Monthly Archives: December 2013

Trifextra 99 – An Imperfect Trio

2014

Don’t Stress About Rules.

These words form my entry into Trifextra 99 where we were asked to come up with a three word resolution for 2014. Mine is based on my continuing attempts to write things people might actually want to read. I hope you like it! 

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Sunday Photo Fiction – The Unseen Enemy

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The watchtower on the edge of the plains was the planet’s first line of defence. On this one granite column, on this one man, everything else depended; everyone else depended.

‘Tower this is Defence Control. Tower, come in. Report please, over,’ the radio crackled.

In amongst the scattered maps, charts and bleeping radar equipment lay the warm, still body of Officer Davis. An increasingly strained message was eventually answered.

‘Defence Control. This is the Tower reporting in, over.’

‘At last. Davis, there are reports of movement in the inner systems. Have you seen or heard anything? Over.’

‘No, Defence Control. Nothing to report from the tower. Everything is calm. All is quiet out here. Over.’

‘Ok. However, we’re moving to level four. Keep us informed, Davis. We’re relying on you. Over.’

‘I won’t let you down. Officer Davis, over and out.’

With the voice now mastered the remaining physical transformation slowly filtered through his body. Where once there was a skin of mottled, pale blue the bleached, white covering that was once part of Officer Davis replaced it.

Today was only the start. One soldier in place. There would be more, and soon. They wouldn’t see it coming; they’d never suspect.

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These words form my entry into this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction challenge. 

Friday Fictioneers – Lady of the Night

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Through the warm, scented night air she calls. Excited eyes chance a leering glance, tempted by pleasures yet unrevealed.

Men and women approach – investigate her every space; crawling over each inch of her once firm, unmarked frame. Nowhere is sacred. For the paying customer she leaves nothing to the imagination.

These relationships though are but fleeting moments. She craves more; she needs more – she needs love. Some say it is not meant to be: her aged, tangled roots so deep, stubbornly locked in place.

As the daylight fades, night returns. Once again she dazzles in all her glory. Yours, for a price.

friday-fictioneers

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

Trifecta 108 – Three Men (One Wise)

doorFrom outside, the sandstone tenement stands as bold and regal as the day it welcomed its first hopeful occupants. Inside, the faded splendour now barely houses even whispered echoes of those first, innocent days. Dark, musty corridors vibrate to the shrill tones of screaming children, while droning televisions go unwatched.  Behind anonymous doors lovers argue and hungry dogs bark. Emergency sirens rise and fall like the threat of approaching thunder before once more fading into the distance.

On the third floor two suited gentlemen challenge a misguided stare.  The warned eyes sensibly sliding back into the safer confines of their room. From the suffocating murkyness one last door begins to form. Blocking the way sits a crumpled old man, seemingly daydreaming as he follows the night stars through an open window. As the men pass under a lone bare bulb he slowly turns to size up the spotlighted visitors.

“Aw right, father? Is he in?” the taller of the two suited men asks, as the fleetingly awkward silence is broken.

The old man locks his gaze on the tall man’s colleague. The silent man appears to squirm under the scrutiny of those wise, if somewhat tired and bloodshot, eyes.

“He is, but he doesn’t want to see you. Not today. Do yourselves a favour lads and go home. Kiss the wife; tell your children a story. Enjoy your Christmas. This can surely wait.”

The one who spoke turned towards his colleague and chuckled.

“Come on old man, move it. We haven’t got all night,” he said.

The two suits squeezed past, the now unguarded door gliding partially open at the merest touch. Scented, smoky air  billowed gently into the corridor as they walked through.

“Hello? Hello!? What the hell is going on in here.”

The door clicked shut; the key turning firmly in the lock.

The old man opens a beer and swallows hard before grimacing; a single tear flows down his weathered cheek. His bones creak and grind as he stands and shuffles away from his post.

trifecta

These words, based on the third definition of the word ‘father‘ , form my entry into the Trifecta 108 writing challenge.The picture used to frame the story is courtesy of Kenneth Todd.

This piece was placed third by my fellow writers within the Trifecta Challenge community. As ever I am flattered that those judging saw something in my work. Much appreciated!

Sunday Photo Fiction – Christmas TV

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Outside gently falling flakes settle on the deepening layer of snow already drifting up against the cabin. Inside, an open fire roars, its smoke and flames sucked up the chimney towards the frozen night air. Along one wall of the plain, unmemorable room is arrayed a bank of televisions. On each, scenes of life, of giving, of loving, of cynicism, of compassion. Every action on every screen is noted. In the top left the watcher’s eyes scan as a small child stands crying. A shake of the head and words are scribbled into a enormous, leather bound book. Tired, bloodshot eyes quickly return to the screens: to survey, to judge.

Away from the cabin the routine of daily lives continue. Preparations for that time of year gathering pace: the time for giving, for caring, for family. Throughout the world dusty, memory filled boxes are being unpacked. Plastic trees lovingly re-assembled while crumpled streams of tinsel are untangled for another few short weeks of duty.

Everywhere you go they are up. At home, in the office, in the street, at the shops. Everywhere the golden baubles glisten; nothing escaping the eyes in the cabin.

