The Search – Mondays Finish the Story

Mondays Finish the Story

For Mondays Finish the Story we get a picture prompt, accompanied by the first line of the story. We are then invited to finish the story within a 100-150 word limit.

Lots of ideas came to mind for this weeks installment, but I had to dismiss most of them for being too involved for the word limit. Instead I went for simplicity, and trying to capture the essence of one incident.

 

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

 

The Search

The crew of the Angel Flame received orders to head out. Time was ticking, but they hit the water in record time. The sea was as calm as ever they’d seen it, nothing unusual to report. It didn’t bode well for a successful recovery. 

Behind them a number of civilian boats were heading out, doing what they could to cover the search area. The situation hadn’t yet escalated to panic, but the crew sensed it wouldn’t be long. The family were sitting on the shore, waiting for the tiniest scrap of good news, and the Flame wanted to deliver it.

Everyone was on alert, scouring the horizon for the slightest movement, and finally they found it. Shouts erupted, and they changed direction just as the object disappeared beneath the water. The Flame trugged on, and it seemed to take an eternity.

Word count: 140

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One more drop – Friday Fictioneers

FIC

Friday Fictioneers is another little challenge hop making its name out in the blogosphere, and is based at Rochelle Wisoff-Fields blog Addicted to Purple. Every Friday writers are invited to share a story, up to 100 words, based on the photo given as a prompt.

This prompt was actually given out for last weeks post and I missed the linkup deadline, but I really wanted to share with you what I came up with. No matter how I approached it, the tale couldn’t help but come out as poetry, so there was nothing I could do but just go with it. As a poet I’m definitely a novice, and I’m not sure if it falls into the criteria of this challenge, but I’d love to know what you think.

One more drop

Waiting for the next drop, just one more drop, please.

It’s been a while since your last, and it’s brought me to my knees.

The sun is beating down now, and I shade where I can,

but there’s much less litter these days, so I’ve no choice but to tan.

Just one more drop would be enough, to send me on my way,

to be with my brothers. What do you say?

This harmless little fellow, just needing to get home.

I can see that drop emerging now, thank you for giving hope.

Words: 93

 
 

Moving forward – Mondays Finish the Story

Mondays Finish the Story

Mondays Finish the Story gives us a photo prompt and the first line of the tale, inviting us to finish the story in 100-150 words. Thanks to Babso2you for bringing us this weekly challenge, I hope you like what I’ve done with it this week.

Moving forward

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

Arriving at the beach, she reflected on her life. Her thoughts always gravitated towards him, towards the hurt he’d inflicted on her, on her family. When would she be free of the cloud over her head, reminding her of all those bad decisions.

Taking deep breaths, closing her eyes, the wind and the spray washed over her. Taking one step, then another, the water felt cool against her skin. She went further and further, eyes still closed, concentrating on nothing but the elements around her. She felt at peace with herself, ready to face what lay in front of her.

‘Hey! Hey! Stop!’

The voice didn’t register with her, but the strong arms pulling her from the water were harder to ignore. Opening her eyes, they were met by the dark eyes of her rescuer. So, this is what lay in front of her then. Interesting.

Words: 146

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

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:

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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

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

Unwanted Journey – 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, incorporating two given pictures into the tale. This week I bring you …

Unwanted Journey

Stepping out into the evening air, Henry drew his coat around his chin with one hand, the other grasping his grisly cargo. Glancing along the street, he kept his head down as he walked, barely noticing the lamps beyond the brim of his hat.

He set his pace as quickly as he dared, not wanting to draw attention to his haste but needing to arrive as soon as he could. This was an unenviable task, they all knew it, and tonight he’d been nominated. Nobody ever volunteered for this.

The further he walked, the less he felt the chill, and began to relax as he fell into his rhythm. The buildings were fading away around him, open fields and a few trees replacing them as his only companions. As he traveled, the sun drew closer to the horizon leaving a greyness in the sky that complimented the ground. He could still make out the neatly paved path of his journey as he approached, it had not yet faded into the twilight. It wound back and forth ahead of him, scraggly bushes on one side, and grass slipping down on the other where it descended into the valley. The shadows had already taken over down there, and Henry kept his focus on the path ahead. He’d heard this part of the task could play tricks on the mind, and he was determined to keep his clear.

