Tag Archives: short story

Jack – 100WCGU #108

It’s been a while since I did a 100 WCGU entry. I felt my creativity needed the exercise this week, hence the two posts in one week (I know, I’m on a roll! For now…) – both posts were inspired by this week’s prompt, which was simply the word Fall. If you’re wondering what 100WCGU is all about, click on the image at the bottom of this post to find out more and read other entries (or even add your own!).

Jack

Jack sat bolt upright and opened his eyes. ‘I don’t want to fall asleep.’
Maria closed her eyes, just for a second, before breathing out slowly.
‘Why not?’ She did her best to smile.
‘I need to speak to her. It doesn’t make sense… I mean, it’s not possible! The coin is too heavy…’ Maria’s face softened. She desperately wanted to reach out and you hold him. Instead, she tried to find the words to bring him back. ‘It’s magic Jackie.’ Jack looked up
‘Magic?’ He’d stopped shaking.
‘Yes… It’s, er… Very scientific.’
She was rewarded with a gap-toothed grin…

 

100wcgu

Tiptoeing around the edge

Once, there was a man who lived right next to a big gaping hole in the earth.

For years, the man cautiously opened his door each morning, tiptoed around the edge of the hole careful not to lose his balance even for a second, and headed off to work. All day at work he thought of the hole and how, if he didn’t keep his mind on it, that day could when he would fall in.

One day, something unexpected happened and the man left work earlier than usual. It was a lovely sunny day and, for a moment, he forgot about the hole and just sat in the sunshine allowing his mind to wander. He followed the dreams in his head and liked what he saw. He stayed until the sun went down, then he headed home. He had not thought about the hole for a whole afternoon.

That evening, as the man walked up his drive lost in thought, he fell into the hole. It was a long way down. When he reached the bottom, he thought to himself ‘that was even deeper than I thought. I knew I shouldn’t have allowed my mind to wander, now look what’s happened!’ He kicked the dirt with his toes and cursed himself for getting carried away by his dreams.

The man stayed in the hole for what felt like a long time. There was hardly any light so it was hard to be sure but it felt like weeks, at least. One day, he woke up with a nagging curiosity that hadn’t been there before. He walked to the edge of the pit and pushed as the wall. It crumbled in, revealing a small, dark tunnel. ‘Well, I’ll be no worse off there than here,’ he thought, and climbed in. It was even darker in the tunnel. It was cold and narrow and there was no light at all but still, he stumbled along in the darkness, refusing, this time, to give in. Eventually he reached another pit like the one he had just come from. This one was even deeper and wider than before. The man’s shoulders slumped. He lay down and went to sleep.

When he woke up, something had changed. He opened his eyes and found himself blinking against a brightness he has become unaccustomed to. His first thought was to close them and go back to sleep but something made him stand up and think again. In the light, the man could see footholds on the wall opposite. He could also hear a voice somewhere in the distance. “Start climbing.” It said. It wasn’t a request. Trembling slightly, the man began to climb. He was tired and hungry but he’d had enough of the hole and if this was a way out, he would put every last bit of energy into reaching the light.

As he neared the top of the hole, he hesitated. “Come on!” The voice sounded impatient. ‘What if it’s a trick?’ he thought, and considered going back where he’d come from. At least there, he knew what to expect. He stayed at the step near the top, clinging on by just his fingernails for almost a whole day before deciding to continue.

When the man reached the edge of the hole and threw himself over, a hand reached out to help him. It was a woman he knew, but he couldn’t think where from. “You don’t recognise me do you? I’m your neighbour! I’ve lived next door to you for years.” He tilted his head to the side. “You mean on the other side of the hole?” He asked. Her brow furrowed. “Hole? What hole? You’ve had a bit of a time of it haven’t you?” She laughed and touched his cheek with her hand so briefly he wondered if it really happened. He looked back behind him and she was right. There was no hole, just the greenest, smoothest lawn he’d ever seen and a patch of beautiful burnt orange roses. He hadn’t even realised there were flowers in his garden. he shook his head and smiled at the woman.

“Thank you.”
“Nonsense. I was just being neighbourly. Come on, I’ve just baked a pie. Pop round when you’ve had a chance to recover – I bet you’re starving.”

Free Write Friday – Heather

Heather
Heather stirred her coffee slowly and licked the froth from her spoon. Lost in thought, she was oblivious to the bustle around her. The lunchtime rush came and went and still she sat, nursing her drink. Some time in the early afternoon, she was distracted by a customer’s loud rant. He was complaining about rancid milk which is why he caught Heather’s attention. She’d been coming here for years and not once had they served rancid milk. She wondered what he was trying to achieve. Compensation? Hardly worth it for a free coffee. Or maybe he was some kind of mystery shopper.. But would a mystery shopper use such coarse language? She supposed it was possible, after all, they must be told to try and provoke a reaction in the baristas. She was impressed by the girl’s calm manner in dealing with him. He reminded her of that DJ she’d had a fling with last summer. What was his name…? Chris? No, Craig… He worked at Salacious Sounds and she’d met him when she’d gone to buy a record for her brother. It must have been obvious she didn’t have a clue about dubstep but he was so sweet and helpful. He was gorgeous. Bit rough though, not her usual type. She’d suggested he have elocution lessons. That didn’t go down too well. Said she was a snob. Perhaps he was right. She was glad they had stayed friends but they had come back to this argument a few times since.  Heather sighed.
‘Another latte, love?’ The barista smiled down at her
‘Oh, yes please… Can I have a slice of that carrot cake as well? I’ve been eyeing it up all afternoon and I can’t leave without trying a piece!’
‘Of course. Coming right up.’
Heather looked down at her laptop. She only had three articles to write and so far she’d written about 100 words. She cursed herself for agreeing to do the piece for Spark magazine. What did she know about diodes? It was harder than she thought it would be to sound knowledgeable on the subject. The blog piece for 8-track though, would be much easier. Perhaps she should have started with that first, just to get writing. Someone had once advised her to start with the hardest piece of work first to get it out of the way. Well, that wasn’t exactly working for her today. She put her headphones on and switched to the ‘easier’ piece.

