Sunday Photo Fiction – Living Tarmac

142 02 February 7th 2016

Copyright – Al Forbes

A piece for Sunday Photo Fiction.

A strange dust began pervading the air above the roads, accompanied by an oily scent. Over the course of some months, the haze became dense and unbreathable. When the newspapers told us the air could be cancerous, our family of four packed our things.

As the dust was presumed to be a result of urban activity, we went to live with my grandmother and her dog, who resided in a remote village. The lack of mobile signal made it difficult to know how my friends were doing, and there was nothing in the news besides the health warnings we already knew.

One wet morning, three weeks after we had moved, I was walking the dog in the nearby woodland. I noticed an odd smell. Lots of trees seem to have fallen over, even though the storm the night before had been mild. After climbing over the wreckage, I saw the cause.

An irregular strip of tarmac stretching as far as the eye could see, fingers of asphalt forking away like growing branches.

C: Friday Fictioneers – Tradition & Rebellion

Kitchen Window

Copyright – Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

An entry for this week’s Friday Fictioneers challenge. Please click the link if you would like to participate or read other stories. I’d like to thank everyone who left feedback last week, it was very helpful and I am extremely grateful that you took the time to give your opinion.:)

After drying my hands on the pink towel, I catch the fragrance of rose-scented soap. I inhale deeply, letting the odour transport me back to the old days, when I was a young perfumer.

Florals had returned to popularity back then, with people rejecting the musky orientals in favour of delicate, blooming smells that reminded them of their mothers. When I retired, smoky Opium was back in fashion thanks to that notorious Sophie Dahl advert. Confident, powerful women wore dirty, sexy perfume. Clean scents were for your grandmother and her hand soap.

I get gift sets for Christmas every year.

Sunday Photo Fiction – Thin Tights

134 12 December 13th 2015

Copyright – Al Forbes

A quick entry for Sunday Photo Fiction. Ready, steady, go!

The sports hall is as cold as ever. I’m surprised my breath doesn’t fog up as I exhale it into the still, silent air. My skirt and thin tights are offering approximately zero protection from the temperature.

Tables fan out around me, their occupants fidgeting and pale with nerves. I’ve seen all the invigilators who are handing out papers before, but only know them by their nicknames.

Blonde Bombshell writes the name of the exam on the whiteboard: Introduction to Thermodynamics.

Mr Potato’s deep voice rings out clear across the hall, “You may now begin.”

I turn over the first page, and slowly decipher a jumble of words and numbers. So, I’ll need that equation.

I slowly slide my skirt up while I check there’s no one looking, and glance down at the notes written on my thighs.

C: Friday Fictioneers – Run Away With Me

PHOTO PROMPT © Luther Siler

Picture Copyright – Luther Siler

For this week’s Friday Fictioneers entry, I’ll be joining the ConCrit sub group for the first time. I’ve definitely been struggling lately, so some hints and tips would be much appreciated.

In a back room, I pull the ridiculous costume over my head, and I’m enveloped in the sweaty, cigarette-tinged odour of the last person who wore it.

There’s a knock on the fire exit. I turn and see her behind the glass. There’s something regretful in her mischievous grin.

“Forget what I said! Forget this! Come with me!” she shouts. She sees my hesitation. “Are you a chicken or aren’t you?”

I grin. I rip the suit off, damaging the zip, snapping the wings, and violently kick it to the other end of the room.

Breathless, I barrel through the exit.

How to be a Completely Unambitious Writer

It’s odd to think that, as recently as 2013, I had enough self-discipline to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days.

Shortly after that, I wrote my series of vignettes for the Library Book Project. I still feel that series is possibly the best fiction work I’ve ever completed. At that time, I had absolutely no issue with calling myself a writer. There were stories I wanted to explore, and it felt so good to get them all down on paper.

While I never really had grand ambitions in terms of getting published, I felt like I was definitely improving and developing a skill. There were so many times growing up where I didn’t feel that I had a “talent” like other kids, and finally I felt like I could be really good at something if I just took the time to practice.

Unfortunately… things happen.

There’s a number of factors involved, but the truth is that I really regret dropping the ball. Being out of practice has meant that I’ve lost some faith in my ability as a writer. It doesn’t feel the same as it did before.

