I Want to Believe

‘X marks the spot,’ she says, voice high-pitched and breathless. She points upward. ‘This is where they’ll come from.’

100 words about not getting better
MFtS 20 Oct 2014 photo prompt, (c) B. W. Beacham

‘Alright, love. I’d better take you back.’

Shame, it’s such a lovely day. But I mustn’t let her become agitated.

She grabs my arm.

‘No, you have to take me away. You keep saying you want me to live. Everyone here will die. Leave me here and I will die.’

When she presents her argument like this, I want to believe she’s making progress.

‘I’ll have a word with them, love.’

I meant it, I will. Her medication needs adjusting again.

Local Attraction

100 words about a lonely ghost
(c) Barbara Beacham for MFtS 13 Oct 2014

The people waved at him from the bridge below.

He was a lurker, they weren’t supposed to see him. But it’d been so long since anyone had reacted to his presence, he couldn’t help but wave back. The children smiled and hollered at him.

From that day on, he lurked closer to at the edge of visibility. At first, most hikers didn’t notice. But soon word spread.

He has become an attraction in his own right and he never disappoints his audience. At the first sign of a hand raised in greeting, the waving ghost of the creek fades into view and responds. He’s the local tourist office’s dream.

***

It’s been a while since my first MFtS catch-up story, hasn’t it? It didn’t turn out the way I wanted, but I’m writing with a massive headache today and that never leads to noteworthy prose.

Better Team

100 words about mutant killing
(c) B. W. Beacham

The team headed toward the island not sure what they would find when they arrived.

Let me put it this way: If they’d been told, they wouldn’t have believed it, anyway. So it was just as well that we left them in the dark. But I’ll admit that it made for a nasty surprise.

Give them credit, they handled the mutants well once they got over the initial shock. Shame they couldn’t wipe all of them out, isn’t it? They put quite a dent in the population, though – a good start.

And credit to you. You put together an almost perfect team. Do it again –  same level of smarts and tenacity but with better aim.

***

Mondays Finish the Story has been one of my favourite flash fiction challenges, and I was sad to hear that Barbara, the host, had lost her fight against cancer last weekend. I’ve decided to go back and use all the prompts I missed – that will make me think of her once a week. This is the first one.

Nobody’s Really Free

She lived a life that some would describe as being on the edge.

Her habit of giving the security detail the slip cause concern among her staff.

‘You cannot wrap yourself in cotton wool. And I believe we all agreed that I need to be a woman of the people. I cannot be that woman if I’m locked up in the ivory tower.’

‘But we can orchestrate such meetings.’

‘I’d much rather talk to real people.’

‘They will be real people.’

‘Vetted by the party and the MI5, no doubt.’

‘Yes, Prime Minister.’

‘I don’t want that protection the public.’

‘But terrorists might…’

‘Yes, that’s the argument to trample all opposition, isn’t it?’

100 words about feeling trapped
(c) Barbara W. Beacham

Writing with a headache – never a recipe for great results. I’ll blame it for not really paying much attention to the MFtS photo prompt this week.

Feeding Time

I watched the vulture looking at me hungrily as I lay on the ground bleeding and injured.

100 words about animals thriving in difficult conditions
(c) Barbara W. Beacham

‘Help me.’

Why did I keep trying? I’d shouted myself hoarse hours ago; I knew nobody would save me. I’d been warned. I didn’t believe the tales. The zoo animals I remembered from before the collapse had taken over the park and NW1? Pu-lease.

But I’d seen proof that animals were much better at adapting to circumstances humans found challenging. If I made it back – unlikely, given the state of my leg wound – I’d report the beast that had attacked me must have been a cross between wolf and labrador.

No, chances were I’d make this bird a handsome dinner.

***

It’s Monday, it’s Finish the Story time. Join in, it’s fun!

If you’re a regular reader, this might remind you of The Zoologist’s Favourite Tiger. Same world, a bit later, I reckon. I love this idea but I’ll have to forget about this world. It’s only six days until NaNoWriMo and I’ve Scarlett to rewrite, so I cannot run with any plot bunnies this year…

Raise your hand if you’re nanoing – I think I’ve lost count.

What a Fool

100 words about summoning a faerie
(c) 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

Not knowing what to expect, he made his way into the dark of the forest.

The instant he stepped in, the sun went away; the forest was all dimness and cool. He held his hands out – it seemed important not to run into a tree – and walked on. He specialised in making a fool of himself, but he’d come here to change that. No matter the price.

While he snailed into the trees, he listened. The old, fir-green-eyed woman had said that if he couldn’t hear the bells, he would never find them. He checked his pocket for candle and matchbox. At the first tinkling of bells, he lit the candle to summon a faerie.

***

Show me a picture of a forest, like the one for this week’s MFtS, and I see faeries

Etymology

100 words about the meaning of the life of riley
(c) 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

‘Now this is living the life of Riley.’

‘Who the heck is Riley?’

‘Dunno.’

‘Then how do you know that this is living Riley’s life?’

‘I don’t. It’s just something you say.’

‘But why? What did the guy do?’

‘Never mind. Don’t get up. You’re ruining my chilled-out Sunday afternoon.’

‘I’m not. You are. I’ll have to look it up, otherwise I can’t relax.’

the letter r on a Macbook keyboard; 100 words about friends arguing
(c) 2015, Sonya

‘I can’t relax with you typing on that old, clunky keyboard of yours.’

A FEW BEATS OF SILENCE, PUNCTURED BY KEYSTROKES

‘You know where it comes from? American soldiers writing letters home from the front in WWI. Probably propaganda So, none for me, thanks.’

***

This is my very late story for this week’s MFtS (you know, moving etc., so it may take me a while to read all the stories).

A King’s Worry

100 words about a castle hidden on an island
(c) 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

Few knew about the castle hidden inside the island.

He thought too many knew, but what was an underground king to do? He needed supplies. His army, if not out raiding, would eat round the clock; if they went on too many raids, their enemies might track them here.

His queen, despite the lack of occasion to show off her tailor’s skills, demanded more silk and velvet; she had to keep up with the fashion, should he ever changed his mind and allowed her to host a ball.

Each supply run cost extra to buy the ferrymen’s silence. Bribes meant more raids, raids meant more worry. It never stopped.

***

A rather week story for MFtS this week, but it seems this is the best I can do.

The Mangoes Were Ripe

mango tree, tree house
(c) 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

She lived in a mango tree.

She’d been here for over a century. Sometimes she still missed her apple tree on the small island. Yet only when the tree blossomed and the buzzers’ inelegant wings annoyed her would she wish for her magic. Losing it had been the price for her escape; she hardly found herself summoning a spell that wouldn’t work these days.

When the Englishmen with whom she’d arrived left, she wondered if she ought to return, too. She’d left home for a reason. There was no guarantee she’d have her magic back. And the mangoes were ripe.

She still lives in the mango tree.

***

I’m feeling rather uninspired lately, so to kickstart ideas for today’s MFtS, I sort of used the Story A Day prompt, as well.