No Room For Parlay

Lillith turned her face away from the horizon and the purple sunset. It was beautiful, a part of her still recognised that, but the beauty failed to warm her like it once had.

‘Captain!’

The cry came from beside her and the knot of tension that had been twisting in her gut for the past week began to loosen. It was time. She’d found him.

‘Captain! They’re in sight and we’re gaining fast. What do you want us to do?’

What did she want them to do? The question had been buzzing around her head like a fly that refused to leave no matter how much she swatted at it.

‘Captain, we’ll be on her in an hour, what are your orders?’

‘We kill them,’ she answered drily, the words leaving a bitter taste in her mouth. For a second she thought about him in her bed, legs and arms tangled, his lips tracing a path down her spine. He’d known even then that he would betray her someday. She focused on the boat and not her memories. ‘We kill them all,’ she said.

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Inspired By The Daily Post Prompt: Parlay

Down By The Brook

The brook was our boundary marker,

it belonged to my sister and I,

and only us,

because it was only us

that weren’t allowed across.

 

Grown ups could pass.

They could come and go as they please.

With their dogs and their bikes

and their children of their own,

who raced across our boundary

like it didn’t exist.

 

It did exist.

 

On maps it marked a divide,

the line between Ash and Higher Heath.

But even our address forgot that.

 

And the bridge.

It didn’t look like a bridge,

all concreted in with the road.

Squat, fat and grey,

with weeds and grass on top!

 

It was a very unbridgey bridge.

 

But it was my bridge.

My secret, hidden bridge

across my very own moat

that kept out the monsters

lurking in the woods.

 

The first time I crossed

I managed three or four steps.

Then the knots in my stomach got too tight

and the sky seemed too grey

and the day too cold.

 

It wasn’t far,

just far enough that the house disappeared,

hidden by a bend and the trees

and I realised that no one would see me

if the monsters came out of the shadows.

 

For the first time I felt alone

 

 

 

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Written for the Daily Prompt: Crossing

Feedback on this piece would be greatly appreciated. I’m not sure what I think of the ending. I reworked it so much that by the time I landed on this one I was just happy that it didn’t suck as badly as the others.

 

 

 

Not Of This Era

In the years since her childhood the village had changed. It wasn’t a village anymore, it was something bigger, sprawling, full of people who she didn’t know. Kathy had known everyone once. There wasn’t a person in the village who she hadn’t been able to name, to link into the fabric of them all. These days such things didn’t matter and the only one who remembered things the way she did was Thomas. Good old, crotchety Thomas from Ivy Down Cottage with arthritic hands and nose that would put an elephant to shame.

‘Look at ’em,’ said Thomas, pint in hand. The Old Bell was due to close in ten minutes but the landlady let the oldies hang around for a little longer if they wanted. Mick’s granddaughter, or was it great granddaughter, Kathy couldn’t remember clearly, but Kathy had know the woman since she was born.

She followed Thomas’ disgruntled tuts to the group of teenagers gawking at the sky.

‘No clue,’ she sighed. It was cold and she would have preferred to be in the warm but The Old Bell had those nice padded seats outside on the patio, and she never missed a new moon. The teenagers at the other end of the pub’s garden were there for the moon as well, arms raised, pointing.

‘They’ll bring bag luck down on us, just you watch,’ Thomas grumbled.

Aye, they would thought Kathy. The silver coin in her pocket felt heavy, like it had grown since she’d last held it.

No, she decided. It hadn’t grown, it was her shrinking, becoming less of a person, just like the villages was becoming less of what it once was. She closed her hand around it and let the chill settle into the lines on her palm.

‘We should stand,’ she said quietly, her hip protesting at the thought.

‘We will, we will. Just give me a moment.’ Thomas fumbled for his cane. ‘I doubt she’s really watching though. What would a young lady want with a couple of oldies spinning in circles.’ He got the cane under him and levered himself up. ‘You wishing for anything this time?’

