Category Archives: Short Stories

Mermaid

This is a short story I am working on. It is not finished but please feel free to comment.

 

In the middle of the ocean, the stars shine bright and the blue water takes on shades of purple, red and black. The hull slaps on the slopes of watery hills formed by the waves. At 38, Alice is the youngest of three crew, and the least experienced, nonetheless she takes responsibility for the yacht on her shifts of the rota. Each night, when the sun disappears behind the horizon, she stills the quivers in her stomach before reminding herself of the alternative. Her colleagues will be at their desks making relentless phone calls in the hope of hooking a deal. Survival and safety are her targets now.

Orion’s belt glows above and she uses it as the base from which to practise her knowledge, working to all sides and reciting the names of the constellations and planets in a whisper; she does not want to disturb the others. Fred is stretched out in the main cabin, on call he says but unlikely to wake unless thunder shakes the ship. Now that the night is set, the peace calms her fears, the wind strokes her face and its air fills her lungs.

It has been 10 days since they last encountered another ship – a tanker crept up behind, nearly running them over before gliding by to fade into the mist – and they were too far from land for wildlife. A seagull had hitched a lift but fled on day 3 and the dolphins had played for a few days but she had not seen a pod this week.

A sail flaps and Alice leaps to tighten the sheet. The wind is changing. She shivers and reaches for her fleece as she scans the skies. The stars have vanished. Should she wake Fred? Shorten the sail? Close the hatches? Or should she observe a little longer?

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The Woman in the Beret

A black beret covered her white hair and the Breton top hung from her shoulders; sunken cheeks and skeletal hands made me fear that if the south-westerly picked up further, a gust would carry her over the sea-wall to the swirling foam below. Would she fight to the surface or prefer to tumble through the waves until salt water replaced the oxygen? I had rarely seen a person so beaten by life and it seemed clear that she would welcome a watery bed. The urge to reach out an open hand nearly won but I tucked my fingers under my thigh and remained in my seat.

Maybe her solitude was her solace. On my own fruitless journey, seeking comfort for a broken spirit, I avoided others and so, understood that she may not welcome intrusion. Some distant point on the sea kept hold of her attention as though she awaited an arrival. In my imagination, a lover; someone lost long ago. Or was she trying to see her homeland across the water? Whatever had driven her to that spot, it was an invisible burden she carried.

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Let’s Write a Story

As I am glued to the settee with my injury, I decided to start a story thread for a little bit of fun and see what happens. I will write the first two lines.

You carry on the story by inserting a line in the comments section of this post. The next person should follow so that the story evolves in the comments. Nothing that your mother wouldn’t want to read please.

Update on 19th April 2017  Thanks for the comments. What fun! I realise that I did not tell you how long we are going to do this.  I’m going to finish the story one week from today on the 26th April and will put everything together in a post titled We Wrote a Story.  

 

Here We Go

No one willingly invited Melanie for supper. Her reply was always accompanied by a list of allergies and food intolerance so concocting a decent menu required considerable time and a vivid imagination.

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Wedding Guest – A Halloween Ghost Story

No vacant pews remain in the front half of the church and so, Rose chooses one near the back, content that at least she will be one of the first to see the arrival of the bride. A few stragglers come in afterwards and hurry to take their seats. Fred’s place at her side remains empty; a couple do consider joining her, then the woman shivers and, with a comment on the chill, they move forward.

The prospect of watching her cherished granddaughter walk down the aisle with the man of her choice had kept Rose going during the recent dark days. The expression ‘drowning in grief’ has meaning now and she wishes that she could apologise to her late mother for her impatient words.

Is Mother’s spirit is here today?

Known for her gift of ‘the sight’ and what Fred called, ‘her uncanny ability to look into the future’, Rose scans alcoves and window ledges; there is not a wisp of ghostly presence.

The vicar shakes the young groom’s hand and glides towards the back of the church. His smile widens when he notices the regulars; otherwise, he maintains a regal, and somewhat aloof, expression. Rose has met his kind before, sniffy about non-believers. She could tell him a thing or two about the afterlife.

