Children of the Dust – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop. For more details of this challenge check out my tab at the top.

This weeks picture:

20130721_165259

This weeks words:          Wagon, shark, navel, bulb, banana

This weeks story:

Children of the Dust

‘Are you kidding me?’ I mumbled to myself as I chased after the ball yet again. ‘Try and keep it on the pitch guys,’ I called behind me. It seemed that each time it went out of play I had to run further to get it.

The ball had finally rolled to a stop in the shadow of one of the park statues. There were plenty of them dotted around, most of them treated as an extension to the playground with kids climbing all over them. We weren’t supposed to but some of them were just irresistible for the young and adventurous. The favourite when we were young enough was always the horse and wagon, placed down by the lake. It was life-sized and perfect for all of us to climb in the back and pretend we were in the old West. There was even one in the lake itself, the dorsal fin of a shark poking out of the water, but you had to look hard to find it some days. That one had been worn away more than the others.

There was something different about this particular statue though, that made it stand out from the others. It had its own aura about it, which creeped me out every time I came near it. This time was no different, and it gave me the usual flutter of nerves behind my navel. I wanted to run away, head straight back to the others, but I was entranced by the two figures before me. Poised as they were, side by side, running as though away from something or someone. I always thought they looked frightened, like they were trying to escape, but the one time I mentioned it to anyone I was laughed at. I keep my theories to myself now.

‘Children of the dust.’

I was so entranced with the figures, I hadn’t heard anyone on the path and the voice that spoke made me jump. ‘I’m sorry?’

‘Children of the dust,’ the old lady repeated, ‘always on the run.’

She was an odd lady, and I couldn’t recall having seen her before. She was pushing a trolley filled with the oddest collection I’d seen. Broken lights bulbs, an odd shoe here and there, hats for winter and summer, crisp packets and banana skins. I looked away in shame as I realised she’d caught me staring. ‘You need to be prepared,’ she said, as if in explanation.

‘Prepared for what?’

‘For the return. You can’t escape the fate of these children, you will be trapped just as they are. Waiting, waiting for nothing.’

I looked again at the statues, and suddenly they seemed much more real than usual. The pain and terror on their faces became all I could look at.

I tried to shake the feeling of dread as I turned and left them, but I was sure the eyes followed me as I raced off to join the others.

Word count: 492

Possibilities – A WWBH post

The Writer Wednesday Blog Hop is a weekly challenge to compose a piece of flash fiction in 500 words or less.

Every Wednesday there is one picture and five random words, all of which are to be used in the story, and the deadline is the following Tuesday.

The co-hosts of this challenge are Carrie Sorenson, Tena Carr, Nicole Pyles and Leanne Sype.

This weeks picture:

Downtownbuilding

This weeks words:          Satellite, buoy, check, lawyer, rescue

This weeks story:

Possibilities

Standing in line with the others, my nerves began to build as I shuffled closer to the front. The building before us loomed over our heads, and the lions standing guard either side of the gate seemed to be daring us to enter. It had been a long and drawn out process leading up to this moment, and I certainly wasn’t going to be put off now.

Lise stood in front of me, barely able to hold in her excitement. She had been bouncing on her feet for the last twenty minutes, ever since we came into sight of the main doors, and I honestly wondered if she were going to just make a break for the front of the line. Far from being annoying though, I found her enthusiasm kept me buoyed up during the long wait.

Moving forward again I began to get glimpses of what lay beyond the open doors. All I could see at the moment were just more people, with no sign at all of the check-in desk. My excitement was beginning to wane a little, and I could see Lise was too as she turned around to face me.

‘Right, you wait here with my bag,’ she said, ‘I’m going to take a look.’

Before I could stop her she was off, walking straight past all those who’d waited patiently in front of us, her pink bobble hat like a satellite moving through the crowd. She got just in front of the doors before getting a good look and turning back. Some people had started to grumble about her rudeness but she wasn’t bothered.

‘Alright, calm down,’ she was saying, ‘no need to call your lawyers, I’m going back to my place.’ She was smiling sweetly as she headed back, fluttering her eyelids at a couple of guys too, I noticed. She knew how to make friends that one.

