Is A Moment a piece of flash fiction? Is it a scene in a much longer story? Is it a poem trapped in a cage of prose? I’ve no idea. But sit with me a moment and I’ll tell it to you, and you can decide.
Barefoot, she stands in the snow under the neon orange light of the lamppost, fingerless gloves hanging in tatters to hands that are gnarled by years of toil. She draws on the damp toothpick roll-up ferociously, drawing the thin blue smoke into her lungs as if it can warm her from the inside out.
Flow around the challenge in your path.
Wear a trail for others to follow,
Or take the path of least resistance.
Rise above everything sometimes.
See the world from a higher perspective.
Rain down and bring life,
Or wash things clean to start again.
Persist, despite everything.
Wear the mountain down into sand
With gentle, lapping waves.
Be still sometimes.
I realised halfway through writing this that this isn’t the first time I’ve used these particular monsters in a story and although I didn’t set out to I’ve almost written a continuation/sequel to the original here- hence this story being called The Show Must Go On (Encore).
The Show Must Go On (Encore)
Like most beasts, they are docile enough if you keep them well fed. It’s when they get hungry that they become aggressive, and then you really don’t want to be cornered by them.
She can feel me watching her. Her unease has been rising steadily over the 20 minutes I’ve been tracking her, I can hear her heart speeding up, her breath catching a little, the pulse in her delicate, delicious neck throbbing a little faster from all the way across the street, 50 yards or so behind her.
[Note, Red is a twisted fairytale, but it is not intended to be read by children. May also be a little NSFW, depending on the work.]
She buttoned her dress slowly; gnarled fingers, stiff with arthritis, struggling over each wooden button. It wasn’t the dress she had been wearing when she met him – that had been lost somewhere over the decades, a casualty of either the children or grandchildren playing dress up, perhaps, or else of the moths. It was similar though, pale yellow and button down, though the body it wrapped itself around was much different.
He probably wouldn’t notice the similarity anyway, men rarely noticed things. Over their many years together, she had changed many times – her hair, her body shape, her face, even the way she walked. He had never remarked on it. Perhaps that was just his way of being sensitive. Or maybe it was denial.
I’m genuinely sorry to keep doing this to you. But remember how I told you back in my Lockdown Blues post, that back in 2019 I promised myself 2020 would be the year I pushed out of my comfort zone and do more things that scare me? And I started trying to make some music, because though that wasn’t what I envisioned, it is really scary? Well I’ve done that again. Sorry.
So here’s my latest ukulele song. I’ve been playing since February (it’s now late August), and you can tell I’m very much a beginner, but I had fun doing it.
I’ve never been a musical person. But back in February I got a little blue ukulele for my birthday. I never intended to inflict my “music” on you, but then coronavirus happened and the whole world went a bit weird and now – despite being unable to sing and virtually unable to play – I’ve written a blues song about being locked down with 4 kids (I’ve also started a cult, but that’s a different story!). I think we all have a bit of Lockdown Blues!
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I’m an accidental millionaire; I was never supposed to be rich. Council estate lad done good. I was working in a factory when my mate Tim showed me a picture of his dog after a few too many and Pupr was born.
If I were your phone screen Would you gaze at me Adoringly As your fingertips Softly stroke my face? Would you share That secret smile That you save only for me? Would you lose Entire days Staring into me Exploring all the depths I contain? If I were your phone screen Would you reach for me When you can’t sleep Would I be the first thing you turn to When you wake Would you fall asleep With me in your hand? If I were your phone screen Would I feel like you are here?
You can read more of my poetry free here, or find some in my books.
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We labour under the midday sun, stumbling over the cracks in the parched earth. There is never enough water.
They say this was an ocean once – water as far as you can see in any direction. I can’t picture it. All we have here are the bleached skeletons of long dead beasts that roamed this place long ago. And the plastic. Everywhere the plastic.
I have broken the rules again. Sorry Miranda! I’ve gone over the wordcount limit for Miranda Kate’s – Mid-Week Flash (The General Guidelines can be found here if you’d like to join in) but, in my defence, I’m using both the prompts from week 98 and from week 100 in combination today, so if I get a 750 word limit for each prompt I’m well under ?
(Reading this back now it’s obviously heavily influenced by Death and Albert from the Discworld by Terry Pratchett, but that wasn’t conscious when I was writing it!)
Here are the prompt images:
Johnny Come Lately
I was at rock bottom when he found me. Literally, lying on a piss stained concrete floor, puking black blood, caked in my own filth. Must’ve looked like a feral animal.