Sunday Photo Fiction – Lunar Promises

48 02 February 23rd 2014

Copyright – Al Forbes

Click here to submit your own flash fiction based on the photograph, and to read other stories.

In the village where Sian was born, a small housing estate was being built to the west. The area had previously been an unremarkable, empty field. It had also been the spot where, every month, Sian’s mother had greeted the full moon at midnight. The moon gave her gifts of rare herbs and dispensed words of advice in reward for her diligence.

Sian’s mother had been dead for five years, and Sian had not dared to meet the moon herself in that time. She left the hospital where her brother was being treated, knowing that she had to do something. The skies were cloudless and the timing was perfect.

Walking through the empty construction site, she had no idea whether her presence here would be acknowledged. The moon had every right to refuse her, and this place was perhaps no longer as sacred as it once was.

Sian paused. The moonlight filtered through the giant metal frames, and then solidified in front of her.

She kneeled, sobbed for forgiveness, and pleaded until a deal was struck.


Sunday Photo Fiction – Prisoner

This is Thor - one of the Ravens from the Tower of London. Taken in 2009 It is said that if the Ravens ever leave the Tower, then England will fall.

Copyright – Al Forbes

If you’d like to write your own flash fiction about the picture, or see other stories, click here. I think this story is darker than my usual work, which is saying something.

If I remember correctly, there was a special feeling when natural light touched your skin. It was like warm breath on your shoulders. Of course, I could be romanticizing the past. Anything but what I see now is a distant memory.

The stone floors and walls were originally an enemy, but we’ve grown to like each other over the period of my imprisonment. I whisper stories to them about childhood and adolescence, the time when unexpected things would happen every day and I might not even notice. Sometimes we are uninterrupted. Sometimes I’m taken to a little black room, but I never tell them what happens in there.

The door creaks and I hear my husband’s footsteps on the cellar stairs. I expect he’s bringing food, but when I stand I see his hands are empty. My heart sinks.

Today is another black room day.

Sunday Photo Fiction – Base

42 01 January 12th 2014

Copyright – Al Forbes

Sorry that this is so long. I’ll be stricter with my editing once exam season is over. To submit your own piece based on the prompt, click here.

The shed was the safe place, always had been. They played all kinds of games in the yard around it, but the shed was base. You couldn’t be “got” in the shed.

Alice curled up in a little ball in the half furthest from the door. The dust irritated her lungs, but she was too exhausted to cough. She scratched the scabs on her legs until they were sore pools of red. The stinging accompanied her into her dreams, where it turned into nettles that whipped against her shins as she forced her aching legs to run and duck through the undergrowth, the pain nothing in comparison to the vice of fear around her heart and throat.

She could hear the men thundering through the bushes behind her, their gleeful taunts becoming frustrated insults as they tired of the chase.  Eventually Alice was out of the forest and on the abandoned streets, littered with empty cars and silent houses. There was no time to be nostalgic when she recognised the house of a childhood friend, only enough to climb over the locked gate into the neglected yard.

Alice let go of her dream at the same time as she gave up the absurd hope that her pursuers would recognise the sacred status of the shed; when the door was kicked open.

Friday Fictioneers – The Crossing

Copyright - Ted Strutz

Copyright – Ted Strutz

Link to Friday Fictioneers central is here. There you’ll be able to find more stories and instructions for submitting your own 100-word flash fiction based on the photo. 

Tom was fished out of the icy soup of dead souls and tipped, unceremoniously, onto the deck. He looked up in a listless stupor at the hooded figure which stood over him. The silent and aloof stranger waited for Tom to regain his senses before leading him inside and pointing to a seat.

Sodden, Tom pondered all the things he had lost in death, trying to decide which he would miss the most; his wealth, his wife, or his mistress.

Even before the temperatures rose and the shadows of flames flickered through the windows, Tom knew where he was going.

Friday Fictioneers – Preserved

Copyright - Sean Fallon

If you’d like to submit your own 100 word FF story or look at the others, click here to go to the blog of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Credit for the photo goes to Sean Fallon.

They stashed the mannequin in my bed, leaving its shiny brow protruding from underneath the covers. They thought it would frighten me, but that night I laid in a comfortable silence whilst feeling the weight on the other side of the mattress. If you were like the mannequin, you’d be here right now.  Wouldn’t things be better if you stayed where you were put? If you didn’t occasionally say such troubling things to me?

I checked the freezer the next morning, just to make sure. Your face is so cold and perfect. The neighbourhood rumours are wrong. I saved you.

Alastair’s Photo Fiction – The King Of Stone Men


Copyright – Alastair Forbes

Phew, it’s been a busy weekend! This photo prompt came from Alastair’s Photo Fiction Blog.