A few hours later Heather stopped. She was surprised to see a cup of cold coffee and the remains of a carrot cake on the plate beside her. She barely remembered eating it. She had written all three articles, a blog post and started on her brother’s wedding speech. She closed her laptop and smiled. She’d treat herself to a takeaway tonight. And tomorrow. She always ordered for two as she could never bring herself to say ‘yes’ when asked ‘and is that a meal for one?’ She wasn’t sure why as she enjoyed living alone. What was it her Mum used to say? ‘If you can enjoy your own company you’ll never be lonely.’ So tonight she had a date with a takeaway for two and a dvd of Hitch. ‘I might like my own company but I wouldn’t say no to a fling with Will Smith!’ she thought to herself.
‘Heading homeward?’
‘Yep. See you tomorrow!’
Heather walked slowly out of the coffee shop, hesitating outside Salacious Sounds just long enough for Craig to notice her and wave. She smiled and waved back. ‘Drink?’ he mimed, pointing at his watch to indicate he meant later, he held up his right hand, fingers spread. Heather nodded, ‘Be back at 5 then,’ she mouthed, and half jogged back to her flat. Will Smith could wait.

****

The above short story is my entry for this week’s Free Write Friday challenge. Having read it back, it took some effort not to edit this week’s piece! There is so much I would change and I think it would read better in the first person. But that’s not the point of the exercise so… If you enjoyed this story, please leave a comment below! Constructive criticism welcome as I may expand this one to something at some point in the future.

If you’re new here and wondering what Free Write Friday is all about, click on the image at the top of this post to find out more and read other entries from this week.

Free Write Friday – The beautiful little girl

I haven’t taken part in Free Write Friday for a while but when I saw this week’s prompt I just started writing…! The prompt was:

Click on the image above to find out more about Free Write Friday and to read other entries from today. Here’s my effort:

The beautiful little girl

Once upon a time there was a beautiful little girl. She was so beautiful that people would stop in the street to stare at her. They had to stop, because, just for a minute, she literally took their breath away. The little girl had no idea of her beauty, she just thought that people always stopped to chat and that the world was a lovely place. She was a kind and loving child, and every day she would stop and talk to anyone she happened to notice stopping in her presence. This happened a lot, what with her breath-stopping beauty, so she spoke to lots of people and many of them became her friends.

One day, halfway through a conversation with a seemingly friendly girl about noodles of all things, the beautiful girl was asked ‘You do know how beautiful you are, don’t you?’ The beautiful girl was taken aback and she just smiled and said ‘Oh! No, but thank you…’ To which the noodle conversation girl replied with a sneer ‘Oh you do know. I thought as much.’ She nodded to herself and walked off, cutting the conversation short.The beautiful girl was very upset. She went home and looked in the mirror. She was too young to understand the concept of beauty, really, but she decided that it must be a bad thing because of how the noodle girl had reacted to her. So, she decided to make herself less beautiful. She started by eating less. and less. and less. Until she was surviving on one carrot and half a celery stick a day. Her face was drawn, her eyes hollow, and her ribs poked out of her bony chest. She looked in the mirror and was satisfied that she was less attractive. But then she started to see women who looked like this in magazines, modelling the latest fashions, and overhear conversations about thinness being desirable. So she decided to make herself less attractive in other ways. Her Mother had told her ‘beauty comes from within,’ so she started to be mean to people. At first she spread nasty rumours about people at her school, then she progressed to being openly nasty to people so that they could see how unattractive she was. Like attracts like, so she started to spend time with people who didn’t respect her, nor she them.

By the time she was in her late 20s, the beautiful girl was in a loveless relationship with a man who isolated her from all her so-called friends (who were no good for her, he said. He was right about that). She believed she was worth no more than this. Every time the beautiful girl looked into a mirror, something tugged at her and she was overwhelmed by sadness. So she tried to avoid mirrors as much as possible. Until finally, one evening as she was brushing her teeth, her mirror image stopped. She started. ‘What the..?’
‘Listen to me. You. Are. Beautiful. Not only that, you are Beauty.Full. For years you have lived your life for someone else. All because of one comment from that stupid noodle girl? Seriously..? You are better than this. You need to eat. Don’t look at me like that, it’s a wonder you’ve lived as long as you have. You need to get rid of that man – yes, you will find someone else but you’re going to have to learn to love yourself first – and start life over with the same kind heart you were born with. That sadness you feel when you look in a mirror? It’s because you know you’re not being who you really are. It’s never too late to start.’ And she reached her arms out from the mirror, and gave the beautiful, beauty-full girl a hug.

That day she left the no-good man who didn’t deserve her. She’s still single, but she’s ok with that. Oh, and her mirror image? She’s now her best friend.