Paris or Bust.

Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner week 28. Pick up your muse and write, read or join in. Post on the blue frog up to 200 words. press  here

Picture prompt from pixabay.

The easy jet from Paris was disembarking, any minute she’d bypass the baggage collection and speed her way into his arms. I see her looking, calm almost detached, her hand guides her carryon, a hard shell yellow case on wheels. Straightening my tie I breathe deeply, give a tug to the bottom of my uniform then step forward. Her face lights up, her eyes stop momentarily on his and like Judus he nods towards me.

Blond hair flopped over her eye as she turned her head to follow his nod, she sees me. “Mirrium Naughton please,” I direct her with an open palm towards customs. Her pupils enlarged, small beads of perspiration sat on her top lip. She whipped her head back to meet his gaze once more, “come with me.”

My first arrest in my new role was one I will never forget. Handshakes all round, my back slapped several times. But still, the bad taste coated my tongue each time I thought how easily her husband betrayed her.

What do you think she had done? pop your thoughts in the comments I can’t wait to read.

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The Documentary.

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Twigs snapped, right then left. Feet pounded and thumped against the parched forest floor. Sounds ricochet as they bounced off trees the echo distorting their direction. Crunch and snap, a rush of air squealed from twisted lips; lungs under pressure.

In my hide I watched the bazaar event unfold. A whoosh of wind lifted dust in a raging swirl; obscuring my view. A flash of red appeared in the clearing. Bent over, the writhing snarling beast set to work. Claws poised, jaw extended, thrusting, slurping and gnawing under the scarlet cloth.

An abrupt silence filled my head. Only the sound of my recording equipment quietly whirled; silent enough to go undetected by the creatures I usually document. I knew in that four minutes, what the people of Pompeii must have felt. Stock still, afraid a flutter of my lashes would alert my presence.

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It raised itself to its full height, turned with speed, the cloth fell leaving me shocked at the reveal. A crown of golden hair spilt free. It froze, cocked its head, alert, wired ready to pounce.

It shockingly spat a mouthful of guts and pulled a blood-soaked forearm across its mouth. All the time its green glowing eyes seemed focused on my hide. I watched, holding my breath as the evil being, shook, flicked its head and changed into a female youth. At her feet the remnants of a huge wolf.

I daren’t move, my life depended on the skill of holding my breath. She wiped her face and hands on the fallen cloth. Tied her hair back and swept the red cloak across her shoulders. While disguising the remnants of her supper beneath the debris on the forest floor with her feet.

My heartbeat as ragged as my breath began to calm. She pulled up her hood and humming a sweet tune sauntered through on through the forest swinging her basket.

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I shot an email to my producer attached copyright and a clip of the recording.

It paid off! I caught the transformation. No doubts. Amazing footage. Meet me at the helipad four am British meantime …………………

 

A twist on a fairy-tale it is a new challenge for me, I would love to know what you thought. Leave your thoughts and suggestions I will answer quick smart, I love to talk.

media on loan from https://www.pexels.com/@pixabay

I May have #Clothestraphobia.

I have a fear of being stuck in clothes … bear with me … I’m sure I am not the only one. I have been a spectator on many occasions in the past to this phenomenon, as a fashion retail manager. But only this morning, I became the subject of what I believe is Clothestraphobia.

Recently we took a few days away. Whilst we were there I took a liking to a garment. I spied the concoction, through the window of a quirky clothes shop in Bridport Dorset called Butterfly Boho.
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After many years as a regional trainer for a luxury brand, my shopping is coloured by how the layout of a shop works, how garments are displayed and windows are dressed; not to mention the service. Needless to say, those things can have me wandering for hours; rarely buying. All of the above baffles the husband. If you are ever around us at such a browsing session, you could possibly hear the words “For goodness sake just buy something” coming from the exasperated husband’s mouth, or the occasional expletive (for f*’s Sake Buy it!). More often than not I go on my own.

