‘He existed once you know?’ Janet turned from her monitor, squinted into the gloom. ‘Who now?’ she asked. The hands on the wall clock glowed faintly. Half-seven, closing time was long past and James was still bent over the archive’s central table. ‘This,’ he said, and circled his hand over the papers in front of him, ‘this all belonged to someone who existed. Now all that’s left to mark his existence are cargo lists, household receipts, and half a letter to his land agent.’ ‘That’s more than some have,’ Janet shrugged. ‘But how can someone be boiled down to so little? We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of time and know less than was once understood.’ ‘We work with what we have.’ ‘But it’s not enough!’ ‘It must be. We can’t turn back time, only save what remains.’ I’ve spent most of today going through history books, journals, and archive online materials to write a post about the history of witchcraft in Shropshire, so I’m feeling a little …
The official report blamed ‘a torrential downpour’ for Ichabod McGuffin’s horrific suffocation beneath two hundred tonnes of hillside. However, there were rumours about his mother, and the hairs on Eddie’s arms rose as he pulled up outside old lady McGuffin’s bungalow. He shook the feeling off and fetched the shopping from the backseat. ‘Such a good lad,’ she smiled, opening the door. She watched him set the shopping down. ‘Yes,’ she said again, and handed him her payment. ‘A good lad. Just the sort we want round here.’
Anya stared until the black whorls on her arms blurred together. Then she blinked and they were just as clear as ever. ‘Removing them won’t help,’ said Rowen. He dropped his weight beside her and slung his arms across the back of the park bench. She felt him run his thumb across her shoulder. ‘You can’t change the past Anya.’ She swallowed around the anger rising in her throat. Some days it filled her so full it was as if she would explode and take the whole world with her. Some days that seemed like a good idea. ‘Then what am I meant to do?’ Rowen shrugged. ‘You will learn to love again the stranger who was yourself,’ he said. Anya’s knuckles whitened. ‘And what does that mean?’ He shrugged again. ‘It means we all change kiddo, accept it and learn to love it.’ Written for DVersePoets Prosery prompt. 144 word flash fiction story, incorporating the line ‘You will learn to love again the stranger who was yourself’ by poet Derek Walcott.
They put the footings in to retain the planning permissions. Susan booked the day off to watch. Invited him as well, suggested they take sandwiches and tea, to watch the first part of their house take shape. Afterall, they’d spent eight years fighting the council for the go-ahead. They might not have the funds to build the entire thing yet, but they could celebrate starting. Then there were doctors, hospitals, a man in a grey suit with a sombre face. Susan’s brother giving a reading. All that was left were foundations.
‘There’s never much green out here is there?’ said Bobby, reaching out to pinch the thorn end of a twig. The bush had rooted into one of the fissures running along the face of the valley and Bobby could see its thin, grey roots spidering outwards in tendrils. He twisted his hand and the twig crumbled. ‘Sorry,’ he muttered and dusted the debris away. He turned and walked the fifty yards back to his car. The boot was still open, the spade inside. ‘I should have found somewhere nicer,’ he muttered, gripping the handle. ‘You would have preferred somewhere green.’
‘Leave me alone ya bastard!’ Henry’s words bounced off the cave walls harmlessly, much like the driftwood had, and the empty whisky bottle had months before. Despite the projectiles, his reflection continued staring up from the shallow pool at his feet. Slightly warped and vaguely true to likeness. ‘You’re the one who wanted to chase after princesses,’ it pointed out. ‘I was quite happy on a street corner with my lute.’ ‘You and your lute were shite,’ Henry spat. ‘We barely made a crown a day.’ ‘Perhaps,’ shrugged the reflection, ‘I wasn’t stuck on an island alone though. I could take a break whenever I wanted, speak to whoever I wanted.’ ‘But you didn’t.’ ‘But I could have.’ ‘But you didn’t.’ ‘I almost did once.’ ‘No you didn’t!’ Henry spat in the pool and sat down beside it. ‘Happy, fucking, ever after,’ he muttered. ‘Still blaming you,’ the reflection replied. Writing Prompt From The Story Shack If you’d like to read something a little longer I’m working on redrafting my Safe Haven series. In the …
When the sun rose the world was empty and quiet. Some mornings there seemed to be no one left on the planet Emil decided. Watching from the bell tower of the ruined village’s church, he slipped his phone from his pocket and checked the messages for the third time in the last fifteen minutes. The text he’d fired off to the Clave showed as delivered but unread. He tapped the lock button and tucked it away. ‘Come on, time to leave.’ He turned from to the corner behind him, not missing the way Leif flinched at the sunlight pouring in now Emil’s body wasn’t shielding the window. ‘Grab the shield. The Clave want that thing stashed away and out of sight before dusk.’ ‘You think someone else will come after it?’ Leif asked. He was younger than Emil, and not just in the sense that Emil had nine hundred years on him. Leif was barely twenty, still steeped in hormones and raw nerves. Emil had been closer to thirty-five when he was turned, battle hardened …
The flowers were supposed to be an apology and a promise. The apology was for buying three thousand miniature figures of a unknown comic book hero and failing to find somewhere other than the living room to store them. The promise was that they would be gone before she got back from her sister’s the following week. He bought her a second bouquet when that deadline came and went and the boxes were still rendering the kitchen inaccessible. They were pretty flowers, she’d admit that. The flames were beautiful though. She liked them much better than any bunch of flowers. (100 words)
It started with one word. What it was exactly, I can’t remember. The world perhaps. The universe? This? Us? All of it from one, little word. [140 characters] I adore microfiction and Twittering Tales is just fab! Check out some of the fantastic stories from last week with the link above and if you want, join in with your own! Best of luck and happy reading.
The rain continued, loud and inescapable. Closing her eyes, Bertie sank her head deeper into her shoulders, the jacket’s damp collar cold against her cheeks. She checked the bus schedule again, the tiny black numbers half obscured by condensation collecting inside the plastic casing. Six minutes. She pulled her phone out, glanced at the dark screen, then put it back. Light swamped the shelter and her chest tightened. It was the bus. She rose, tried to breath as the doors opened. Two people climbed out, one nodded the other didn’t. Bertie sank down again. She’d wait. Perhaps the next one.