Writing Challenge 25th May 2020

The reason I’m posting this prompt because I like writing a little flash fiction. It’s something I treat as going to the gym for my writing muscles. If you want to join in, that’s brilliant, but there’s no pressure. If you want to leave a comment with a link, that’s great, but if you don’t feel ready to share yet, that’s also great. Or you could decide that you had a good session at the ‘gym’ and want to submit it somewhere, or use it as the basis for other work, which would be amazing. It’s up to you how you use this prompt. The only thing I would like to insist on is that you enjoy yourself.

Here is a picture and a quotation. The challenge is to write something that is sparked off by one or both of them. It doesn’t have to be directly related to either, just the story you hear when you see them. It’s limited to 500 words (or less, lots less if you need to, or a little more, and I don’t check), and you should try and finish it by next week. It can be prose, poetry, fact or fiction – just have fun.

People choose the paths that grant them the greatest rewards for the least amount of effort.

David Shore

If you wish, leave a link in the comments and I will drop in, read and comment, and I encourage everyone to do the same. I’ll also be sharing stuff on Facebook and wherever else I can think of. There are no prizes and no end goal, unless it is to have fun writing. I hope I get to see some awesome stuff sparked by this. Good luck!

Wanderer in the Mist

The wanderer couldn’t believe how long he had been walking in the woods. It felt like days. The mist between the silver trees softened the edges of the world and blurred any sounds into a faint hiss. Everything looked the same and the faint echoes of song that tantalised him on the edge of his hearing were impossible to place. He paused and put a tentative hand on the ice cold trunk of a tree. Perhaps he had passed it before. He couldn’t tell. He had tried arranging stones on the paths to see if he was going in circles but when he found the stones again they were not quite the same as he remembered. They had been a little jumbled and he couldn’t be sure if they were the stones he had left there or not.

He regretted taking the dare. Everyone said that the lane led to Fairyland if you went on a full moon on May Day Eve. He hadn’t wanted to go but Harry had dared him and he hadn’t wanted to look scared. He stopped again and leant against a tree. It was funny. He didn’t feel hungry or thirsty, but he was sure he had been here most of the night. He shivered.

He looked around. It felt like days but there was no sign of dawn. Perhaps the mist was hiding it. He looked around. He didn’t remember this fork in the path. Perhaps that was the way out. He frowned. He could hear voices! He finally could hear voices!

“I don’t know, father.” The voice of a young man said. “The signs are mounting up. There is something coming to Leeds and I’m not sure what.”

“I do not wish to believe it, Steve.” An older voice said. “But I fear it is true.”

The wanderer ran towards them. “Hey, hey there! Can you help me? I’m lost.” He ran into the clearing and then stumbled to a halt. A tall, dark man with devilish green eyes was dressed in what looked like Medieval armour and was facing a slim man in a sharp suit.

“I am Lord Marius,” the man in armour said. “This is my son, Steve Adderson. Why are you here?”

“Harry dared me.” The wanderer looked between the two men. “This is Fairyland, right?”

“Yes, it is.” Steve looked at him. “Have you been here long?”

The wanderer smiled ruefully. “It seems like days. Do you know the way out? It’s just that if I’m out too late my mam won’t let me listen to the coronation on the radio.”

“Coronation?” Lord Marius asked, amused.

“Yes, King George VI. He’ll do a better job and at least he’s married to a proper lady.” The wanderer looked between the two men and their suddenly set expressions. “What’s the matter?”

“I’ll explain it.” Steve said. “I’ll meet up later, father.” He turned to the wanderer. “We need to get out of this domain and have a long talk. What’s your name?”

The wanderer stared at him for a long moment. He had come into Fairyland, some time ago. He had come because of a dare from Harry. He wanted to get back to listen to the coronation on the radio and he couldn’t if his mam was cross and he seemed to have been wandering for a long time. Those thoughts had run a track around his mind for longer than it seemed, with nothing else on his mind. “I can’t remember.”

Writing Challenge 18th May 2020

The reason I’m posting this prompt because I like writing a little flash fiction. It’s something I treat as going to the gym for my writing muscles. If you want to join in, that’s brilliant, but there’s no pressure. If you want to leave a comment with a link, that’s great, but if you don’t feel ready to share yet, that’s also great. Or you could decide that you had a good session at the ‘gym’ and want to submit it somewhere, or use it as the basis for other work, which would be amazing. It’s up to you how you use this prompt. The only thing I would like to insist on is that you enjoy yourself.

Here is a picture and a quotation. The challenge is to write something that is sparked off by one or both of them. It doesn’t have to be directly related to either, just the story you hear when you see them. It’s limited to 500 words (or less, lots less if you need to, or a little more, and I don’t check), and you should try and finish it by next week. It can be prose, poetry, fact or fiction – just have fun.

Never make a defense or an apology until you are accused.

King Charles I of England

If you wish, leave a link in the comments and I will drop in, read and comment, and I encourage everyone to do the same. I’ll also be sharing stuff on Facebook and wherever else I can think of. There are no prizes and no end goal, unless it is to have fun writing. I hope I get to see some awesome stuff sparked by this. Good luck!