‘Hello old girl.’

‘Fred. You made it. Just in time as well. Listen.’ Rose reaches for his hand and they smile at each other as the organist plays the same music that had accompanied her procession down the aisle all of those years ago. ‘There she is. Oh Fred, look at what Jenny’s wearing. It’s my veil.’ Her hand covers her heart, expanding in her chest, and she gasps at the memory of the pain.

‘Don’t cry my sweet. You’ll spoil your pretty face.’ He tries to gather her to him but lacks the strength so they make do with an air-kiss. An order of service flutters to the ground as she pretends to smack his hand. It rests beneath their feet and they watch the lace-clad young woman march with her father past the end of their row. Rose’s hand extends to stroke the lace but the fabric floats like a cloud of mist through her fingers.

‘Sam looks smart in his penguin suit.’

A woman in the next row turns to stare. When her neighbour asks what’s wrong, she pauses for a second, a quizzical expression in her eyes, then shrugs and mumbles something about whispering.

‘Shush Fred. If you get caught, they’ll make us leave and we’ll miss the ceremony.’

From that moment, they are as quiet as church mice as her mother used to say, listening carefully to their son as he gives away the hand of his daughter and later, to the young couple as they exchange their vows. Rose holds back her sobs, all the while trying to ignore the pressure in her chest. The sermon is about family love and a number of handkerchiefs come out when the vicar mentions the names of those who can not be with them.

‘At least I got a mention.’

‘How could she forget you my love? Every year, those special weeks at the seaside, and not every girl gets a car for her 18th.’

‘Aye, we did what we could for them.’

The organist pounds his keys and the radiant couple float down the aisle. Rose and Jack stay behind until the last guest has passed them and then, they smile sadly at each other and rise.

‘It’s time. I will love you through eternity,’ she said but he had already faded into the cool atmosphere and her words went unanswered. Drifting outside of the church, Rose has time to see a glimpse of white at the side of a newly dug grave and she leaves with the words of her granddaughter comforting her as she ventures into the unknown.

‘You and Gramps showed me how to love. I know he’ll look after you wherever you are.’

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Assets

PHOTO PROMPT © Shaktiki Sharma

PHOTO PROMPT © Shaktiki Sharma

‘It’ll be finished in time.’

Each week, my scepticism expands along with my tummy. It’s Roger’s fault, always trying to save pennies.

Mum warned me. ‘A first date at a burger bar should tell you something,’ The next morning, I tried to describe his wit and academic prowess but her lips pursed. She held back further criticism; however her eyes said it all.

Defending him is second nature and many say that I deserve better.

Next week my newborn becomes Roger’s heir. Before long, I will be a widow and the serious building work can start.

 

Thank you to Rochelle at http://www.rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com. She organises the Friday Fictioneers. Authors write a piece of 100 word fiction based on a photo prompt and exchange comments on their work.  If you are a writer of short fiction, join us and see where your imagination takes you.

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Lucky Rain – Friday Fictioneers

©emmylgant

Photo ©emmylgant

Lucky, rain on your wedding day.

Rosie would clobber the next auntie who said that.  All the planning; all that money. A year’s work for one day.

Of course, ‘best laid plans’…

First the flowers. Alison freaked at the lilies, screaming at Rosie, ‘Your friend knows they make my eyes swell. We should’ve used a proper florist!’

Then, Doug stepped on the lace train. Alison’s colour drained and matched her dress. Rosie’s repair wasn’t visible from a distance.

The car, The Fiancé’s choice – a tiny back seat. A sea of  meringue swallowed Alison.

Groom absconded.

No luck there, either.

http://www.rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com organises the successful Friday Fictioneers. Authors write a piece of 100 word fiction on a photo prompt and exchange comments on their work. Thank you Rochelle for keeping this group active.

 

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Royal Stories

Toady I am writing a story about a princess for a competition in addition to reworking my novel which I submitted in the Nano month of writing. When the princess story is complete I will put it up as a page on this site although I will try not to do so when the protest about internet privacy etc is going on.

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