Last week he caught me gazing, heard me sigh and followed my look. Grabbing said bull by the horns, he strode in and made a purchase. Looking is not usually a good measure of shape or fit. looking and sighing is, however, a measure of wishing, hoping you would look like that mannequin if … you wore the garment. Bearing in mind you would need to be as firm, as that hard piece of physicality, perfectly shaped and as tall as that mannequin to get the same look … often that gaze and sigh is where it ends.

I thanked him very graciously, all the time hoping he hadn’t wasted his money. Secretly fearing my four-foot-eleven frame and all its wobbly bits would look like a sack of King Edwards, ones that have wrinkled and softened with age. In fact, I hoped I would be blessed by the garment once it was on, suitably disguised and my figure enhanced.

A few days have passed since we returned, ( to give me time for a manic starvation diet and detox) this morning after a bath ( imaginary steaming off/melting more blubber) I donned my prettiest underwear, brushed my flowing hair, and applied lip gloss to give myself the esteem trying on the new dress deserved.

This is where I attached myself to the word ‘Clothestraphobia. The garment is two dresses. One is an underdress, fixed just above the hem on the inside but seperate everywhere else. The top layer is voluminous and has hitches and tucks that make it quirky. Picture of the garment below.

I love the different; after years of looking the part while working in fashion. I now try to be … alternative.
Things didn’t go to plan. The first mistake was stepping into it. Nevertheless, I did. Somehow I dropped the inside layer during entry and put my foot in the underskirts armhole. I know, hard to believe that but I did.

Continuing to pull it up and put my first arm in resulted in the other arm/leg hole tangling around my knee; horrific. By now I could hear the sound of belly scratching, stumbling and yawning as the husband, disturbed no doubt by my grunts and bangs, began to wake. Not wanting to be caught in a state of inelegant pose, I dropped my free arm and head inside. I thrust my hand in the inner skirts free arm hole and tried to stand. Now thoroughly stuck with my arm bent like a flipper above the head which is covered by the outer layer … I begin to move crab-like. With a now inner layer being pulled around my crotch, made tighter by the act of me trying to stand.

Below is a picture was taken of me while trying to show the reproduced moment. Though I really couldn’t get quite as tangled as I truly was.

My face was hot and my husband could be heard flushing the chain. At first, I felt a little bubbling in the depths of my throat, I remember thinking … NO! I shuddered when the filthiest laugh startled me, I hiccupped several times. Uncontrollable laughter took over, I wandered bumping into furniture while trying to twist my body free; doubled up inside the dress.
A tangle of hair, red cheeks and smeared lippy eventually looked into the eyes of a stunned husband. As only Ellen would. I said, “Thank you for that .. tea?” I pulled on my dressing gown without looking at what I know was a bemused face with a crumpled dress in his hand. We Sat, silently sipping our morning tea. You could hear a fly batting off the glass on the stable door.

I sniffed straightened my back and said, “well, things can only improve” he nodded, then slowly shook his head. That dear readers … is “Clothestraphobia”.

Have you suffered this affliction? Or assisted in the extraction of someone suffering? Let me know that I am not alone.

p.s. all photographs are the product of my own zapping.

A Seat In The Bleak.

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Thank you Sue Vincent for the photo this week and the opportunity.  Press here To join in this weeks prompt. #WritePhoto

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Bleak, some say this view is bleak, the empty to me isn’t empty. The sky speaks of things to come and hints at things just past. I gaze thoughtfully while digging deeper into my pockets dipping my chin so the zipper scratches my nose. My quiet contemplating place; perched on crag like a bird with its feathers ruffled. Hair whips my cheeks and stiffens in the biting wind. My eyes struggle to see as far as I want them to. But here, the whoosh of the sea, the lapping of water against rock and the voices on the wind … comfort me.

Hours pass with me inside my head, the imagery sharp as Italic ink on paper.  The sky darkens, reflections flicker, horses lick, their white manes they flash and curl atop the surf and I am reminded of where I am. Cleansed and at peace I raise myself, soles firmly grip into roughness of rock, gouging in to keep me from slipping as I head back.

