Tag Archives: prose

Progress – a story for the Friday Fictioneers

 

Photo prompt © jean-I-hays

Photo prompt  © jean-I-hays

 

Once, businesses thrived on Route 66. Our community worked to supply the passer-by.

That was years ago, before scheming developers forced the decision to divert the traffic away from our town. Now, thousands of cars use the super-highway to go to a recently built shopping centre. They say that you can buy anything there. Even if I had the cash, I couldn’t bring myself to use it.

My father couldn’t pay the bills, opting for a quick, but bloody ending.

Our inheritance crumbles as the earth reclaims what it can; hand-outs feed my mother and her children.

Thank you to Rochelle at http://www.rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com. She organises the Friday Fictioneers. Authors write a piece of 100 word fiction, prose or poetry 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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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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Poetry Day – A Poor Offering

If I had a lot of time

I would offer up a rhyme.

Poetry is not my strength

My plots and thoughts need more length.

Forgive this poor attempt at prose

To the novel, this writer goes.

 

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Life Events and Writing

As happens in life, it is the unplanned events that can cause mayhem with far-reaching consequences. Writing experts advise us to tap in to life’s emotions and experiences to give our writing depth. What happens when these emotions are too painful?

A few months ago, I was looking forward to the wedding of my beloved daughter. We had negotiated the tricky minefields of which guests to invite, who should sit next to who, the role of the step-parents, etc. In fact, the wedding had been planned in detail and was about to be one of the highlights of my life.

Then, just over a week before the special day, my husband, my daughter’s stepfather, ended up in hospital with a serious illness. We entered a period of days divided between hospital visits and final wedding preparations, an emotional roller-coaster for anyone, and the way I coped was to separate my despair from my joy. Each emotion had its own compartment and had I opened them to write, I risked losing control.

Sadly, my husband was too ill to attend the wedding.

Now, weeks later, with my daughter happily married and my husband recovering, I am ready to search my soul but the shield remains. Perhaps it is there to protect me, but when I am writing a story about maternal love, it would be useful to resurrect some of those emotions I experienced as I made certain that my daughter had the most joyous day of her life.

At times like these, I long for an improved command of the language of poetry. Perhaps verse would allow me the vehicle to express the emotions of my summer.

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The Unexpected

Life has dealt me a few blows lately.

Everyone says I am strong but they don’t see the cracks inside.

I can not deal with the pain so I put it into a box. That box remains sealed and sometimes a kind word or a look threatens its integrity but I compose myself with a breath and the cube keeps everything contained.

Write what I know? I dare not.

 

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Researching the Past

One of my favourite things about writing about the past is doing the research. Both of my novels have been set in the recent past and so there have been plenty of personal accounts to give an insight to the environment and era. People love to be asked about the 1960’s and many of my friends and colleagues have rich recollections of that period. Whereas my first novel took place in Spain, this second one is located in York and its surroundings, making it easier to research. I spent several days in the fabulous Railway Museum in York where there are old photos, magazines and articles. While there, York Theatre was closed and the company relocated to the National Railway Museum to perform. We were fortunate enough to obtain tickets for the incredible production which told the history of the York Railways against the backdrop of the wonderful old engines and carriages. Over 200 performers were involved.

My research in Spain led me to villages affected by the Spanish inquisition and along the paths less travelled by the normal tourist. Locals filled me in on their customs which change from one area in the country to another.

The best thing about the research is that my understanding of my subject develops and hopefully makes my writing entertaining and realistic.

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Distant Shores – Friday Fictioneers

photo prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

photo prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Rachel yearned for the sight of land. Twenty seven days, they tossed on the ocean waves in a container that seemed smaller with each passing day. The romantic notion was now a reality and not even the midnight sky with thousands of twinkling stars could re-ignite her passion. She hated him.

Behind was a life of comfort, family and the country she loved.

Ahead nothing but more days of salty spray.  The world adventure he offered.

She peeled the gold band off of her finger, lobbed it into the wake behind and sighed.

‘Your watch’, she shouted down the hatch.

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.  Come and join us and see where your imagination takes you. Thank you Rochelle for keeping this group active.

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