Downhill From Here

FFfAW week photo prompt (c) Joy Pixley
FFfAW week 83 photo prompt (c) Joy Pixley 

Are we there yet?

Shush. We’re not even close.

No idea how long I’ve been going, it seems like forever already. And there’s no end in sight. All I can see looking down is darkness. I don’t want to turn around, I bet all I’ll see in that direction is darkness, too. Endless black, matching my mood.

Why am I here again?

Getting paid. I suppose we like money.

Oh yes, I like money. Keep thinking of payday. Keep going.

Do we like money that much, though?

Shush.

I wonder if I’ll ever reach the bright future they promised me.

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Fall

100 words about a man who messed with black magic
photo by Phylor for FFfAW 81 

Janey kneels by the headstone and lights a candle. Her demeanour tells George she knows he’s watching.

She hasn’t always done it, George would say if he talked to people. At first, she scared him she’d turned so wild. He might have expected it, given what he’d done. But he was too happy she’d returned.

Never lasted, though. Every time the leaves turn, Janey needs a boost. One of them gave her back her conscience.

She still looks like his Janey, but with every woman he’s put in her grave, Janey’s turned. They may well come for him this time.

Hose Pipe Ban

100 words about a faceless bureaucracy who doesn't care about people
FFfAW week 75 photo prompt (c) Louise 

‘You call this a garden? It’s a small vegetable farm.’

Melanie shrugs as she lugs the hose around to water the beds farther down.

‘To-MAY-to, to-MAH-to.’

‘I believe they’re part of the problem.’

The inspector stabs his clipboard.

‘Did I miss the memo when they made growing food illegal?’

‘I don’t care what you grow. I care about excessive water usage.’

‘It won’t rain. We’ve emptied the last of our water tanks days ago – and we always keep more than we’re required to by law. ’

‘But not enough. You cannot use the hose.’

‘People will starve.’

‘The law’s the law.’

Souvenir Tattoo

100 words about a Chinese character tattoo that doesn't say what its owner thinks it says
FFfAW week 74 photo prompt (c) TJ Paris 

‘ What does it says?’

‘Superstar.’

‘Seriously?’

‘The tattoo artist swore.’

‘And you believed him?’

‘He makes money from tourists. Why would he lie?’

‘Because he sees you walking in and knows he’ll get away with it. Because it adds to his collection of pictures of Western bimbos who thinks they’re superstars.’

‘He said it’s a traditional character, so maybe you can’t read it.’

‘Superstar. In traditional Chinese? You know, I hope it says idiot.’

‘Shouldn’t you know?’

‘Why? I was born here. And my grandparents came from Hong Kong. Mandarin is as foreign to me as it is to you.’

Better than she knows herself

(c) Phylor 

‘This is it?’

‘I said wait till you see the inside.’

‘But this is it? It’s surrounded by concrete. Looks like one of those chain pubs. Don’t say it used to be a pub.’

’It wasn’t a pub.’

‘Don’t lie, I’ll be able to smell.’

‘You ready to go in, then?’

‘There’s no privacy. Anyone can walk all around it.’

‘Let’s go in.’

‘Don’t you see it would be a waste of time? I don’t like it.’

‘You ought to see the inside.’

‘One glance. Won’t take more…  Oh, wow! This is unexpected. Look at the fireplace. I love it.’

***

For Moral Mondays and FFfAW.

Sacrifices

(c) Yinglan for FFfAW week 72

Don’t look back. Maxie’s sad eyes are following you; you won’t be able to walk away without her if you look.

It’s a good shelter. She’s a good, attractive dog. She’ll find a new home, no problem.

People do all sorts to muddle through. First, you sold the car, it bought a few months. Meant you could only take nearby jobs, though. Not that there’s many going spare farther away.

By giving away Maxie, you postponed the day when you can’t afford food again, but it will still come. Upside is, you won’t have to watch Maxie starve alongside you.

How to Create the Outcome You Desire

100 words about scare tactic politics
FFfAW photo prompt week 71 (c) Louise

A step-by-step guide:

Define your outcome.

Identify a suitable target.

Highlight areas which lend themselves to maligning.

Do field research: Encourage people to speak their mind, buy them a drink if necessary.

Identify overlap between areas you highlighted and your field research. This is Your Message.

Hone Your Message (tip: if writing copy isn’t your strength, hire a professional – you must get it spot on).

Release Your Message into the world and watch the sheep flock to your side.

Small print: Be advised the Scarecrow Method has side effects, some of which cannot be easily reversed upon reaching your outcome.

The Reading Room

100 words about the reading room from hell
Photo prompt for FFfAW week 71, (c) TJ Paris – thanks for the inspiration! 

She admires old shelves filled with even older books. She can’t believe she’s in. Admission to the reading room is a privilege, bestowed exclusively on the brightest young lawyers.

‘It’s quite hot, isn’t it?’

She’s whispering – anything above a hushed voice would seem out of order. The senior parter chuckles. Loudly.

‘This is nothing. Wait until you get access to the lower levels. It’s hot there.’

She didn’t know about the lower levels.

‘Is the ceiling flickering?’

Her companion chuckles again.

‘You signed without reading the contract?’

She nods.

‘Well, you signed. Once you’re in, there is no getting out.’

Bad Cog

100 words about a dystopian near future scenario where everybody is drugged just to make it through the day
FFfAW week 70 photo prompt (c) Nonnaci 

Fifteen minutes since I swallowed the breakfast pill and I’m still waiting for the comfort of its artificial blanket of docility to envelop me. When it comes, it does a shoddy job. How am I supposed to drift off when my feet are cold?

The drugs want to funnel me down the tunnel to alertness and obedience so I’ll do my job like a good cog. I resist. I need my dose upped but I won’t be eligible for ages. I could plead.

Or I could go with rebellion. Wean myself off. De-cog myself from the machine.

Terrifying, exhilarating idea.

Eye of the Beholder (FFfAW)

100 words about an ugly statue
(c) Phylor for FFfAW, week 69 

‘It looks terrible.’

‘Yes, I know. I mean, what’s with the torso? It is so out of proportion, it’s almost comical. And don’t even get me started on those dead eyes. How creepy are they? But you know what bugs me most? That it’s so confused. It’s got the limbs of a woman, the chest and shoulders of a man and the face of a two-year old child. What the hell was the sculptor thinking? And who commissioned this monstrosity – Dr. Frankenstein?’

‘You’re not wrong, I guess. I meant the bracelet, though. Those are the worst kind of plastic beads.’