Friday Fictioneers – Festive Follies

ff071216I’d been up here once before, back when our father had worked on the building’s maintenance crew. On that sticky summer’s day my brothers and I believed we could see the whole world, even if it was really only west New Jersey. Thirty years later I look down and watch the rush-hour traffic backing up on Riverview Drive.  A sudden, biting wind ruffles my hair, nips at my tears. I look up briefly to catch a cascade of coloured lights twinkling in the windows of apartments across the street. Within my coat pocket an unanswered phone continues to ring.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – Family Eviction

ff301116Colin lives in a tent at the bottom of his mother’s garden – down there between the gnarly old fir and the stream. It may not seem like much of a home, but to Colin it’s his sanctuary. His place away from the darkness and the doubts. He couldn’t live anywhere else,  not now.

Colin is 59 and his mother passed last month. Colin’s older sister inherited the family home and wants him gone. Colin and his siblings drifted apart after what happened with their father. His mother though continued to love him as only a mother could. Colin is lost and scared without her.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – The Best Laid Plans

ff231116I lingered as Ellie Henderson walked past the store window.

‘You’ve no chance there,’ my boss, said.

Ellie was a real beauty. I’d  admired her from a distance as she met and married Frank Henderson.  Frank had sure been the lucky one, but his luck ran out when his body turned up face down in Whitewillow Creek – a fishing accident the coroner concluded.  Ellie had been in mourning for months now. Surely she would be ready to move on soon.

‘The door to that one’s heart is locked and bolted – she’ll never love again,’ my boss, continued.

What a proper sinful waste that would be. I almost regretted killing Frank now.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – The Need for Appreciation

ff171116The small jazz club off 3rd and Lafayette was Duane’s second home. The unmistakable sound of the big man slapping his beloved doghouse bass filled the air. The chatter amongst the packed crowd was unanimous:

‘The best’

‘Sends tingles down the spine every time’

I needed a smoke. A woman by the door caught my eye.

“There’s nobody better” she said.

I didn’t know her. I didn’t know any of these people, and I doubt Duane did either. Just maybes if they’d shown him this love before now he wouldn’t have gone and done what he done. Maybe then tonight could have been a gig, and not a wake.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – Daddy’s Girl

ff091116Sophie stood out from even the most glamorous of crowds. Her glistening blond hair, the immaculate make-up, the perfect poise – the unmatched grace and style. Everything she wore was made to measure. Nothing but the best for Sophie, only the most famous of labels would do. At times she could attract attention, receive lingering looks from passers-by. Yet, it never made her feel uncomfortable. Instead it made her feel wanted. It made her feel real.

Back in their small home town, Sophie’s father may still mourn for his lost son, yet there isn’t a prouder father alive. Sophie had become the perfect daughter.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – Staying Put

ff021116Every time I stopped at the Trading post our conversation would be the same.

‘Why don’t you sell up, Vern?’ I’d ask. ‘Take the money McCullum’s are offering.’

Everyone knew McCullum’s Dairy was desperate to get Vern’s acre of land.

He’d always just smile and reply, ‘Where would you get your gas then, Jimmy? Besides, too many memories.’

Vern died last fall. As it turns out there were other reasons he never left. One reason in the cellar, another in the cavity wall. At least one more in the yard.

McCullum’s Dairy never bought the land. Doubt anyone ever will.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – The Way Out

ff261016‘You absolutely sure you know the way from here?’

I nodded towards our guide. ‘I just saw someone, on the other side,’ I said. ‘In the distance.’

‘I never says getting out would be easy. But if outs what you want, this is it. Take it or leave it.’

I turned to see my wife and son sheltering against the biting, autumn wind. We had nothing, but here, at least, we had each other. Over the bullet-riddled bridge lay dangers, but with luck, perhaps a chance to give our son opportunities we never had.

Heavy, cold raindrops began to fall.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – Nom De Plume

ff191016They found Uncle Joe in his shed at the bottom of the garden. Nobody had seen him in almost a week.

His body was slumped over what Uncle Nolan said was once their Grandpa’s writing desk. The floor around Joe’s feet was littered with screwed up paper, the desk drawers crammed with bits and pieces from his life.

