Fun With Freewriting – Week 15: Suspicious

 

Time for week 15′s entry for Fun with Freewriting. Please feel free to leave a comment, I enjoy and encourage feedback, and if you have any favourites from any on them let me know! You can check them out on my Fun with Freewriting page.

The trees and the houses whizzed past on either side, and I tried to keep my gaze trained on them. I held on to the rail tight with one hand, the other clasped to the strap of my backpack. Standing with my feet apart, I braced myself against the bumps and turns as we negotiated each corner. I swayed in unison with the other passengers sitting in their seats, everyone trying their hardest to look at anything but their fellow travelers.

        I couldn’t help myself though, I had to keep checking on them, to see if I had caught anyone’s attention. Keeping my head towards the window I stole a glance, first one side and then the other. Everyone seemed to be in their own little world, caught up in their own bubble of existence and whatever problems they were dealing with. I still didn’t trust them though. Any one of them could have been sent to watch me, to monitor my movements. How far would they let me go with my plans before pouncing?

        I looked around at them all in turn, sizing them up as potential threats, but the truth was it could be absolutely any of them. They were thorough in their deception, and it was a tough job for me to detect the impostor, never-mind a layman spotting them. And there were all the people sitting upstairs too, it could be any one of them and they were out of my sight line to check them out.

        The bus finally slowed and everyone began shuffling with their belongings ready to depart. As they all rose from their seats I pushed myself back against the window, willing myself to become as small as possible. One by one they filed past me towards the door, and with my head lowered I cast my glance up to look each of them in the eye. Their reaction to my presence was mixed, some smiling politely, to which I tried to reply, others scowling at me full of suspicion. And of course I couldn’t blame them, I really should have been the first to step off, but I needed to check my back first.

        As the last of my fellow passengers passed by, I joined the queue not knowing whether I felt relieved or frustrated. Surely they weren’t going to make this easy for me? Or maybe I was losing my touch a little. Either way I had no choice but to keep going with it, and keep my eyes open all the way. They had to reveal themselves at some point, and when they did I had to make sure I was ready.

 

Appear/Disappear – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.

For more information and to see my other stories, check out my Writer Wednesday Blog Hop tab.

The challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction in up to 500 words, using two pictures as inspiration.

This weeks contribution:

Appear/Disappear

Nobody knew where the object had come from or how it had appeared without drawing attention. One night the sun had set on the open space of the promenade, and the next morning the silver, ring shaped spectacle was there.

Big silver bean in Millenium Park.

We didn’t live in a quiet city either, there was plenty going on late into the night and early hours, but still its arrival was a mystery. It had just brought itself into existence without flash or fanfare.
 
        Simon had been mesmerised from the moment he set eyes on it. We went to see it together, and as we got closer it loomed overhead, blocking out the sun. We gazed up at our reflections, our bodies elongating as they curved around it. We dared to walk beneath, right into the centre where the sun shone through once again. As we did I noticed it began to hum gently, responding to something close by. Nobody else seemed to notice, so I kept this observation to myself.
 
        It certainly drew the crowds and Simon took full advantage, moving his busking spot right next it. He set his guitar case on the floor, donned his signature hat and glasses and began playing. Business was slow to begin with, the visitors barely paid him any attention as they wandered around and admired the object.
 
        But as he continued playing, something strange began to happen. It was very subtle to start with, and in the dazzling sunlight was easily missed, but the surface of the object started to change from its silvery, reflective surface, and instead colours danced across its surface.
 
        When he Dad's Guitar 005played a more up-tempo song the colours were bright and radiant, yellows, reds, oranges, all chasing each other quickly around. For slower, more sombre pieces the colours turned to blue and green, seeming to merge into one another gradually without any urgency at all.
 
        It didn’t take long for the crowds to pick up on the connection, and assumed Simon was doing something to it somehow. His case filled rapidly with coins, reflecting the appreciation of the entertainment.
 
        Simon was transfixed and the object seemed just as interested in him. He stayed all day, experimenting with different styles to see what it would do, and insisted on playing long after the sun went down. The colours seemed even more dramatic in the darkness, and it only intensified his efforts. I didn’t have the stamina though, and said my goodbyes before heading home. I’m not sure he even noticed me go.
 
