Redrum Coffee

This is for MFtS – had to jump in, I loved the picture and the opening line. But as I mentioned yesterday, I won’t be able to read many of the other stories due to the lack of broadband – so dear fellow Finish the Story writers, I apologise for (probably) not commenting on your work this week.

***

The barista shook his head. The hedge couldn’t have moved closer over night. Could it?

All day, the sense the hedge people were creeping up on him grew stronger. He’d swear the cheeky bastards winked at him at one point. He didn’t dare go away for lunch in case he’d miss them making a big move.

What is this, The Shining?

The barista shuddered as the pieces fell into place: an isolated hotel in the mountains, owned and run by the Loverook Corporation; a manicured hedge shaped like a bunch of Keith Haring people; the Redrum Coffee and Cocktail Bar.

He didn’t take off his apron. He ran for his car, followed by rustling steps.

Show, Don’t Tell

What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”

The line pops into my head, and I write it down. Then I  inspect the spider’s web in the garden. Spiders are smart creatures, they keep it simple. I’m going to be a spider. I will not get tangled up in my own web of lies and deceit. Because I know that if I rush into it, I’ll end up as a fly.

I’ll create a backstory, but I’m not going to bore my target with the details. I’ll let them guide my words and my actions.

Show, don’t tell.

I will weave the perfect trap, and then I’ll strike.

***

Another Monday, another story to finish, with plenty more to read here.

Haunted (Salvage Series)

(c) Barbara W. Beacham

The only residents remaining in the small town of Miners Hill are spirits.

According to the tour guide, that is. Tina has spotted a fox’s tail disappearing into an alleyway, several cats stalking animals too small to make out and many, many birds.

What madness made her book this tour? She has no interest in mining. And it’s not like she isn’t haunted enough as it stands. The farther she runs, the more she thinks about what she has left behind. If anything, the memory is growing stronger.

Tina doesn’t expect to find any ghosts here other than those she’s carrying everywhere. She might as well save her severance pay and go home.

***

The Salvage Series has MFtS to thank for its existence. Took me a while, but I’ve managed to work this week’s photo and first sentence into the story, as well.

I’ve fallen way behind on the comments front again – my apologies. I hope I’ll get round to it within the next couple of days.

Click here to find all MFtS stories.

Salvage

The crew of the Angel Flame received orders to head out.

Going about their preparations, nobody would have known Captain Smith’s mind was elsewhere and first mate Tina Goodrow had had another sleepless night.

Goodrow should have called in sick. She might have lost her position if she did, though, and she liked working with Smith. He treated her like a colleague, not a woman.

Smith mulled over the recurring argument he’d had with his wife. He was fond of his first mate, yes. But not in the way his wife had suggested. Tina was one of the guys.

Neither of them noticed the warning light indicating the oxygen generator malfunctioned.

***

Today’s Story A Day writing prompt is Third Person Omniscient. I thought it might work with this week’s Mondays Finish the Story picture and opening sentence, even though having an omniscient narrator in 100 words is a wee bit bonkers. All MFtS stories can be found here.

Princess v Soldier

After losing her head, she realised that the rest of her body was falling apart!

Natalie inspects the princess’s head. One of her buns is wonky, but she’s okay.

‘Her arms dropped. And her left leg. Plop! Because she’s a boring princess. My space soldier’s cool.’

Elliot always tries to make her cry. If she does, he’ll laugh at her. But this time, he’s got it wrong. He’s made up the tale about what happens to the princess, but she knows better. Elliot has no clue what his space solider is. Time someone told him.

‘You know, the stormtroopers lose. Princess Leia and her friends, they are the heroes. Have you never seen Star Wars?’

***

As promise, here’s the second of my back-to-back MFtS stories. I know it’s a bit forced, but today is Star Wars Day, so I couldn’t not shoehorn a reference in… Click here for more MFtS stories.

Meat Eaters

Are you laughing at me?

Bella’s laugh turns into a startled choke.