I hadn’t even the nerve to say hello, let alone be so bold. A lot of these students had parents that had paid a lot of money for them to get into this school, and we’d heard there was even some royalty attending too. Lise and I had gone through the painful process of applying to be one of the 100 students accepted on our merits, and the differences between us were vast. But I for one was determined to make it work. We didn’t have daddy to come and rescue us if we failed, so we had to give it all we had.

‘Not long now,’ said Lise, smiling. ‘We’re moving pretty quickly. Nervous?’

I nodded, a grin spreading out across my face. I noticed one of the boys up in front staring at me, and then returning my smile. I almost fell over at the attention.

You never know, I thought to myself, I may even bag myself a prince before I leave. The thought kept me company all the way to the desk.

 

Word count: 491

Ghosts in the Garage – A WWBH post

The Writer Wednesday Blog Hop is a weekly challenge to compose a piece of flash fiction in 500 words or less.

Every Wednesday there is one picture and five random words, all of which are to be used in the story, and the deadline is the following Tuesday.

The co-hosts of this challenge are Carrie Sorenson, Tena Carr, Nicole Pyles and Leanne Sype.

This weeks picture:

Scary doll

This weeks words:          Factory, dock, comedy, sign, riddle

This weeks story:

Ghosts in the Garage

It has been many years since the factory was closed. I remember being a little girl and feeling the excitement when mother said there would be a new toy for us to try. Father would always bring one of the prototypes home to test out on me and my sister. She would always get the first go, and only if she didn’t like it very much would I eventually have my turn. If he saw me playing with any of them, father took this as a sign that it wouldn’t sell very well and would move onto designing something else.

She didn’t look after things very well, my sister, and would often drop the new toys or leave them somewhere to get lost. She knew she would always get something new to play with, so it didn’t bother her when what she already had didn’t last. Mother would always take the broken dolls from her in dismay, shaking her head at the loss of another. I always assumed that she threw them away, until I made my discovery in the garage one rainy afternoon.

Sometimes, out of spite, my sister would deliberately break one of ‘her’ new dolls if she knew I took a particular fancy to it. She said she’d rather it be on the rubbish pile than let me play with it. She seemed to take pleasure in my discomfort, as though it were some dark comedy of her own design.

After the factory closed father was forced to take a job at the docks, an event that prompted the beginning of his spiral into depression. My sister didn’t understand what had happened, and spurned my father for abandoning her. She couldn’t see why he’d stopped bringing her treats, the whole situation was like a giant unsolvable riddle to her.

The family was torn apart in the end, my mother and I the only ones remaining together. Father drank himself into his grave and my sister couldn’t wait to get out, and didn’t bother to keep in touch once she did.

That rainy afternoon, mother and I were halfway through the mammoth task of packing the house up, getting ready to move. I came across a glass fronted cupboard in the garage, and inside were the broken remains of all the toys my sister had ever played with, all the toys she’d destroyed through her selfishness.

It was an eerie sight to behold, all those disembodied heads with broken faces and half closed eyes. It echoed of the kind of person I realised my sister was on the inside, and for the first time I felt glad that she was out of our lives. Moving around the garage as I packed, the cupboard filled me with a growing sense of unease, I felt the gaze of all the mistreated dolls follow me wherever I went.

When I turned to look at them, I was sure they turned away from me just as quickly.

Word count: 495

Birthday Retreat – A WWBH post

The Writer Wednesday Blog Hop is a weekly challenge to compose a piece of flash fiction in 500 words or less.

Every Wednesday there is one picture and five random words, all of which are to be used in the story, and the deadline is the following Tuesday.

The co-hosts of this challenge are Carrie Sorenson, Tena Carr, Nicole Pyles and Leanne Sype.

This weeks picture:

This weeks words:          Custard, cord, birthday, alter, myth

This weeks story:

Birthday Retreat

The sun reflected off the water, dazzling to the eyes. Sitting back in his recliner, Marcus raised his glass in the air. ‘Happy birthday to me!’ he called out, but there was nobody within miles to hear him. Which was just the way he liked it.

He’d lost count of how many days he’d been on the beach, but he wasn’t worried. He had faith in his survival skills, and fully expected to be rescued before too long. He wasn’t looking forward to it, the whole point of being here was to get away from everyone and everything. The one day that he should really be able to spend truly on his own if he chose to, should be his own birthday. He knew Vera would have planned something extravagant and unnecessary to celebrate, and it was never really for him anyway, just another way for her to show off in front of her friends.

