Monday, 29 June 2015

Of The Moment (Angry Hourglass)

Of The Moment

The sun is high and Hel can feel it on her skin as the beat reverberates from the sound stage.  She sways a little with the rhythm, bottle in hand, feeling the moment up against her skin.

“Hey,” a male voice says.

“Not interested,” she replies, without looking.  “Try the beer tent.  You’ll score there, for sure.”

“Cheers,” the voice replies more warmly.  “Literally, I guess.”

“Figuratively, too,” Hel responds, turning towards the man.  “I guess.”  She shrugs, before the corners of her mouth quirk, surveying the dishevelled dark hair and lighter eyes as she looks upward.  “Hard core tat,” she appraises.  “Corruption, though?  Really?”  She shakes her head, letting out a breath.  “Classy.”  Her eyes roll, as her shoulder shifts away.

“Where exactly did you think a guy like me would hang out?” he asks, raising an eyebrow.  “Kind of perfect, if you think about it.  Pretty great rate of success, courtesy of lowered inhibitions..”

“I’m sure,” Hel says, laughing openly now.  “Like I said – beer tent’s where you want to be.  Best of British - though you won’t need it, several ales in.”

“Spoken like a true observer,” the dark haired male says. 

Hel shrugs.  “Doesn’t take much.”

“You haven’t asked me what I’m doing here.”

“Besides hitting on the wrong women?” Hel asks, tone sharp.  “I have already told you.”

“Besides that,” he agrees, voice remaining level.  “For what it’s worth.”

“Is it?” Hel asks.  “’Cos you can’t take a hint, can you?  It’s not like I haven’t been clear.  I mean – really – is it?”

“Well, I am Corruption, as we’ve already established,” the man says, an apologetic note entering his voice.  “Seeing as you were enjoying the moment, so to speak, I couldn’t resist stopping to chat..”

“We’re done now,” Hel says, blunt.  “You’re leaving.”

“Hedonism,” he replies.  “Took me a minute or so to put a name to the face.  Got it now though.  New one on me.  Takes a careful eye – though once you know what you’re looking for…”

“Jesus!” Hel curses, looking around hastily.

“Long gone,” Corruption responds.  “New Guard all the way, sweetheart.  Get with the programme.”  He smiles.  “Y’with me yet?”


A second story for the Hourglass photo prompt this week.  This one came third.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

A Time For Choosing (Angry Hourglass)

Photo courtesy of Ashwin Rao (via The Angry Hourglass)

A Time For Choosing

You fetch up onshore, drenched, coughing the vestiges of the river’s bitterness from your oesophagus onto the jagged rocks beneath your knees.  Their sharp edges are intimately acquainted with your skin.  Further into the dark maw before you, you hear Hynos’ drowsy murmurings.  “Not this time,” you say.  Turning your left wrist, you see the raw tally marks – a cluster of raised red five-bar gates across its breadth.  You run a finger over the start of the next underneath - the beginnings of a run along the length.

“Here,” a voice says, thrusting a small token into your outstretched hand.  You look towards the object gripped in your fist.  Your benefactor is nowhere to be seen when your head turns again.  You gaze instead into the pitch of the cave, from which audible rumbles echo intermittently.

Walking forward, you begin to pick your path over the prone bodies, their oblivious snoring, towards the assembled Brothers and Sisters lined waiting before the entrance’s black mouth.  You nod to each in turn. 

“Choose,” Lethe says, proffering two vessels, one already full to the brim.  The other she bends to fill from the waters running freely to her side.  Drops spill over the sides as she raises it, meeting your eyes; waiting.  Your head turns, seeing the soul to your right, who slurps greedily from an identical cup, head thrust back to down its contents in swift gulps.  A few seconds later he slumps and swoons.  The Androktasiai carry him towards the other sleepers, all shoulders and ankles.  “As ever,” one murmurs, with a sharp toothed grin, eyes glinting.

You point at one of the cups.
“You’re ready?” Atë asks.

You shrug.  “I want to remember.”  You grasp the receptacle firmly, draining its contents.  The splutters begin shortly after, though you keep the liquid down after gagging.

“Remember,” Algea says, shaking her head.  “You chose Mnemosyne; wanted everything.”

“Careless,” say the Makhai simultaneously, smirking.

“She’ll learn,” says Horkos.

“She’ll know,” adds Eris.  “Poor thing.”

Your heart jumps as you feel the pressure building beneath your skull.  You feel your mouth open without volition.  Somewhere, a cry sounds.  Someone is screaming.  Someone doesn’t stop. 

Cut To Fit (Angry Hourglass)

Photo courtesy of Ashwin Rao (via The Angry Hourglass)

Cut To Fit

“What d’you think to that one?”  The voice, slightly nasal, carries from beyond the racks to where Carey is standing near the till.

“Colouring wouldn’t suit me,” another voice replies, dismissive.  “Plus, you know Bart wouldn’t approve, considering the expense.”

“He would the end result!  Don’t deny it!” the first voice says, tone loaded.  “Sure I can’t persuade you this time ‘round?  It’s nice sometimes to slip into something different - try it on for size.  Cut from the finest!  Great if you’re jaded.”

“See, how much do you know about the cleaning processes, Maddy?  I’ve always wondered about that side, not that I’ve looked into it,” the second voice jabbers.

