What Pegman Saw – Worth the Climb

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the 360 degree view of 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.

WPS - Bulgaria - Worth the Climb 171021Worth the climb

Afternoon sunshine gleamed through the dirty glass of the window. The smell of boiled cabbage was strong. Ivan wrinkled his nose.

“Lyudmila – beautiful Lyudmila! There is something on the roof you must see.”

Grumbling, Lyudmila followed him to the lift. It was broken.

“That’s it. I can’t manage the stairs.”

“Please, Lyudmila?”

She scowled, and set off up the staircase, gripping the rail tightly with one hand, and supporting her weight on her stick with the other.

At the top of the third flight, Ana popped out with a chair.

“Sit down, Lyudmila! Here, I’ve brought you a drink.”

“I suppose you know what’s going on?”

“Going on?”

Lyudmila snorted. She climbed the last flight, then, breathing stertorously, she left the stairwell and went onto the roof.

It was decked with bunting, and there were tables loaded with food and drink.

“Happy 100th birthday!” chorused the residents of the tower block.

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Friday Fictioneers – The Wonky Wand

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 - Wonky Wand - 171018

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

The wonky wand

The fairy’s name was Gwendolen. She was dumpy, her iridescent wings looked clumsy, and the star on her wand flickered.

“Oh bugger!” she said, “I’m stuck.” She glared at me. “As long as you’re watching, I can’t leave.”

I looked away.

“And I must recharge my wand. Please wish for something you want really badly.”

I wished, and felt a surge of energy, tingling like intense pins and needles.

“Wow!” I exclaimed.

Gwendolen had gone. I strolled to the hotel bar.

“Hi! Are you Fiona?”

He was tall, with a warm smile.

“Good luck!” Gwendolen’s voice whispered faintly in my imagination.

Summer Camp

For several weeks I’ve been writing very short flash fiction (100 or 150 words), and neglecting longer forms. I’ve found this very helpful for understanding the structure of stories, but it’s not very satisfying. It’s a bit like surviving on dehydrated food concentrate. Today, I’m blogging a longer piece. At just over 600 words, it will take about 5 minutes to read.

Summer Camp 171016

Summer Camp

“Mom?” Little Gemma fidgeted, and wouldn’t meet Debbie’s eyes.

“Yes, love?”

“I don’t want to tell you, ‘cos you’ll be cross.”

“I won’t be cross, love, of course I won’t.”

“I don’t want my friends to hear.”

“Then whisper it, honey.”

Gemma still hesitated. Debbie squatted so she was the same height as Gemma.

Gemma leaned forwards, and whispered “I don’t want to go to summer camp, Mom.” Her grey eyes were lustrous with unshed tears. Debbie gave her a big hug.

“You’ll be fine, honey. You’re a big girl now. Just think how grown-up you’ll feel when you tell Mom and Pop all the fun things you’ve done!”

Gemma held her mom’s hand tightly as they waited. As the camp leaders started to line up the children ready to board the bus, Debbie kissed Gemma.

“Go on, sweetie. Be a big, brave girl, so I can tell Pop how grown-up you were.”

Reluctantly, Gemma let go and sidled towards the group.

A girl with long, dark hair and dimples grabbed her.

“Gemma! Wow! Isn’t this exciting! I can’t wait till we get there!”

“Hi, Natasha.” Gemma smiled. Natasha was her best friend.

As the bus pulled away, Gemma waved through the back window until her mom disappeared in the distance. Her bottom lip trembled a little. She was seven years old, and it was her first summer camp.

Debbie watched until the bus was out of sight. She felt sad and angry. It wasn’t right to take a small, timid child like Gemma; she wasn’t ready for summer camp. The previous evening she’d said as much to her husband, Frank.

“Well, gee, sweetheart, let me tell you what happened at work today. First off, I was called to Bill’s office – that’s my boss’s boss. He told me how pleased he was to hear that Gemma was going to camp this year. Then Andy, my boss, he called me in, and said that he had been instructed to make sure that all members of his team were patriotic; good, churchgoing, God-fearing people who honoured the flag and our brave servicemen and women. ‘You know what I’m talking about, I hope?’ he said. ’No socialists here.’”

Frank had taken Debbie’s hand.

“It’s only four days, sweetheart. She’ll do great.”

Gemma was back on schedule on the Friday. She came out of the bus holding the hand of an even smaller girl.

“This is Pamela,” she announced to her mom. “They asked me to be her special friend so she didn’t feel lonely. Can we give her a lift home?” Pamela cuddled up to Gemma, and gave Debbie a small, shy smile.