The paving was even all along the path, no deviation from pattern or mis-shaped segments. He measured his stride to match them evenly, never stepping on cracks, placing his feet firmly in the centre of each one. He wasn’t superstitious by nature but right now every detail counted.

He’d felt relaxed so far, but as he crested the hill the chill returned to his bones. His palms began to sweat and he constantly adjusted his grip on the package, it’s weight seeming to increase as he neared the end of his journey.

Through the darkness now he could see the pedestal in the centre of the path, marking the end of his trip. Made of stone and standing waste high, its centre glowed a deep orange as it awaited its contribution.

Henry pushed his hat back absently as he made his approach, lifting the sack he’d been carrying and lowering it gently into place. As it sat there, the blood that had seeped from within began to drip down the side of the pedestal. At first it seemed random to Henry, until he saw the orange glow travel along the length of the stand ahead of the blood, itself following hidden grooves into the ground.

Although unseen, Henry could feel them watching and it took all his will not to turn and bolt. He knew he had to be patient, to wait and ensure the journey had been a success.

As he saw the spear point shoot through the front of his chest, he guessed in the end it hadn’t.

Word count: 495

Survivor – 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, incorporating two given pictures into the tale. This week I bring you …

Survivor

The air within the house was heavy, clinging to the walls and ceiling. Nobody had been around in the weeks since the devastation, the windows shut tight, keeping in the musty scent of neglect. Through the grimy windows I could see the blue sky, seeming to mock the efforts of the salvage teams as we prodded and poked our way through what remained. Such a picture would have been far from possible when the bombs had been dropped, the flames and smoke spreading through the town.

Coffee and grinderThis house was the same as all the others, signs of immediate abandonment everywhere. Once the sirens had sounded there wasn’t much time for an orderly exit. This family had just been finishing their evening meal, the dirty plates and glasses still scattered over the kitchen table. Half eaten food now had little resemblance to anything edible, instead adding to the pungency that emanated throughout the place. On the worktop the after-dinner coffee had been dropped, the beans scattered all over and toppling onto the floor.

With nothing worth recovering in here, I made my way gradually through the rest of the house. The lack of noise made it an uncomfortable task. In any house there was often the expected creaks and groans of the structure, the humming of electrics, the clattering of human activity. All of that was absent here though.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the main bedroom, empty suitcases lay open on the bed, a pile of clothes left in the middle of the floor where they’d been dropped halfway to being packed. It still baffled me that some people had been so willing to sacrifice their lives for such trivialities. I shuddered as I remembered the elderly couple, caught up in the flames while trying to load their car with family trinkets. Their burned remains still haunted me some nights, clinging to each other as they realised they had no escape.

Leaving the bedroom, my attention was distracted by a small noise from behind one of the other doors. My skin crawled as the realisation sunk in, how out of place it was in the silence of the house. I began to doubt myself, my own senses, when the noise came again, a scraping of nails against ceramics. Something was in the bathroom.

I felt myself become dizzy as I contemplated that thought. Something in the bathroom. Nothing was supposed to have survived, and we’d seen first hand what had happened to the natives who had lingered.

There was a shuffling now, coming closer to the door, coming closer to me. I had to leave, to tell someone that something had remained. It had to be dealt with before it could recover.

But somehow I was rooted to the spot, curiosity and fear battling it out within me. I couldn’t move as the door began to open, and whatever it was on the other side edged its fingers around the gap.

Word count: 486

The Bringers – 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.