Being Careful

I reluctantly answered the phone. Kay was my best friend, but I knew what she would say. “Hi.”

“Thank goodness you are safe.” Kay sighed. “One day you will look before you leap. There could have been anything waiting for you.”

“I’m fine.” I said. “And I did a lot of research.”

Kay snorted. “Looking on Google maps isn’t research.”

“It’s just as I expected.” I leaned back against a packing case. “The rented house needs a major clean, the library I’m supposed to sort out is a mess and my employer is sort of a sweetie but hasn’t a clue.”

Kay laughed. “Trust you to fall on your feet. How you have got through life in one piece is a mystery. You just charge at things without ever considering what might go wrong and somehow find things working out.”

“There are some amazing books in the library.” I said. “There’s some volumes that are so rare and antique that I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a catalogue. I’m going to be busy for a while, and the pay is great.”

“I’m really pleased for you.” Kay said. “Anyway, the reason I called was your housewarming present. I know it’s only rental, but it’s a new home. If you look in your blue case, tucked into the top corner, you’ll find a package. Go and get it. And when you find it, please be sensible!”

I found the blue case on the bottom of the pile, of course, and found the small packet Kay had tucked there for a surprise. Wrapped in blue paper, with a long list of safety precautions, was a candle with my favourite scent. I set it on a sturdy packing case, lit it with the matches Kay had included, and sat back. The uncertainty and homesickness slipped away and I spent a few moments appreciating Kay’s kindness before getting on with the cleaning – taking due precautions around the lit candle, of course.

Writing Challenge 11th May 2020

The reason I’m posting this prompt because I like writing a little flash fiction. It’s something I treat as going to the gym for my writing muscles. If you want to join in, that’s brilliant, but there’s no pressure. If you want to leave a comment with a link, that’s great, but if you don’t feel ready to share yet, that’s also great. Or you could decide that you had a good session at the ‘gym’ and want to submit it somewhere, or use it as the basis for other work, which would be amazing. It’s up to you how you use this prompt. The only thing I would like to insist on is that you enjoy yourself.

Here is a picture and a quotation. The challenge is to write something that is sparked off by one or both of them. It doesn’t have to be directly related to either, just the story you hear when you see them. It’s limited to 500 words (or less, lots less if you need to, or a little more, and I don’t check), and you should try and finish it by next week. It can be prose, poetry, fact or fiction – just have fun.

Please give me some good advice in your next letter. I promise not to follow it.

Edna St Vincent Millay

If you wish, leave a link in the comments and I will drop in, read and comment, and I encourage everyone to do the same. I’ll also be sharing stuff on Facebook and wherever else I can think of. There are no prizes and no end goal, unless it is to have fun writing. I hope I get to see some awesome stuff sparked by this. Good luck!

Countryside

“Is it definitely this way?” I was sure I had stepped in something squishy.

“Hmm?” Charles walked forward a little. “Yes, the man in the shop said it was along here.”

The man in the shop was fine with Charles but never seemed to take to me. Conversations paused as I walked in and he asked me if I wanted any ‘special orders, like them olives?’ and looked somewhat disappointed at my purchase of potatoes and carrots. “Did he say how far?” It felt like I had walked miles.

“Not far.” Charles looked around and took a happy breath. “That’s wild garlic over there. We could cook with it.”

I stumbled over a lump in the path. “Only if we get it away from where people walk their dogs.”

Charles laughed. “You wait until I get the garden sorted.”

That was the deal. He sorted out the garden, I dealt with the house. We had moved in too fast. Really the whole place needed to be gutted. The wallpaper was older than me and I didn’t like to speculate about the plumbing. “It’ll be great.”

“Look, it’s just down here.” Charles strode ahead.

I waved away the midges from my face and followed. The dim green tunnel of the lane opened up and then I was in the sunlight and looking over the incredible view. Woodland mixed with patchwork fields and the sun slanted down on the glowing, late spring landscape. I glanced at Charles and the delight on his face was as strong as the sunshine as he took a deep, refreshing breath of country air. The tension in his shoulders had gone and there was a sparkle in his eyes. Moving to the country was definitely worth it.

Writing Challenge 4th May 2020

The reason I’m posting this prompt because I like writing a little flash fiction. It’s something I treat as going to the gym for my writing muscles. If you want to join in, that’s brilliant, but there’s no pressure. If you want to leave a comment with a link, that’s great, but if you don’t feel ready to share yet, that’s also great. Or you could decide that you had a good session at the ‘gym’ and want to submit it somewhere, or use it as the basis for other work, which would be amazing. It’s up to you how you use this prompt. The only thing I would like to insist on is that you enjoy yourself.

Here is a picture and a quotation. The challenge is to write something that is sparked off by one or both of them. It doesn’t have to be directly related to either, just the story you hear when you see them. It’s limited to 500 words (or less, lots less if you need to, or a little more, and I don’t check), and you should try and finish it by next week. It can be prose, poetry, fact or fiction – just have fun.