At first barely a glimmer of light shines from the tiny house creeping between badly pulled curtains. The rusted swing squeaks in the wind; the taste of salt lingers. I open the oak door, stamp my shoes on the coconut matting and strip off the sodden outer layer. His head lifts and kind eyes take me in, his book thumps closed as he makes way for me to join him. Tom pats the cushion next the fire on the double club chair. “Come, let’s get you warm,” his eyes crinkle as they do when he looks into mine. “You look rested now, how anyone comes back from such a bleak unforgiving spot looking as you do … I will never know.” Tom rubbed my feet between his hands twisted a strand of salt encrusted hair behind my ear and said … ” I love you Eve.”

With all my worries blown into perspective, I inhale the stew I have cooking on the stove, the bread Tom has put to warm. “Shall we eat, then I will tell you a new fireside story, one brought to me on a gust of wind.” I say. We clatter to the table amidst the spitting of logs laughing at the days turn of events. Knowing tomorrow my bleak will refresh me once more.

Do you have a place? I would love to know, leave me yours in the comments.

 

An Educated Walk

To join Rochelle’s prompt press ‘here’

A hundred miles I walked. Stinking dirty miles, in shoes that didn’t fit. The right too tight, reminding me, squeezing too much in leaves little space to breathe.

The left, two sizes too big, rubbed raw my foot. It made me bleed until it seeped through the lace holes and rolled back the skin, but on I walked.

It taught me to say no, to leave room to be kind, so I can grow a better man.

It taught me, never to be too proud to admit, this is too big for me.

It needn’t hurt to learn that lesson just take an educated walk.

Thanks for the Photo @Sarah Potter

The bike.

Emily took her helmet and silently slid the bifolds back to reveal the garden. Her once warm face received a blast. left with pink cheeks and a pinched nose which she wiggled as she fastened the helmet neath her chin. She closed the doors, pleased to have paid extra for the silent sliders. Emily heard the first birds of the day and spied a squirrel munching below the hazel. She filled her nostrils with Autumn, felt the frost in the air; mingled with wood-smoke in the wind. Emily marched down the path to the back of the cart lodge. A light caught the handlebars, a ribbon of anticipation bubbled in her chest she smiled to herself. Her leg thrown over the saddle and fingerless gloves took the chill from the grips; she was away.

Slowly, she passed the Beech hedge its copper leaves dangled precariously from the boughs. A row of horse-chestnuts were almost naked. The huge trees ran fifty yards down the length of the beech hedging, interspersed with red Hazel. Emily could only smile on such a day as this, she knew there was something magical in the air and had always loved the first ride of the season.

Oblivious to the crunch of leaves quickening behind her, or the raggedy breath wheezing puffs of cloudy air. She meandered, gazing at the sunrise and its colours spread over the fields.

She sensed danger rather than saw him, the taste of fear on her tongue. Emily peddled faster but as speed picked up, her bike was tugged hard. Over the handlebars, she drifted slow motion it seemed. The thud was the last thing she remembered as the world spun blue and green.

With a twist of her head, pain shot up her spine as the darkness enveloped her. She didn’t know what hit her. The lining of her nose stung with the scent of bitumen and burned wood. Prone on a bed of coal she lay, tears ran freely into her hair and her ears filled. One shake of her head cleared her ears but caused spasms of pain to ricochet into her toes. All she could see were sun rays bursting through the grid, way above her head.

The photo/ prompt is Sue Vincents #writephoto to be found here. The gif is taken from a short animated Oscar-winning film called ‘Father and daughter’ to be found on youtube.

My short is open to an ending or maybe it is the beginning of what?

The Bird Was Witness.

ALERT! This flash does contain two swear words, I do not wish to offend therefore am letting you know before you read. This is a refreshed #flash from Nov 2016.

Photograph by permission of Derrick J knight. Thank you once more.

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A bird sat high on top of a telegraph pole, its black shape stark against the sky, I watched it through the steam on the window. With my palm flat against the glass, I cleared a better view; while my novel was clenched snug under my armpit. Sitting in the window seat reading I could zone out the sounds of the room and breathe easy.

