Three Line Tales, Week 172

Welcome to Week 172 of Three Line Tales.

three line tales, week 172: yoga on a London rooftop
photo by Form via Unsplash 

You’ll find full guidelines on the TLT page – here’s the tl;dr:

  • Write three lines inspired by the photo prompt (& give them a title if possible).
  • Link back to this post (& check the link shows up under the weekly post).
  • Tag your post with 3LineTales (so everyone can find you in the Reader).
  • Read and comment on other TLT participants’ lines.
  • Have fun.

Happy three-lining!

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Chance Encounter on Parliament Hill

100 words about a chance encounter on Parliament Hill
ah, Hampstead Heath (c) Sonya, 2009

You take a deep breath. Underneath the chill, you smell a hint of spring. An icy gust of wind blows away budding hopes of it arriving soon. You hop from foot to foot to keep warm.

‘Lovely despite the weather, isn’t it?’

The voice startles you. You came here to be alone by choice, but you swallow your annoyance.

‘It’s my favourite place in the city.’

‘Mine, too. Do you mind if I share the bench with you? Just until the sun has risen.’

‘Please, sit.’

To your surprise, sharing a chilly morning’s sunrise with a stranger improves the experience.

***

Story 11 of 31 for Story A Day, inspired by this week’s WP Discover Challenge.

On Christmas Day in the Morning

100 words about Oxford Street on Christmas day
photo by PublicDomainPictures 

It’s the one day when it is worth getting up early to go to Oxford Street. Because Central London will be deserted. You’ll stand in the middle of the Oxford and Regent Street crossing and if you’ve not been good, you may have to step aside for the odd taxi.

It isn’t, however, as empty as it used to be. Has it become a thing to post a selfie of oneself on London’s most congested road totally empty? Maybe it’s a fad, maybe you won’t have to get up before sunrise in the future anymore.

This is your Christmas wish.

Emergency Diversion

100 words about curfew in dystopian LondonThe horns hoot three times. Half an hour until curfew, bus is stuck on Holloway Road.

‘Not even five thirty yet,’ someone complains. Rest of the passengers pretends they didn’t hear, let alone agree. Cameras everywhere and rumour has it they’ve installed microphone for every row. Do or say something wrong, they’ll get you.

The horns hoot five times. Fifteen minutes and the bus is still stuck in traffic. People exchange uneasy looks. Everyone knows what’s coming.

‘Emergency diversion. This bus now terminates at the Arsenal Curfew Shelter.’

Collective sigh of relief – we’re not spending the night at Holloway Prison.

***

Thank you to Electrobeth for the writing prompt: siren call.

Houseboat (this is not a Villanelle)

(it’s meter practice; I went to a poetry workshop at the Dylan Thomas Centre this morning and I’ve got rhymes on my mind; I know I said I shouldn’t rhyme…)

100 words about a haunted houseboatApologies, my home is rocking at all times

Be careful not to trip over those lines.

They move on their own without any warning

And you don’t want to lose your footing.

Once in the water your fate’s out of my hand;

I’ve tried it before, they’ll ignore my demand.

Water’s their domain. It’d be insane

To stand in between them and what they want.

It’s them who rock, it’s them who trip,

It’s them who may well sink this ship.

My home is my castle but I’m not in charge

The ghosts of the drowned keep haunting this barge.

Not What It Seems

inter-dimensional puddle
(c) moi, 2014

I have this compulsion to check my appearance. In bus doors. Car mirrors. Shop windows. Even puddles. The latter mainly to catch a glimpse of how passers-by perceive me. I don’t stop or anything. That’d be weird.

I’ve slowed down, though, for puddles. Difficult to pin it down, I’d have to go beyond a quick glance. And I don’t want to attract that kind of attention. I check in the first place to make sure I don’t stand out. But the more I look, the more I’m convinced puddles don’t show my reflection.

They show me from another dimension.

***

I’m behind on responding to comments. My apologies, I’ll get round to it tomorrow (I hope).

(No) Escape

You wouldn’t know you’re in the middle of the city down here. It’s quiet, unless you throw pieces of bread into the canal. Then ducks and coots race each other for the prize. Fight each other for it. Maybe fighting is normal? But ducks and coots are two different species. People shouldn’t fight. They’re the same species, they should look out for each other.

Then why is everybody fighting? Kids at school. Passengers on the bus. Customers in shops. Footballers on the pitch. No escaping it.

Time to go home. Where Mum and Dad will be fighting. No escaping it.

***

I looked at PJ’s photo and it turned into Regent’s Canal for me – so that’s where I’m taking you for this week’s FFfAW story. You’ll find more stories here.

In other news: My story Umpteenth Service, which started life as Hitting ’em Hard for FFfAW, has won the April Paper Swans flash fiction competition. I’m delighted! You’ll also find the link to the story on this page, if you care.

42.195

Greenwich Park: This is fun. Total party atmosphere. Everyone’s smiling.

Cutty Sark: Not bad at all. Love the cheers. Spotted a celeb, too.

Rotherhithe: Dunno, that might be a blister forming on my left foot.

Tower Bridge: More blisters. Wanna cry.

Isle of Dogs: Wish I hadn’t told people I’m doing it. Wanna drop out.

Poplar: Twenty miles? Feet feel like I’ve run fifty. Knees hurt.

Embankment: The Eye. Big Ben! Have never been so glad to see Big Ben. Might cry.

The Mall: Not so much jogging, but limping across the finishing line. But I did it! Big smile.

Victoria Park Bandstand, March 2027

(c) David Stewart

‘Promise you’ll leave, Mum. The water’s coming.’

I remember my disbelief at Lena’s words even as I promised her.

I still cannot believe it. Lena used to ride her tricycle round the bandstand for hours. Later, I took her here to practice the tuba. It doesn’t seem so long ago.

The water is swallowing the first step of the bandstand.

‘It’ll flood half of London,’ Lena said.

She didn’t say where she’d gone.

‘I’m safe. I want you to be safe, too.’

But I don’t believe anywhere is safe anymore. Here, at least, I’ve got memories to keep me distracted.

***

What a lovely photo for Friday Fictioneers this week, and look at all the stories it’s inspired.