Friday Fictioneers – Debts Paid

Photo supplied by Douglas M MacIlroy

Happy Friday Fictioneers day, AKA Wednesday! Hope you are all surviving lockdown, If you want to submit your own 100 word story based on the photograph, or see others, just follow this link

“A little something to wet your beak on.”

Crack.

“Glad to see you survived your meeting with Sparrowhawk,” said Tawny Owl, placing Finch’s drink on the bar. “He doesn’t forgive debtors easily.”

Finch didn’t reply, memories of last night circulating like a jerky film reel.

Crack.

“I have the perfect job for a little birdie like you,” Sparrowhawk had said. “A message to deliver.”

At the described tree, Finch heaved to dislodge and topple the stranger’s nest. Only then did he hear.

Crack.

Glimpses of broken shell, scattered.

Minutes later, Finch trembled under Sparrowhawk’s gaze, “Message delivered.”

Share Prices are About to Fall

PHOTO PROMPT © CEAYR

Used with Kind Permission of CEAYR

Please follow the link to find the rules of Friday Fictioneers, and to see more imaginative 100 word stories.

The board of ARK Water Mining stared at Lila, expectant.

“The good news about our discovery is true,” she began, smiling. “I estimate that it will only take twelve months before we profit from our newest water source. If our rivals haven’t found anything by then, we’ll be the sole water supplier. We’re expecting profit margins of at least 500%”

After the meeting, Lila looked outside at an empty lake, connected by dry riverbeds to an ocean which no longer existed. Her attention was seized by a dark mass in the sky, the like of which had been unseen in decades.

A raincloud.

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 – Thin Tights

134 12 December 13th 2015

Copyright – Al Forbes

A quick entry for Sunday Photo Fiction. Ready, steady, go!

The sports hall is as cold as ever. I’m surprised my breath doesn’t fog up as I exhale it into the still, silent air. My skirt and thin tights are offering approximately zero protection from the temperature.

Tables fan out around me, their occupants fidgeting and pale with nerves. I’ve seen all the invigilators who are handing out papers before, but only know them by their nicknames.

Blonde Bombshell writes the name of the exam on the whiteboard: Introduction to Thermodynamics.

Mr Potato’s deep voice rings out clear across the hall, “You may now begin.”

I turn over the first page, and slowly decipher a jumble of words and numbers. So, I’ll need that equation.

I slowly slide my skirt up while I check there’s no one looking, and glance down at the notes written on my thighs.

Friday Fictioneers – A Stranger Calling

Copyright – Roger Bultot

A 100 word entry for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by the super-patient and very talented Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

They told me to go to London and do the job I had been trained to do.

On the flight, I could barely keep still in my seat. My veins seemed to crackle with the energy I’d amassed over the past four years through supplementations, incantations, rituals, and prayers to mysterious Gods who imparted their power to me.

On a neglected rooftop garden, I called for him, master to master.

I made him bow like rushes in the wind, and then I cut him down. I never hesitated, never asked why.

Years later, my power fades. A stranger calls me.

Sunday Photo Fiction – Pumpkin Spice Latte

124 10 October 4th 2015

Copyright – Al Forbes

Another round of Sunday Photo Fiction, a bit late this time, and also a little longer. Unlike my protagonist, I have no issue with pretentious sugary coffee, and am seriously craving one after writing this piece. If you’d like to write a 150-200 word story of your own based on the photo prompt, click the link and you’ll find Al’s instructions.

Only a quarter of my coffee remains, but it doesn’t mean anything. These syrupy froths go down quick, there’s still time for me to stare out of the rain-flecked window, still time for me to be out of the cold. I’m not going to keep checking the time. I’ll leave when it feels right.

People complain about winter, but it’s the inevitability of autumn that I hate. When the short nights are here, you’re used to them. When they’re getting shorter, you feel cheated. The fall fanatics can keep their pretty dying leaves and their sugary spiced lattes. I’ll sit here and reminisce about summer.

It was good this year. I met someone.

“I love autumn,” he told me. Foam was spilling out over the top of his Starbucks mug. I’d ordered the same coffee as him, maybe as a last ditch attempt to pretend we had something in common. “Everything starts to change. And change can be something that we need, sometimes.”

Most of his drink is still left on the table next to me. It’s growing more tepid by the second, and the cream is starting to look more like scum. Time does terrible things to people and coffee alike.

Sunday Photo Fiction – Unexpected Gifts

122 09 September 20th 2015

Copyright – Al Forbes

Please follow the link to see the rules and other entries for this weeks Sunday Photo Fiction.

My family were part of a carefully maintained system. My eldest sister’s used clothes went to my cousin, my cousin’s clothes went to Alice down the road, and Alice’s cast offs came to me. Every so often, a plastic carrier of hand-me-downs would appear. My mother would make me put everything on so she could assess with an expert eye what fitted me, and regardless of my protestations, discard anything she deemed unsuitable.

As we became older, Alice developed enviable curves whilst I stayed slim, and so my wardrobe supplements became less frequent.

When I was 15, my mother called me into the kitchen. Hanging on the door was a satin dress in floral print, the kind I’d look at through a shop window, and optimistically say to my friends, “When I’m rich, I’ll buy a dress like that.”

Alice had received it as a present. It didn’t fit, and she couldn’t get the receipt to return it.

“It looks good on you,” my mother sighed, “But it’s frivolous, you’ll have no cause to wear something like that.”

“I’m sure I’ll find a cause,” I said, looking in the mirror.

Sunday Photo Fiction – The Most Beautiful Prison

94 01 January 4th 2015

Copyright – Al Forbes

Please check out Al’s page for the rules, and other entries.

I’m trapped in a beautiful prison.

The six walls that surround me are lined with ebony shelves, perhaps ten storeys high. Three are hidden behind silken curtains, and crammed on the shelves are treasures upon treasures. Despite the length of my incarceration, I still discover new things, even now. Strings of pearls, diamonds, filigree gold jewellery, boxes lined with satin, leather books written in languages I don’t understand, china dolls, animals carved from onyx and agate.

Many days ago I discovered a stone angel that seemed warm to the tough, about the length of my palm. It bears a likeness to someone I once knew, a certain prince who was cursed for trying to use his wealth to become a God. My memory of him is obscured and distorted, like someone tried to burn it.

The angel whispers something about a seventh wall.

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.