Then it started… “Ange, Ange, come here now! come to me bitch”. I looked at the bird looking back at me and placed my book on the windowsill. The card game was getting rowdy, ”Angie” he shouted, warily I approached, “What Tom, what do you want? “ He grabbed my waist and tugged me into his lap, laughing, that sneery false laugh I grew to hate. Fear ran up my neck as he made a show of me in front of his mates.

He looked at them and pinched my chin as he forced my head to face them. Tom wrenched my hand between my shoulder blades. “Here boys, have you ever seen such a miserable cow… eh eh?” his grasp was cruel, his breath thick with stale booze and cigarettes. I felt the spray from his mouth warm as he spoke against my ear. Tom released my arm and pretended to tickle, but he dug and prodded with force, my cheeks flushed and prickles ran up my spine. My legs jerked as he stabbed his fingers deep between my ribs. The table caught by my ankle shifted, cards scattered as it righted itself with a thump. I struggled, kicking my denim clad legs in retaliation his fingers jab jabbing painfully; as his temper deteriorated.

The mood instantly changed, Stan leapt up threw his hand on the table, he kicked a spent chubby and took the Iou’s in his calloused hands and tore them; throwing the pieces like confetti in the air. “Fuck this you knob”, he booted the table over…”I’m off” he shouted. Pictures rattled as he banged the door. Mark and Des were worse for wear, swaying, they glanced from one to the other and back, both stumbled to the door in pursuit.

One swift movement had me flat on the floor with a swaying Tom above me. “You fuckin bitch, you just had to, didn’t you? Each word was punctuated with a kick and a gob from his mouth. The first one caught the bone of my hip the second connected with my thigh as I struggled lobster like across the carpet. A flurry of pokes, punches and kicks came thick and fast, he crushed my lips into my teeth with a direct punch. Stubbies bounced and rolled about like Otters at play, I spat two teeth onto the carpet which got his attention, it gave me a chance to swallow some air.

From the corner of my eye, I caught sight of the bird, me looking at it, it looking at me. Ashamed at this spectacle being seen. Me, a weak victim, small and helpless. Somehow the thought made me gather myself. I grabbed a bottle and scrambled to my feet. Holding the neck with cramped fingers I drew my arm out to the side. I remember screaming “No” He lunged forward teeth barred. I screwed my eyes tight and swinging right to left the bottle connected. Phlegm hit full in my face and mingled with the tears and blood that dripped from my jaw. As if I was a character in a novel, in slow motion the bottle cracked him below his left ear and flipped from my grasp. His eyes bulged, snot flew from his nose as he fell back. Stretching myself forward fingers splayed I tried to grab him before he fell, but only caught air. His head thudded against the leg of the upturned table and he dropped. Blood puddled behind his head and a lone trickle dribbled from the side of his gaping mouth.

Unable to look, I turned my head to face the window. I could see him, the bird, looking at me. He seemed to bob his head like a gentleman does when he catches your eye in acknowledgement. He ruffled his feathers and continued his pose.

I felt the vibration of feet through the floor when I dialled 999. “Police and ambulance, I can’t hear you… I think he is dead, we are at 42 Granby street, come quick *hiccough* please”. Still holding the phone the door flew from its hinges the room filled with uniforms and bodies. A policeman shook me, grabbed the phone and spoke into it. My ears and head were ringing but I could only see angry faces as lips moved silently and Tom lay still, and only the bird was witness.

What do you think, was she in the wrong ? please leave any comments as they are my wages for writing and each one is valued and replied to swiftly. Have a great week.

As My Tea Gently Steeps.

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I saw his reflection as he slid a hand along the wall craning his neck to look at my back. I stood at the kitchen sink pretending oblivion. He bobbed his head twice to check, he thought me stupid, blind to his presence, then he continued upstairs.