He wasn’t sure if he could really say he was stranded, it probably didn’t qualify if it was self-inflicted, especially as he still had the boat that he arrived in. He’d checked on it again that morning, just to make sure it was still there, and he felt better knowing it was still bobbing up and down in it’s shallow pool, attached firmly to a tree by cord.

Staring out towards the horizon, he could only imagine the fuss being made in his absence. His wife would be alternating between worry that he was missing and stress that the arrangements weren’t perfect. He was definitely better off here, away from the balloons and cake, the ice-cream, apple pie and custard. All he needed was his beer, his beach and his boat.

He’d had the same thing to deal with at his last big birthday bash, which was the first time he came up with the idea of a hideaway. Needless to say, Vera had been less than impressed and forbid him from ever going offshore on his own again. The old cliché about ‘life starting at 40’ was a myth he knew would never be true. All it had done for him was to find his life even more dominated and controlled because of a fear of relapse. It wasn’t even his fear, but everyone else’s. He had full faith in his heart, even if the doctors didn’t, and expected to return to their disapproving faces in a day or two. He just needed some more time. He could go back whenever he wanted.

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‘I’m sorry Mrs Leonard, there’s nothing we can do.’

‘But, there must be,’ she said, holding back the tears. ‘It’s his birthday, he can’t leave me like this on his birthday.’

‘He’s been in a coma for four days now,’ the doctor continued, ‘if he was going to return to us, he would have. Just be content to know he hasn’t suffered, wherever his mind has been, he was happy.’

Word count: 495

Collaboration Challenge – Part Five, Decision

It’s time for my contribution to the latest installment of the Collaboration Challenge!

This challenge has been put together by Carrie Sorenson and has been running for the last four weeks. She started us off with the first installment, and each week the baton is passed on to the next writer to continue the story.

 

The story so far has come from the following writers:

Part One by Carrie Sorenson

Part Two by Nicole Pyles

Part Three by Tena Carr

Part Four by Leonard Suskin

When you’re all caught up, part five is right here:

Part Five, Decision

Sitting up straight, staring out over the lapping waves, Kip knew he had to do something. For once, he was going to take the control, show some initiative. He’d spent too long bouncing between two situations, two completely different people.

Janet and Mick were polar opposites and Kip had been floating around in the middle, going along with whatever each of them said. Janet had left and he’d just let her go. He hadn’t put up any kind of a fight, he’d accepted her decision and let her get on with it. He never tried to tell her how much she meant to him, how much it hurt that she’d walked away.

Mick threw his weight around with everyone and expected them to follow his rules, without question. With nothing left to do, Kip went along with it, knowing it wasn’t the best decision he’d made and that it could only end up in disaster.

But not any more. He’d had enough of his own indecision, and rose to his feet. The determination he felt flowed through the whole of his body, he was pumped, ready to go out and grab what he wanted. And he knew what he wanted.

The road to her house seemed endless, even though he must have driven it a hundred times. He had to resist the urge to race all the way there, the last thing he needed was to get pulled over. Finally he approached the turn and drove up the driveway to her door.

As he turned the engine off he felt the nerves creep up on him, and for a moment wondered if he was doing the right thing. Maybe he should just go home and think about it first, make sure it’s what he wanted. He hesitated on the door handle for a second, but when he looked up she was standing in the doorway watching him.

In that moment he knew what his summer choice was going to be. As she stood watching him, their eyes met and he knew that this was what he wanted, what he needed to get back on track and away from the others. He was out of the car and by her side before he even realised he was moving, and with her in his arms he felt like he was home.

He needed no words. The look they shared was enough for them both to know what was happening, that this was the turning point for their summer. It felt like nothing could go wrong for them now.

They were about to turn and go inside when they heard the crunch of another car on the gravel driveway. With a sinking feeling, Kip turned to see who it was climbing out of the car.

‘Nobody leaves the party …’ said Mick, glaring across the driveway.

 

Tune in for the conclusion to the story next week, when Leanne Sype will be finishing off for us!

 

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