Short Story – First Meeting

Not flash fiction this time, but a short story. It’s about 600 words long, so it won’t take long to read! I welcome constructive criticism, so if you have suggestions as to how I could improve it I would be very grateful if you would comment.

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First Meeting

The cobbles were wet and slippery.

Susan skirted the edge of the market and paused at the butcher’s stall. She wondered whether she could afford their bargain offer of two rump steaks for £8. She shook her head. No. Too much Christmas shopping still to do and not enough money.

She was completely unprepared for the sudden shove and went flying, arms flailing, scattering packages all around.

“Oh, gosh! I’m terribly sorry. Are you alright?”

He was tall, about thirty, slim and dark-haired.

Susan sat on the cobbles and rubbed her right arm, wincing.

“Can you move it? I mean, is it broken?”

Susan flexed it gingerly, and grimaced.

“Just bruised, I think.” She glared at him and started to pick up her packages, ramming them into her bags. She stood up and tried, unsuccessfully, to carry all the bags with her left hand.

“Do you live close?”

“About a mile.”

He hailed a taxi, talked briefly to the driver, handed over cash.

“Give the driver the address. Once again, I’m really sorry.”

All she wanted now was a cup of tea.

It wasn’t until she was at home waiting for the kettle to boil that she realised her pendant was missing.

Sunday came. Jonathan wasn’t a regular churchgoer, but he woke early, the weather was fine, and it was, after all, nearly Christmas.

The sun brightened the east window and cast patches of light on the stonework above the choir stalls. Jonathan thought of how the light had gleamed from the corn-gold hair of the woman he had so unfortunately barged into on Friday. She had worn it in braids wrapped around her head. The colour was that of a schoolgirl; the style that of an elegant woman; but she was neither.

And he had her pendant, which was a lovely piece. How could he return it? He’d found the taxi that had taken her home, but the driver ‘couldn’t remember’ the address. Jonathan had the unpleasant feeling that the man had thought he was a stalker.

He’d probably never see her again.

He sighed, stood up – and there she was, right arm in a sling, hair covered by a headscarf. Her eyes opened wide. Jonathan suddenly realised how very much he wanted to know her better.

“Oh. You.” she said.

Jonathan looked at the sling.

“I’m so sorry. Was it broken after all?”

“Yes.” She looked hostile.

Jonathan fished in his pocket.

“I found this under the market stall. Is it yours?”

She reached out and grasped it. She pressed it to her cheek.

“I suppose I should say thank you,” she rasped.

“My pleasure,” murmured Jonathan.

He hesitated – and walked away.

Even though it was Sunday, the Christmas market was open. As he left the church, Jonathan could hear the mechanical organ of the carousel. He mooched, hands in pockets, towards it.

What on earth had possessed him last Friday? The raucous music had stirred him, lured him onto the ride, set his feet dancing as he dismounted – and sent him spinning into a young woman with golden hair and grey-blue eyes, knocking her headlong.

And now he knew that the accident had broken her arm. It was hardly surprising that she didn’t want to see him again.

He watched as the brightly painted horses, with their gilded manes, raced in endless, futile pursuit. There was no exhilaration left in the day. The sun had disappeared and a fine drizzle was slowly soaking him.

He felt a tap on his shoulder.

She stood, looking apologetic.

“I’m sorry I snubbed you in the church. You took me by surprise – not that that’s an excuse! I’m Susan, by the way.”

“I’m Jonathan”. He smiled. “Shall we have coffee together?”

Susan smiled back. “I’d like that. Thank you!”

 

 

 

Friday Fictioneers – The Big Day

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - Open Day 180307

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

The Big Day

Angela, four years old, was having fun.

Northern Telecom were having an open day. Daddy had taken her through the wrought iron gates, and a man in uniform had saluted her!

“Is this where you work, Daddy?” she asked, gazing round-eyed at the huge office with its desks and workstations.

Then they’d gone out the back. There was a picnic (with cakes!), and a bouncy castle.

While Daddy was talking, Angela wandered off and stared through the safety barrier at the river.

“Could I squeeze through and paddle?” she wondered.

But Daddy’s strong hands lifted her high.

“Yippee!” she squealed.

The magic within

This story was written by Fatima Fakier for the flash fiction challenge “Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers”.
I think it’s a wonderful story! It pulled me in with great power, kept me enthralled, and finally released me with an intensely important message.
I hope you enjoy it!

Fatima Fakier

get the InLinkz codeImage by GOROYBOY

They were coming! He tripped over roots and rocks and sliced his hands and knees.

In his mind he saw only his daughter. Would Little Ayla understand? He spent a lifetime locked in his cramped room writing books by oil lamps. And now those books were burned to ash, by the orders of the government who sought to punish him for disobedience and disruption. What did he know of disruption? He was a teacher not a warrior.

All he did was show his students their inner power. Revolution had sprung.

Panting, he thought it odd that even in this moment, he had inspiration. He would write and teach till his last breath. Dipping his finger in the blood that trickled from his slivered palm, he wrote on the sleeve of his robe.

A sharp pain pierced his shoulder, and when he reached towards…

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What Pegman Saw – A Long Journey

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s prompt is Clinton Road, New Jersey, which has a reputation for being haunted…

WPS - A long journey - Clinton Road NJ 180303

The long journey

“Are we really going to use Clinton Road?”

Jake laughed.

“You don’t believe it’s haunted, do you, Linnie?”

“No, of course not. It’s just – well, the date.”

“So you think it matters that it’s Halloween? It’s our quickest route, you know.”

“Oh it’s fine, Jake.”

Linnie fidgeted nervously with her rosary.

The trees were dark on both sides of the road. A black truck blasted towards them, lights glaring, klaxon roaring. Linnie gasped.

“Dip your lights, idiot,” growled Jake.

“Is it much further, darling?”

“Nearly there. We’ve done fifty miles. Ten to go.”

Linnie tried to open Google Maps on her cell-phone. There was no signal.

“It’s thirty minutes since you said ten miles to go. You haven’t lost us, have you?”

Jake’s laughter was brittle.

“Of course not.”

“I’m sure we passed that sign before,” muttered Linnie.

Three hours later, still between the shadowy trees, their fuel ran out.