Friday Fictioneers – The Wake

ff270416It was a confusing picture. Everything moving, everything out of place, everybody out of focus. The room was full of blurred faces; hushed, gentle voices whispered in respectful tones around me. My whole body was numb, my mind blank, my once inexhaustible spirit all but drained – my heart bloodied and broken. I didn’t want to be there, but I knew I had to stay, that much at least was clear. I know in time I will want to be with these people again, to enjoy their company and to share in their love and kindness. But not today. Not now.

friday-fictioneers

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

Friday Fictioneers – The View From The Other Side

ff200416Through the bedroom window I could see the forest, its canopy of leaves glistening white under early morning frosts. From somewhere beyond the trees was often heard a distant barking of dogs, the whining engine of a motorcycle, the faint echo of shouts and whistles. And then there was the smoke.

‘Didn’t you ever wonder what was happening to these people?’ asked the old man in the crumpled brown suit.

It wasn’t the first time he’d been to our village; I wasn’t the first person he’d  asked these questions. Like the others, I had no answers – only the ceaseless burden of our shared memories.

friday-fictioneers

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

Apologies for not submitting for a few weeks. We’ve moved house since my last entry and a lack of internet connection for over a month meant I wasn’t able to take part. However, I’m back and ready to get stuck into FF once more!

Friday Fictioneers – Overtime

ff170216Tommy and his mother flicked through Winkleman’s summer catalogue.

‘Is that the watch you want?’

Tommy nodded and smiled. Jessie never could resist that smile – even if it did mean finding an extra fifty dollars before her son’s birthday at the end of the month.

A single knock echoed across the sunlit room.

‘Off you go now, Tommy. Mummy’s got to work.’

Tommy was only eight but he knew what work meant. The kitchen door clicked shut behind him.

Jessie checked her lipstick in the mirror. She was tired of this life, but she wouldn’t let Tommy down – she couldn’t.

friday-fictioneers

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

Moving House: Part 1 – Getting Ready

Pushed-into-Moving-HomeBack in 2003 we moved into our current house with the plan on staying for perhaps five years before heading onto somewhere new. Well that plan has finally come to fruition – albeit seven and a half years behind schedule. It’s not without a hint of sadness that we’re on on the move, but that’s only to be expected after so long in the one house. However, were excited to be starting a new chapter in our journey through life. It’s one we’re both looking forward to, and it’s also one I thought I’d tell the world about via my blog.

First thing to mention – where are we moving to? Well, the answer is a small town on the fringes of the Scottish Borders called Biggar. We currently live in Larbert, in Central Scotland, and the map below shows our move:

Moving1

It takes around 75 minutes to get from our old house to our new one. While it may not seem that far to some, to us it’s a big change. Biggar is a much smaller community with a completely different – more countryside – feel. It’s also much further from my work in Glasgow, but home working will mean it’s a journey I don’t need to undertake every day. The house we’re moving into is a new build. For details of the development, please click here.

Our moving in date is 04/03; however, we need to vacate our current house on 26/02 i.e. a week before. This will mean seven nights in a hotel before we can actually call Biggar our new home town. On 26/02 our removal people will take our belongings and place them in storage. A week later they will transport our possessions from storage down to Biggar. Between now and 26/02 it’s just a process of getting everything as it needs to be for moving day. Today we emptied the shed; next we will start to take some of our living room furniture to pieces.

Probably time I stopped writing and got on with something else. Hopefully this short blog gives you a picture of what we’re up to. Regular updates will be added over the coming couple of months – before, during and after the move.

Thanks for reading.

Friday Fictioneers – Home Bird

ff100216A single drip of condensation trickled down the living room wall. Arthur shivered and cupped his pale hands around a mug of steaming, black coffee – Arthur detested black coffee, but the last of the milk had run out over two weeks ago.

By now the early-spring daffodils would be forcing their way between the tangled weeds of his allotment on Warring Rd. Arthur wanted nothing more than to be back there, tending to his beloved patch – but he knew if went out he’d never get back in. He was the only one left you see, and he had nowhere else to go.

friday-fictioneers

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

Friday Fictioneers – Development Opportunity

ff030216Frank rolled down the car window and spat raven-black spit onto the sandy ground. The sign chained to the fence said ‘Coming Soon – Affordable Family Housing’.

‘How can they build out there?’ I said. ‘It’s more water than land, Frank.’

‘People needs houses, Joe. They’ll just drain it. Five years from now you’ll never know Logan’s swamp ever existed.’ Frank reached for a fresh plug of tobacco and wedged it under his bottom lip.

I forced a nervous smile. It had been over ten years – surely they’d never find her. Even if they did, they’d never be able to prove nothin’.

friday-fictioneers

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

Friday Fictioneers – Actions and Consequences

ff270116Vera’s whole body was shaking. In her right hand she still held onto what was left of the bottle of Chateau de Sable. The rest of the bottle lay in pieces around Billy’s head. At first she thought she’d killed him, but then he started to groan.

The meal, the cheap bottle of red: it had been Billy’s clumsy attempt to rekindle any lingering passion. Instead, all it had done was rekindle a belief in Billy that his wife was his to do with as he pleased.

