Love at First Viewing

Kim shouldn’t have agreed to viewing an apartment. She wants a house. But every one she’s seen reminded her of her childhood home in some way. Three times, she’s picked up the phone to cancel the appointment. Each time, she put it down before anyone answered.

So here she is, entering with the estate broker. He gives her the tour and rattles off his sales spiel. Kim’s not listening. Her heart’s racing, her breathing’s speeding up. She walks straight out onto the huge balcony. What a view. And not a memory in sight.

‘Yes,’ she says. ‘This is the one.’

No Reason to Complain

She wouldn’t have called herself suicidal. She had a good job (good but oh so boring); she was engaged to a man with an even better job (she suspected he had an affair with at least one of his paralegals); she lived in a big house (it took hours to keep clean).

She felt gloomy but she ignored it. She had no reason to complain. So she didn’t.

She wouldn’t have called herself suicidal. She’d have no explanation for why she stepped in front of the oncoming train, other than she wondered what it would feel like to stop being.

***

Sorry for the depressing FFfAW story. I’m sure others will come up with nicer stories.

Twelve Years Old

‘If you tell me any more stories about being twelve years old, I’m going to have to punch you.’

He holds up his hands.

‘Please don’t, I’m banged up enough as it is.’

She scans his face. He looks a lot better.

‘How are you feeling?’

‘Not bad. But not good enough to withstand punches.’

‘Why did you leave? Sounds like you used to love it.’

‘I turned thirteen. I wanted to see the world. I wanted something better. Something more thrilling.’

‘Wanna know where I spent all my time when I was twelve? Locked up in a bloody cage.’

Like a Record

My favourite thing about going to the record store: I never know what treasure I’ll hunt down next.

Today’s no different. Though it’s not rare vinyl that’s tickling my fancy this time. Her immaculate taste in music catches my eye first. I’ve been following her around, pretending to be browsing a few letters down the aisle. She’s wearing a black dress with full circle skirt made of shiny fabric. She looks like a piece of exquisite album art.

I wonder if, when she spins round, her skirt will fan out and make her look like a record on the turntable.

Tastes Like Home

‘Anyone for a piece of shortbread? It’ll go nicely with your tea.’

The old woman opens a tin. The aroma of buttery biscuits fills the compartment. She has never had shortbread, but it smells good. She throws a glance at Herman. Is she allowed?

‘Go on,’ the woman urges.

Herman nods. He takes a piece.

‘Delicious. Reminds me of being wee,’ he says. ‘Of staying at my gran’s.’

Something funny’s happening to his accent. He sounds Scottish? He’s definitely the most relaxed since they’ve gone on the run.

‘Try some, petal. Tastes like home.’

Home? She doesn’t have a home.

Tuesday Street Sweeping

(c) Roger Bultot

Bad enough with the fire engine blocking the road, but it’s the parked cars that rile me most. Any excuse for not following the rules. I’d bet my savings there will be complaints to the council because I missed parts of the road. It’s that type of neighbourhood.

‘Dreadful, isn’t it?’ The woman’s standing on her doorstep, nursing a cup of tea.

‘Dreadful? Ain’t the word I’d use. How am I s’posed to sweep? And the soot. No picnic, cleaning soot.’

She gives me a funny look and goes inside – no doubt to watch my progress from behind her curtains.

***

I’m taking a break from Writing 101 today.  I’m Friday Fictioneering instead. There are plenty of fire stories to read here.

And if you’re still looking for more flash fiction, here’s the link to new version of All About Patience on FlashFlood again.

Canadiens Red

  • Elliot turns away. Amelia mustn’t see his tears. First time she’s let him hold her hand, too.  Worst timing ever.
  • Elliot’s gone weird. He’s facing the other way. I’ve followed the guidelines in the book. Hard, though, I want to kiss him. When he brushed against my hand, I didn’t pull away. Mistake?
  • The knitting woman watches. She used to knit matching sweaters for the twins – their mother couldn’t afford Habs merchandise. When Benny died in the accident, Elliot shut out everyone. But he’s been going for walks with this girl for a while. Time he told her. It’ll help.

I reckon I need to shed some light on the origin of this one:

  • It’s my take on today’s Writing 101 prompt (A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.) and the twist that goes with it (write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman). How do you cram three different PoVs into one hundred words? Well, obviously I had to try.
  • For those of you who aren’t from Canada or happen to pay attention to the NHL: I read red sweater and thought of the Montreal Canadiens. Habs is one of their nick names. I’m not a Habs fan, and I haven’t even adopted them as my ersatz team to root for in the playoffs with my team out, so I’ve no idea why I went, ‘oooh, Habs red’…

Odds Against

The verdant island shimmering in the distance – is it a mirage? A low cloud reflecting the ocean? Real? I notice the birds. Birds mean land. Land means better odds of survival.

As the raft drifts closer, an irrational fear grips me. Am I bound for jungle paradise or horror movie? Flashes of feral boys, a conch, a parachute come unbidden.

A thin strip of sandy beach separates jungle from ocean. I pull the raft clear of the waterline, prop it up for shelter.

The thunderous boom of a trumpet shell reverberates across the island. The odds on survival’ve gone down.

***

Stroke of luck that today’s Writing 101 prompt and this week’s FFfAW picture go together. I wonder if anyone else looked at the island and thought Ralph and Jack.

Edith and Janet Inspect Something

Edith and Janet encountered a strange object during their mid-afternoon walk.

‘What’s that thingamabob?’

‘A battery, silly.’

‘Nah, Edith. Bet it fell out of the sky. Batteries don’t have them blinky things. ’

‘They’re called LEDs. Might be a new generation of rechargeables.’

‘Nobody’s heard of?’

‘It’s a prototype. Someone lost it.’

‘You’ve an answer to everything, doncha?’

Edith turned her attention to Janet.

‘My dear, it isn’t my fault you never finished your education.’

‘Answer me this, then. Why’s the sky blinking along with that LDE?’

‘It’s an LED… Oh dear.’

They disappeared in a beam of pulsing light.