Lola’s Lamp

‘Lovely lamp.’

Andy groans.

‘It’s a piece of junk. Look at the grime.’

Lola reckons after a good clean, the lamp’ll make an ideal addition to the cosy corner.

‘I like it. We could use one, too.’

‘We came because we want to get rid off stuff. Not to buy more.’

Lola points at three bin bags’ worth of donations – most of it hers.

‘This is worse than the car boot sale.’

‘All I bought was the rocking chair. And it needs a lamp.’

Andy glares.

‘Fine,’ Lola says.

She’ll come back tomorrow. Andy won’t recognise it once it’s clean.

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Solitary Seagull

seagull on pillar box

Surrounded by greedy seagulls, I’m wolfing down supermarket sushi. I haven’t eaten for days. I couldn’t. The dress looks a size too big. Maybe that’s why everyone’s staring.

One gull isn’t interested in what its mates are squabbling over. It sits on the pillar box, facing away. In solitude.

‘You’re like me, birdie. Want to be left in peace.’

I tried to tell them last night. Mum wouldn’t listen, said it was nerves, same as my stomach. Hugh didn’t answer his phone. I didn’t want to have to run away like this.

But I didn’t want to say yes, either.

***

Two pictures on the theme of solitude today. I like the solitary seagull, but I think this one is better in terms of the rule of thirds:

tram tracks
Solitary tram tracks

 

Bliss; Misery

Swansea Bay
Grey Swansea Bay

Beach almost in sight, I take a deep breath. Forget the past two hours.

Life is so much better when I can see the sky.

I take a bite of apple.

Savour the juicy sweetness.

Sun’s decided to join me. I tilt my head upwards, soak up the warmth.

***

My ten minutes are over.

I return to the bunker.

Shiver under the strip lights.

Exit signs mock me: ‘You really want to do this?’

Really? No. But do I have a choice?

Yearning for the next break, I pick up the headset and call the first number in the queue.

Price of Admission

NOT my picture for Photo 101

She clings on to the branch. The water’s so cold she can’t feel her feet. The cold’s creeping up her legs. If she loses control of them, she’ll smash into a rock.

Someone calls her name, but she has to concentrate. It’s the tricky bit. She’s half-convinced she won’t make it. Dodge rocks – right, left, right. Somehow, she’s still alive.

‘Oi, Daisy. Alright?’

‘Course. Fine.’

The older girls throw her a rope. She doesn’t care anymore as long as she doesn’t have to swim again. The alpha girl, Rosie, looks scared. And impressed. She nods.

‘Welcome to the club.’

***

The picture above is the Picture It & Write prompt for this week. I thought I’d not do any flash fiction challenges while I participate in Photo 101, but I suppose I was wrong. It helps that the theme for today’s photo is water.

And here’s my water photo:

Swansea Bay
Swansea Bay

Streetwise

They look innocuous by design. If you’re up to a bit of mischief, you’d better pretend you couldn’t hurt a fly.

At night, they shake themselves loose, hop over the fence and take random cars for a spin. Sometimes, when people living in the neighbourhood return late at night, they do a double take. They inspect the patch of grass in between the road and the car park, wonder what’s wrong.

Then there’s the mystery of bark turning up in cars. When puzzled car owners clean out the evidence of their nightly adventures, the trees shake their branches in merriment.

***

Many thanks to Lotta whose photo has inspired this story.

Below are my photos on the theme of street.

02-street1 Street 1

Finding Home

She woke up feeling sore and exhausted. She needed a fix if she wanted to keep going.

Trouble was, the place looked a mess. She hoisted herself up from the makeshift bed. How was she to find her gear?

There. That box smelled promising . She tore it open. Inhaled the aroma. She filled the kettle, ground enough beans for a strong coffee. The smell filled the room. The smell of home. She took a sip. Yes, she could do this. She’d unpack, get this mess under control.

Next time she moved, though, she’d label her most important box ‘coffee paraphernalia’.

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