‘Nah, she’s laughing at me.’

What’s going on, has she wandered into a video prank? Is she going to become the next viral YouTube idiot?

‘Maybe she’s laughing at both of us. What’s so funny, then?’

If it’s a prank, someone must be filming. Maybe they’ve hidden a webcam in the leaves. She’s going to find it. If her friends thinks she’s stupid enough to fall for this, she’ll show them. She kneels down. One of the flowers takes a bite out of her earlobe.

‘Yum.’

Stunned, Bella falls back.

The flowers cackle.

***

Phew, managed to write something (another carnivorous plant story, as well) for this weeks MFtS before the new prompt goes up tomorrow. I may do back to back stories for the challenge. Because I’m so late, there a plenty of stories to read.

Upmarket Neighbourhood

The neighbours were not happy about my choice of yard art.

A weaker person might have crumpled under the barrage of passive aggressive comments implying the statues lowered the tone of the neighbourhood. Not me. Spurred on by the neighbours’ jibes, I bought any affordable piece of large art I found. Within months, I’d put together a sizeable display. A tourist took pictures from across the road and posted them on the Web. They went viral. I received requests from other aficionados who wanted to visit my collection.

It got favourable mentions on TripAdvisor.

The neighbours have ceased complaining. Instead, they claim the statues have strengthened the area’s reputation for sophistication.

***

Today’s Writing 101 assignment is character study. I used the MFtS prompts to show what makes my narrator unique. I hope I pulled it off. Follow this link for more MFtS stories.

FlashFlood Journal Open for Submissions

FlashFlood Journal is going to unleash a flood of flash fiction for National Flash Fiction Day on 27 June. They are open for submissions now, but only until 15 April – so send them something fast.

They accept previously published pieces, so anyone who participates in Mondays Finish the Story, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers and/or Friday Fictioneers should have plenty of material.

Good luck!

Edit: Would help if I could read, wouldn’t it? According to the FlashFlood submissions page, the stories will be published on 17 April, not on 27 June.

 

Early Morning Flight

Once upon a time in a land far, far away… 

Shrouds of blue fog rise from the lake. The rowboat ploughs through the red, syrupy water, slowing down with every stroke. The slight rower dreads the lake monsters – slow creatures that make up in intelligence what they lack in speed. They’ll be calculating the best place to intercept the boat.

She’s known about them since she found a boatman training on a rowing machine.

‘Why?’

‘Building strength. So the monsters won’t pull me under, Princess.’

The other thing he told her: ‘I zig-zag across. Throws them off course.’

She’s outwitted her monstrous father. She’ll fool the lake monsters, too.

***

It’s the second day of Writing 101, and I’ve combined today’s prompt with the MFtS prompts. It’s a lovely picture, and I’m looking forward to reading the other stories.

Teething Problems

I’ve combined MFtS with the Five Stories, Five Photos Challenge.

The Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge rules require you to post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or simply a short paragraph – it’s entirely up to you. Then each day, nominate another blogger to carry on this challenge. Accepting the challenge is entirely up to the person nominated, it is not a command.

Today, I’m nominating Jessica from Eat Me. Thanks again to Lynn for nominating me.

Five Stories, Five Photos – Day 3: Teething Problems

Corniche in Sete
Corniche in Sete

‘Pizza anyone?’

Aaron looks pleased with himself. I wish Mum had taken the time to brief him before she dumped me with him.

‘I didn’t come to the French Med to eat pizza.’

That wipes the smile off his face.

‘Shouldn’t you be better at hiding your disappointment?’

He sits down.

‘I’ve never been good at improv. But I’m trying, Carys.’

‘Mum should have told me earlier. My mate Jen fancies you. It’s gross.’

Aaron rubs his face.

‘I don’t want you to play a role, okay? I deserve a real dad.’

‘Okay.’

‘I like fish.’

Cue movie star smile.

‘No problem.’

Click here for all MFtS entries