On the desk sat a blue typewriter. In a neat pile alongside, were bundles of letters thanking a woman called ‘Mrs Betty Bartholomew’ for her ‘submissions’. I didn’t really understand, but Uncle Nolan just smiled as he wiped away a trickle of fresh tears.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – Home Alone

ff270313A distant dog howled as a single yellow searchlight passed slowly across the room where we huddled in silence. Outside, the wind continued to shriek. Heavy raindrops crashed against the cottage’s misted window panes. Inside, only one sound, the gentle hiss of a gas lamp above the dusty stone mantle.

“When will father be back?” my sister whispered.

Our Mother’s face was drawn and worn. The empty look in her tear-stained eyes revealed the truth, even if her words remained defiant.

“Soon, child, soon – now sleep.”

A stooping shadow scurried past the window. An impatient knock sounded at the door.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

This is a much more open-ended piece that I would normally write. However, it’s the scene which came into my mind, so it’s what I wrote. Hopefully you can find your own ending.

Friday Fictioneers – A Dignified Ending

ff051016There were no tears to be seen, the only emotion, regret. The young man kneeling on the polished bamboo floor was one born into a life of honour in glory, a life of expectation in defeat. The ritual blade was removed from its golden sheath.

Outside birds sang in the trees. Weeping willows trailed frost covered branches into still, ornamental ponds. A lone servant stood by the door – his head bowed in respectful silence.

A trail of bright crimson trickled across polished bamboo.

From the far side of the courtyard the new emperor’s morning tears echoed through the misty gardens.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – Safety In Numbers

ff210916From the shadows at the top of the staircase I could see the fireworks reflecting in the lens of her black spectacles, almost smell the starch on her featureless, grey uniform.

Liberation Day’ they hailed it. Liberated from the now elitist burdens of freedom, choice and democracy.

My sister was too young to understand as they looked out over the city together. But I knew what our mother had done – what all those of newly acquired status had done. It was in that moment that our future fates were formally and fatally entwined: I would have to kill her.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challen

Friday Fictioneers – Games of Chance

ff140916It was Mike’s last day with Portmans. After 22 years loyal service he and Judie were moving upstate to run a pottery near Montauk.

‘Well, all the best,’ I said, as we clinked glasses at the bar. ‘Won’t you miss the City, the convenience? Anything?’

Mike took a sip of his whisky and smiled. ‘What like the two hour commute? The pollution, the noise?’ he said. ‘You know what, the only thing I’ll really miss is the Thursday night card game at Benny’s.’

We laughed.

I wouldn’t miss Mike, but I sure would miss my Thursday nights with Judie.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge

Friday Fictioneers – A Night Out

ff070916My throat was burning. The skin on the back of my hand seemed to shrivel before my weakening eyesight. I had to get home, and I was already running late.

‘Is this the place?’ the taxi driver asked.

I mumbled a response before thrusting a sweaty, crumpled $20 bill into his hands – I didn’t wait for change.

Rushing through the door my father was there waiting.

‘You were told 10pm, son, 10pm!‘

All the clocks in Cinders Antiques chimed their 10th and final chime of the hour in predictable unison.

I looked into the nearest mirror.  I had made it just in time.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – Starting Over

ff310816Sasha’s dilated, bloodshot pupils remained fixed on the flashing TV screen. Sasha hadn’t moved for hours.  He’d watched distant and detached as an endless carousel of colourful commentators welcomed in the new millennium. From Dunedin to Delaware, the world had moved from old into new. Crackling fireworks, cheering, happy smiling faces: revelers looking forward with hope. Sasha hadn’t looked forward with hope in such a long time.

The once groaning heap between Sasha and the TV now lay silent. Rivulets of crimson no longer dribbled across the slate floor.

‘Happy New Year, Sasha,’ he whispered, while raising the glass to his lips.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – Aftermath

ff210115A lone gull hovered above the windswept harbour. Its heart-breaking cries echoed unanswered amongst the rusted, abandoned hulls below. In the distance angry crimson clouds continued to rumble, yet the seas remained eerily, unnaturally still. There was nothing left I could do here – there had to be someone else alive, and I had to find them before it was too late. I checked the map once more and readied to leave. I looked skywards just as the gull turned inland towards the smoldering city. A chill went through my body as scented warm rain began to fall.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

It’s an old prompt, but a new story. No re-treads on here.

(Due to time constraints, today was a ‘write the first sentence and see what follows‘ effort. I hope it doesn’t feel too disjointed or wishy-washy as a result.)