Friday Fictioneers – The Past in the Present

Begin the Route

Photo Copyright – Jean L Hays

Friday Fictioneers is organized by Rochelle Wisoff Fields. Please visit her page to see the rules and look at other entries.

Some areas of the old Mother Road are undergoing a revival, but I don’t see it happening for this God-forsaken place. Abandoned for decades, the battered tarmac stretches ahead of my car’s lights.

I wonder if this is what the whole world will look like after civilisation ends.

I stop the truck and get out. This place has no features to identify it, but I know I’ll be found, even in the dark.

I hear the sound of gravel crunching underfoot, but after all these years, I don’t dare to turn around and face him.

“I’m not afraid,” I lie.

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Sunday Photo Fiction – Madam Omogote

36 12 December 1st 2013

Copyright – Al Forbes

Click here if you’d like to read the other stories, or if you’d like to submit your own story based on this photo.

Didi tugged at her school skirt as she shuffled in the plastic chair. An acidic sensation spread from her stomach to her throat as she thought of the imminent meeting with her headmistress. She tried to warm her numb fingers by pressing them between her knees. Despite her situation, she smiled when she thought of whose fingers had last touched her, and she knew that meeting him was worth the punishment for being caught.

Madam Omogote opened the door and motioned for Didi to enter her office. She was a squat beast of a woman whose formidable roar was feared by students and teachers alike. She bared her teeth at Didi and pointed towards the bench on the other side of the room. Didi knew the drill. She bent over the bench and grasped the supporting plank on the opposite side.

There were a few tense seconds…

The cane sliced through the air and Didi gripped the plank tighter.

Having Doubts About Everything

Image

A “compliment” slip from Anatomicals. (Possibly the best skincare company I’ve ever come across.)

I went back to my parent’s house for a few days recently. I say I went back to my parent’s house. I saw them for about a day and then spent the rest of my time with a close friend. I had a really nice time overall, but one of the first issues I faced was that my sister also came home and essentially told me that my housemates had been saying things about me behind my back. (To clarify, she lived in the house as well until recently, so has known my housemates for longer than me.)

This really threw me off, as I would say that for a student house, we get along pretty well most of the time. Things aren’t perfect, but when you’re in a house with four other girls (and only one bathroom!), you’re generally just grateful that you aren’t screaming tearfully at each other or trying to rip each other’s hair out.

It made me feel like I didn’t really want to come back, but I realized that it wasn’t the end of the world. 1. My sister is one of those people who have a  tendency to take things you say and make them sound about one hundred times worse. 2. Yes, there was a period when I was ill, when I was busy with NaNo, when I was waiting for an appointment at the breast cancer screening clinic, when housework was not my priority. I can understand why my housemates may have been frustrated about that. If they said anything, it probably wasn’t personal.

And then, a few days later, I went out with my friend and got terribly drunk. And it was very fun at first. But then I kind of hit that moody, depressed state which I’ve never experienced before. The one where you wonder what you’re doing with your life because:

A. You still don’t have a job because you’re a lazy fuck and nobody wants to employ you and why am I so useless and oh god.

B. You’re really not that smart either. You’re not dumb, you got a 2.1 this year after all, but that’s still not a first.

C. You are surrounded by the absolute dregs of society, including some freaky stranger who keeps coming up behind you and putting his arms around you and trying to kiss your neck and arrrrgghhh leave me the fuck alone!

D. You’re a terrible writer. A real stinker. What are you playing at, spending so much time on wordpress and pretending people care about what you write?

E. Your housemates hate you. Maybe they’re right and you are a horrible, terrible person.

And, I’m absolutely sure that a lot of people on here can empathize with D. Not because they’re bad writers, just because they have doubts. Even famous authors have doubts about their work sometimes. 

I guess there’s no big secret to suddenly gaining confidence in your work. It takes time. I think it’s all about practicing and not giving up.

Oh mighty users of WordPress, what is your opinion?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

There’s nothing wrong.

You’re not trapped here, you can go outside, she thought. In fact, that’s a great idea. Let’s go to Tesco and get some lemonade.

The air outside seemed just as cloying and stale as the air in the house. She pushed her thumb through her keyring and twisted the keys round and round as she walked on the damp pavement. Dirt seemed the surround her. Abandoned plastic sacks of rubbish were strewn around like urban boulders. The grey sky hung above her, a great, unwashed bed sheet.

Despite the filth, she wanted to keep walking. She wanted to go past the shop and keep going, until she felt better. But she knew that she couldn’t walk forever.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy had taught her to treat her mind like a machine. Find the faulty thoughts and replace them, like they’re a worn out part. She searched and she searched and she could find the problem. It was between her breasts, a tight sensation that reached her throat and made her feel like she was choking.

She didn’t know what was causing that.

Sometimes there is no ‘why.’