Leanan Sidhe

100 words about a failing musician who enters into a deal with a faerie muse
photo via Unsplash 

He sprints off. Ignores the groupies. He needs to ponder the implications.

‘Nobody in my dressing room,’ he whispers to his bodyguard.

The number of notes he hit tonight were by far outnumbered by those he missed. His career, his dream is over.

‘Hello darling.’

She’s stunning. But he’s not in the mood.

‘Who let you in?’

‘Don’t blame your man, he isn’t meant to see me.’

She twirls her index finger. Is that magic?

‘You need my help.’

A statement.

He nods.

He’ll come to regret this, no doubt. Tonight, though, he’ll do anything to keep his dream alive.

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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.

Top Three Stories – July 2016

three lines about a shared journey

If I included shorter stuff in the Top 3, Shared Journey would definitely be in it. But I don’t, and my favourites are all stories I wrote for Nortina’s fabulous Moral Mondays (I suggest you check it out if you’re not already playing) :

Your favourites (according to the stats):

  1. Sacrifices
  2. Better Than She Knows Herself
  3. Souvenir Tattoo

This month is going to be a bit tricky, because it’s the summer holidays and I’m preparing an international move. I’ll try to write at least one 100-word story a week, though, otherwise the August Top Three is going to be a sad affair.

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.

Freedom’s Just a State of Mind

100 words about two powerful men congratulating themselves on how they screwed the UK
I’m a bit late for this week’s Moral Mondays, but I think I scraped in just in time

‘Idiots.’

‘Told ya.’

They high-five, chuckling.

‘I’ll admit to not believing they would fall for it.’

‘You sold it, mate. You did well.’

‘Aw, thanks, man. But this is down to you as well. More so, even. You make the news, you form the nation’s opinion.’

‘Don’t play modest. You started it.’

’Suppose I did.’

More chuckles.

‘The immediate future ain’t gonna look rosy.’

‘Pretty bleak, in fact, I’d imagine.’

‘Your next move?’

‘Lie low for a bit, swoop in like a superhero to save the day as and when.’

‘Good plan.’

‘Bless ‘em. They think they’re free now. Idiots.’

Survival of the Sneakiest

Here’s something a little bit longer – a story of mine which was one of five winners of the 1000 Words flash competition in December 2014. Since 1000words.org has disappeared and my story with it, I’ll put it up here. In a way, the success I had with it encouraged me to start the blog. so it is relevant.

194 words about surviving in harsh circumstances
photo by Anders Jildén

‘The ground is frozen. I’ll burn more calories than I’ll bring home,’ he protests when I ask him to go digging for roots.

‘It’s that or starvation. Go right to the edge where the sun’s been warming the ground the longest. Should be softer there.’

I hand him the hammer and one of the nine-inch nails. They’re coming in useful, the nails. I insisted we take them when he said they’d be nothing but ballast.

He puts the tools into his pouch and slouches off. I stoke the fire and put another log on. I retrieve the blowgun. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’d better take care of the bait first. I wait for him to get settled by the edge. When I hear the pings of hammer hitting nail, I go after him. I pick up a rock. I never take my eyes off him, stay behind his back.

‘Sorry. I can’t keep feeding us both.’

He doesn’t have time to turn around before I bring down the rock. He slumps, tumbles over the edge and lands on the plateau beneath.

I fetch blowgun and nails and wait for the birds.

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.