The Mystery Of The Night Bus

Stella had stopped on the corner of a crossroads, her phone pressed into her cheek. “I can find my own way, no, I don’t need help, I just wanted someone else to know where I was, you know, precautions and all. Honest, just covering my back, being responsible, a cautious daughter. I will, I will, yes, I’ll send a text once I get back. Yeah, love you too, bye Mum.”

She felt her mascara run as the light rain made her eyes water. > It’s good that it’s too dark for anyone to see me. What a state I must look, < She thought as she rubbed at her eyes with a screwed up piece of used tissue found in the pocket of her pale pink faux fur jacket. A half-laugh left her as she stuffed her phone in her silver clutch bag and click-clacked her way to a bus shelter she could see illuminated by one flickering bulb in the distance. At least she would be dry. Even she knew, standing on a street corner dressed in pink fluff and sequins at way past midnight was not the most sensible thing to be doing.

Sella had a smashing night, dancing at the club. It was great just her and her bestie, gyrating and giggling like when they were kids at the school disco. Until her fellah came. Jenny twitched and became shy, almost childlike. “Stell, this is my Gavin.” Stella frowned, stuttered, then had to shout to be heard over the music. “Jen, I thought it was just us. I am crashing with you in your bedsit. At least that was the plan?” Stella loved planning and needed to know what she would be doing next. When and how was the minimum, the basic stuff. “Gav missed me.” She said, lifting her arms as if doing some sun salutation or worshipping a sky-bound deity. Jen was promptly gathered up for a session of face sucking, right there on the dance floor. Stella was mad. A studio pad was not a place she wanted to be. Not if the demonstration in front of her was a prelude to the main event. So Stella left the club. That was how she ended up on a wet night in town, in the early hours of the morning, alone. … Dressed like a Christmas tree.

Stella tried to read the timetable, it was not helped by the flickering light. It seemed there was a bus. The night bus, but it gave no destination or times. She shivered as she tugged off her jacket and shook some of the rain from the fur, then pulled it back on. Fastening it firmly around her against the wind. A taxi passed with its light off > probably finished for the night she thought < All she could do is sit and wait for the night bus and take it from there.

A rowdy bunch, of mostly blokes, poured out of a building. They were staggering, jeering, pushing and shoving each other. Some stumbled into the road and were getting closer. “Ello darling on yer lonesome then.” A wolf whistle and shouts got louder the closer they came. “cor, I could, yeah, c’mon shows us what you’re selling.” shouted another. Stella pretended to call the police and spoke loudly down the mouthpiece. “Yes, a bunch of louts officer come right away!” A bloke at the back of the group shoved them along. He nervously checked behind as they passed. Soon they were out of sight, but she could still hear them in the distance. Usually, Stella was confident and strong. That night, she was decidedly uncomfortable and felt vulnerable. Tugging her skirt down, Stella pressed her bum into the rickety wooden bench. She twitched at each sound. The passing street cat startled her everything felt like a threat. The hiss of air from the buses brakes made her jump only then did she realise the night bus had arrived.

Stella hadn’t heard or seen it coming. Cautiously she approached the doors they unfolded with a whoosh. “Hello, can you tell me where you’re going, where you stop, please?” She put one sparkly foot inside the bus. looked up and down the aisle. “This is my last stop tonight, but as you can see, she’s empty. Where are you wanting to go?” Tom, was written on his name badge, had friendly eyes and a soft voice. “I um, … Stapleton, about six miles from here.” She flinched as her teeth nipped the inside of her lip. “No problem, I know it well, Stapleton it is. Make yourself comfortable I will have you home in no time.” She fumbled in her bag for her season ticket, swiped it on the pad and took a seat.

Now, if you were to meet Stella today, she would tell you, there seemed all but a minute between the whooshing of air as the doors closed to leave that bus stop and the hissing of brakes as he stopped and called, ” last stop, please disembark.” His bus pulled up right outside her door. Though she never told him where she lived. Stella would say that when she inquired, the council told her, the night bus was a pilot project supposedly run by volunteers in the 1970s. After only a month, it folded. The scheme was never funded and didn’t catch on. She would tell you that in the library archives, after investigating, she found that the bus shelter had long been taken down and replaced with a bus stop sign more than a decade past.

The above vignette is in response to Esme’s monthly picture prompt #3, the link to join in or read other responses is in the link under the picture of the bus. I hope you enjoy reading them. Have you ever travelled alone and been scared or uncomfortable please let me know, leave a comment in the box I love to chat?”

Put Out To Grass.

The crop snapped his flank,

the pop spurred him on,

His acclaimed turn-of-foot

would deliver his swansong.

A snort a twitch

The winning post Past

At the final stroke

This race would be his last.

Put out to grass

Racing finished

Time to shine gone

No friends to race

Or bowls of mash

No roar of the crowd or

heads to clash.

In this meadow

Grinding grass all day,

does he swat memories like flies away.

does he miss the cheers

Strings of horses nose to tail

Or is he happy to watch the red Kite sail.

This was for Charli Mills 99 word flash fiction prompt press https://carrotranch.com/2021/09/17/september-16-flash-fiction-challenge-2/ to join in or simply read all the responses.

Baking Her Way To Fame

By pixels

After watching The Great British Bake-Off, Sarah decides to self-tape her efforts to launch a cooking show. The next Nigella, she mused Mary Berry of East Anglia. She planned and tried recipes for days hoping to perfect a bake that would stun and make her go viral on Instagram or Tick-tock. Eventually, Sarah settled on simplicity after all, just how hard can a limoncello cream stuffed choux balls wedding cake, a Croquembouche be.