Vera had to think fast. There was no easy way out of this, but one way or another, this would all end here.

friday-fictioneers

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

Friday Fictioneers – A Final Composition

ff200116Flakes of Viennese snow drifted in through the open window. On top of the grand piano a single candle dripped wax onto unscored manuscripts. A once warming fire now lay cold and grey in the hearth. Crippling fever pains again gripped his stomach; tears of stale sweat drenched his shirt.

None of this mattered – all that mattered was the commission, and his reputation.

Gripping the quill as firmly as he could between trembling, calloused fingers, two more bars, and then three more, were added to the overture. This requiem would be finished on time, even if it killed him.

friday-fictioneers

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

(Apologies to the makers of Amadeus for this ham-fisted plagiarism of their cinematic masterpiece!)

Friday Fictioneers – Personal Everest

ff130116Warm sweat was pouring down my back. The ends of my fingers tingled with pins and needles. My lungs were aching. I struggled to focus on my surroundings. I could barely hear the voice.

‘Only another few steps’

My mind was scrambled. The pain was searing. I just wanted to stop; to let the others go. There was no point in anyone waiting for me – I was a lost cause, and surely they knew it.

You can make it!’

With one last effort I was almost there. Almost…and then the music stopped.

Ok, class, see you next week’

I hate January.

friday-fictioneers

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

Friday Fictioneers – Last Will and Testament

ff060116‘…and now we reach the final item.’

The lawyer paused to take a sip of peppermint tea. The house, within which the assembled relatives sat, had already gone to a second cousin few had ever met. His 80% stockholding was now in the hands of five bowling buddies from the company mail-room.

‘My GX2012 Lear Jet with landing rights, storage and ten years of fueling and pilot fees paid in advance, I leave to my friend, Dylan.’

‘Dylan?’ enquired Aunt Agatha.

In a warm, quiet corner of the room, an old Labrador stirred briefly at the mention of his name.

friday-fictioneers

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

Friday Fictioneers – A Last Sighting

ff301215The coffee shop on Fulton barely paid minimum wage, but there was new money in the neighbourhood, and the tips were good. Most mornings, on my early break, I’d see them part with a kiss on the top step of the brownstone at 708. There didn’t seem a lot of love, but at that age I certainly wasn’t an expert on the matter.

One damp, fall morning I watched as he left in a hurry without his kiss. From an upstairs window a woman’s eyes briefly met my own. Heavy, red drapes were then pulled tight once more. I never saw her again after that – nobody did.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge. As this is my final story for 2015 I will take this opportunity to wish all my friends on FF a Happy New Year. See you all again in 2016.

Friday Fictioneers – A Time For Giving

ff231215Silver’s one surviving eye glistened in the twinkling fairy lights. Droplets of fresh cream fell from the ends of his whiskers. On the floor a serving plate lay broken, beside it, a scented gift torn free from red and green wrapping paper. As worn, yellow teeth chewed slowly on a second slice of salmon, a ginger and white face appeared at the far end of the table. Silver hissed, but the fearless intruder ignored the warning. One by one, others soon joined to claim their share of the unexpected bounty. In the shadows, the kindly folks from the cat’s society watched on smiling as the neighbourhood strays tucked into their Christmas treat.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge…and please remember is a pet is for life, not for Christmas.

Seasons greetings to all my friends on FF!

Friday Fictioneers – Starting Afresh

ff161215Ruffles stirred in his wicker basket as the door was slowly pushed ajar. The old, chocolate Labrador yawned, and then watched through tired eyes as Emmy tip-toed across the cold, stone floor.

At the window she paused. This had always been her favourite time of the day: the dawn mists rising over the barn; a slither of red sky beyond the southern cornfields. For just a moment she hesitated, before propping up the white envelope against a bowl of apples on the kitchen table.

Picking up the small suitcase, she turned to Ruffles and smiled. Perhaps a heavy heart, but no tears, as Emmy slipped quietly out the back door.

friday-fictioneers

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

A Fragile Democracy: Consequences of the Carmichael Case

fionamoragrahame

The electoral court has made its decision and have refused the prayer of the petition ‘Timothy Denis Morrison and Others against Alistair Carmichael MP’.  Alistair was quick off the mark to access the media and convey his delight with the verdict. Maybe it would have been more prudent of him to actually read the opinion delivered by Lady Paton before he took to the cameras.

His delight is hard to understand given that the judges opinion of him is:

‘ we had no concerns about the credibility and reliability of the witnesses, with one exception’ (para 8)

Alistair Carmichael has fallen so far that even:

‘the practice of leaking information, particularly false information, in order to embarrass political opponents, [which] may strike many members of the public as by definition dishonest and reprehensible’ (para 52)

has not prevented him from sharing his ‘delight’ at having got off on a technicality.

The…

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Friday Fictioneers – A Man’s Gotta Have His Pride

ff091215‘Hey, Lonnie, some big old chicken gone and robbed the Kwik-Mart in Evansville.’

Wendy-May paused from laughing at the TV report only long enough to suck the remaining barbecue sauce from her chicken wing. It was the best they’d eaten in months. Even little Lonnie Jnr. was being treated to full fat milk instead of formula.

Lonnie returned with a fresh Bud from the cooler. He looked towards Wendy-May and scowled. ‘That’s no chicken, stupid woman. It’s a darned rooster, a rooster.’

‘Ok, honey bun. Sit down and drink your beer.’

Lonnie slumped into his armchair.

‘Were a rooster,’ he mumbled. ‘A rooster!’

friday-fictioneers

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