Children (and adults), never forget – Santa is watching.

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These words form my entry into this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction challenge. As this is the last Sunday Photo Fiction before Christmas, I’d like to wish all my fellow story tellers nothing but the best for the festive season!

Merry-Christmas

Friday Fictioneers – When We Were Young

ff181213They’d found Frank with his head wedged in the shattered ornamental window – bleeding, mumbling, high.

“Wow, it’s like a portal dude. To a world of fishes and Angels. What a trip man!”

A fresh faced paramedic listened sympathetically as she picked crystals of glass from Frank’s cheek.

“You don’t get it. You’re such squares!” he protested.

These days Frank is less known for ‘Free Love’ than he is bad ties and overpriced used cars. However, that young, bright eyed paramedic remained loyal. On each one of their 30 anniversaries she’s presented Frank with a cuddly dolphin. He always smiles, his scar still as clear as the memories.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge. As this is the last Friday Fictioneers before Christmas I’d like to take this opportunity to wish my fellow scribblers all the best for the festive season.  

Merry-Christmas

Trifextra 98 – Vegetable of Mass Destruction

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On Brassica Oleracea they wait.

Patiently.

On earth hapless, festive fools prepare;

Oblivious to the perils of ‘The Boiling’:

Its pungent, noxious cloud crumbling earth’s already withering defences.

Paving the way for invasion.

trifecta

These 33 words form my entry into the Trifextra 98 challenge. The Trifecta editors asked us to write a humorous, festive themed story. I hope you enjoy what I came up with.

Sunday Photo Fiction – Witnessing A Miracle

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After twenty brutal years of war, peace had now settled in the Eastern Colonies. Normality returning to everyday existence after a generation who knew nothing but pointless death and misery. The city of Medax was continuing that rebirth of hope with an event which had envious eyes watching on from throughout the astral systems.

The gathered crowd stood stiffly in respectful silence as the barrier slowly raised. Gasps of orchestrated, yet still sincere, wonder filtered through the watching dignitaries.  Within the depths of darkness shadows gradually morphed into life. The mother just minutes after delivering her new born; the stains of childbirth clear to all – the exhaustion and terror painted across her face. From deep in the blood soaked straw a tiny hand emerged. There were no tears, no tantrums. The youngster just wanted to find the one who had brought it into this world. To suckle. To feed. To begin living.

Minutes turned to hours as the crowd remained watching: trapped in the moment. The only humans left in captivity had produced a child. It marked the day upon which the Android inhabited planets of the Colonies truly began to move on from their war filled nightmares.

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These words form my entry into this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction challenge. 

Friday Fictioneers – The Breakthrough

ff111213Dainty, bootless feet barely rustled a leaf; not a single twig was broken. The chanting Indian chief sat watching the skies, oblivious to any approaching threat.

As the stranger inched closer, the only sound to be heard was the snap and crackle of a blazing fire. Suddenly, a screeching figure leapt forward from the shadows. Squaws scattered; the startled chief tumbled from his stool.

The grey haired man’s eyes quickly conceded defeat to his assailant; a smile painting his weathered face.

This was the first time little Polikwaptiwa had been able to sneak up on her grandpa. She’d surely now proven to him that she had what it took to be a famous tracker.

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These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge. To save the inquisitive from a Google search, Polikwaptiwa is the Hopi Indian female name meaning ‘Butterfly sitting on a flower’

Trifecta 107 – Urban Clearance

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Our flat was on the corner of Methodist Lane. It was a typical red brick corner upon which pressing issues of the day would be discussed and argued over cans of the cheapest beer money could buy. Nearby stores sold cigarettes and booze to kids barely big enough to reach the counter. It was rough. The rest of town said it was dangerous. However, it was my home; it was where I felt safe.

Across from Methodist Lane was the park. After school it was where we all gathered. Fumblers in the bushes, pushers over by the toilets, the rest of us in the playground. The swings forever hung loosely on rusting chains; the seesaw hadn’t seed or sawed for years as it lay snapped in two. The roundabout creaked and wobbled slowly as we lay back staring at the stars – planning a way out.

One freezing cold night my view of the skies was obscured. In their way a set of shining, bluey green eyes. Eyes which instantly began to melt my previously uncontested heart. I’d seen her before in the park. She was hard to miss.

“Gotta light?” she pouted, one bejewelled hand resting on her narrow hips – the other cradling a cigarette between red tipped fingers. She looked like a rock star, and she was talking to me!

I began to stutter something unmemorable, underwhelming, uncool. The words were there but they wouldn’t come. Before I could answer she laughed: a callous, hurting laugh. One of the older boys suddenly appeared: slicked hair, a golden earring glinting, offering his silver plated lighter. As she cupped her hands round the flickering flame he leered in a way she seemed to like. They both giggled. I resumed spinning slowly on the roundabout as their voices faded.

Today I’m back. Behind the fluttering tape I watch on. Unsure whether I’m sad, happy or relieved. As the bright orange bulldozer fires up her engine it is the end for Methodist Lane. The memories though will stay forever.

trifecta

These 333 words, based on the third definition of the word ‘melt‘ , form my entry into the Trifecta 107 writing challenge.