Another problem currently is that I’m also so stressed I find it difficult to actually relax and enjoy writing. Like, I’m really stressed out. Final year and graduate application rounds are totally kicking my arse. And, I get it, there are probably people who have lives exponentially more stressful than mine, and you have to be resilient, but, I’m seriously stressed out.

So, writing might not be my biggest priority right now.


I’m not going to give up. I’ll try things from different angles, maybe start some smaller projects, and keep talking to the people who I know will motivate me. I’m confident that one day, I’ll get some writerly mojo back.



Friday Fictioneers – A Stranger Calling

Copyright – Roger Bultot

A 100 word entry for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by the super-patient and very talented Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

They told me to go to London and do the job I had been trained to do.

On the flight, I could barely keep still in my seat. My veins seemed to crackle with the energy I’d amassed over the past four years through supplementations, incantations, rituals, and prayers to mysterious Gods who imparted their power to me.

On a neglected rooftop garden, I called for him, master to master.

I made him bow like rushes in the wind, and then I cut him down. I never hesitated, never asked why.

Years later, my power fades. A stranger calls me.

Too Real To Be Real

I’m no memory of how I came to be here. I feel like I’ve been on this dark road for hours in trance, and now my eyes and brain have just gained focus on the present. The street I’m in is too real, the winter breeze is opaque, and the stuccoed walls of the semi-detached houses seem to make dents in my vision. The sodium streetlight casts an extradimensional glow on the scene.

I’m frozen to the spot, the air inside my lungs feeling foreign as it enters. My heart seems to have stopped.

There’s a painful flash, and I feel like my synapses are burning. Devoid of the ability to see anything but blinding white, I hear some cheering, and a voice.

“Experiment number three hundred and fifty nine. Success.”

Friday Fictioneers – God of Sales

PHOTO PROMPT - © Dale Rogerson

Copyright – Dale Rogerson

Another entry for Friday Fictioneers. Click the link to find more 100 word stories, read the rules, submit your own, etc etc. Struggled this week!

A cantankerous witch living in the forest stole my wife’s voice in a tantrum over turnip prices.

When we heard rumours of a river spirit, I was hopeful. I dreamed of a great dragon sliding through the murky waters of the lake, every lustrous scale shimmering with magic, wise and benevolent.

The second I kneeled down to pray at the lake, a voice called out to me. I looked up to see an aquamarine-suited figure right in front of me, smile spread wide over oddly white teeth.

“Wife needs some new pipes? I can do a great deal on that.”

Sunday Photo Fiction – The Professor Vs The Unenlightened

Copyright – Al Forbes

Another entry for Sunday Photo Fiction!

Professor Adams is a small man, but it’s clear he’s used to being looked up to in the metaphorical sense. From his rude demands for us to get out of his office to the way he insults us, everything about him smacks of an ostentatious intellectual who hasn’t quite realised that his knowledge doesn’t make him a saint.

“Don’t you dare touch those. You can’t possibly comprehend their worth,” he sneers as my friends begin to pick up artefacts from the shelves.

I smirk.

“Why don’t you enlighten us, professor?” I walk around the desk, and place my left hand firmly on the shoulder pad of his thoroughly outdated jacket. Maybe his suit is an antique too. “How much are they worth?” I ask softly in his ear, inducing a sweaty sheen on his forehead. He jumps as the cold blade of my knife comes into contact with his neck.

Sunday Photo Fiction – Rumours from an Old Friend

125 10 October 11th 2015

Copyright – Al Forbes

Another entry for Sunday Photo Fiction. I was really struggling this week!

After what seemed to be a fortuitous meeting with an ex-schoolfriend, I was directed to the Ballay Boat Inn. Tommy warned me that the exterior might be off-putting, and he was right on that score. With its lichen covered walls and splintering sign, one could be forgiven for assuming the place was derelict.

Tommy’s mate was the only customer inside; he and the barman stared at me as I entered the pub like I was some other worldly vision. We exchange our introductions and get to the point.

“Tommy says yeh’ve got an interest in the hill.” He gives the barman a look as he says this.

“Yeah. Relative of mine used to own property on it. Nobody seems to know what happened to the building.”

“Ahhhh.” He stares at me even as he drinks deeply from his pint glass.

“Yeah, tried going through the local authorities, they can’t explain it.”

“Out of curiosity, how close were you to this relative? No bad blood, I hope?” Tommy’s friend smirks. “Nothing that… might come back to haunt you, say?”