Quid Pro Quo

‘Sure, I’ll hand over my most precious invention without asking any questions. As long as you help me with an unpleasant chore I’ve to tackle today.’

The way he says it, Gwen knows he’s going to be cruel.

‘Deal. Let’s tackle it.’

He leads her into the storage room.

‘See those cobwebs? They need to go. Here’s a broom.’

Despite the murky light, she sees the spiders – big ones with hairy bodies. The ones she used to be afraid of.

Five minutes later, she returns to the workshop, carrying a box of spiders she’ll set free.

‘Your turn, darling brother.’

***

Story 28 of 31 for Story A Day May. Find all episodes of the Saturday Serial here.

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Connie Wants to be a Sidekick

100 words about Gwen's new sidekick
photo by Andrew Amistad 

I know these back alleys inside out, I rush through here every day on the coffee run. Yet I’m scared. Turns out they look different in the dark. Unfamiliar.

But I’m here, where she’s been spotted before, so I’m going to keep loitering. With intent. Even though there’s nobody around.

Hang on. Footsteps. Coming from above.

‘Is that you?’

Stupid thing to say. Silence.

‘I want to be your sidekick.’

She comes sliding down a drainpipe.

‘You? What help would you be?’

She underestimates me. Everybody does. I look her up and down.

‘For starters, I could design your costume.’

***

The Saturday Serial is taking a break, but this one wanted to be written today, so here’s story 14 of 31 for Story A Day May.

Off the Record

100 words about Gwen becoming friends with a police officer
(c) Sonya 2009

Befriending Amy has become easier since they’ve started running by the canal.

‘Things keep getting crazier. Funding cuts, homegrown terrorists, …’

Amy pauses. Gwen has an idea what’s next. For someone who’s fearless, she feels unexpectedly tense.

‘And now we have a vigilante. Heard about her?’

Is it a trick question?

‘How do you know she’s a woman?’

‘Something a low-lives she stopped said.’

‘Is she a big problem?’

‘She’s helping, actually. Don’t tell anyone I said that. The official line is to condemn her actions.’

Gwen smiles. It’s too early yet, but when the time comes, Amy’ll pick her side.

***

Click here for all previous instalments of the Saturday Serial.

The Dangers of Gardening

100 words about a gardening accident; Sat serial; Gwen realises she fancies Alex
photo by Neslihan Gunaydin 

Gwen knocks on Alex’s door. He’s probably at the hospital. She could go to A&E, the cut was an accident – she’d been careless with the secateurs.

‘Where are you? Need patching-up.’

She hears his phone beep inside. She knocks again, almost taking down the door.

‘It had better be a matter of life and death. I’ve covered for a colleague and haven’t slept in thirty-six hours.’

He’s wearing nothing but shorts; Gwen’s thoughts take a decidedly dirty turn. Usually, she’s in too much pain to notice how fit Alex is.

‘So, what is it this time?’

Yes, what’s it again?

***

Click here for all previous instalments of the Saturday Serial.

Reading Clues

Sat Serial: Gwen suspects Cas is hiding something
photo by André Robillard

‘If your father finds out and shuts us down…’

Gwen lets the sentence dangle.

‘Then what?’

Then she’ll lose this cosy job that pays above average and leaves plenty of time to pursue her superhero ambition.

‘Then what’ll happen to Jackson?’

Cas focuses on her pasta. Not long ago, Gwen would have missed the clues in her body language.

‘He’d want me to terminate the relationship. He’d make me sack Jackson, too. We both know he’ll never find another job, given his – history. Father mustn’t know.’

Gwen nods. She’ll play it clueless until she finds out what Cas is hiding.

***

Click here for all instalments of the Saturday Serial.

Full of Surprises

The way Cas put her hand on Jackson’s face – Gwen can’t get it out of her head. She got a good view but couldn’t hear what they said. She can guess, though.

She’s walked in on them during a tender moment before. Gwen pretended she didn’t notice then out of fear of getting the sack. If Cas’s father had any inkling…

‘So, you and Jackson? Didn’t see that coming.’

Cas looks up with a jolt.

‘You noticed.’

‘I don’t give a damn anymore if my nosiness gets me fired.’

Cas, to Gwen’s surprise, grins.

‘About time. We’re tired of hiding.’

***

Today’s instalment of the Saturday Serial started with the 42 Flash Challenge prompt and led to much more than I can convey in 100 words – let’s just say things really are going to get interesting…

Worst Feeling in the World

100 words about making a useful friend
photo by Carissa Gan 

Gwen has a new favourite lunch spot. The caff’s owner makes divine eggs and it’s a favourite with the uniformed police.

She spots Amy at one of the outside tables. They’ve talked a few times and she hopes they’ll become friends.

‘What’s with the gloomy face, Ames?’

You know when you did the best you could and it still wasn’t enough?’

Gwen does but she can hardly admit it. Too many awkward questions and she can’t trust Amy. Not yet.

‘That’s the kind of day I’ve been having.’

‘Nightmare, Ames. Wanna tell me?’

Making a cop friend definitely trumps work.

***

Gwen’s back – you’ll find all her previous stories listed in order on the Serials page.

First Rule

100 words in which Gwen lies to Alex about her bruises
photo by Jordan Sanchez

‘Doctor patient confidentiality, yeah?’

‘You’re not my patient. Just some girl in trouble.’

‘That makes you the knight in shining armour?’

Alex looks away and takes a sip of his latte.

‘Nailed it, didn’t I?’

‘Who’s the guy who hit you?’

‘How do you know someone hit me? How do you know it was a guy?’

He tells her about his job, about the abused women he treats. Says he’s seen it all. He gets angry on their behalf, and so does she. But she can use his anger. She couldn’t talk about the fighting, anyway.

‘Well, about this guy…’

***

You’ll find all Gwen instalments at the bottom of the Serials page.

I don’t know, Melinda, it doesn’t really answer the question, does it?

Making Allies

100 words about meeting a potential ally; fearless serial
photo by David Mark 

The guy who’s been ogling her approaches.

‘You should get that looked at.’

Okay, not the line she expected.

‘Yeah, thanks. If I were worried, I’d talk to a doctor.’

She is worried, though. She came to the pool to get some exercise, but even swimming makes it hurt more.

‘You should be worried. And I am a doctor.’

‘It’s just a bruise.’

‘You’re awfully defensive about it.’

‘It’s not what you think.’

‘That’s what they all say. Let me take a look, at least. I’m Alex.’

Should he accept her conditions, knowing a doctor might come in handy.

‘Gwen.’

***

I am not making this up: I had Gwen going to the pool before the Literary Lion provided the prompt. It’s part of the Saturday Serial, but I’d like to think it works as a standalone.

Should you be interested, you’ll find all previous instalments on the Serials page.

What Gwen Needs

GwensDesk
photo by Negative Space 

‘Gwen, darling. Is everything okay?’

What Gwen needs is foundation strong enough to cover bruises. What she doesn’t need is a boss nosing around in her private affairs.

‘I’m fine, Cas.’

She puts her coffee on her desk, turns on the computer and sits down. Cassandra keeps watching.

‘You can tell me, you know. I had an abusive boyfriend once.’

Blatant lie.

‘I don’t have a boyfriend.’

Cassandra sighs. She’s bored. She loves nothing more than a vicarious drama. It’s the reason she runs this business, to experience other people’s struggles second hand.

Gwen may also need a new job.

(You’ll find all instalments at the bottom of the Serials page.)