We at the guild of women had been warned, don’t answer the door to strangers, keep them locked, chains on. They failed to tell us what to do if in broad daylight the bastard jimmied your door, knife in hand, bag up his shirt. I hummed gently, cloth in hand I wiped the sill.

The sun hit my Rhododendron as he dragged his feet down the landing. A squirrel chased a chaffinch from the feeder when he knocked Fred’s picture from my bedside table and said “ fuck” his filthy mouth next to our bed.

The kettle whistled as he rushed from room to room. I put on the radio, clenched my fist to steady my hand. When I relaxed my jaw a taste of metal filled my mouth but I carried on… The pot warmed  the tea leaves steeped. I flinched as he slammed my door stealing my memories, leaving his stench in my home, my Fred broken beside my bed.

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This is a post a story from last year I believe deserves a second chance I hope you  agree.  

A serious piece seen from inside the mind of an eighty something widow. How cruel of me to place my vulnerable character in such a wicked position, but they are there, hiding, and scared, often alone. If this micro story makes you think of someone in your neighbourhood differently; then my job is done. Do you keep an eye on a person in your street, or do you know of a  person like her. I’d like to know your thoughts please let me know in the comments bye for now 😇👋👋👋;) . 

‘My Scared

The picture prompt is on loan from Michelle Terry. Many thanks and good luck to the scribblers.

A thousand nightmares and endless councillors later… I faced the elephant in the room, or maybe it was the room in the elephant.

Mum’s eyes were huge and I remember thinking that it would be awful if they popped right out. I am not sure how old I was back then when she tied a tea towel around my face. But I can recall it clearly, It had white lettering across a blue band on a pure white unstained cloth, I remember it hanging in the kitchen but never used, it was special, a for looking at cloth. So I couldn’t see and with my legs straddling her hip, she clutched me tight as the cold air made me shiver. There was a frantic juggling of my bones as she ran for what felt like hours; maybe in circles. Eventually, she stopped and whispered, ‘I have to hide you to make you safe’, I couldn’t stop my teeth from tapping but I thought if she took the cloth off she wouldn’t have left me. I know, she would have seen ‘my scared’ and taken me back home.’My scared’ as I remember calling it, was the way I felt and it was huge that day when she said, ‘best not to make a noise’ she didn’t sound like Mum, her voice was cracked and growling. As she lowered me to the floor I felt my legs get warm and wet which made her dig her nails in the tops of my arms her breath was damp on my cheek as she snarled “Filthy bitch’. I heard the door close, rattle and a click. Some memories are precise almost intricate, while others are feelings, like wisps of smoke I can’t hold on to.

As clear as day I remember how my belly ached, my throat burned and my tongue had stuck to my own mouth before she returned. Many dark visits with no words followed, I had noticed her hair became matted and often covered her face, she would push a cup across the floor and quickly she left. I learned to do my toilet in the farthest corner of my room but after five or so cups of lukewarm soup or oats my waste travelled across the mud floor; eventually covering me. My hair got stiff, I scratched my head until it bled and scabbed…I had sores on my sores.

I can’t, doctors say, (or I refuse) to remember much more; until the end. I told them how It was never day or night just dark and dank. It sometimes would just come, a memory that is, swooping from nowhere. One such memory was how I once I grabbed her, I tried to kiss her, how she screamed and punched me, my chest hurt as my back made contact with the wall. A long time passed maybe weeks, I couldn’t tell, but when she returned, my stomach hurt so much that I couldn’t crawl to my dirt corner or lift my head. Mother, I stopped thinking of her as that a long time before, but on that visit, I thought she had come back to me. I had awoken to a damp warm cloth scrubbing my face, then she spoiled it. She pulled my lids apart stared at me, her face crumpled as she swore, and phlegm hit my full in the face before she left. I thought at the time she didn’t want me to look back. Later, a tin mug of thin soup and a huge crust of bread was put through the door. I opened one of my eyes; the other was stuck and didn’t want to, I saw her dirty bony hand bring them in, just her hand as she pushed them across the soiled floor, but couldn’t move, so never ate them.