Kathy shook her head.

‘Just as well. I doubt wishing for a husband will do you much good now,’ Thomas chuckled.

He managed to arch his back into a crooked bow before turning in a wobbling, stuttering circle. He repeated the process twice more and collapsed back into his seat.

‘Your turn,’ he wheezed.

Frowning softly she turned her face to him. ‘Do you really think so?’

‘Well unless I’m getting dementia of something.’ He shook his head. ‘Get it over with you mad old bird. It’s cold out here.’

‘No,’ said Kathy. ‘Do you really think I’ve left it too late for a husband?’

‘I, er- just make your obedience already. You’re the one who insists we do this every month.’

Creaking as she stood, Kathy rose.

Maybe she should make a wish. The teenagers were still gawking at the sky and as the wind changed Kathy could smell the sweet smoke wafting their way. She shook her head. There was no point wishing. Thomas was right. Stooping into her bow she felt her joints grating against each other.

Sometimes it was just too late.

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I played around with a few ideas before choosing this one for today’s prompt: Moon. I have an encyclopedia of superstitions and there are three pages dedicated to superstitions to the moon including one from my home county of Shropshire.

It was considered important to greet the new moon, or in Shropshire, ‘make your obedience’ by bowing three or nine times, turning between each bow and making a wish as you did so.

I threw in a few other moon related superstitions to make things interesting so I hope you liked it.

Tomorrow is Friday so if you want to see some more Flash Fiction make sure to check back!

Words

I.

For a while I carried words like weapons.

Saw them only for their sharpened edges

the way in which they could slice,

leave mouths open, gasping,

they way they burrowed into skin

and clanged like gongs in the silence

of lonely, sleepless nights.

I had enough scars of my own to show

just how dangerous words could be.

I knew where to aim for,

which veins would bleed the most.

 

II.

Anger can only burn on a short fuse.

It fizzles out after a while

and you are left cold,

holding knives slick with your own blood.

No one warns out about the energy

that pain steals.

The way the hollowness can swallow

whole

everything you had built of yourself.

III.

Healing takes time.

On nights when I’m awake and he is not

I pick words from beneath my skin,

the ones I half forgot,

scabbed over but not yet gone.

I will turn them over in the blue light

from the wireless router on the night stand,

and try to make sense of a handwriting

not seen in  years.

I will tell myself I am older,

wiser,

more mature.

I will pretend they do not hurt anymore.

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Daily Prompt: Carry

 

Paintings And Promises

‘Lot three hundred-and-eighty-two.’

Alexi’s head picked up at the auctioneer’s words. Not much, just a slight twitch that shows she’s still paying attention and has been for the last three-hundred-and-eighty-one lots.

‘This one,’ she says, handing the paddle across to the tall man beside her. She’s short herself. Four foot eleven with dark hair that reaches her waist when loose but currently curls round itself in a tight knot at the top of her scalp.

The tall man nods and turns the paddle over in his hands.

‘Now,’ says the auctioneer. ‘This particular lot…’

Alexi blurs out the voice, focusing instead on the rotating wall beside the auctioneer’s podium .She sucks in a breath as her father’s face stares back at her. The bidding starts.

‘Remember, wait for the field to thin.’

The tall man nods again and puts his hands behind his back, hiding the paddle.

Alexi continues looking at her father, high cheekbones, thin lips, blue eyes, all features that he passed onto her three hundred years before. All of a sudden she feels old.

‘Now,’ she says and the tall man raises the paddle.

The auctioneer sees them and take the bid but another figure has raised the price in seconds.

‘M’am?’ Alexi hears the concern in his voice. ‘Are you sure?’

‘Keep biding,’ she orders. ‘I’ll have him back, one way or the other.’ The man nods and raises the paddle again.

A promise is a promise and Alexi was determined to keep her’s.

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Written For The Daily Prompt: Paint