croaked. He hadn’t realised how dry his throat had been getting. He coughed before starting again. “Could you give me directions into the city?”

“You’re Levi, right?” The stranger smiled. His accent was strong.

Levi’s stomach dropped. He knew he should have hid.

“Hey! No need to look so worried!” He pulled a leather wallet out of his pocket and opened it up to reveal some sort of police badge. “I know the situation, right? Just gonna take you down to the police station, we’ll talk everything through, get you something to eat and drink.”

Levi didn’t reply. He trusted this man even less than he trusted Soriah and Lekivan.

“Or you can just keep walking down this road until you collapse of exhaustion. Whatever.”

Friday Fictioneers – Not Like Real Life

PHOTO PROMPT -Copyright - Jan Wayne Fields

Photo belongs to Jan Wayne Fields. Please head to FF central for rules, more stories etc.

Samantha’s world was full of watercolour horses from the illustrations in old fashioned children’s books. She wore a different colour dress every day, and got to wear glitter on her eyelids like grown-ups did.

Her toy box was bottomless, and on some days she would fall into it and float to the bottom. Once there, she’d sit on a pink chair across from Carla.

Samantha’s world was Carla’s too, they’d created it, and now it was the only place Samantha saw her.

Carla would look healthy, and still had her hair, like the very last time they’d played together.

Sunday Photo Fiction – An Unwilling Cadet

72 08 August 10th 2014

The photo belongs to Al Forbes, who also organizes the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge. I’m determined to try and keep up with flash fiction challenges at the moment, but I’m so tired as I spent last night scouring adverts for rooms to let since the landlord I had an agreement with let me down. Because, you know, the prospect of moving 150 miles south wasn’t stressful enough…  0_o

At 12 and a half, Lara still had six more months before she’d be one of the uniformed teenagers standing in the row before her. Her father, the leader of this Air Cadets squadron, paced the line before growling at a mousy girl not much older than Lara herself. The girl’s shoes were scuffed. “Not acceptable,” her father barked.

It must be worth it to them, Lara thought. The uniform, the strictness, and the many, many rules. They were here because they chose to be. Lara’s parents had worked with this squadron for nearly a decade. It had always been expected that she’d join as soon as she was old enough.

Lara had once expressed the sentiment that she didn’t really get it. Her parents had responded with talk about her CV, getting a gliding license, and all the activities. She’d enjoy it, they said, once she was a part of it.

Lara scowled at her father’s back. She didn’t want to be a part of it.

TBAM – Chapter Three: C

See the rest of the novel here.

So, the option of leaving suddenly looked much more precarious. The uncomfortable truth was that Levi had no means of getting home. If, god forbid, Lekivan and Soriah did have shady intentions, he was utterly at their mercy. Avoiding any kind of confrontation might be his best bet, even if he felt that he was slowly sliding closer and closer to a situation that could be more uncomfortable.

“You know, I’m actually feeling really woozy. Perhaps it would be best for me to go to the hospital and get checked out.” Levi suggested. He might be able to take a nurse to one side and explain the situation, make a phone call. Who would he call?

“The hospital is quite a journey away. I’m sure it’s better for you to rest here,” Lekivan replied.

“Not as much of a journey as I made last night.” Levi instantly regretted his words as Lekivan’s expression turned darker. “What about the doctor who examined me last night?”

“He’ll be working.” Lekivan was now curt. “Levi, staying put is the best option. If you’ll excuse us, Soriah and I need to talk in private. We’ll send the housekeeper in to get breakfast for you. You must be hungry.”

Lekivan walked out of the other side of the dining hall. Soriah paused to give Levi a nervous smile.

“I know you’re ill, and the situation isn’t as we would want it, but we’re so happy you’re here.”

Levi watched as she followed Lekivan into what he presumed was the kitchen. For all the times he’d been sure Soriah had lied this morning, he was equally convinced she was being honest during that last sentence. It made him all the more nervous.

Incredibly conflicted, Levi hesitantly stood up. He walked back towards the entrance hall and peered through the dining room door. His way out looked to be unimpeded. He’d already decided leaving was a bad idea, but he found himself walking towards the door anyway. Maybe it was the thought that he might not get another opportunity, or the thought that if Soriah and Lekivan were genuine they’d understand why he’d done it. He unlatched the heavy doors and walked though.

Friday Fictioneers – My Home Below

Björn 6

 It’s time for Friday Fictioneers, please head to FF Central for rules, advice, and access to other 100 word stories. Picture copyright – Bjorn Rudberg

I wonder if this house resides in a great black pit.

I curl up under the duvet and close my eyes, hoping the feeling will pass like motion sickness. Maybe a visitor will knock on the door and prove that I’m accessible to the outside world.

I could leave this place, but level ground is a sheer cliff face when all my will power, the strength I took for granted when I was healthy, has leaked out of the cracks in my psyche.

I’m so brittle now, the cracks spread without provocation. If I fell from the cliff, I’d shatter.

Sunday Photo Fiction – The Apocalypse

71 08 August 03 2014

Copyright – Al Forbes

Click on the photo to be taken to Sunday Photo Fiction Central!

Oooooh la la la la…

And humanity ended.

It all began when the flowers gave birth. Large, smooth stones began to appear besides flower beds and plant pots. They were different sizes but all a uniform eggshell blue, smooth to the touch and actually rather aesthetically pleasing if you stopped to admire them.

Steadily, little indentations began to appear on their surfaces, one on every rock. They deepened and little teeth began to form around the resulting hole. If you lifted them to your ear, you might hear a gentle hum. Five seconds later, you’d feel drowsy. Another ten and you’d be dead.