Now fourteen years on my fully grown up self, on my twenty-first birthday, I am a stronger woman, a woman who mostly dreams of the arms of the paramedic who came to my Mothers aid, who found more than expected, who undoubtedly was my knight in shining armour.

I return to my prison to face what went before. Bile fills my throat, my eyes begin to involuntarily leak and I vomit behind the swing frame over and over. In the garden, I scan the scene and wonder who if anyone played there while I was away with ‘My scared’ in that place. What shocks me most is the proximity to the house, she would have seen my room from the back door, could have stopped ‘my scared’ in a second… had she been well enough.

I enjoyed the prompt and felt a snapshot was enough but I may return to this for a bigger project at a later date.Did you feel her fear? Did I help you visualise her surroundings? Leave me a comment I will reply as soon as I can.

The Connection

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She sat, on a low wall three bricks high. A wall that once was tall, now it’s a crumbled remnant beside the main road. She wore wrinkled long socks, one higher than the other. They offered no protection against the easterly wind; that bitter December day. Her ditsy floral skirt flicked against the already chaffed skin leaving pink welts. A grey knitted cardi hung from her shoulders, the sleeves clenched tight in her hands as she waited. Flat barren fields of East Anglia solid from the morning frost were inviting her gaze, eyes glassy and wide, unblinking.

I noticed her many times as we flashed by on the way to Norwich. Each time we’d go I would see her, with pain in her shape; a stillness about her. Once we stopped at the village shop, while I waited I asked her story. The postmistress said, ” She’s about forty a local she is… not been herself since her daughter… some says she were taken and others say different.” Slowly she shook her head as she stamped my letters. “Only six she was, her girl. Where she sits, it’s where she waited that day and every one since, for the school bus to bring her; she never came home.”

On one occasion I stopped, pulled the car into the lay-by. I walked over and took a space on the rough wall alongside her, leaving a gap of two bricks between us. A respectful gap I thought. I gazed across the flat land as she did. “Hello, are you… Are you okay?” I felt a tug, a connection, fleeting though it was. She sat unmoved, undaunted by my presence. I felt the cold from her, saw the fogged breath, I could taste her sadness. An overwhelming urge to reach her enveloped me. Determinedly I unzipped my parka, putting it beside her I untied my wool scarf and wriggled my fingers free of the gloves. “Please, your skin is blue, take these, they’re for you.” I shouted, as the wind whistled by my ears and bit the end of my nose. The pile almost touched her chest; I began to tremble, a feeling of despair, soaked into me. Her eyes flickered as I put the clothes in her lap. “I don’t need them, can you hear me?” A pat to reinforce the point made her flinch, and with a straight back but without a second glance I returned to the car. She hadn’t moved as we passed her, the bundle propped on her lap, her glassy eyes staring forward. Alone, she sat.

That day, the clouds gathered so swiftly that everyone around the conference table stared at the snow. The CEO said “Due to the change of weather we will take a working lunch. The sooner I get you home the better.” I remember hoping she had put the clothes on and wondered if anyone could relieve her… because of the weather. I couldn’t get her out my mind, her eyes, the liquid that refused to drop but puddled in her lids as if scared to fall. Her forlorn image haunted me.

On the return journey we stopped next to the wall. I remember the wipers swished, the flakes came hard and fast, but she wasn’t there. Pleased to think her in the warm I began to feel better.

In the spring my job took me once more to Norwich. We stopped at the place, next the road. Amongst the grass which grew in the crumbled brick, wedged between the cracks was bunch of brown withered flowers tied with a bright woollen scarf. The connection had forever made its mark, imprinted forever in my heart.

This was entered into the bloggers bash competition 2017. I am thrilled to say my story was the winner. I am both pleased and honoured to have my work chosen.

Being able to meet everybody in real life (opposed to virtually) at the #BloggersBash2017 in Westminster London. An award ceremony organised and attended by a superb bunch of brilliant bloggers (I couldn’t resist a good alliteration).

I hope you like my flash fiction as much as the judges did.