“We maintain our standards rigorously,” Carey says, stepping from behind the hanging rail, scissors in her belt.  “The inspection accreditations are just over there, if you’d like to take a look?” she adds.  Both heads, red and dark, swivel towards her quickly.  “Ms Cain, my pleasure,” she greets the first woman quickly, holding out a hand to take the lady’s with her own, smile wide.  “Madam,” she nods towards the other.  The redhead’s brow tilts towards him, cheeks flushed with sudden pink.  She gestures towards the framed certificates, encased behind glass on the wall, one eyebrow raised.  The red haired woman shakes her head slightly, cheeks burning red.

“Shall we check your measurements?” Carter asks, looking at the long haired brunette.  “They’re on file, of course,” she says, “and surely won’t have altered.  Still, it’s standard for any new issue, as you know.  Particularly so with the permaskins, though you don’t need to worry about that, seeing as this is an overnight loan only.”  A pause, then, “Your made to measure’s wearing well,” Carey appraises, looking the woman up and down.  

“Thank you,” the lady, Madeleine, simpers.  “I fancied blonde tonight.  Dinner date.”

“Indeed, Ms Cain,” Carey says, face expressionless.  “Everything tallies,” she adds, winding the measuring tape about her wrist.  “Here you go.”  She passes the bagged tempaskin to the woman.  “Return due pre noon tomorrow.”  Eyes rolling as the doorbell tinkles she murmurs, “Hope she doesn’t stretch it.  There’s a pre-order for that one next week already.”


A completely different take on the same photo prompt.  Always interesting to see where a photo prompt can take you!

Allotted Apportionments (Angry Hourglass)

Photo courtesy of Ashwin Rao (via The Angry Hourglass)

Allotted Apportionments

Eyelids down, pitch; they sleep unknowing in their beds, as a slim form glides into view, illuminated here and there by the streetlights’ pale glare.  Do you see her yet in your mind’s eye?  Does she call for you, tonight, the dark daughter? 

The woman’s steps are sure, as she walks, the minimal breeze blowing her long skirts from her ankles, here and there.  A pattern of knots is twined throughout, interspersed at intervals.  The scroll is crumpled in her left hand.  Aisa pays it no heed.  No need. 

The Spinners crowd about her feet, either side, gambolling, gossamer threads flying from their limbs as they jump – up down - at her heels.  Their eyes gleam; their lips upturned – the knotted strands binding them together straining slightly as they seek to part from their partnership.  They need no telling.  They never raise the unwary before their time.  The measurements are too precise for disruption.  So has it been written into the Weaving.  Such is the command.

With a nod, her arm stretches, fingers pointing.  “There,” she says.  Her crouched companions hop in front to the nearby doorstep, fading briefly from view as they reach the burnished wooden frame.  She nods again and approaches it, after them.  She, too, passes beyond its barrier.

Inside, alone, she pauses at a doorway.  “My son,” she says.  Looking towards the one alongside it, she says, “My daughter.  We will see one another soon.  So states fate’s sight.”  With that, she turns, continuing along the corridor to the final room.  Entering, she makes her way to the bedside, where the Spinners sit grouped, waiting.  Their heads turn en masse, looking up towards their mistress.
Aisa leans, her shadow falling across the long length of the body beneath her.  A breath in, before beginning.

“Night night.  Sleep tight, child mine,” she says, smiling infinitesimally, eyes a solemn contrast, as she wields the sharp shears.  They snip – a single cut of separation.  One more, one less, is in their bed.  No outward sigh.  “Come, little ones,” she says.  “He’ll follow after.  The twins are still waiting.”

How many remain in her wake?  How heavy her toll tonight?


A slightly left field response to the photo prompt for this particular entry.  I enjoyed writing it though!

FlashDogs Volume Two "Solstice : Light" and "Dark"

I'm extremely pleased to confirm that the Twitter formed FlashDogs have recently launched their second flash fiction anthology - released as two themed books "Solstice: Light" and "Solstice: Dark", with all royalities from sales donated to The Book Bus, who help aid literacy via reading schemes in Zambia, Malawi and Ecuador.

The superb artwork (seen above) stems from the multitalented Tam Rogers.

Together, the anthologies consist of 143 stories created by 48 authors - three of whom stem from my local writing group, The Poised Pen.  I'm honoured to feature alongside the work there and to have four of my stories included.

Feel free to sample the varied stories (each up to 1000 words only) capable of being created courtesy of four separate photo prompts and explore alternate dimensions, alien threats, the land of fairy, magic and heartache in aid of a very worthy cause:-

NFFD "Flash Flood" (Wifely Wisdom)

Yesterday being National Flash Fiction Day's "flash flood" in celebration of all things flash fiction related, my story "Wifely Wisdom" went live over at the site.  Feel free to check both it - and the numerous other entries - out!

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Possibility's Greeting (3LineThursday)

Possibility's greeting.
Once again

Publication Announcement (Wifely Wisdom)

I'm pleased to confirm that my flash fiction piece "Wifely Wisdom" will be featured as part of the forthcoming National Flash-Fiction "flash flood" on 27th June.  My story will be appearing between 9-10 pm BST.  There will be a steady stream (couldn't resist!) appearing throughout the day, so feel free to check all of the entries there out!