Sunday Photo Fiction – Pumpkin Spice Latte

124 10 October 4th 2015

Copyright – Al Forbes

Another round of Sunday Photo Fiction, a bit late this time, and also a little longer. Unlike my protagonist, I have no issue with pretentious sugary coffee, and am seriously craving one after writing this piece. If you’d like to write a 150-200 word story of your own based on the photo prompt, click the link and you’ll find Al’s instructions.

Only a quarter of my coffee remains, but it doesn’t mean anything. These syrupy froths go down quick, there’s still time for me to stare out of the rain-flecked window, still time for me to be out of the cold. I’m not going to keep checking the time. I’ll leave when it feels right.

People complain about winter, but it’s the inevitability of autumn that I hate. When the short nights are here, you’re used to them. When they’re getting shorter, you feel cheated. The fall fanatics can keep their pretty dying leaves and their sugary spiced lattes. I’ll sit here and reminisce about summer.

It was good this year. I met someone.

“I love autumn,” he told me. Foam was spilling out over the top of his Starbucks mug. I’d ordered the same coffee as him, maybe as a last ditch attempt to pretend we had something in common. “Everything starts to change. And change can be something that we need, sometimes.”

Most of his drink is still left on the table next to me. It’s growing more tepid by the second, and the cream is starting to look more like scum. Time does terrible things to people and coffee alike.

Friday Fictioneers – The Bishop’s Apprentice

The piece I’ve written for Friday Fictioneers is a little different this week. It’s related to the novel I’m working on. I’m struggling with the plot, mainly that the plot doesn’t really exist yet… Anyway, if you’d like to see some really great flash fiction, and maybe write a little yourself, click on this link.

For the first time, Aist is alone in Bishop Karl’s office. As instructed, she lifts the lid of the laptop, and opens the database. She scrolls down the list of Karl’s 200 wards, her throat tightening when familiar names roll by. When Arlie’s name appears, Aist stops.

With one click, Aist would know her aunt’s medical history, her shopping habits, and her private messages. She’d know more about Arlie than Arlie knew herself.

She’d know what Arlie had prayed for.

Karl had asked her a question before she started training.

“Are you ready to make decisions you can’t live with?”

Sunday Photo Fiction – 2056: Revival of the Demolition Derby

123 09 September 27th 2015

Copyright – Al Forbes

Click the link to take part in the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge.

“Listen, sweetheart, these cars are priceless.” He leers are me as he enunciates the last word, his face pinching like he wants to spit in my face. “They’re the last of their kind left. To scrap these cars is like burning famous artwork.”

The second man takes a friendly tone with me. “I understand you have to do your job, and a demolition derby isn’t to everyone’s taste, but this is history we’re talking about. We’re trying to preserve history!”

I cast a final eye over the dented rusting boxes these men claim to be vehicles.

“There’s a reason banger racing died out. Regardless of the purpose, these cars don’t meet the legal emissions spec. If they’re used, you’ll be liable for a hefty fine. You’ll have to find newer cars to destroy.”

Missing: Female, 16, Dark Hair

This week’s entry for Friday Fictioneers. Please click the link to find out the rules, to take part, and to find a plethora of wonderful 100 word stories based on the above picture.

My anxiety reached fever pitch as I heard the door shut behind the police officers. It screamed through every blood vessel and roared in my ears.

Under it all was a whisper: “You might never see her again.”

I tried calling again, my sweaty fingers leaving marks on the screen. No answer. I looked through her Facebook, Twitter, even Instagram for posts, anything to suggest she was still alive.

The latest photo was taken an hour after she was last seen. It’s unremarkable. We went over that bridge nearly every day. Why take a picture there?

I picked up my keys.

Sunday Photo Fiction – Unexpected Gifts

122 09 September 20th 2015

Copyright – Al Forbes

Please follow the link to see the rules and other entries for this weeks Sunday Photo Fiction.

My family were part of a carefully maintained system. My eldest sister’s used clothes went to my cousin, my cousin’s clothes went to Alice down the road, and Alice’s cast offs came to me. Every so often, a plastic carrier of hand-me-downs would appear. My mother would make me put everything on so she could assess with an expert eye what fitted me, and regardless of my protestations, discard anything she deemed unsuitable.

As we became older, Alice developed enviable curves whilst I stayed slim, and so my wardrobe supplements became less frequent.

When I was 15, my mother called me into the kitchen. Hanging on the door was a satin dress in floral print, the kind I’d look at through a shop window, and optimistically say to my friends, “When I’m rich, I’ll buy a dress like that.”

Alice had received it as a present. It didn’t fit, and she couldn’t get the receipt to return it.

“It looks good on you,” my mother sighed, “But it’s frivolous, you’ll have no cause to wear something like that.”

“I’m sure I’ll find a cause,” I said, looking in the mirror.

Friday Fictioneers – Rust

PHOTO PROMPT © David Stewart

Copyright – David Stewart

A Friday Fictioneers Entry – Please click the link for more info and the chance to check out other entries.

I’m sat on the couch, watching TV, pretending I’m not waiting for her. I down the last drops of my green tea even though the astringency makes my tongue feel like carpet. When I hear the door unlock, I don’t move. She saunters into the front room with damp, dirty clothes and orange streaked hands.

“You were right,” she says bitterly, peeling off her raincoat. “I climbed over the gate. Dad’s bike is gone. Nothing left but weeds.”

“What were you expecting? Dad waiting for you on bended knee with flowers and an explanation?”

“Mum, just leave it, okay?”

Friday Fictioneers – The Past in the Present

Begin the Route

Photo Copyright – Jean L Hays

Friday Fictioneers is organized by Rochelle Wisoff Fields. Please visit her page to see the rules and look at other entries.

Some areas of the old Mother Road are undergoing a revival, but I don’t see it happening for this God-forsaken place. Abandoned for decades, the battered tarmac stretches ahead of my car’s lights.

I wonder if this is what the whole world will look like after civilisation ends.

I stop the truck and get out. This place has no features to identify it, but I know I’ll be found, even in the dark.

I hear the sound of gravel crunching underfoot, but after all these years, I don’t dare to turn around and face him.

“I’m not afraid,” I lie.

Sunday Photo Fiction – The Most Beautiful Prison

94 01 January 4th 2015

Copyright – Al Forbes

Please check out Al’s page for the rules, and other entries.

I’m trapped in a beautiful prison.

The six walls that surround me are lined with ebony shelves, perhaps ten storeys high. Three are hidden behind silken curtains, and crammed on the shelves are treasures upon treasures. Despite the length of my incarceration, I still discover new things, even now. Strings of pearls, diamonds, filigree gold jewellery, boxes lined with satin, leather books written in languages I don’t understand, china dolls, animals carved from onyx and agate.

Many days ago I discovered a stone angel that seemed warm to the tough, about the length of my palm. It bears a likeness to someone I once knew, a certain prince who was cursed for trying to use his wealth to become a God. My memory of him is obscured and distorted, like someone tried to burn it.

The angel whispers something about a seventh wall.

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.”