The rumour is that clouds are nothing more than vapour, but how do you know? When I was a child, growing up in this very village, there was an elderly man living at the end of Curlew Lane. He’d lean over that mossy wall while smoking his pipe, and he used to call me over when I walked by. Usually I’d be on errands for my Ma, but I’d stop and talk to him even though I knew she’d thrash me if I was home late.

He told me ever such interesting things, and seemed so very wise that it was impossible to doubt him. One day, he told me that the clouds I saw were more solid than the wall that separated us. They had to be sturdy, he said, because they supported an army of stone men who were sent to conquer the sun. The king of stone men was so foolish that he sent cloud after cloud of troops to be destroyed by the angry sun.

Still, when the skies are black and thunderous, I wonder if the stone men are going to win.

Alastair’s Photo Fiction – Cold Hands


Copyright – Alastair Forbes

This flash fiction was written in response to a prompt from Alastair’s Photo Fiction blog.

All that’s left of them are bones buried under the battlefield. Those, and the sibilant whispers that echo through the corridors of my home. I washed the blade so carefully, sluicing off the evidence of combat until no sticky, scarlet drops tarnished the steel. I see my face reflected in its surface, and I know that something still contaminates this sword. Something that will not be washed, polished or buffered away. Perhaps the blood penetrated below the surface, and that is from where it speaks.

“You could be us,” they hiss. “You looked into our eyes as you killed us and we saw that you knew. You knew that the sword in our belly could as easily have pierced yours. That Death would have collected you as swiftly, would have opened His arms as wide, and would have swallowed your life as easily as He swallowed ours. From His land we watched you revel in your victory. One day, you will feel our cold hand on your shoulder and you will know that we are equals…”

31 December 2009/Alastair’s Photo Fiction – The Clean Sheet


Copyright – Alastair Forbes

So, I’m trying to cut down on my workload a little and merge the two things I need to post today. The photo challenge came from Alastair’s Photo Fiction Blog. To read about the library book project, click here:

Kayla tugs me along the embankment, eagerly pointing at the boats. I’m sweating inside my heavy coat, but Kayla darts along the path despite her many wrappings.

“Don’t pull your grandmother like that, Kayla!” My daughter gently reprimands the little girl, whose excitement only fades for a few seconds. Throughout the car ride down to London, she was full of questions. She’ll be exhausted by the end of this weekend away.

“It’s like the pictures we coloured in at the library, grandma!” My granddaughter’s smile is broad and infectious.

I agree with her. I ask her if she’d like to go to the library with me again. She nods enthusiastically.

I look backwards to see my daughter’s face. Her expression is strained and barely covers the years of resentment. I swallow and know that the apology in my eyes is not enough to erase the  murky stains on our past. The clean sheet with my granddaughter is more than I deserve.

Alastair’s Photo Fiction – I Can’t Hand Out Happiness.


Copyright – Alastair Forbes

This prompt came from Alastair’s Photo Fiction Blog.

My name is Paul, and I grew up in Bridlington, in a squalid, one-bedroom apartment. My mother used to tell me, “It’s you and me against the world, Paul, it’s you and me.” It never felt that way. No, I was on my own and I knew it. Throughout my childhood, I wasted hours on the beach, walking along the litter strewn front. The foil of empty crisp packets reflected stony clouds. During the peak season, I stayed away from the smells of waffles and the sight of children with their ice cream cones, or the jealousy would crush me.

I went into the army when I left school, made a few friends who still visit me now and then. When I returned, I had enough money to buy the cart. I painted it up, bought stock, and I somehow made enough profit to survive. Sometimes, when cycling around, I see a lonely looking child. I give them an ice cream, and hope it’s enough to get them through the day.

Alastair’s Photo Fiction – What Goes Up, Must Come Down


Copyright – Alastair Forbes

Looking forward to reading this week’s entries. I apologize in advance for the mood of this post. I was actually feeling pretty cheerful until I wrote it. I took advantage of the slightly longer word limit. This photo prompt comes from Alastair’s Photo Fiction Blog.

What goes up, must come down.

I could go hours, dancing and laughing. My smile would be wide but effortless. Everything was not only possible, but easy. I could run for miles, clean the house or rearrange the furniture. I could do some baking and then some more baking, because everyone loves my baking. My thoughts were disjointed, but that’s because each one was so unique, an epiphany in its own right.

And then I could go for weeks where everything hurt. I’ll sit in the shower, because standing is too painful. Stay there for as long as I can, try and let the water wash away the blackness of my mind. Somehow I’ll end up back on the bed, my wet hair soaking the covers, but the decision to leave the bathroom eludes my memory. I’ll lay naked, staring inwards for hours and trying to find what’s broken, so I can maybe fix it.

What goes up, must come down. Not just Physics, but Biology too.