        The next morning when I arrived with coffee and bagels, Simon was nowhere to be seen. And neither was the object. It had disappeared as smoothly and covertly as it had arrived, leaving no trace that it had even been there. The only evidence of Simon was his guitar case, overflowing with coins now, his hat and his sunglasses. It was like he’d never been there either. Looking towards the sky, I wondered where they had gone, and if I’d ever see either of them again.
 
Word count: 504

Fun With Freewriting – Week 14: Discovery

 

Here is the week 14 installment of  my freewriting activities. If you’ve missed any of the others you can check out my Fun with Freewriting page. Please feel free to leave a comment, I enjoy and encourage feedback, and if you have any favourites let me know!

 

There must be so many secrets hidden along this street. Every day I walk past all of the houses, in the morning on my way to work and in the evening on the way back again. And every day going back and forth most of the curtains remain closed, or at least the horrible net curtains do. It’s as though the occupants within are making a determined effort to keep the whole world out, where they can sit in their privacy and comfort and keep their own eye on everyone else.

        Not that I’m one to pry of course, but the very presence of such barriers is enough to pique my curiosity. It’s such an obvious statement that they want to hide themselves away, even if there isn’t really much of interest to keep hidden.

        My house stands right at the end of the street, with nothing but the woods beyond, a stark contrast to the rest of my neighbours. One of the first things I did when I moved in was to take down all the net curtains, front and back, and dump them rather unceremoniously in the skip at the front.This in itself was enough to unsettle everyone else along the street, I imagine that’s where the rumours of my strangeness began.

        The whole house had been foisty, my aunt hadn’t been one for the fresh air, and I had all the windows flung wide open for most of the weekend. The scent of the cut grass wafted into the house, making the entire place smell like spring itself.

        If I thought that being at the end of the street would offer any amount of privacy I was wrong. It seemed the entrance to the woods was right next to me and was a popular route for dog walkers, of which there were many. I couldn’t help but notice how much interest they all showed in what I was doing to the place either.

        There wasn’t much interest in me as a person, however, all I seemed to get were scowls of disapproval. The house was already beginning to stand apart from all the rest and I wasn’t even half way through with my plans yet. It didn’t bother me much though, how little interaction these people were willing to have with me. Getting to know them was all part of the next phase, and there was plenty of time to get there.

        For now, everything was about getting the house prepared and getting myself settled in. It wasn’t a small job to get the entire house decluttered, at 93 years old my aunt had accumulated a lot of stuff. Some of it was precious, worth keeping, but the majority was junk and filled skip after skip.

       I didn’t come across anything interesting until it came time to do the loft space. There wasn’t much up there except a battered trunk, the contents of which went along way in explaining the behaviour of my new neighbours …

 

Fun With Freewriting – Week 13: Watching

I’m a bit late with the latest Fun With Freewriting post, but it’s finally here. And the upshot is that you’ll have two during this week! At least I hope you will …

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it now it’s here.

 

Here is my safe place, where I am the most comfortable and content. After days of dodging gangs, avoiding the fires and being chased by thieves and muggers I can finally rest at last. I’d stay here indefinitely if I could, alone with the quiet and tranquility that only the forest can provide. Nothing but the sun shining from above and the birds songs resonating in my ears. If only it could sustain me with food and water too, my life would then feel complete.

And so the peace would always be broken after a few days, and the lower my food reserves became, the more agitated I felt myself getting at the thought and anticipation of returning to that hole. I was left with little choice if I wished to remain in this small piece of surviving wilderness, the next closest town was just too far to travel back and forth. At least with this one I only had to spend one night in a hovel, cowering for my life, hoping and praying for the daylight once again, and I could carry enough provisions for nearly a whole week, I’d take that balance any day.

But the distance and my safe place are not the sole reasons for me sticking around here. This city may be the dirtiest and most dangerous place that I’ve ever had to depend on for my survival, but it’s also home to one of the most beautiful things in the world.

I can’t really remember the first time I caught sight of Serena, she seems now to be such a constant in my life. Her long, wavy, blue hair and silver skin stood out like a beacon amongst the black rubble and burning buildings. Everything was in chaos around her, yet she seemed logical and methodical as she made her way down the street, helping those that had a chance for survival and easing the transition for those that were on their way to the next world.

She wasn’t daunted by any situation, no matter how hideous or horrendous, simply assessing, tending and leaving comfortable while she made her way to the next. As I watched it felt as though the rest of the world simply faded into nothingness. At the centre of my focus, the rest of the city emanated from her and revolved around her presence.