People say that life is the thing but I prefer reading

Logan Pearsall Smith

If you wish, leave a link in the comments and I will drop in, read and comment, and I encourage everyone to do the same. I’ll also be sharing stuff on Facebook and wherever else I can think of. There are no prizes and no end goal, unless it is to have fun writing. I hope I get to see some awesome stuff sparked by this. Good luck!

Appearances

white ceramic mug beside black iphone 4
Image from Unsplash taken by Sebastian Bednarek

Jane stared out of the window. The rain lashed relentlessly, filling the gutters and running in rivers down the street. What a day for a first day at work. And she had to look good. Her interviewer, Matt, had emphasised that her appearance was part of job performance. “We are a design firm, Jane, and we have to look like appearance matters. And you need to change your name for work hours. Have you thought about Styria?” He grimaced. “You are the best applicant for the job but ‘Jane’ is a little, well, plain.”

This needed a little lateral thinking. There was no way any hairstyle would survive, even in the car, so she could wrap her hair in a boho scarf. Jane looked at the little honda sitting forlornly outside. She would get her feet soaked in the few yards from her door. That meant she wore boots to the car but changed at work. In fact, she could get completely changed at work. Jane hesitated. As long as they didn’t mind her diving in looking like a fisherman before she got changed. She swallowed. This was the perfect job and she had been craving something like this since school. She had to make a good impression.

The drive to work was one of the worst she had ever done, peering through the sheets of water as she swooshed into the carpark of the elegant and modernistic building, water spraying as she turned. The race from car to office was equally challenging and she dripped over the expensive marble floor as she ran to the bathrooms.

Thank goodness she had left plenty of time, Jane thought, as she looked at herself in the mirror. She definitely looked ‘boho’ with her hair quickly dried and wrapped in the tie dye scarf, and the flowing skirt and blouse that had survived the car journey uncreased echoed the bright colours. She swallowed. Did she look right? Had she hit the right note with what seemed more like partywear than the severe business suit of the last job. She took a breath and left the bathroom, almost colliding with a tall, elegant blonde with well cut, dripping hair and soaked, fashionable clothes. She stared at Jane for a long minute.

“A headscarf! Why didn’t I think of that? It’s genius!” She smiled warmly at Jane. “You must be Jane, or Styria. I’m Mel, but if you get calls for Cytheria, that’s me.” She shook her head. “I don’t know where Matt gets his ideas. I’ll meet you at your desk in a minute, once I’ve dried myself off.” She dived past Jane, trailing a cloud of expensive scent.

Jane hung up her coat on the coat pegs in the office and stashed her bags under the desk with a place card with her name on in beautiful copperplate. Everything looked so styled. The office furniture gleamed, abstract prints hung on the walls and even the pot plants seemed chosen for effect.

“Good morning Jane, or Styria.” Matt came over. “I’ll give you the tour in a moment, but I think you should have this first on such a morning.” He set down a cup next to her. Jane looked at the carefully constructed, uncomfortable looking mug. “The boss doesn’t normally make drinks for the staff, but today is definitely a day for a nice cup of cocoa.” He smiled and went to hand another, similar mug to Mel.

Jane picked the cup up with care and took a tentative sip. It was perfect – warming, soothing, old-fashioned cocoa. She was going to like it here.

Writing Challenge 27th April 2020

The reason I’m posting this prompt because I like writing a little flash fiction. It’s something I treat as going to the gym for my writing muscles. If you want to join in, that’s brilliant, but there’s no pressure. If you want to leave a comment with a link, that’s great, but if you don’t feel ready to share yet, that’s also great. Or you could decide that you had a good session at the ‘gym’ and want to submit it somewhere, or use it as the basis for other work, which would be amazing. It’s up to you how you use this prompt. The only thing I would like to insist on is that you enjoy yourself.

Here is a picture and a quotation. The challenge is to write something that is sparked off by one or both of them. It doesn’t have to be directly related to either, just the story you hear when you see them. It’s limited to 500 words (or less, lots less if you need to, or a little more, and I don’t check), and you should try and finish it by next week. It can be prose, poetry, fact or fiction – just have fun.

white ceramic mug beside black iphone 4
Image from Unsplash taken by Sebastian Bednarek

Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment

Robert Benchley

If you wish, leave a link in the comments and I will drop in, read and comment, and I encourage everyone to do the same. I’ll also be sharing stuff on Facebook and wherever else I can think of. There are no prizes and no end goal, unless it is to have fun writing. I hope I get to see some awesome stuff sparked by this. Good luck!

The Chase

man in black jacket driving car during daytime
Image from Unsplash taken by Aubrey Rose Odom

Marge checked her speed. Fleur was driving at a sensible speed for once, which made it much easier to follow. She was not going to let her get away with her schemes. Marge had rights and she was determined to use them. She would not be distracted by Fleur’s games and schemes. They would not escape this time.

“Fleur did you seriously pay your cousin to drive your car to the next town?” Nick stared at his fiancée.

Fleur grinned. “I told him that there was likely to be issues, and that your mum would follow.”

“And he was okay with that?” Nick asked.

Fleur laughed. “He thought it was hilarious and said he would promise not to lose her. But what choice do we have? If we want to have any chance of choosing a decent wedding venue, we have to find some way of leaving her behind.”