TBR – Mid-Week Flash 106

My 11th hour offering for Week 106 of Miranda Kate’s mid-week flash challenge. This weeks photo prompt is of a bookstore/library in Yangzhou, eastern China, taken by photographer Shao Feng. If you want to join in with mid week flash, The General Guidelines can be found here, or you can join the Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.

TBR

When you first die, no one explains what has happened. You’re just in a queue, like you’re waiting at a bus stop. No one speaks. No one makes eye contact. So you wait.

Just when you think you can’t shuffle your feet or shift your weight anymore and you’re seriously considering tutting or something, you reach the gates.

Continue reading “TBR – Mid-Week Flash 106”

Mid Week Flash 90 – Fairy Gate

I wasnt sure whether to tag this piece as being part of Miranda Kate’s Mid Week Flash or not, given that I’ve used her picture as a prompt for a poem this time, which I think might be against the rules. The general guidelines can be found here if you’d like to join in.

I’ve also used today’s #vss365 prompt from Twitter, which was “spread” -usually I’d post a #vss365 directly to twitter, but this came out considerably longer than tweet length, and I didn’t want to cut it.

The image for this story is Miranda’s mid week flash prompt, and was taken by Kurt Gordon, an Australian photographer who travels a lot and takes a lot of pictures. You can find them on display over on 500px. 

Fairy Gate

Behind the fields,

Deep in the woods,

Beyond the paths we know,

There is a pair of twisted trees

Where nothing seems to grow.

Continue reading “Mid Week Flash 90 – Fairy Gate”

Mid Week Flash Week 36 – Perfect Moments

Thanks to Miranda Kate  for this week’s prompt

The General Guidelines can be found here.

Perfect Moments

I was going to tell her.

Years I’d been building up to this. All the times I almost said something, all the times I nearly kissed her, all those times I should’ve told her I’m in love with her smile, her laugh, that her eyes are the colour of heaven. It had all built up to this mundane Monday morning. I woke up and decided yes, I was going to tell her.

Continue reading “Mid Week Flash Week 36 – Perfect Moments”

Mid Week Flash – Ocean Dreams

It’s week 25 of Miranda Kate’s Mid Week Flash challenge, and illness, work and general life chaos has meant I haven’t been able to participate as much as I’d have liked to, but this week’s image really spoke to me. Anyone is welcome to join in, the general guidelines can be found here.
This week’s prompt:

 Ocean Dreams
 
 

We dreamed of going to the ocean. She had this romantic ideal of walking on a moonlit beach, hand in hand, listening to the roar of the unseen sea. Our dream sustained us through the long, hard years we couldn’t be together, when our relationship was built of dreams and texts and snatched moments. We were going to go to the ocean.

They say life’s a bitch, but she’s got nothing on the twisted sense of humour Fate has. Finally together, finally able to touch instead of talk, to kiss instead of dream. We were finally going to the ocean. Packing up the car together, all excited.  She looked like a painting, the light on her face too perfect to be real. I kissed her, then turned away to load the last bag into the boot. When I turned back, she was on the floor, lifeless, hair sprawled in the mud.

Three months later, life is drained of colour. She smiles through the pain and the sickness and the exhaustion, brave little stoic smiles, drained of their warmth. Every time I walk down this disinfectant scented corridor I hear the doctor telling us “I’m very sorry, it is terminal. We can make her comfortable…” and I have to swallow my anger, my pain, my disappointment, push it all down into the pit of my stomach and try to have my smile ready for her. I can’t let her down.

Continue reading “Mid Week Flash – Ocean Dreams”

Mid Week Flash – In The Mirror

My next offering for Miranda‘s Mid Week Flash challenge. The General Guidelines can be found here.
This week’s prompt was taken in a former, now abandoned, TB sanatorium in Grabowsee, Oranienburg, Germany, which is a little north of Berlin. It was taken by someone over on Flicker called Michael.
In the Mirror

They say I’m mad, but I’m not. That woman in the mirror isn’t me.

Oh she looks like me, no doubt. Whenever someone is looking, she mimics me perfectly. Then when they turn away her blank expression twists into a malicious grin, she gives me a seductive little wink, and my blood runs cold.

I know she’s up to something. I don’t know what. They all think I’m mad, but I’m not. That woman in the mirror is not me.

Continue reading “Mid Week Flash – In The Mirror”

Mid Week Flash Challenge Week 5 – You Are My Heart

My next entry for Miranda Kate’s Mid Week Flash challenge, week 5 the General Guidelines for which are here.  
 
 
This week’s prompt photo was created by Marcela Bolivar, a digital artist from Columbia. You can check out some of her other wonderful creations on her website here.

You are my heart

 
Once, I am sure, I was complete. A whole, living, breathing being. I used to taste food, feel music. I used to be alive.
Then along he came. He filled me so completely, there was no room for anything else. Where once I held passion for art and dancing, good company and good movies, now there was only him.  I lived him, breathed him, he didn’t just hold my heart, he was my heart. I didn’t mind, I didn’t miss any of it. I didn’t need any of it, he fulfilled me completely.
And now he has gone, and I am a shell. I eat without tasting, I go through the motions of social interaction without engaging. I stare at screens without taking anything in.  I exist without living.
All that’s left of me is the ghost of him, as intangible as a rippling reflection on a midnight pool.

Mid Week Flash Week 3 – The Beat Goes on


My next entry for Miranda Kate’s mid week flash challenge, inspired by this guy:
 
 
 The picture prompt this week is by  Ekaterina Zakharova, a Russian photographer who named him ‘1Fairy’. You can find more on her Deviant Art page.

The General Guidelines for the mid-week flas challenge are here.  
 