One day I hoped to have enough courage to meet her, talk to her, learn more about her. But not today, today I could only watch,

Looking for Home – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.

For more information and to see my other stories, check out my Writer Wednesday Blog Hop tab.

The challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction in up to 500 words, and this time using one picture and five words.

The picture:

20140324-101651.jpg

 

The words:                            body, person, silky, crack, pleasure

The story:

Looking for Home

Another life, a whole other world. The memories were fresh in my mind, if not in anyone else’s. But then how could they be, I’m the only one who traveled from that place to this. Every other person was already here, this is all they’ve ever known.

It’s not hugely different I suppose. The landscape is the same, all the cities and buildings within them are the same. Yet, everybody‘s strange here. People are so absorbed in their own internal world they hardly notice anyone else around them. On my first day here I had three people try to walk through me as though I didn’t exist.

At first I thought it was just me, maybe I wasn’t there, maybe the journey had done something to me, made me invisible. This theory was dismissed though after other people shouted at me for being in their way. After that I tried to make myself as small as possible, dodging my way through the cracks in the crowd, not drawing attention to myself.

My arrival hadn’t registered with any of these people, which surprised me. There was plenty of noise and a whirlpool large enough for me to fit through. Surely these things weren’t common enough to be ignored, considered insignificant. Perhaps I was wrong. The initial pleasure I’d felt at successfully navigating the time spiral had dispersed quickly once I got a sense of the place.

Everything was so noisy here, I wondered how anyone managed to make any sense of it all. I wandered the streets for as long as I could stand it, gathering data to take home, but it all became too much and I had to seek the solace of the park. It seemed to be on the outskirts of this city, and I managed to find the outer edge, as far from the chaos as I could manage. Amongst the trees I could still hear the noise of their strange vehicles droning in the background, but I could lose myself a little in the silky black of the night sky.

I had to try and find a way to get back home again. This place wasn’t somewhere that our Elders had in mind as a refuge. I’d rather stay in my home when the end came than have to live a whole day here. But I needed a power source.

My thoughts were interrupted by loud noises charging through the trees. Shouts were behind the noise and soon lights appeared to accompany the roar. Three of the natives had appeared on strange two-wheeled vehicles I’d never seen before. They sounded powerful and an idea began to form in my mind. Maybe these strange things would have enough power to create the return whirlpool I needed, maybe I wouldn’t be stuck here until the Elders opened the window for me. I studied the newcomers as they set up some kind of camp, waiting for an opportunity to seize one of their machines.

Word count: 496

Fun With Freewriting – Week 12: Biding Time

Wow, we’re on week 12 already, almost three months of free writing fun! So here it is, a little scenario to whet your appetite. I quite like this one and have made a note to develop it a bit more. Might have potential …

The naked flames flicker around the room as we huddle together for warmth. We’ve been trapped in this place now for three days without heating or electric. We’ve been taking it steady with our rations, and should have enough to see us through the rest of the week, we just need to keep our heads.

Poor Shane couldn’t handle it beyond the first two nights, and its been over twenty four hours now since he left us. Rattling around in the same rooms without power or even any idea of when we’re able to leave. It had sent him beyond help quicker than either of us had expected.

Part of me is glad that he left, wondering what he’d have done to himself, or us, if we’d tried to keep him contained. But I can’t help thinking of him now as the wind rattles away all around us, out there on his own without food, without water, or even decent clothes to keep him warm and dry.

The heat from our meagre fire barely reaches us as we sit in a pile of blankets in front of it. The wind whistling down the short chimney is keeping at bay any chance of coaxing the flames further. The shutters banging against the window have become a regular, pounding drone on the edge of my consciousness, along with the wind itself.

Although we sit in the middle of the forest here, the trees aren’t quite close enough to hear the rustling of leaves or the creaking of branches. We have long since given up staring out of the windows, constantly searching for signs of a rescue. There were too many shadows and glimpses of eyes for this activity to promise any kind of comfort.

I felt certain that there was something out there, knowing that we were in here and biding its time. Just watching and waiting, seeing if an opportunity would present itself. I try to push these ideas and images to the back of my mind, burying them under a forced optimism, but still they creep back in, deliberately making themselves known.

I don’t share these worries with my sister, not bearing to voice them aloud for fear of the very act bringing to life these demons in my mind. The only thing she fears is running out of food before help arrives, but I’ve made provisions for that.