When all the rocks had mouths with perfect sets of teeth, they began to sing. As the soothing voice of the stones carried through the streets, more and more people fell to the ground.

No zombies. No killer virus. No asteroid.

That’s right. Singing rocks.

TBAM – Chapter Three: B

See the full length novel here.

“There’s some other family members that we’d really like you to meet, but only when you’re ready, of course.” Soriah continued.

“How did you find me? After all this time?”

“Essentially, your parents moved away a few years before you were born. They just disappeared. Obviously this was very distressing for us, as we had no idea what had happened to them. We asked all their friends, hired investigators, and we had no luck. A few days ago, we bumped into one of their friends who went missing at around the same time.”

Soriah looked at Lekivan, who nodded at her to continue.

“The news we received was… heartbreaking. We’re still in shock.” Soriah seemed to be struggling, and the look of Lekivan’s face was of genuine grief. Levi’s suspicions were lowered. “The fact that you’ve been in London on your own this whole time just adds insult to injury. Me, Lekivan, the rest of the family, we’re all very angry that people just stood by and didn’t intervene after your parents died and you were taken in by the government.”

“Oh.” It was all Levi could think to say. His brain felt strangely empty of thought, like it was preparing itself for another information dump.

“When I explained this to you last night, you were very eager to come with us, even though it was quite a long journey. We’re currently in Helena. It’s a city in Wales.”

Levi raised his eyebrows.

“We’re in Wales?”

“Yes. Anyway, when you go here, you were very tired. You tripped as you were walking up the stairway and hit your head on the banister. You scared us both! Thankfully, one of our next door neighbours is a doctor and we had him see you. He said you were going to be fine, and to just let you rest.”

Levi sat back in his chair and let his eyes rove across the room. Part of him wanted to call Lekivan and Soriah out, another part thought he should just go along with it until he was in a better position. If he really was in Wales, how would he get home?

“Surely I brought bags with me? My phone and wallet at least?”

“No, you were in a rush, it was so late. I think your phone was in your pocket. I found it on the floor last night after we’d moved you into the bedroom. I can fetch it for you right now. Just going to warn you, there’s very little phone signal in these parts.” Soriah looked him in the eyes with all the sincerity of someone who thought they were good at lying.

TBAM – Chapter Three: A

Read the rest of the novel here.

Levi had been deliberately unhurried as he dressed in the clothes that were brought to him. It wasn’t that he didn’t want an explanation as to how he got here and who these people were, but he dreaded not being able to make the correct response to whatever he was told. He didn’t feel ready for some beautiful journey of discovery about his family, and there seemed to be a good possibility that something more complicated was going on here.

He looked out of the window again. The area seemed quite hilly, almost mountainous. How far away from home was he? How many hours could he have travelled last night? And why would he have been willing to come out at such short notice? He rubbed his head. It ached, but not in the way he would expect if he’d sustained an injury. He was sure this lady, whoever she was, was lying.

Hesitantly, he opened the door which she’d hurried out of and peered at the corridor outside. He felt like he was a tourist in a stately home who’d stumbled into the “No Admittance” area. To his left was a dead end, but it looked like there was a staircase to the right. He slowly walked along the corridor, giving nervous glances to the statuettes and paintings that lined the walls.

When the corridor opened out above the staircase, Levi found himself looking down on an entrance hall that rivalled his house for size. He found himself becoming more and more suspicious as he considered what he knew so far. There was nobody around to ask for directions, and Levi found himself feeling somewhat relieved this was the case. At least he knew where the front door was if he needed to leave.

Once downstairs, he heard voices coming from behind a set of double doors to his left. One of the doors was propped open. Levi quietly approached and peered through. The lady he’d seen earlier was furiously murmuring at a man in a suit, presumably Lekivan. She spotted Levi and stopped talking.

Lekivan turned. He stood as straight as the lines on his suit, and looked down on Levi with all the force of an irate schoolmaster. His gravity softened as soon as Levi made eye contact with him, his frown dissolving and his shoulders slackening into an unthreatening pose. The transition was as quick as it was eerie.

Levi instantly recognized him as one of the men in the photograph upstairs.

“Levi, Soriah told me about your memory loss. Is it true you can’t remember anything from last night, nothing at all?” Lekivan asked. He had a slight accent which Levi couldn’t place, but it was definitely foreign.

“No. I can’t remember anything. Can you tell me where I am?” Levi was trying to be polite, but some of his frustration came out in his voice. He walked through the doorway. They appeared to be a large dining room with windows lining both sides of the room. Levi could see an orchard to the left and an ornamental garden to the right. Soriah looked uncomfortable and moved around to the other side of the table, as if she was frightened of what Levi might do.

“What was the last thing you remember?” Lekivan replied. Levi’s nostrils flared. He didn’t like the fact his questions weren’t being answered.

“I was at home, by myself. It was about 7PM. So how did I get here?”

“Levi, please, there’s no need to be hostile,” Lekivan said, haughtily. “You have to understand that the conversation we’re about to have is going to be difficult for us both, and myself and Soriah will have to go through it now for a second time. Let’s all just relax, sit down, and talk this through.”

Levi bit back the urge to say that was all he’d been asking for, and did as Lekivan asked.

“Levi, I came to your home quite late last night. You see, we’re your mother’s family. Lekivan is your grandfather, I’m your aunt.” Soriah paused, waiting for Levi’s reaction. He remained impassive. After the photograph, this was hardly a shocker. Besides, something still didn’t feel quite right.