The Hannah May incident

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

His question caught her off-guard. The room spun around her and she gripped the edges of the lectern to steady herself.

“Ms Silver, how would you explain the Hannah May incident?”

It was no secret that she had been Hannah’s life coach. A fact that tormented her. Buried guilt rose from past failures. Oversights.

It was she who had encouraged her to push past her fears, return to her love of sailing. She died in the storm of 2004. Neither sailboat nor her body was ever found.

Ms Silver found her voice, “Hannah May was brave enough to follow her dreams.”

100 words

Life coaches are amazingly positive people. And I’m sure they have their demons too. Ones they wrestle with and from which they find their own growth. Whatever the situation, it’s important to face fears that keep you from your dreams or the change you want to make in your life.

Have a happy Wednesday!

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Like Father, Like Son

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

 

“You’re just like your father”, remarked Robert lazily.

Marcus raised an eyebrow, “He’s your father too.” Then picked up the whiskey canister, “And no I am not.”

“I have the good fortune of having fallen very far from the tree.”

“Oh shut up!”

“See that’s just what Father says to me.”

“For the last time, I am not going on some reckless, un-planned, crazy-as-shit adventure of yours to the Galapagos islands!”

“Comfort zones. Careless mediocrity. Whiskey… like father, like son.”

Marcus held the whiskey canister above his glass. Cautiously sat it back on the table. “When do we leave?”

99 words

 Something about the house and the setting sun made me think of family and adventures. And I so much wanted to experiment with humour and dialogue today. Hope you enjoy this!

Written for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Challenge is to write a full story in 100 words or less.

Click the blue frog to read more flash fiction and all the different stories one image can prompt.

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I put my heart into a bottle

I put my heart into a bottle

stuffed it away. Out of me. Out of sight.

I’d grown weary of it’s whispers

nagging me through my busy hours.

It was getting harder to focus on all I needed to,

on who I needed to be

with it’s tales of dreams and hopes long forgotten,

long abandoned at the fork in the road

way back when such things were still possible.

No, it can’t be. Can’t ever be. Wont be. Not for me.

Silly stories, silly heart

Time to grow up.

 

At the edge of the cliff I threw the bottle into the ocean

Watched as the tides carried it away

over the horizon.

That night as I slept, the whispers came louder still

Woke up in a cold sweat feeling the hole in my chest

Empty and void.

Yet tales of better tomorrows, hopes renewed

swirled all around me.

See I had not realised that I could abandon my heart

But my heart would never abandon me.

 

Dead men tell no lies

PHOTO PROMPT © Liz Young

The human body is capable of amazing things. Contortion is one. Bending with extreme flexibility. Just like Jimmy was now, crumpled into a lobster trap. Except that John had to break Jimmy’s legs at the knees to get it to fit. His face was blank and slack. Nothing left  of the shock that twisted his features looking down the barrel of John’s gun. Six bullets fired into his chest.

Now, pushing the trap off the boat into the water, John felt nothing of the cold shock that seeped into him when he found out Jimmy had betrayed him.

98 words

Brought back an old character from one of last year’s flash fiction, John the Baptist. Organised crime boss and ruthless with his enemies.

Written for Friday Fictioneers hosted by author Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Click the icon to read more flash fiction by other amazing writers. It is amazing to see the different stories and genre’s that an image can prompt. I’ll be impressed if this image courtesy of Liz Young inspires any romance stories!

Belle of the ball

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

Her dress was a cornflour blue, the same colour as her eyes. The latest fashion in a princess line style, puffed sleeves and lace trim. Now half of it was covered in grime from the cramped dungeon she woke up in after the ball. Nine days ago. Once a day a meal was shoved through a flap in the door. Then the music would play. Was it Mozart or Bach? Drifting down to her dungeon, through the floors and the walls from somewhere above where her captor waited. If only she knew what they were waiting for.

97 words

What an inspiring picture of musical instruments for this week’s prompt, courtesy of Rochelle. Took me to a dark place in 19th century England it seems. Admittedly not my best. But hope you enjoyed it anyway.

Written for Friday Fictioneers led by author Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Write a story in 100 words or less.

Click the frog icon to read more flash fiction, promise you it’s worth it!

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Italian inspiration

As much as Madame Christie enjoyed Venice she was anxious to get going.  “Whatever is the holdup, Christo?” she snapped at the receptionist.

