Top 3 Stories – April 2015

The cat’s decided it’s time for cuddles and he’ll take my hand off if I don’t comply. So without further ado, this month’s top three. As always, you’re welcome to disagree with me.

  1. Like a Record
  2. Saving Scarlett
  3. Fooled
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Saving Scarlett

Summer in Scotland isn’t exactly scorching. But it gets warmer every year. They’ve droughts down south for the third year running. One more reason to thank Herman for taking her here.

She’s strolled down to the copse of pine and birch. Anyone who doesn’t know where to look won’t notice. She knows, though. She dug it. She moved the boulder here. It doesn’t have an inscription yet. Her progress in stonemasonry has been sluggish, and she thinks seven years isn’t long enough. She still expects them to come for her.

But the hope they never will grows stronger every day.

***

I’ve not read as many blog posts and left as many comments as usual this month. I have a good excuse: I wrote Scarlett’s story for Camp NaNo. I finished the first draft last night, and this is the epilogue I just added. I’ll start the rewrite soon and I suspect she’ll make more appearances on the blog then.

Worse Than Getting Shot

When the police car stops in front of Mrs. P’s house, Dad’s words begin to make sense.

‘Don’t get shot,’ I tell him every day. Today, he replied with a grimace, ‘I gotta feeling it’s gonna be one of those days when getting shot’d be less painful.’

Mrs. P opens the door. The landlord’s all aggressive, insists on his rights.

‘Pat, Mickey,’ Mrs. P pleads. ‘You spent half your childhoods in my kitchen, devouring cookies and milk. Now your kids do.’

Dad and Mickey stand there, shoulders slumping.

I can’t watch. But first, I make sure Dad knows I saw.

Problem Solved?

The sun’s about to set. I should have factored in that the days get shorter in a hurry, brought a bigger flashlight and a blowtorch to thaw the ground. I’ve been digging a hole in the frozen ground all day with not much to show for my efforts. Other than sore shoulders.

Wolves howl again in the distance – closer than the last time. Do they smell me? They must smell him. Are they hungry? Should I have brought a rifle? The MagLite won’t scare them off.

If I leave his body here, will the wolves solve the problem for me?

***

Sometimes the moment I look at a picture prompt, a character pops into my head. Happened with this week’s FFfAW picture. I’m early this week, so there are not many stories here yet, but give it a day and they’ll flood in.

The Visit

Kim’s baked Mom’s carrot cake and made her trademark lemonade. They’ll eat on the balcony. She’s approached the visit the way Mom would have. Might be the wrong tactic. But she hasn’t talked to him without her mother’s moderation for years. She needs the comfort of how things used to be done.

When the doorbell rings, she experiences a brief flutter of panic. There he is, armed with flowers. She shows him around.

‘Your mother’d be so proud.’

‘Thanks, Dad.’

‘I wish she could see your new home.’

‘Me too. But I’m glad you’re here.’

Dad smiles. Kim smiles back.

42.195

Greenwich Park: This is fun. Total party atmosphere. Everyone’s smiling.

Cutty Sark: Not bad at all. Love the cheers. Spotted a celeb, too.

Rotherhithe: Dunno, that might be a blister forming on my left foot.

Tower Bridge: More blisters. Wanna cry.

Isle of Dogs: Wish I hadn’t told people I’m doing it. Wanna drop out.

Poplar: Twenty miles? Feet feel like I’ve run fifty. Knees hurt.

Embankment: The Eye. Big Ben! Have never been so glad to see Big Ben. Might cry.

The Mall: Not so much jogging, but limping across the finishing line. But I did it! Big smile.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

The first violinist sits down, wobbles around on her chair, gets up so fast she sends it flying.

“I cannot work like this. Every single chair is broken.”

Off she whooshes.

Kate suppresses a smile. The conductor swears.

‘Bringing in Violetta James – a mistake. Both skill and temper are worse than anticipated.’

He looks at the violin section and points his baton at Kate.

‘You were in the running for first violinist, Kate?’

Kate nods.

“Congratulations. You’re promoted. A round of applause, please.”

Standing ovation.

Kate bows.

The irony is, now she has to sit in the wobbly chair again.

Pretend it’s Star Wars

(c) Douglas M. MacIlroy

Hoth. That’s what I dress for. Going for a ride on my TaunTaun. I’m so far away from home, I might as well have gone to another planet.

There are no TaunTauns, actually. Walking is better for me, anyway, helps me keep warm. So do the layers I put on. First layer: thermal underwear. When I bought it en route, with money I should have handed over, the implications of my decision hit me. Bye, bye tropical paradise.

But where I come from, nobody dreams of running away to Fairbanks. I didn’t. They won’t come looking for me on Hoth.

Aside: 92 Stories Later

I started this blog on a whim. If you’d told me then that three months on, I’d have posted a story every day, I doubt I’d have believed you. Whims never last.

But here I am, 92 stories later. I haven’t given up. I haven’t decided to quit. You know why? Because of you.

I didn’t expect so many people would like my stories, never mind like them enough to leave a comment and follow the blog. I didn’t expect to have so much fun with this.

Thank you for letting me entertain you, one hundred words at a time.

Love Letter

Darling S,

When I said you’re like no girl I’ve met, I meant it. I’ll never forget you.

That sounds final. It is. They won’t let us be together. If nothing else, I’ll make you vulnerable. I’d like to think I might become the reason why you think twice before you head into another ambush like the one you saved us from, thinking you’d rather see me again than get yourself killed. They won’t allow you to have something to live for.

But I won’t forget you. If I can, I’ll find you. Just don’t hold your breath.

Love,

O