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 I walk around the desk, and place my left hand firmly on the shoulder pad of his thoroughly outdated jacket.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?”

Friday Fictioneers – The Wizard



Written for Friday Fictioneers. Click the link to find out rules, tips, and other great flash fiction. Wrote this on my phone, and had to check the word count the old-fashioned way.

His eyes shine through the vermilion flames between us, glassy and inhuman.

“Why don’t you just go on with your life? I’m not doing any harm to you.”

“I…, I can’t tolerate what you do to others,” I cough through the smoke.

“I’m sure you can, if you really try.”

He smiles, and suddenly I’m transported to a familiar place. The fairground. Dad is holding my hand again, for the first time in three years.

“Dad? How?”

“I can offer a great reward if you only look the other way.”

The wizard’s voice comes through my dead father’s mouth.

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.