“Sure, honey, of course we can.”

It wasn’t far out of their way, and they were soon home. As they pulled up in the driveway, Gemma asked, “Why don’t we have a flag, Mom, like everybody else?”

“Well – I guess we don’t like to make a big show of things, honey.”

“I’d like a flag, Mom. I want to salute it in the morning before school.”

Inside the house, Debbie watched with delight as Gemma ran up to her room, and greeted each one of her dolls with a cuddle and a kiss. She played with them until Frank came home.

“Whee!” yelled Gemma, as Frank swung her round in circles.

Debbie put her arms around both of them.

“Did you have fun at camp?” she asked.

Gemma looked thoughtful.

“Well, I missed you, Mom, especially the first night.” She snuggled her face against her mom’s tummy for a moment, and then stood up as tall and straight as she could.

“But I’m a big, brave American!”

 

What Pegman Saw – Fresh Start

WPS - Fresh Start - Le Capitaine 171014

“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 location is Mauritius.

Fresh Start

I was lunching alone at a table for four, watching the sunlight sparkle on the waves and thinking of Randolph. Two years after his death; a breakdown, anti-depressants, psychotherapy, ECT and two suicide attempts later, I was on the mend.

A young couple approached the waiter, but it was hopeless; the place was packed.

I beckoned.

“You can join me, if you like.”

“Really?” They hesitated.

I patted a chair.

“Sit down!”

Ada and Jeff were marine biologists, working on conserving fish stocks. The work sounded fascinating. I wondered…

I thought of the sun, of swimming in that warm sea – imagined the drizzle in England.

“Could i help with the project?”

“How long are you here?” asked Ada.

“Three weeks – but I could stay longer.”

Ada looked doubtful.

“There’s some clerical work,” said Jeff. “Unpaid. It’s very humdrum, I’m afraid.”

I think I may be staying here for some time!

Friday Fictioneers – A Motherless Child

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!

I’m afraid the connection of the story to the photoprompt is very tenuous. My thought was the nurturing of a helpless infant by an older couple, just as the fledgling has been hand reared.

FF - A Motherless Child - 171011

PHOTO POMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy

The Motherless Child

“I can’t tell you how sad I am for you, Maureen,” said Carol.

The white wall-clock ticked away the seconds. There was a smell of disinfectant. My daughter, Diana, looked peaceful now. I stroked her hand. It was smooth and soft – and already cool.

Diana’s new-born baby daughter snuffled in her crib.

“Thank you, Carol.” I took her arm, for she, too, was a grandmother to the child.

“That wastrel son of yours; who’s going to look after the baby?” ground out my husband.

Carol flinched, but I answered “We are, Ted. There’ll be legal things, custody. Will you ring the solicitor?”

What Pegman Saw – Strong Stuff

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the 360 degree view of 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.

WPS - Strong Stuff - Littleton, West Virginia 171007

What Pegman Saw – Strong Stuff

“Chuck, sit down.”

“Gee, Mom, I’m s’posed to be somewhere.”

He sat down anyway.

“Chuck, there’s fifty bucks gone from my purse – don’t lie to me, just keep it. But don’t spend it on drugs. Please, Chuck. I couldn’t bear to lose you.”

“Mom, I start rehab on Wednesday. They’ll give me stuff. I tried cold turkey, remember?”

Mary shuddered. How could she forget the sobbing, the retching, the curses and the prayers?

“Mom. Thanks, OK?”

Chuck hurried to one of the decrepit houses on Main Street. Fifty bucks bought him a packet of white powder.

“Go easy on this,” warned the dealer. “Just take a quarter your normal dose.”

Chuck hid himself further down the street and eyed the drug. Strong, huh? He sighed, “Oh, Mom,” as the shakes quietened and he drifted away.

When he didn’t come home, Mary searched until she found him – and her heart broke.

Friday Fictioneers – Revenge

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 - Revenge 171004

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

Genre: Crime

Word count: 99

Revenge

The last ferry of the day, with its single, drunk, passenger, shuddered away from the Stag Hotel jetty.

The steward, Jamie, hoovered the saloon.

Laurence Glanville, the owner of the Stag Hotel, wasn’t going to be enjoying Catriona any more, gloated Jamie, as he took a small, heavy package from his locker. He hastily concealed it as the mate approached.

He glared at the drunk.

“Dinna puke on ma floor, laddie!”

The mate nodded and went to the wheelhouse.

Swiftly Jamie dropped the package into thirty fathoms of water.

On the mainland, flashing blue lights hurtled towards the port.