Waste of a Sharpie

Please vote to help me decide what to write in October. At the moment, the serial is winning, so I’m continuing yesterday’s tale to practice my serialisation skills:

‘Paws off my Sharpies, Pheebs. They’re the last of their kind.’

old map of the UK and Ireland‘I need to update this map.’

‘Use your own pens.’

‘I didn’t bring any.’

‘You can’t have mine.’

‘Don’t you think it’s important we keep track of the coastline?’

‘Why? It keeps changing, anyway. I won’t let you waste a Sharpie on it.’

‘I thought maybe we could take one of the abandoned boats and…’

‘Are you crazy?’

‘Mum may have changed her mind.’

‘Too late. Too dangerous. Too…’

‘Willow, please.’

‘She won’t leave.’

‘Because of Dad?’

‘She’ll never leave his grave behind.’

‘But…’

‘I know, Pheebs. I know.’

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Help: What am I going to write in October?

Here’s the thing: I’ll be busy next month with holidaying and moving (again!), so I have to plan what I’m going to do to keep my lovely readers entertained.

Would you like a say? Yes? Well, you’re in luck, I’d love to hear what you want to read. Take the poll and/or leave a comment.

Thank you!

Climate Change Denier

sailboat with house in the background
(c) Louise, The Storyteller’s Abode for FFfAW this week

‘Look, mummy, more boats leaving.’

‘That’s nice, dear.’

‘Don’t bother, Pheebs. It’s pointless. Have you packed your crap?’

‘Language, Willow.’

‘Yeah, because that’s going to matter, ladylike language. Phoebe and I’ll leave today, Mum. You coming?’

‘How many times, Willow, there’s no need. We will not be going anywhere.’

‘But the water has risen all week, mummy. Look, I’ve taken notes. Look!’

‘That’s nice, dear. Anyone for a cup of tea?’

‘What are we going to do with her, Willow?’

‘Nothing we can do. She’s free to stay, but I won’t let her kill us with her denial. Bye, Mum.’

Post-Civilisation Benefits of Public School* Education

(c) Barbara W. Beacham

The A&B Building was made entirely from driftwood,’ she says, patting the wood pile. ‘So it can be done.’

She’s a treasure trove of half-truths and and pseudo-facts. She delivers them with confidence and conviction, though.

Like that building she’s referred to; it had a driftwood facade, but it looked the deal – like her. Nobody cares what I know – I didn’t learn the art of public speaking before civilisation collapsed. Why do they still mistake eloquence for expertise?

Today, though, she injects everybody with the enthusiasm to build  shelter with the material at hand.

The faster, the better. The weather is turning, even if she doesn’t believe it.

***

*When we say public, we mean private, obviously.

Honestly, I think I’ve written the beginning of a dystopian romcom for MFtS this week. Anybody want to read on?

In Control

‘You seen my keys?’

Shake of the head. Way he looks at her, though – fishy.

He doesn’t like her going out; he doesn’t like her having fun. He likes being in control and when she meets her mates, who knows what they’ll get up to or how late she’ll stay out. Without her keys, she’ll have to come home before he goes to bed and since he’s on the early shift, he’s getting up at stupid o’clock. He hides her keys, he gets to tell her when to be back.

Quick frisk of his jacket – bingo.

‘Never mind, found them.’

Space Dad

I think of the first time Dad took me to the planetarium.planetarium @Bristol; 100 words about grief; final rest I didn’t understand space or the difference between stars and planets. The mystery added to the attraction, though – I decided that day I’d become an astronaut.

I couldn’t have done it without Dad. When I applied for the astro physics PhD programme and the family consensus was that it might be time I started a family, Dad challenged their outdated notions.

I wish he’d lived to watch the launch; the cancer took him too early, so his ashes are coming to the Moon with me. But not back.

Recurring Nightmare

Playground she went to with Jim when they investigated that murder in Alfred Place. Swings, slide, climbing frame – all massive. Kids clustered around the benches, passing a bottle around.

swings, nightmareCard them? But I’m a DCI. And they are so big.

Smash goes the bottle. Broken glass everywhere. Hazard for little children – ones her size. Her sister’s always going on about how they should keep teenagers and drunks out of children’s playing areas at night. As if they didn’t have real work to do after dark.

Intervene! Make them clean up!

Seven kids, the smallest twice her size.

She feels powerless.

There Was a Hush

dam

There was a hush. There was a crack. Birds burst into the air, shrieking; water burst the dam, sweeping.

colourful stripes on road

Nobody had told the poor to evacuate. Their kids wondered why no cars sped down the roads but they didn’t care – they’d never seen so much space to play. There was a hush, followed by children’ shrieks and sweeping water.

beach holidays

Given the distance to the disaster, the sunbathers thought themselves safe. Imagine their surprise when they found themselves trapped between ocean and onrushing water. They barely had time to scream and panic before they got swept away. There was a hush.

***

After struggling with vignettes yesterday, this one popped into my head immediately when I read today’s Story A Day prompt.

Notes on Compiling a Mixed Tape for Your Teenage Crush a Decade Later

record player, vinylHey Ya!

Dunno. Best way to start? What if she doesn’t like Outkast? Then again, if she doesn’t, maybe I’m wrong about this.

Remember Me

She liked BSP. I used to watch her play air guitar at the student union’s Friday night disco to this.

Get Over You

There I go again, being subtle. See also:

Nothing Compares 2 U

Exhibit A

There’s a Ghost in my House

Exhibit B

Laura

Because she’s still my superstar.

Call Me

Call to action and all that… Anytime!

Boys Don’t Cry

Just in case she won’t call me. Bit too passive aggressive, maybe?

Aunt Becky’s Last Wish

It is Aunt Becky’s only birthday wish to have a big family dinner that won’t escalate because she’s ‘not long for this world.’
stars, night sky

But there are grooves so well-worn that we cannot seem to avoid splitting up into our familiar factions; the squabbling starts before the starters have arrived. No matter what our intentions, these get-togethers always threaten to turn into a blood bath.

‘Enough with the shouting already,’ Aunt Becky roars. ‘D’you want to be remembered like this? Settle down, I wanna take some pictures and I don’t fancy looking at your scowling mugs when I’m on Mars.’

***

Another story inspired by the excellent Story A Day prompts.