I just hope that rescue comes soon before it too sends me mad. I’d have no other choice but to follow Shane’s example and abandon my sister in this place. I could not be responsible for anything happening to her, that kind of burden is not one that I would carry well.

All I can hope for is to cling on to my mind, keeping one ear open for the approach of help, or of something else …

A Welcome Revenge – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.

For more information and to see my other stories, check out my Writer Wednesday Blog Hop tab.

The challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction in up to 500 words, and we’re going back to our WWBH roots with one picture and five words.

The picture:

WineandCheese

 

The words:                    screwdriver, saucepan, barrel, spine, comb

The story:

A Welcome Revenge

‘You always have to be the odd one out, don’t you?’ I muttered as the others left the room.
‘I’m sure I don’t know what you mean, darling’ he replied, kissing me on the cheek before clearing the plates from the table. ‘Shall I take this through too? May as well finish them off.’
I looked at the platter of cheese he held out, trying to keep my blood on a slow simmer. He was doing it on purpose, of course, trying to get a reaction from me. I was determined not to give him the satisfacion.
As he headed through to our guests I stacked the plates by the sink, running the tap as I gathered the saucepans. I knew what he was doing, making every effort he could to show up my sisters new boyfriend. The last time it’d taken hardly any effort at all; for a so-called handy man he hadn’t known one end of a screwdriver from the other. Even I had to admit she’d been scraping the barrel with that one.
But she seemed really keen this time, and he was a decent guy. I didn’t want anything to put either of them off. It would be just like Ian to say something as part of his fun and send the guy running for the hills.
I sighed as I cleared the wine glasses away, three red and one white. He wasn’t even that keen on white wine, but anything to be different. Combing his hair the other way. Taking his lunch at different times. All just to stand out from the crowd. Sometimes I had to think hard about why I married him in the first place. My friends had tried to steer me away but I was young and in love I suppose.
Pushing unwanted thoughts from my mind, I quickly finished clearing the kitchen so I could go through and try and keep him under control. As I hummed quietly to myself a crash suddenly came from the living room.
Dropping everything I raced through, ready to berate Ian for his behaviour. ‘Ian, what have you … ‘ I stood halfway through the doorway in shock, my spine going cold as I took in the scene.
My sister stood over by the window, shaking as she slowly collapsed to the floor. Her dress was torn and hanging around her. On the floor was Ian, sprawled on his front where he’d landed on the glass coffee table.
And over by the fireplace was Karl, my sister’s new boyfriend, holding my mums cribbage trophy in his hand and staring at me as I burst in on the scene. Looking at them all, one after the other, my mind became clearer than it had done in years.
I smiled up at Karl, who looked at me, puzzled. ‘I’ll get the shovel,’ I said, leaving them both stunned as I left them with a new bounce in my step.

Word count: 497

Fun With Freewriting – Week 11: Life slips you by

Who’s ready for another slice of freewriting fun? I’m not sure where this one came from really, I was just wondering how someone would feel if they’d got so far in their life and realised how much they’d missed. Time is a cruel thing, not letting you go back and change anything. Sometimes you just have to live with that fact …

Looking too far ahead can be dangerous, it can cause you to lose sight of what’s happening in that moment. Without even realising it you’re wishing your life away, longing for what may or may not happen. By pinpointing and fixating on a particular achievement, the majority of your time is spent striving towards that point, constantly thinking about it and working towards it.

A lot of the time this means bypassing everything else happening in life, sidestepping all other responsibilities just so that you can maintain that focus. This is how life slips you by.

This is what happened to Trevor, and he only realised it when he came home one evening and found his grown up son and daughter were like strangers to him. He had no idea what kind of people they’d become, what they were even doing with their lives, and had no recollection of their journeys from infant to adult.

It only started to bother him when he realised how well they both got on with his wife, their mother. She seemed to know all the details of their lives; who their friends were, what their hobbies were. He didn’t even know they had jobs, let alone what they could be.

And yet he looked at his son and saw a reflection of himself, his own image from so many years ago, but diluted slightly with some of his wife’s feature. He wondered to himself, just how could it be that a face so familiar could be so alien all at the same time. On the outside he felt like he knew this person, this product of his own genetics, and yet the inside was totally foreign, an enigma he found impossible to unravel.

