Sunday Photo Fiction – Yellow

Bicycles

Photograph by Susan Spaulding

Hello all. This is an entry for Sunday Photo Fiction. Coming in well under the word limit today – but for once it just didn’t feel right to add anything else. One thing I struggled with was the shortening of toasted sandwich – growing up this was called a toastie, but not sure how widely used that term is? 

“Where’s your mum pissed off to this time?”

“Didn’t ask. Don’t care,” Layla said, almost like she meant it.

There was a greasy hiss from the toastie-maker as Rachel popped the lid.

“Puts a dint in those fabulous plans she promised?” Rachel guessed. She flipped the sandwiches onto plates and set them on the table.

Layla pierced hers with a fork. The toastie exhaled steam before haemorrhaging nutella-banana filling.

“I love these,” Layla said. “Better than birthday cake, anyway.”

Rachel raised a glass of lemonade.

“Happy sweet sixteenth, Layla.”

Friday Fictioneers – Light for the Lost

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Image belongs to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Just about managed to write a story for the CORRECT picture prompt for this week. This 100 word story is for the Friday Fictioneers challenge. Please follow link to view other stories and see rules for entering. 

The back of the sofa yielded 21p, enough to buy some reduced bread from Asda. The whole time, I was hoping to God that nobody from school would spot me and ask if I was okay, that nobody would notice I was paying in coppers.

At home, my heart jumped when I saw lights in the kitchen, and mum at the table. After nine days in bed, she was finally up. Just as I dared hope she was ready to be mum again, I saw her vacant expression, staring at the flame of a candle.   

“She loved candles,” mum murmured.

 

Friday Fictioneers -The Optimist

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

Copyright – Roger Bultot

Of course, the urge to complete a Friday Fictioneers entry would only come upon me this strongly when my university dissertation is due in a week from now… If you also have a desperate need to procrastinate, please follow the link and read lots of of other fabulous short stories or find the rules for completing your own entry.

Jenny stepped onto the rusty balcony for the last time, protectively gripping her coffee. Over the lip of her mug, she surveyed the incoming fog and looked forward to disappearing into it.

This is the first time she would leave somewhere and not fondly think back on it. She wouldn’t miss anything, not the run-down house, not the underfunded exam factory she worked at which called itself a school, not the anti-social neighbours, and definitely not the bird crap on her car every morning.

Jenny used to be an optimist. Somewhere else, Jenny thought, I still might be an optimist.

Sunday Photo Fiction – The Professor Vs The Unenlightened

Copyright – Al Forbes

Another entry for Sunday Photo Fiction!

Professor Adams is a small man, but it’s clear he’s used to being looked up to in the metaphorical sense. From his rude demands for us to get out of his office to the way he insults us, everything about him smacks of an ostentatious intellectual who hasn’t quite realised that his knowledge doesn’t make him a saint.

“Don’t you dare touch those. You can’t possibly comprehend their worth,” he sneers as my friends begin to pick up artefacts from the shelves.

I smirk.

“Why don’t you enlighten us, professor?” I walk around the desk, and place my left hand firmly on the shoulder pad of his thoroughly outdated jacket. Maybe his suit is an antique too. “How much are they worth?” I ask softly in his ear, inducing a sweaty sheen on his forehead. He jumps as the cold blade of my knife comes into contact with his neck.

Sunday Photo Fiction – Rumours from an Old Friend

125 10 October 11th 2015

Copyright – Al Forbes

Another entry for Sunday Photo Fiction. I was really struggling this week!

After what seemed to be a fortuitous meeting with an ex-schoolfriend, I was directed to the Ballay Boat Inn. Tommy warned me that the exterior might be off-putting, and he was right on that score. With its lichen covered walls and splintering sign, one could be forgiven for assuming the place was derelict.

Tommy’s mate was the only customer inside; he and the barman stared at me as I entered the pub like I was some other worldly vision. We exchange our introductions and get to the point.

“Tommy says yeh’ve got an interest in the hill.” He gives the barman a look as he says this.

“Yeah. Relative of mine used to own property on it. Nobody seems to know what happened to the building.”

“Ahhhh.” He stares at me even as he drinks deeply from his pint glass.

“Yeah, tried going through the local authorities, they can’t explain it.”

“Out of curiosity, how close were you to this relative? No bad blood, I hope?” Tommy’s friend smirks. “Nothing that… might come back to haunt you, say?”

TBAM – Chapter Two: B

See the rest of the novel here.

Two hours later and Keats’ energy had faded. She stared at the door, willing it to open so that she could finally take Rappel Calizo down, give him to the police, then go to bed. Opposite the apartment’s entrance was a stained table, barely large enough for two people to dine at. Keats sat on it, ready to spring into action when the moment came. She was idly playing with a ball of azura in her left hand, feeling its warmth and connection to the magic in her own blood.

Azura was a kind of concentrated magic that could be summoned by most magicians. It was slightly more solid than light and had very few uses other than as a weapon. Skilled magicians could control how concentrated and physical the azura was, but nobody could make it as strong as Keats’ family did. Your common, garden-variety magician could hope to stun somebody with it. Keats had used azura to kill more times than she cared to remember.