So, this weeks pictures:

Scary (2752359285)

Scary

And this weeks story:

The Bringers

I didn’t see why I had to come, Hayley was more than capable of holding her own with this Chris guy. She’d hardly acknowledged me since mum had dropped us off anyway. I’m sure she was doing her best to lose me, and I was happy to let her if I was being honest. I liked it even less than she did, this plan that mum was using me for.
‘Make sure you keep an eye on her the whole time,’ she’d said to me, ‘don’t let her wander off alone with that boy.’
Too late, I thought, as I saw her blonde hair disappear behind a large blue and white tent. I could’ve quickened my pace a little, made sure to catch up and play tag-along, but that wasn’t how to get in her good graces and we both knew it.
Instead I wandered around, taking in the sights and sounds. The smell of popcorn and candyfloss wafted on the air from the end of a long queue waiting for the sugary treats, the sound of a generator not quite being drowned out by the music and chatter.
The brightly coloured clowns on one stall drew my attention, their gaping mouths and twisting heads staring out into the night expectantly, waiting for someone to feed their eternal hunger.
As I watched them turning back and forth, a shadow fell in front of me making me turn. Walking past me were five boys from my school, all a few years older.. The crowd parted for them and went silent, watching them go but trying to be subtle about it. Their long leather jackets billowed behind them, their heavy boots leaving prints behind in their wake.
The weather seemed to have turned with their arrival, the clouds overshadowing the bright moon and descending upon us, casting a mist all around. I could barely see the swings of the merry-go-round as it continued to turn in defiance of the arrivals.
I suppressed a shiver as the five carried on past me, most of them not even bothering to look at me. All except the last one, who looked younger than the others and vaguely familiar. As I realised he was actually from my own year at school, he stared deep into my eyes. One side of his mouth lifted slightly, a hint of a grin, and that image stayed with me for a long time.
My attention was caught by a scream then, breaking through the mist from the same direction I’d seen my sister disappear. As this realisation sank in I broke into a run, following the tracks of the heavy boots. I skidded to a halt as I rounded the corner and my eyes took in the scene. All five of them were standing in a circle with Chris, and they were all looking down at one thing. My sister’s body lying in a heap, unmoving.

Word count: 486

Leaving – 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.

So, this weeks pictures:

Chicago

20130803_203658

And this weeks story:

Leaving

Sitting here on the deck, my body keeps a rhythm with the sway of the ocean. The nachos I chose for lunch are as much as I can keep down, while my drink threatens to spill over.

It’s been at least two hours since I left the mainland, and I can only imagine what he’s thinking about me at this moment. I just couldn’t bring myself to face him, to look him in the eye and be honest. He’ll get the idea soon enough.

I just couldn’t be all the things he wanted me to be, no matter how much I wanted to or how much I tried. I want my own life, with my own interests, to explore what there is beyond the city.

I’d felt something within me yearning for a better life, wanting to persuade me to get out before it was too late, before my life was wasted. The idea had always remained in my mind though, a popular daydream to dwell on when things were boring me. It was happening more often than not lately too.

One afternoon, gazing out the office window at the sprawling city and busy traffic I had my epiphany moment. We heard the crash just after lunch, and down below we saw the aftermath of the four car collision. Smoke poured out from the vehicles, people were running all over, some screaming. There was a young woman I could see lying on the pavement, close to the accident site and not moving. From here she didn’t look much older than I was. I couldn’t take my eyes from her, and as I stared I realised she was gone. Her life had ended recklessly, and she wouldn’t be able to fulfill any of her dreams.

This thought sent a chill through me, one I found hard to ignore. What of my dreams? What had happened to them? They’d been buried deep down by the ambitions and plans of another. I couldn’t let them stay there, I needed to give them their own opportunity to flourish. But I knew he wouldn’t understand, wouldn’t let me go.

So here I am now, setting off on my own adventure. I haven’t told him where I’m heading, or even if I’ll be back. He’d only send his men after me to bring me back. How often he’d tell me about where my place was, what my duty was. There’s a tremor of fear in my limbs, but in my heart there is only excitement. Finally I am getting out from my life and doing something for myself.

The ferry may be making me sick, but despite that all I could feel was optimism and hope, and it felt wonderful …

Word count: 455