Sunday Photo Fiction – Discovery

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The whole of Knoxville had been waiting years for this day – heck, maybe even the whole of Texas. It was set to be the biggest and best World’s Fair of all time. The future of mankind surely depended on it.

From a mile away the Sunsphere glittered: a golden beacon calling forward the people of the planet to learn how life after 1982 would be. As a fourteen year old I fully expected to play my part. Physics was already a passion – theories, equations, proofs; showing people how it all works. That’s what I would do;  it’s what I was meant to do.

The fair on that steamy summer’s day was electric with inspiration. While most other kids were content with the scientific trickery and Son et lumière on display I was here for more. It was then that they caught my eye. I was captured, ensnared. It was the moment my life changed forever.

Those blond curls, the cold steel blue eyes and that smile which formed the cutest of dimples. It was my big breakthrough: the most important discovery I would ever make. It certainly was a fair which shaped the future of the world, well, mine at least.

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These words form my entry into this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction challenge. 

Trifextra 97 – To Be Forewarned is Forearmed

penguinsThe sun’s rays dazzle against the crumbling basin of the central Antarctic reservoir.

High above carrion circle;

Emaciated penguins collapse in the dust.

Meanwhile politicians fester in their myopic delusion:

Global Warming?

Nonsense!

trifecta

These 33 words form my entry into the Trifextra 97 challenge. The story is based on the words ‘Basin‘, ‘Dazzle‘ and ‘Myopic‘. I hope you enjoy what I did with them.

Friday Fictioneers – Rebirth

ff041213The chemicals which rained down on the inhabitants of the seven great cities didn’t pause to distinguish on class grounds. Corpses rotted in the palatial bunkers of the rich just as quickly as they did within the communal shelters infested by the masses.

For years there was nothing. Then the inquisitive drifted back; tests were run, samples taken. Breath by breath the air was clearing: the poison all but flushed from the atmosphere.

Where there was once only death and decay, life has now returned. Where once pro-war graffiti polluted the sightlines, purple headed flowers now reach for the sun.

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

Trifecta 106 – The Spirit Never Dies

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Barely had the adrenalin infusion of my dawn coffee filtered to the tips of my fingers before we were on our way. Worried neighbours had not seen the elderly occupant of the top floor apartment since Friday.

“She’s in the bedroom, but hurry” pleaded a youthful officer in the doorway.

Lying propped up, seemingly drowning in two enormous pink pillows, was the ghostly outline of a tiny,  pitifully frail, old woman. Within moments we had her hooked up to a drip, electrolytes pulsing through her veins. The young policeman at the door had followed us in; his hands now pumping away at an Oxygen bag  The merest hint of condensation formed on the inside of the mouthpiece: she was still with us – fighting.

Tension gradually gave way to relief as colour returned to once pale, lifeless, wrinkled cheeks. As the young, ruddy faced policeman continued to gently push air into aged, weary lungs the panic seemed over. For a brief second I allowed myself to relax. It was only then that I noticed: the bedroom was crammed with old pictures, the railing next to the window alive with a glittering array of dresses. A feather boa wrapped itself seductively around the back of a pale blue Lloyd Loom chair.

On her bedside table sat a framed cutting from the local paper. In it was a young, beautiful woman wearing a flowing silk dress, just like one of those on the rail. With shafts of sunlight beginning to pierce the slatted blinds, the old woman suddenly sparkled into life. As she continued to suck at the oxygen she gripped my hand – a wicked glint in her eye. She had seen me looking at her bedside picture; it was then that I knew who this was. It all came together: the pictures, the clothes, the mischievous look.

I almost blushed; she almost cracked a smile.

If my Dad could see me now – he’d have a fit. His son holding hands with the ‘Tush of Tulane’.

trifecta

These 333 words, based on the third definition of the word ‘tush‘ , form my entry into the Trifecta 106 writing challenge.

Sunday Photo Fiction – Production Problems

36-12-december-1st-2013-1Most  front doors in his street were flanked by the suburban sculpture of wheelie bins and discarded pink bicycles. Outside No. 37 a crumbling, but still imposing, Guardian Lion told those in doubt that the owner of this particular dwelling was a bit different. It wasn’t a real Lion, but it looked real enough. Most people couldn’t tell the difference between what is and what isn’t art anyway. That’s what the occupier of No. 37 always insisted.

Beyond its alabaster sentry the house seemed still. The only faint sounds coming from behind the bolted basement door. The exhibition was tomorrow yet his work was stubbornly refusing to be completed.

A Family in Still Life‘ he had decided to call it. The local mayor herself was scheduled to do the unveiling.

While mother, son and daughter stood stiff, grey and impassive, it was the father who was causing the artist problems. Even when he finally seemed at peace, the plaster would crack again as the embers of life refused to leave his veins. However, the latest coat seemed to be sticking; resistance appeared to be over.

Content at another job well done, the artist switched off the basement light and climbed the stairs to bed. His mind already flicking onto the next commission.

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These words form my entry into this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction challenge.