 
The Beat Goes On
 
The trouble is, no one believes in fairy tales anymore.
Back when I was a kid, some people took them seriously. My Nan did, certainly – she left cream out for the little folk, touched wood, sprinkled salt, and always warned us to stay on the paths if we ventured into the woods. She even gave me a tiny iron horseshoe to keep me safe. I should have kept it.
But nowadays, with our lives so dominated by social media and selfies sticks and double shot mocha cappuccinos, we are lulled into a false sense of security. The woods are just somewhere I jog through, not an otherworld of mystery and magic.
I was panting along, well on course to beating my personal best, the only sound the slapping of my feet on the path, the thudding of my blood in my ears. I was totally in the zone. Then I noticed the annoying little stone in my shoe.
 
I tried to ignore it, but after a few steps I realised I couldn’t. Look after your feet, and they’ll look after you. If I ignored it, I’d get a blister, and that would totally mess up my training.
I reluctantly stopped,  and stepped off the path to sit on a convenient log and sort it out. As soon as I sat, it was like the volume had been turned up on the world. Suddenly I could hear the wind sighing through the canopy, the birds calling to each other. The sun was warm on my back and the air smelled so sweet. I lingered too long, breathing in the magic of the woods.
Then I heard it – or maybe felt it, I’m not sure. The steady beating of the drums, the low, intoxicating oboe, the high, infectious pipes that made my toes tap. I should have stayed on the path. Nan warned me. But I wanted to see where the music was coming from.

Continue reading “Mid Week Flash Week 3 – The Beat Goes on”

Mid Week Flash Challenge Week 2 – Blue Sky

Blue Sky

I’m coming in to this party fashionably late , since it’s week 2, but this is my piece for Miranda Kate’s  Mid-Week Flash Challenge.

The picture is the prompt, and is by Kasia Derwinska, a polish art photographer.

It’s the picture that keeps me going.

Because fuck, it’s dark here. There’s no end to the desolate, barren emptiness. It stretches on and on forever, but at the same time it’s closing in so tight that if I stop and think about it for a second, falter even a moment, I won’t be able to breathe.

I focus on the picture.

It gets me through the screaming silence, keeps me going through the blackness, when all is dust. It is my talisman against the aching fatigue of battling on. It reminds me that smiling is possible, here where I have forgotten how.

I focus on the picture in my mind.  Nothing fancy – I don’t want much. Just one foot in front of the other, just like now. Only the sky is blue, and the air is sweet and I can breathe again. Smile again. See the world in colour again.

I focus on that picture – blue skies to temper my storms, a life lived in colour, with feeling – I hang it in the foreground of my mind, and I keep on walking.

I focus on the picture, and I refuse to give up, and curl up, and disappear.

One day I will have my blue sky.

Craving You

First published in my old notebook April 20, 2014

Craving you

I have been craving you for weeks. I know we are bad for each other, that’s why I have been so strict with myself, refused to see you. I have been so good, but I don’t know how much longer I can deny myself.

It has been building like a thunderstorm, the need for you, for so long now.  Your scent, your taste on my tongue, the two of us melting into each other, becoming one. You are all I think of at my desk at work, pounding the treadmill at the gym, sitting in traffic. I need you, I want you so much, every cell in my body is calling to you.

I see you with that girl on the bus and something inside me snaps. I can’t deny myself, deprive myself of you any longer. I need you. I want you. I’ll have you tonight. Oh, I can’t wait until tonight! I’ve got to have you now.

My heart is racing as I reach for you, my fingertips trembling as they caress your familiar contours. I pull you close to me, take a deep breath and inhale your delicious scent. My mouth waters in anticipation and I hold back just a moment more, knowing I am committed now. I will have you and I will hate myself for it tomorrow. It is too late to stop it. I don’t even care. I just want to devour you.

I rip off your wrapping and shovel you in. Sod the diet. You, Chocolate, are well worth it.

Character Flaw

I did exist. I was real, you can’t deny it. Though no one but you ever knew my name, I had people that loved me, cared for me, respected me. I had needs and hopes and desires. I had dreams. You never thought about that did you?  When you abandoned me for better things, you thought I would just fade away. Of course I didn’t,  I am a person. People don’t just disappear.

Oh I know it’s easier with him. You don’t have to think so much with him, he is simple, relatable, he makes it all so easy. You just “get” him, don’t you?  No need to work at uncovering his layers, work out his motivations, what makes him tick. He is an open book to you, not like I was. He doesn’t confuse you or deceive you or challenge the way you see the world or your place in it. I understand all that. He was the easier option. I was making things too complicated, with him it just flows. Continue reading “Character Flaw”

Bittersweet Memory

First published in my old notebook February 8, 2014

Bittersweet Memory

My daughter exists only here now, trapped in this yellowing photo, her features scarred with fold marks caused by her long imprisonment in my wallet.

The memory of her face hovers at the back of my mind; a vibrant sweetness that I can’t ever touch again. This likeness is but a pale reflection of all she was. I hate it for not capturing her essence, but it’s all I have now. I cling to it like a lover that I’ve lost interest in, but daren’t give up.

Will I still carry this imitation in my pocket and my heart when it stops conjuring her in my mind? Will I ever forget the perfection of her smile? Will the trust in her eyes fade to a shadow of a dream?

I can’t imagine ever casting it aside, even though it just taunts me with my ultimate failure. It will be my personal millstone forever.

I fold the photo back into its tiny, safe square again, hold it to my lips. My fingers grip it tight, pinching like I’m trying to stem blood from a wound. I wish I’d held on to her small hand this tight in that crowd all those years ago.

I wrote this story for the monthly writing competition in the Amazon Kindle Owners group on Goodreads. The theme was “old photos” and the word count limit was 200 words.  I was  surprised and delighted when it won.