He was sure he could remember them being born, bringing them home and those first tentative steps into parenthood. But as he sat with all the family photo albums scattered around him on the living room floor, he realised how little he’d actually witnessed for himself. He didn’t even recall the most important times, birthdays and Christmas’s. Surely he’d been around for those? And his wife’s birthdays? Their anniversaries?

As the enormity of all that he’d missed hit home in his mind, his head felt heavy on his shoulders. Emotions began to overwhelm him throughout, he felt his shoulders shaking as the sobs came, unexpected and unimpeded. He didn’t cry out, just letting the tears fall freely down his cheeks until they soaked his shirt.

Fun With Freewriting – Week 10: Summer

It’s free writing fun time! This may seem optimistic given the weather conditions of late, but a weekend of sunshine has left me inspired for this one …

Looking out as far as the sea goes, all looks calm and serene. The border between the sun and the sky is a perfect line, giving away no hints of the movements and turmoil beneath.

Closer to the shore though is all different. The waves race towards the beach, gathering momentum, encouraging their fellows in a race towards land. Finally, in one last burst of energy they break. Foam sprays and creeps along the sand, like arms reaching out as far as they can go. Right at this moment they are reaching for my toes as I wiggle them defiantly, daring them to stretch out and grab me.

The air is still for the most part, the breeze occasionally coming off the waves and cooling my skin. The sun is sitting high in the sky, beating down in all its glory. The handful of white, fluffy clouds that do hover in the sky keep a respectful distance today, not wanting to spoil anybodies play.

The towel beneath me is just as warm as the sand now, and as I move I can feel it shifting beneath my weight. I’ve found my spot just on the border between the soft, pliable sand and the more compact, water-laden area. Close enough for the water to constantly tempt me in, but far enough that it can’t quite reach me yet.

Surprisingly, the area around me is fairly empty. The families keep themselves back towards the promenade, close to the toilets for the little ones in an emergency, but also keeping them a safe distance from the water.

Further down, the groups of girls and guys are scattered along the beach, each trying their best to grab the attention of and impress the other, but subtly enough to make it seem natural and casual. I wonder how many of them will be pairing off by the end of their holidays.

In delightful contrast to the young ones, here and there among the crowd are sweet, elderly couples enjoying the sun and the sand. The old traditions are still clear for them, sitting in their long shorts and skirts, sleeves to their elbows and large hats to shade their fragile skin from the harsh rays from above. Only their feet are fully exposed, toes twiddling with the loose sand. Hand in hand, they sit together peacefully, enjoying the company of each other and the glorious day surrounding them.

Fun With Freewriting – Week 9: Journey

Time for another, although belated, installment of free writing fun! As usual, this is very rough, but I hope you still enjoy it …

Off in the distance the sun had started to set again on this long journey. I had managed to stop for provisions during the afternoon, and now had a stack of food and drink behind the passenger seat. One thing that would be lacking tonight though was a comfortable bed.

I hadn’t planned any part of this journey, and if I had done I would have made sure to locate some proper hotels or B&B’s to head for each night. At least I had the common sense to bring my sleeping bag with me.

The first night hadn’t been too bad, I’d managed to get a single bed at the Travelodge, but last night had been in the car parked at a busy 24hr service station. There had been constant traffic flow all night, mostly loud lorries, and the fluorescent lighting had been a permanent feature, but it had all made me feel that little bit safer.

Somehow I didn’t expect to even get that luxury tonight. I’d started to leave the bigger towns and cities behind me as early evening began to make its appearance, and now the darker it became the more distance there seemed to be between the smaller villages. As the buildings became sparser, the trees grew all the more frequent until there was enough of them to constitute a small wood. I kept driving though, assuming it couldn’t really last for that long and hoping it would be soon so that I could stop somewhere for a rest.

As I continued though, the trees only seemed to get denser as well as bigger and were appearing much closer to the road. The dread that I’d been trying to keep buried started to make itself known as I realised I was probably going to have to stop soon. I hadn’t been relishing the idea but it seemed I didn’t have many other choices, if any.

Coming across a shallow lay-by, I pulled over and off the road as far as I could and killed the engine. Turning off the headlights, I sat and listened to the engine ticking as it cooled, settling itself in for the night.

I sat still for a long time, letting my eyes adjust to the dark, turning my head back and forth as I got used to the sounds of the night. I knew I would have to move soon, to get myself out of the car to retrieve my sleeping bag from the boot, but at that moment my own terror seemed to be keeping me firmly in place.