Removals Man #DVersePoets #TuesdayPoetics

They hire him to take up gravestones

in old cemetery grounds.

Pay him by the hour,

to tease out lichen lost names,

note them,

in neat, thin rows of records

only his eyes will read,

and murmur each syllable

into the fresh split of dark soil

before the groundsman comes

with his sack of grass seed,

already whistling

to no one at all.

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Beltech Mortuary #DVersePoets #Prosery

Upstairs a door slammed. Then another, and another, until finally the cast iron monstrosity at the top of the stairs shuddered open.

‘Quickly now grab me a jar!’ The jumped the last three steps. Ellsmore jolted awake and darted for the draining board.

He fumbled with the jars but turned in time. The surgeon eased his hands over the open mouth and opened them slowly.

It thunked against the glass.

‘Real bad ‘un this one,’ said the surgeon and wiped his hands on his trousers.

Ellsmore closed the jar. The thing shivered.

‘What is it?’

The surgeon scowled. ‘There are moments caught between heart beats. They make us, us. This one, made a very, very, bad man.’

Ellsmore swallowed thickly.

‘If you cut it out, does that make him a good man?’

‘Well that depends.’

‘On what?’

‘On the moments I didn’t cut out.’

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After The Lights Go Out #FridayFlashFiction

‘The council started turning the light off after twelve,’ she tells me, head tipped back as she squints towards the spot above us where a bulb should be blazing. The dark means we can’t see chewing gum stuck to the pavement beneath us, or worse the dog shit stains clinging to the concrete slabs.

She’s continues staring upwards, but tips her head to the leg slightly, angling herself my way.

‘He’s dating again. Met her at the village green when he went to try his hand at bowls. He’s crap, but on Wednesdays she’s always there to make him a cup of tea and sneak him a bourbon from the club tin.’

The street light splutters into life and we both frown.

‘Strange…’ she hums. ‘I was sure the papers said… oh well never mind.’ She drops her head and her neat, grey perm stays exactly as it should. ‘Are you busy these days?’

‘Busy?’ I repeat. I think about it for a moment, then shrug. ‘I suppose I’m busier than I was, but I’ve been working on getting some help to handle the bigger cases. That makes things easier.’

She hums again, and nods her head.

Across the road a light comes on in the bungalow with a gravel driveway. The curtains twitch, then settle, and the light goes out. 

‘Her name’s Edith, or Edna I think. Not many of those left these days, though I hear the old names are coming back into fashion.’ She brushes her hands down her trousers and fiddles with a loose thread. ‘He might even love her.’

‘That’s good isn’t it?’ I ask, and know it’s a mistake as soon as the words are out. She shivers and closes her eyes.

‘It’s good,’ she replies eventually, but her voice quivers. ‘It will cut me-‘

‘Free?’ I suggest.

‘Loose,’ she finishes. ‘There will be no more anchor for me here.’  

‘There’s no such thing as un-tethered souls,’ I remind her. ‘Once he moves on you will find your place.’

She laughs and the bulb above us hisses and flickers.

‘The stories always tell us that it’s the dead who move on to another place and leave the living behind. I didn’t think it would be the other way round.’

‘Life is often back to front and upside down,’ I say. ‘Why should death be anything different?’

‘Why indeed.’ She bites her lip and presses the back of her hand to her mouth.

‘I hate all this watching,’ she admits and scowls at the little bungalow with the gravel drive. ‘I hope she gets him to weed a bit more often, the place is starting to look like a jungle.’

I squint at the single dandelion near the drive’s edge, then feel her take my hand in her own.

‘Thank you,’ she says, squeezing my palm. Her’s are warm, and soft, mine not so much but she holds onto it anyway.

‘It’s no trouble,’ I tell her. ‘You are my responsibility after all.’

She smiles and pats our hands with her spare one.

‘Soon,’ she promises. ‘You will take me home soon.’

Ghosts don’t haunt us. That’s not how it works. They’re present among us because we won’t let go of them.

Sue Grafton

I stumbled onto the quote above on Paul Vincent Cannon’s site. He’s written a lovely poem bases on it, and after I read the poem I went back to the quote and thought ‘there’s a story here.’ So I decided it was time for some Friday Flash Fiction. It’s mostly free-write, with the odd tweak and typo fix here and there, but it was a fun little exercise sparked by a fantastic quote.

Who says inspiration is a myth.

 

January Speculative Fiction Prompt

The guidelines for those of you who are new are as follows:

  • Speculative Fiction: a genre of fiction that encompasses works in which the setting is other than the real world, involving supernatural, futuristic, or other imagined elements. [Oxford Dictionary]
  • Use the image below to write a story, poem, perhaps even a script. There are no rules about form or style. If you would like to create a piece of art in response that is also welcome. This prompt is about being artistic and creative in whatever way suits you best.
  • Please keep entries PG as this is open to all. (i.e no erotica)
  • The prompt is open from the first of the month to the end of the month.
  • Use pingbacks to link up to the prompt or leave a link in the comments section. Whichever you prefer.
  • I try to at least read every entry in the prompt and I’d love to encourage anyone taking part to try and check some of the other entries if they can.
  • As always, re-tweets, re-blogs, and shares are gratefully received. We are always open to new participants.

Happy New Year and Happy Writing!

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Calm Before The Storm #WeekendWritingPrompt

The tavern was so quiet that Elias could hear the wind whispering through the gaps in the walls. When the serving girl brought him his drink he paid her with a whole silver, saw her eyes widen, and patted his coat pocket.

‘Keep ’em coming.’

She nodded and darted away.

Apart from one table near the door, every seat was taken. Elias counted the mercenaries, almost all of them Roderick’s, their necks marked with his brand. The King had called the practice draconian, but that didn’t stop him hiring Roderick’s men when revolts broke out.

That was why rebels had to hire Elias.

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