Not Quite As Planned

100 words about a time traveller who's' trying to save the world
photo from Public Domain Archive 

She recognises neither the place nor the time. The machine’s display, after emitting a blinding light, has gone black; she hopes this is where she meant to go.

There’s a knock. She unlatches the window and finds herself surrounded by crude petroleum-fuelled vehicles. Rightish time, it seems. But these people speak a language that doesn’t sound like any of the hundreds she’s learnt. She makes what she believes to be the universally understood sign for ‘I don’t understand’; they shrug.

Before she can stop them from destroying the planet, she’ll have to figure out a way to communicate with them.

The Most Bizarre Car Park

100 words about a car breaking down in the middle of nowhere
photo prompt for FFftPP week 11 from Public Domain Archive 

This is the middle of nowhere. Murphy’s Law dictates the camper van break down here. We’re lucky we make it to the most bizarre car park: huge, empty but for a solitary bin, with no apparent reason for the provision of parking. If only we didn’t have more important stuff to worry about.

‘Do you have signal? Cos I don’t.’

‘Nope. We’ll have to stop another car and tell them to send a tow truck our way.’

Sounds good in theory.

But this is the middle of nowhere. We’ll have more than enough time to figure out this car park.

Field Report

100 words about an alien calling off the invasion
photo from Public Domain Archive

I understand what weeks are now and I know I have only been here three. I understand months, too. Do not wait six months.

I miss home.

I have had an answer since day three. Since then, I have verified my findings.

I want to come home.

Few and far between, I have found evidence of the greatness suggested by the pre-infiltration scans. They are capable of it. But they have to set aside their petty squabbles, their mean streaks, their small-mindedness and that, it seems, they will only achieve when they have a common enemy.

I request immediate extraction.

***

Great photo prompt for week 10 of FFftPP, don’t you think?

This is Elsinore

100 words about learning to read as an adult
pd photo prompt for FFFPP week 9 

‘Nothing is ever as easy as it looks,’ he says.

‘But you’re making it harder on yourself. Let’s try something less taxing.’

He gives me a look that says he’s going to throw another tantrum unless I stop patronising him. Which won’t help with the reading.

‘Here,’ I say, pushing another book his way. One that’s a bit more appropriate for his level of literacy. He stops me.

‘It’s a children’s book.’

‘If you had to learn how to walk, would you start with running marathons?’

‘I am not a child.’

‘You won’t learn to read by starting with Shakespeare.’

Books Versus eBooks

100 words about an evil book
photo from Public Domain Archive for FFfPP week #8  

She caresses the battered book; I can practically see her thoughts forming. We’re seconds away from yet another eBooks make poor substitutes for real books argument when she freezes. Her squeal is followed by delighted hand-clapping. Meanwhile, I get shivers down my spine.

‘You won’t find hidden messages in an eBook, will you? Oh, yellow, curled parchment tucked into the lining – promising.’

‘What if it’s a hex?’ I’m trying to sound like I’m making a joke. The hairs on the back of my neck stand and I want to run.

‘Leave it alone. We’d better leave.’

But she isn’t listening…

Owly Death Stares

100 words about a man who's changed his mind about cheating on his wife
photo from Public Domain Archive for FFfPP week 6 

Oozing attitude – don’t mess with us, mate –, the owls catch my eye. Judgmental lot.

I won’t return to this pub – terrible choice of wall decoration, puts punters off their beer when they go the loo. The owly death stares remind me of Rita. She’ll, no doubt, give me one of hers when I stumble in later.

On the return leg, I focus on the stag – doe-eyed like Melli. She’s waiting, no doubt – I said I’d come back to hers. But I catch another glimpse of the owls’ disapproval. Smug lot.

‘Okay, owls, you win. Home to the wife it is.’

Trading Futures

100 words about living for your children
photo from Public Domain Archive 

When they moved in, their possessions – in stark contrast to their plans for the future, which couldn’t be contained – fit in three bags.

She watches the movers load box after box into lorries. What a difference a few years make. She didn’t know they’d accumulated this much stuff until they had to pack up. Where did it all come from?

The house – situated in a prime catchment area – will hold their possessions and offer room for more. It’s huge; its mortgage’ll squeeze out what life there’s left in their plans.

She likes to pretend their future hasn’t been boxed yet.

***

Trust me to turn this bright, sunny photo prompt for FFfPP week 5 into a gloomy story, eh?

All Star Mum

100 words about your first pair of Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars
photo via Public Domain Images 

I remember the day I chucked my Chucks.

They had holes in the soles, the fabric’d worn so thin they should have fallen apart. Neither made me want to part with them.

It took Mum to come into my room and put her foot down.

‘Enough is enough,’ she said, ‘those shoes of yours are a disgrace.’

‘You don’t understand what they mean to me – they’re part of my identity.’

Mum smiled.

‘I understand better than you think. Let me show you something.’

In a box in the attic, her own Chucks, worn to pieces, lovingly wrapped in tissue paper.

***

What, it’s already week 4 of FFfPP? How time flies…

Final Ascent

100 words about dying on a mountain
FFfPP week 3 photo prompt from Public Domain Archive 

I brought Dad’s photograph with me.

The climb is more difficult than I remember. My nine-year old legs didn’t tire as easily as my skinny, 38-year old legs do. I wish I could blame loss of youthful energy.

‘If this was the last thing you saw, wouldn’t you die a happy bunny?’

When the food shortage got worse, I suggested we come back. There’s neither snow nor fog anymore, only relentless heat. View’s still worth it, though.

But Dad didn’t make it, he was too malnourished. He died two days ago, holding the photograph in his hand.

So will I.

Double Standards

100 words about dating a younger man
photo from Public Domain Images 

Lena leaves a voicemail. It sends my alarm bells ringing. I text to suggest we meet for lunch at our favourite coffee shop.

Lena’s waiting, looking knackered. She tells my everything. I almost choke on my panini.

‘Why?’

‘Seemed a good idea. Still does, I quite like him.’

‘How old did you say?’

I’m as appalled as I’m jealous. If only I hadn’t pushed her into dating after Eddie left.

‘Lena, he could be your son.’

‘If I’d started too early, maybe. Eddie’s run off with a girl who’s barely even legal. Does anybody bat an eyelid? Of course not.’

***

It’s Week 2 of FFfPP. I’m tired and there’s other stuff that needs writing, so this is the best I could today.