“I am sorry Signora Christie, but we cannot check you out.”

“Excuse me?!”

“Orders from Investigatore Alfonsi.” Christo pointed at a gentleman in uniform, who spoke above the hum of agitated guests gathering in the lobby.

“Listen closely everybody! Last night a couple was murdered in their beds. Nobody is allowed to leave without being interviewed.”

He twirled the ends of his moustache. Madame Christie knew she had the perfect character for her next series of novels.

100 words

 

Unfortunately I have not been able to write for some time due to many upsets in seemingly every area of life. I’m keen to think of this phase as transformation and not the mess that it is. To create, one must first destroy. Applies to many things beyond cooking and other creative pursuits.

SO when I sat down to write this week’s flash fiction, I was pleasantly surprised to see my photo as the prompt. I suspect it was our group leader, Rochelle’s way of sending a smoke signal my way to get back to writing!

Can’t wait to read everyone’s flash fiction.

This was written for Friday Fictioneers, a weekly challenge to write a story in 100 words or less. Hosted by leading author, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

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Street Vermin

Hilarious post from Russell Gayer. His style is quirky and has me in stitches every time.

What's So Funny?

Have you ever noticed that when a bug hits your windshield they always splatter directly in the center of your field of vision? This “accuracy of aim” occurs far too often to be purely coincidental. I suspect they are graduates from Kamikaze Insect Institute who are intent on delivering their payload where it makes the most impact.

A close friend of mine would always make keen observations like, “It took guts to do that,” or, “I bet he doesn’t have the guts to do it twice.” Another favorite is, “What’s the last thing that passes through a bug’s mind when he hits your windshield?” I’m sure you can guess the answer. If not, bug me about it in the comment section.

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, our hostess is the renowned author and artist, The Belle of Belton, Shelley Kohlen Wisoff-Fields. If you’d like to participate in…

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Flux23

PHOTO PROMPT ©Jill Wisoff

Flux23 dropped to her knees, panting on the rooftop of the skyscraper. In seconds she morphed from a suit-wearing white male into herself. Brown hair and pale skin. A blue scaly patch behind her ear the only tell-tale sign of what she was.

The city lights blurred in front of her. She felt woozy. That little girl caught her unawares, staring at her, then at her father lying in a pool of blood. She threw the gun into an air vent. They’ll catch up to her. She would run anyway. Her life as an assassin for Nation444 was over.

99 words

 

Written for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Write a story in 100 words of less. Thanks to Jill Wisoff for this week’s prompt!

Every week I intend to write comedy, and everything but comedy finds its way onto the post. This week, it is sci-fi. Shapeshifters. Loosely based on the X-men character, Mystique.

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Mystique – shapeshifter

Not that kind of woman

 

 

Empty bed in the morning

Loneliness sleeps beside me in the space you left behind

Coffee and breakfast for one

Conversation echoes from memories playing like a movie in my mind

 

Sunlight streams through the window

Touching my skin but it leaves me cold and restless

because I keep wondering

How did I get here? Where did it all go wrong?

Throw my coffee down the drain

along

with all thoughts of you

 

I want to give up, call it a day

On this disappointment we call life

Is there someone that can help me?

Help me to get back up

But I’m not that kind of woman

Giving up is not something I’m good at

Maybe it’s enough to keep me going

Going in the dark

 

The nights are way too long

There ain’t enough movies to distract myself from calling you

Fall asleep to the sounds of Hollywood

I slept in your arms hearing you breathe, listening to every heartbeat

 

I want to run back to where I used to belong

Comfortable familiarity like a 90s sitcom

Let it be, I must move on,

better things ahead,

that’s where I belong

 

I wont give up, wont call it a day

On this disappointment we call life

Is there someone that can help me?

Help me to get back up

See I’m not that kind of woman

Giving up is not something I’m good at

Maybe it’s enough to keep me going

Going in the dark

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City of Bridges (The story behind my header image)

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Just one of many connecting bridges in the City of Bridges

 

Not all who wander are lost. And yet sometimes some of us who wander are lost. Lost in the daily grind and the call of the road, the ocean or the mountains is irresistible.

Ironically, travel makes me feel more at home. I am not as well-traveled as other globetrotters, but the places I’ve visited have left a mark on my soul. And I’ve decided to start sharing some of these experiences right here.

