Monthly Archives: August 2015

Sunday Photo Fiction – Above and Beyond

119-08-august-30th-2015What do I remember?

I remember kissing my sleeping wife; hearing our one year old daughter start to cry as I hurried to leave the apartment. It was just after 1am, my own shift had only finished three hours before, but it was an emergency – all hands were required to attend.

Even though the plant was three kilometers away we knew it was bad. A fire in Reactor 4 is what they told us. As we arrived I backed up the fire truck. On the ground near to the Reactor building large lumps of debris peppered the road. Some pieces burned red hot, others gently smoldered. We didn’t really know how dangerous they were.

The men from my engine quickly climbed the steel ladders onto the roof. There was fire everywhere. More engines were on the way from Kiev, and we would need them all. I never again saw the men who climbed those ladders, but they got the fires out.

Did we truly not appreciate the dangers? Did we not know what was coming out from within the flaming reactor core?

Perhaps we knew more than history tells. However, we did our job. We didn’t look at ourselves and see heroes, despite the medals they pinned on those who lived to tell the tale. We never will.


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

In case you’re think…eh?…the picture brought to mind the fireman on the roof of Chernobyl Reactor 4 as they stared down into the melting core. Heroes every one.

Friday Fictioneers – Memories of Pripyat

ff260815Cracked strip lights pulse in time with the spluttering generator. Most of the lockers remain shut tight, their contents hidden since that weekend in 1986. Here and there a few lie open on rusted hinges – within, faded photos of wives and children, a copy of Pravda, a scarf, gloves, pairs of fur-lined boots, a brown leather jacket. Once cherished possessions discarded without a seconds thought.

The counter around my neck begins to click – it’s warning angrier than before: my time is running out. I take one last picture before I put my camera away and make for the open door, and daylight.


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

Sunday Photo Fiction – A Show of Appreciation

118-08-august-23rd-2015For nearly 50 years he’d worked at the factory – everyone of Ted’s age went straight from school to the factory. Three wives had come and gone in that time, two divorced, one dead – only the last one did he remember with any particular fondness. Six healthy children had been raised in the same red-brick two up, two down on the Marlow Road – all had left, apart from Mary.

‘A gold watch? A gold fucking watch? Is that all I meant to them?’ he spat.

‘But Dad, it is a very nice watch,’ said Mary.

They’d all liked Ted. For 30 years he was Santa Claus to the children gathered at the Christmas party in the factory canteen. Every summer it was Ted who organised and ran the fete in the sprawling grounds of the chairman’s estate. If there was a living, breathing embodiment of a company man, it was Ted.

‘Sod them, and sod their fucking watch!’

Ted coughed, bent double in his armchair: his scarred lungs had paid a heavy price for his loyalty.

Mary handed her father his pills and a brandy. Neither would really make him feel any better, but at least they’d keep the worst of his pain, and disappointment, at bay.

‘A fucking watch,’ he spluttered, once more, as he threw the glinting retirement gift into the fire.


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

Friday Fictioneers – A Family Business

ff190815The mid-morning sun was hot and high, the mercury pushing 113 for the sixth day in eight. At the concession stand, Mrs Gunther carefully unpacked the last of her stock, most of which had seen better days. Poolside, Mr Gunther paused to wipe creamed cheese from his chin, and bagel crumbs from his crumpled “Desert Ocean Staff” t-shirt. In the cracked, dusty car park a lone silver coach disembarked its passengers. By the turnstiles, the two Gunther children prepared to welcome their guests. Within the warm, lifeless water, the star of the Gunther’s show circled his lonely world – the only world he’d likely ever know


These words form my entry into Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.
Unusual for me to do a single paragraph, but it felt like the right choice for this piece.

Sunday Photo Fiction – Time to Go

117-08-august-16th-2015Tommy Wilson and Colin McFarlane had been friends for as long as anyone could remember, and probably many a year before that too. From their prams, through to leaving Balmorran High at 15 to become apprentices at  Tait’s Distillery, they were rarely apart. They even found love together, Tommy married Helen McPhee, and Colin became the doting husband of her younger sister Mary. Holidays were always spent as one big family. Their children grew up in and out of each other’s houses. They never needed anybody else.

Mary, passed away two years ago. Cancer had taken her mother and Colin always feared it would take her too. For a while even Tommy couldn’t lift him from the blackness filling his world. But now Tommy has taken ill. The doctors say there’s nothing they can do – but there is something Colin can do: be there for Tommy. Tommy doesn’t want to suffer; doesn’t want to lie in his bed, crying with pain, empty of hope. Colin knows when the time comes he will be there to perform the last true act of friendship he can. He has promised Tommy that, no matter how much it will break his heart


These words form my entry into this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction challenge.
Not everyone can go to Switzerland, but it doesn’t mean they can’t still die with dignity.

Friday Fictioneers – The Runaway

ff120815Alice was the pretty face behind the window at the Chicken Shack on Williams and 23rd. She went to work as usual that day, she just never came home.

“Small green feller, eyes like a Lizard – plumb dragged her into his spaceship,” said Hairy Bob. Hairy’s liking for cheap liquor made him a great one for stories.

Alice’s boy, Tommy, now lives with his grandma. He doesn’t understand that his mother has gone, and probably never will.  There’s rumour of a woman the spit of Alice being seen over in Harbourdale with another man, and other children. Round here folks prefer to think that, just maybe, Hairy was telling the truth after all.


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

Friday Fictioneers – The Light of My Life

ff050815It’s been nearly fifty years, but I can still smell the apple blossom in the trees; I can still hear the birdsong, feel the warm waters of the creek running between our toes. My pained heart still races when I recall the moment she first took my trembling hand and placed it against her firm, warm breast. The softness of her skin, the tenderness in her eyes – she always made everything seem right.

Yet today she is gone, and I’m alone. Our memories though will stay with me until we’re together once more on that moonlit river bank.


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

Sunday Photo Fiction – A Cursed Inheritence


Billy’s father had been the star of the convention circuit. You wanted a trick, then Frank Wizzleton had it in stock. Their stall always drew the biggest crowd; however, even Billy’s father knew why they were really there. Sure he’d sell enough to keep him and his sister in good quality second-hand clothes, but it was the pyramid they’d  come to see.

It had now been over a week since Frank Wizzleton’s last public performance, at Greendale Cemetery. In one hand Billy held a malt, in the other the secret he’d waited his life for.

“….I have no idea how it works, son. It just does” began the letter. “All I can say is you need to keep doing the trick. At least once every 20 days, and NO MORE than three times a month. For the sake of everyone you love don’t ask any questions; don’t look for answers…”

Superstitious old fool, thought Billy, as he placed the letter back into its envelope. On the coffee table the pyramid began to glow, its top slowly turning. Billy swallowed hard on his whisky.


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