Friday Fictioneers – The loveliest bride

Only two days since I got my last effort finished, and here we are again; a bit more promptly this week! Thanks as always to Rochelle for organising, and to John Nixon for the photo prompt.

The loveliest bride

Photo prompt copyright John Nixon

“Cup of coffee, Mary? Oh no, I’m getting forgetful. It’s tea today, isn’t it?”

He sat down. “Now, Mary. I know you’ll have forgotten. Freddie’s all grown up and just got married, and he’s popping in with his lovely bride later today. I must tidy up.”

He creaked to his feet and pottered out, then turned back. “She won’t be as lovely as you though. Like an angel in your wedding dress you were. The most beautiful girl I’d ever seen.” He smiled at her affectionately. “And you still are.”

The photograph on the mantelpiece smiled back at him.

[99 words]

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Friday Fictioneers – The Lie

The Lie

Photo prompt copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“Get well soon.”

It mocks me.

I avert my eyes. I could throw it away, I suppose. Hide it out of sight. But I can’t hide the sense of guilt which lurks within me, jumping out whenever I start to feel at ease.

I contemplate a bleak future of lies built on lies, trust forever destroyed. How I would undo that one impulsive action if I could. But there is no going back. I must walk this lonely road forever.

Chris snorts. “Don’t be such a drama queen,” he says. “I’d have done the same thing. Nobody likes away days.”

[100 words]

Busy busy busy

I’m back – again. I do try, but life is just busy at the moment, and getting more so every week. But I do love FF, and I’m desperately trying to carve out a space for it in my week (even when the story eventually surfaces on a Monday instead of on a Friday…)

Thanks to Rochelle for organising – and do get well soon! – and if you want to see everyone else’s stories go HERE.

Friday Fictioneers – A red rose for romance

A red rose for romance

Photo prompt copyright Dale Roberson

“He’s not… romantic.”

“Honestly, Kay. If you don’t want him, I’ll have him.”

“I know he’s nice,” Kay shrugged. “But David…” Those melting eyes. The constant compliments. The single red rose slipped onto her desk.

“You’re blind,” Jen said, bluntly. “Who drove 70 miles to pick you up when your car broke down? Who came round on your mum’s birthday just so you wouldn’t be alone? I’m not even joking, Kay. I’d steal Adam tomorrow if he wasn’t so bloody devoted to you.”

“I know,” Kay snapped. She stared out of the window.

If only he’d buy me a rose.

[100 words]

Roses and romance

Today’s post very much fails the Bechdel test, but with nearly 10 years of marriage under my belt (to an Adam, not a David!) I like to reflect now and then on the nature of romance, and all the different forms it takes. Thanks, as always, to Rochelle for organising, and to Dale Roberson for the photo prompt.

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Friday Fictioneers – Blood-red

A rather morbid post for such a beautiful prompt, but I wanted a change and those blood-red tulips just couldn’t be resisted. Thanks to Rochelle for organising, and to Na’ama Yehuda for the photo prompt.

Blood-red

Photo prompt copyright Na’ama Yehuda

The daffodils are dead, like you.

Their flamboyant trumpets once heralded a new season. Such a short life. Was it a surprise, to wither so soon?

You preferred daffodils. Something about their loud confidence, I suppose. But that’s all gone now. Instead, I’ll give you tulips. I like tulips. You didn’t. Too common, you said. Not classy enough, you said. Don’t belong here really, you said. Now you say nothing. So they’ll sit on your grave, ghostly white with splashes of blood red, to remind you. Remind me.

The daffodils are dead, like you. Now I am ready for summer.

[100 words]

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Friday Fictioneers – Happy Hours

Thanks to Rochelle for organising, and to Ted Strutz for the photo prompt.

Happy Hours

Photo prompt copyright Ted Strutz

“Well, I shouldn’t stay out too late.”

“Oh come on, boring. It’s happy hour! And we might meet a nice fella to pay for the drinks…” The others teetered through the door in their vertiginous heels, giggling.

Stella sighed. She felt grown-up, responsible – what had they called her? – boring. All the things they’d promised each other they’d never become.

Then a message flashed up. “Jay and Daddy on the loose! Get drunk and enjoy yourself.” Jay was crawling out of an empty beer crate.

She grinned, pulled a
pair of heels from her backpack, and headed inside for happy hour.

[100 words]

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Friday Fictioneers – Aphorisms

Well, that was a bit more of a break than I intended. I’ve been busy and we’ve all had a rubbish bout of Covid but that’s no excuse! Back into the habit, ‘without labour, nothing prospers’ and all that. And in that spirit, here’s a wisdom-heavy response for this week’s prompt. Thanks to Rochelle for organising and to Roger Bultot for the intriguing photo!

As always, click the link to join the fun or read everyone else’s responses.

Aphorisms

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

“Hey, look at that! What would Great-Aunt Lucy say?”