I’ve received many questions about the header image of my blog. And yes, it is a picture I took myself. While on a tour in Venice.

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Intriguing little bookshop.

 

I arrived in this Northern Italian city on Trenitalia, a comfortable intercity train, from Torino. If you ever go to Italy, go to Torino. This is my home in Italy. It doesn’t have the tourist sights and magic and commercial business attraction like the other cities. However, nestled on the border of Germany they have a unique culture blended from Germanic-Italian roots, that you won’t find anywhere else. And it is the home of Nutella. Need I say more?

Stepping out of the Santa Lucia train station I was hit by a sense of intense surrealism. Boats, gondolas, ferries right off the station steps took me into another world. I was tempted to stamp my feet on the ground, feel my face to make sure I was really there in person. And not in some kind of insane dream. There are no roads in Venice; I knew that. Yet to see this first hand was fantastic. In other cities, you exit the station onto the tarmac. Here, you just about step into the Grand Canal.

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The Grand Canal near Piazza San Marco

 

During a walking tour of Venice, our group squeezed through the tiniest calles (streets, or alley-like walkways unique to Venice). One particular calle was half a metre wide. I was still pondering the measurements of it when I passed by a doorway. Glancing inside as I walked past it I saw the most intriguing sight.

I was the last in the group so I didn’t stop. The others were not as impressed by this doorway as I was and had marched on ahead spilling out into a spacious courtyard. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I looked back and it called to me. Taking a risk of losing the group and getting lost in Venice, something which happens too easily in that maze of calles, I hurried back to the doorway.

The sight of moulding books, together with wheelbarrows, crates and a car bonnet was so unexpected that it was hypnotic. Also what was with those painted footprints? The postcard rack and table and chairs made it appear to be some kind of shop. But it was deserted. No shopkeeper. No customers. I longed to go inside, explore it and perhaps an eccentric bookshop owner will emerge with whom I could spend the entire afternoon talking. Over cappuccinos. I snapped a few pics, took one last longing look at this mysterious place and went back to the tour group who were already disappearing into another calle.

I intended to go back later that day. But Venice being what it is, you cannot navigate it easily. Not all the Calles have name signs, so even a map will not be much help. Tip: Google maps is not much better either. I glimpsed a man reading a map, turning it this way and that, looking at his surroundings, scratching his head. This was a sign which I ignored at my peril.

I did get lost in Venice. Later that afternoon. After the tour ended, I decided to explore, underestimating the complexities of the city walkways. Every courtyard looked the same. Hundreds of bridges and calles everywhere. When I thought I could retrace my steps I found myself on the other side of the city. By the Ponte Rialto bridge.

I panicked. My train back to Torino was leaving in half an hour. Not only that, but in another hour, dusk would fall and I had no desire to feel my way through the dark. Asking for directions didn’t help. Some suggested I take a boat on the Canal back to the station. But I needed to return back to my hotel to collect my backpack. Eventually, I found an old man reading a newspaper on a stool. I thought he was sitting idle, but it turned out he was watching his kiosk a few feet away. He was reluctant to help me get back to the station. I offered him money. He gladly changed his mind.

Already embarrassed at my situation it was even more embarrassing to find I could not keep up with the old man’s strides. Venetians are fit! With long graceful strides that are deceivingly brisk. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t drive to work and instead tramp along the cobbled calles every day to every place you need to go.

Half jogging behind him, shopping bags in hand full of souvenirs and gifts, I burst out in laughter when I finally saw the sign of my hotel. Thanking him in Italian, (it’s amazing what you remember in moments of panic or joy) I had five minutes to get to the station.

I never made it. Trains in Italy run on time. I was hoping for three minutes delay, but no such luck. As I ran into the station, the train pulled away. Forced to buy another ticket, I sat down and appreciated the fact that I had one more hour in this magical city.

Venice has many names. It is called City of Bridges or City of Canals. For me I will always remember it as the City that Humbled Me. Getting lost was one of the most frightening experiences of my life. And now as it’s unique little bookshop image squats happily on the header of my blog, it has taken up a literary space in my heart. Full of wonder, magic, possibilities and mis-guided adventures.

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A woman I met, took this photo of me in front of Basilica Di San Marco (Saint Mark’s Cathedral).