Of course, killing was not the objective today. Sonya, possibly the most formidable Queen Litia had ever had, was breathing down everyone’s necks as they tried to pin members of the Desert Freedom group. Minister Trewick was only the second politician to have been targeted. The first victim, Katheu Matri, had been decapitated using magic. Her blood had been used to paint the red sun on the Desert Freedom flag. Before this incident, a large proportion of Litia’s government had been strongly opposed to lifting restrictions on the deserts to the East. Those voices suddenly became quieter.

If Keats did not deliver this man to an interrogation room, Sonya would most definitely not be pleased. In fact, she might even get angry. Few things ever caused Sonya to openly display anger in a form other than a very unnerving glare, but her true wrath was something most people would be wise to miss. It was nothing to worry about, Keats thought. Taking this amateur down would be child’s play.

When Keats finally heard a key being placed in the door’s lock, she narrowed her eyes and charged some azura. Rappel’s face came into view and Keats leapt off the table with the intention of grabbing and restraining him. His unexpectedly fast reflexes caught her off guard, and she found herself barrelling into the door as he dodged past her, with the azura leaving a scorch mark on the flaking paint. Keats spun around and saw that Rappel now had a dagger in his hand, probably one that he kept on his person. She snorted and charged at him again, this time with more focus on aim. There was a short tussle before Keats managed to thrust a ball of azura into the side of his head. Rappel crumpled.

Keats felt a sharp pain just below her right shoulder. The bastard had managed to inflict a deep wound while she’d been focussed on bringing him down. When she looked at Rappel’s body on the floor, she knew that something was wrong. Keats kneeled and checked his pulse.

“Fuck.”

He was dead. Sonya was going to be so pissed.

The Scrapheap

58 05 May 4th 2014

Copyright – Al Forbes

See the Sunday Photo Fiction main page for instructions on how to use the prompt and to find other entries.

When the assistant smiles, his greasy skin stretches out over his cheekbones, causing the pores to yawn open. My C.V. disappears below the counter, no doubt onto a pile that will eventually be cleared out into the recycling bin.

Can’t I have his job? I’m sure I deserve it more. I’d look prettier too. This is a lingerie shop, for god’s sake. Nobody wants some shiny-faced, barely-out-of-adolescence male pawing at the underwear they’ve just forked out a fortune for.

“We’re not looking for anyone right now, but if something comes up we’ll be in touch.”

They don’t want anyone right now. Same as the last twelve shops I went into. But when retail is all you’ve ever done, and the place you worked at for almost a decade tosses you out like you belong in a rubbish bin, your choices are limited.

I give him my best smile. I’m not ready for the scrapheap just yet.

The Metal Infector

57 04 April 27th 2014

Copyright- Al Forbes

Please check out the main page of Sunday Photo Fiction to check out more stories and to read instructions on how to submit your own.

The Great Metal Infection of 2052 actually began in 2050. Biologists who studied the microflora of the Amazon River had trouble identifying a certain strain of bacteria in one of their samples. These bacteria had a highly unusual cell structure, and despite genetic testing, they could not say what the strain had evolved from, or discover its closest relative.

After a short period of time, the biologists began to notice something odd about their tools. Overnight, anything made of metal that was exposed to these bacteria, even the implements they had supposedly sterilised, began to warp out of shape, and odd protrusions would appear. Closer inspections revealed that the bacteria had managed to burrow into the metal and multiply within little surface nodes.

Their hottest incinerator seemed to deal with the affected instruments, but the laboratory couldn’t contain the infection. Within two years, there was devastation. Luckily, the same biologists also discovered the organisms’ aversion to gold, silver, copper, and titanium. The resulting production of alloys which are resistant to “metal rot” allowed humanity can carry on as it once did.

Which is a shame, really.

Sunday Photo Fiction – Appearance Isn’t Everything

56 04 April 20th 2014

Copyright – Al Forbes

Please check out the main Sunday Photo Fiction page here to find out how to submit your own story and to read the other entries! If only I had an office like the one described below. I’ll consider myself lucky if I have a bedroom free of mould when I move South this autumn…

Dr. Isaac Calder could almost be described as an artist for the sheer aesthetic pleasure a person would experience after stepping into his office. Others often remarked that he was a man of excellent taste, and no furniture passed through his doors unless it pleased his visual papillae. The scent of leather, not only from the sofa, but from the books which lined the walls in perfect order, gently spread through the room and was occasionally mixed with the smell of fine whiskey.

However, the furniture was merely a setting for the rocks. A life dedicated to the study of geology had led Dr. Calder to the strangest of places, where he collected the most unusual specimens to display at home. On almost every flat surface they sat, iridescent, flecked with unidentifiable colours, translucent or opaque, almost hypnotising.

The most unremarkable of these sat on his desk; a heavy granite block the size of a grown man’s fist. Dr. Calder, when he was alone, would admire this rock more than the rest of his collection combined. In the end, it was the rock that started it all.

Friday Fictioneers – Parenting Troubles

Copyright - Douglas M. MacIlroy

Copyright – Douglas M. MacIlroy

This rather hilarious photo was put up by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for the Friday Fictioneers challenge.

Our oldest daughter has an unfortunate habit.

It’s not picking her nose, or wetting the bed, or even the insistence on wearing those rather horrendous pink striped tights.

Oh no. She likes to curse people.

Little Beth down the road lost her hair. Next door’s Jimmy now has a twitch which no therapy in the world will cure. We won’t get into what happened to the poor girl who came to babysit. (I just hope she develops some strong neck muscles. Quickly.)

She’s really more vindictive than little girls ought to be.

I think she gets it from her mother.