“Never judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes?” Ellen smiled. This game harked back all the way to childhood. Every time they played “What would Great-Aunt Lucy say?” Ellen was swept back to the neglected Manse, sipping Earl Grey and listening as the gentle voice meandered through a dizzying array of well-worn sayings. Dear Aunt Lucy.

“Could be. But that’s not the one I had in mind.”

“Dunno. The longest journey begins with a single step? What am I missing here?”

James grinned wickedly.

“Look before you leap.”

[100 words]

Friday Fictioneers – Let the light in

Thanks to Rochelle for organising Friday Fictioneers, and for this week’s photo prompt, which immediately brought this week’s title phrase into my mind. Click HERE to read other people’s responses or to join in!

Let the light in

Photo prompt copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“Grief has its own timeline,” they say, kindly. But grief holds time captive inside a single frozen teardrop, suspended in icy perfection, unable to fall.

Nothing thaws that perfect prison. Or is it a palace? Beautiful in its stillness, it holds within it a lifetime of precious moments.

On grey day, in the dusty stillness of an empty church, a single shaft of light scatters rainbows on the worn stones. A tiny crack in the ice, time and memories trickling through, threatening to burst their prison in an uncontrollable wave of loss, and pain, and joy.

The tear falls.

[99 words]

Friday Fictioneers – In the Clouds

After a couple of weeks of Christmas break I’m back to start 2022 with some Friday Fiction (on Wednesday). Thanks to Rochelle for organising and to Bradley Harris for the photo prompt.

In the Clouds

Photo prompt copyright Bradley Harris

“Dragon.”

“A dragon? I see a sheep.”

“Hey, Alana, sheep or dragon?”

Alana wasn’t looking at the sky. How could she tell them she had to fight not to see his face in every cloud?

She shrugged. “Dragon.”

A sudden chill wind and the clouds scudded, swirled, shifted. Alana shivered. “Let’s go.”

Jenny was staring at the clouds. “Hey, no more dragon.”

Let’s go.”

“No sheep either,” laughed Cal. “It looks just like a face now. Crazy.”

Alana stood up and faced the sky. “Not now,” she thought desperately.

 And on the wind the reply came whirling back.

“It’s time.”

[100 words]

As always, telling a story in 100 words is a challenge and this is definitely more of a setup than a full story, but I tried to subvert some expectations and take it in a more intriguing direction than it could have gone based on the first couple of paragraphs. Hopefully it worked! Feel free to hop into the comments and tell me who you think the mysterious face belongs to and what they’re looking for. Or is it all in her mind?

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Friday Fictioneers – Gabriel’s recollection

Thanks to Rochelle for organising and for the photo prompt. A rushed effort from me before Christmas, 12 people and 2 dogs in a house together means very little time, but the rear view mirrors in the photo gave me the idea of a Christmas retrospective. My children have loved doing a Jesse Tree and setting out the crib this year, and I can’t wait to take them to Mass and sing the carols.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

Gabriel’s recollection

Photo prompt copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

So many Christmases. Each one blends into the one before, and in the blink of an eye, centuries pass.

Mummers. Candles. Trees. The fat man in the red suit. Orgies of consumerism. Acts of generosity. Family bonds renewed. And still they recall the first one of all.

The bells ring out across towns and fields, and I remember. The chill stable. The wondering shepherds. The man, and the woman. I had given them the message myself, yet even I watched in wonder at the sight of God himself cradled in the arms of a loving mother.

Gloria in excelsis Deo.


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Friday Fictioneers – Baccy for the Clerk

I blame Christmas preparations for the fact that I’m so late with my story this week! Thanks to Rochelle for organising, and providing the photo prompt, which I used very peripherally this week!

Baccy for the Clerk

Photo prompt copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Barnabas the cat had been dead and stuffed these ten years.

But he still liked to sit in the window, especially on nights like tonight, when the tide was slack and the sea-fret shrouded the river and the King’s men happened to be occupied elsewhere.

Molly stroked his worn fur, listening for the clunk of oars approaching the hard. They’d be busy tonight, and tomorrow she would walk demurely down the road in full view of the King’s men, daintily holding her skirts, with a message for the Parson.

He was partial to a bit of brandy, was old Parson.

[100 words]

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While the Gentlemen go by

The Cat House, Woolverstone

A somewhat vague link to the prompt this week – alcohol reminded me of smugglers, and smugglers reminded me of this poem by Rudyard Kipling, and that reminded me of the Cat House.

In Woolverstone on the River Orwell, not far from where I grew up, sits an interesting house. It’s called the Cat House, and nowadays a black model cat sits in the window overlooking the hard. It is said that back in the day the cat wasn’t there all the time, but made an appearance only when the coast was clear. A fascinating story, and I loved visiting Woolverstone and looking at the Cat House when I was a child. I imagine there are many stories from that time waiting to be told!

On female involvement in smuggling, apparently women were often used to transport contraband under their voluminous skirts. Those things in packages, such as tobacco, were easier to transport, but alcohol could be poured into pigs’ bladders and strapped under the skirt for easy carrying.