A new apron couldn’t disguise the abject failure of her bake. She now is a star on tick-tock as ‘The Comedy Baker.”

This was written for Charlie’s 99 word prompt press the 》Link here 《 to join in or read.

Cigarette Smoke and Bad Memories

To join in or just read -> Prompt here

On the anniversary, she hung her dress at the window. From her mattress, she watched the morning sun catch the turquoise fabric making it shimmer. She studied it through a haze of thick Cigarette Smoke.

The dress was the cleanest thing in there. The dress still bore the stain of his urine. Time had turned the intricate chiffon bodice a dirty shade of chartreuse.

Such a glorious name ruined as she had been ruined. It wasn’t only the prom he spoiled, but herself, her innocence and the only connection to family that she had left, her Grandmother’s beautiful dress.

September 2, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to the theme, “not everyone fits a prom dress.” You can take inspiration from Ellis Delaney’s song, the photo, or any spark of imagination. Who doesn’t fit and why? What is the tone? You can set the genre. Go where the prompt leads!

Led more by the picture I hope it sufficed to fit the requirements. Leave a comment please I just love to talk. x

Respond by September 7, 2021

The Day Tommy learns to fish

Tom grabbed his Mothers hand his eyes as big as saucers. Over his shoulder was a keep net and his three legged seat was planted close to Dad’s big rod where he concentrated on baiting a hook with wriggling maggots. “Mummy,” Tom whispered, “if we catch this one can I just have one fish finger for tea please.”

Gone Fishing

This is the last photo on my roll, taken at the #RedRoosterfestival and in response to Esme’s prompt #2 To take the last pic on the camera roll and write a short story or rhyme go where the prompt takes you. PressThis to join in or read.

Did you have a funny Story when you were small, leave me something in the comments and I will get right back

It Was An Express Delivery.

One, two, three Argggh! > Pant pant pant whhphoooo <. The Midwife passed a glass of ice and a cloth to cool her fevered brow. Furrows crease his handsome face. His eyes bright with disbelief, from glass to cloth he looks and snaps shut his gaping maw.

Nonchalantly he raises his body from the chair, hands his wife the cloth stoops to kiss 💋 the air. The pain swung in she pushes hard and fierce, Scowling Mama puffs and blows; a roar disturbs his peace. Midwife now between her legs sits on her swivel stool, tells her it is far to late to use the birthing pool.

Lunch consumed, ear buds removed, he finishes a last slurp of wine. Strolls across to hold her hand and whisper in her ear. “I forgot desert … have I time? She glares and said “shall I make it clear!” A push, a scream, the cord is cut, an express delivery is done. Together they smile, and greet a bouncing baby son.

July 17th / 31st. use the prompt above to make, craft, write, paint or cook something inspired by the picture. Thank you for prompt #1 Esme Slabs of #SIPB Facebook group.

Presshere to read and join in.

A tongue in cheek delivery, do you know of one to tell? Answers in the comments please … I can’t wait to read.

Having A Chin wag.

Having a chin wag means to chat, talk or gossip. I try to paint a picture of an area of an industrial town in Northern England in the 1950s. I am using a smattering of dialect to paint a picture.

My question is was it enough? Would it be better without? Looking forward to your answers in the comments. “As I am known to enjoy a bit of a *chin-wag* with you.”

There they were the two of em, hanging over the garden fence; arms folded. Florrie’s were under her tiny breasts; maybe to push them up; pretend like, making out she had more. She was long, stringy almost, she wore a pinny and a cotton square covered her hair. Mum, though she was no better than she should be … flaunting her coral lip stain and seamed stockings. What I could see of it her hair was yellow, oh and them teeth … they jiggled about as she spoke; *me mam* said it made her retch. Then Mum would.

Mavis well she was different, Gramps would say “like chalk and cheese those two” I love Granddad, Me Pops as I call him, he had lots of funny sayings. If he liked something he would slap his knees double-handed and call out “That’s champion *lass*, rite *champion*.”

Down the Ginel.

‘Anyhow, back on track, where were I, Oh yes, Mavis. Short n’ stocky with fat knees. You’d see them knees, when she cleaned the windows, dimpled like dumplings. The lads down the Ginel said they looked through letterbox last Summer, seen her naked thighs as she washed by the kitchen sink. “Like *gert* big hands of ham they were” laughed Smithy. My Mum says it isn’t often you’d see them knees … because she’s not too particular about the housework. Then Mum would, she has a sharp tongue, my Mum. Mavis has pin curls peeking from under her scarf. Tinged, more of a dirty grey colour, from the coal fire I expect. That lass is as short as she is wide, wears a fancy wrap around pinny; not many had one of them. I can’t help me sen, so I snigger at her wrinkled stockings and get a clip round the *earlug*; a backhander for doing so. Her roundness comes from having ten kids. Six were lads, all gone and grown now. We live in back to back houses, terraces with Ginels behind. On Monday Morning if School was out, I’d sit astride the sill with a book; the sun warms my skin right through the glass. Mum told us when we were kids “It’s God kissing you.” I am not so sure about that.

They, Florrie and Mavis, think I’m reading. Really I am watching, and listening, you’d be surprised what I hear; looking down at the backs. Those two, over the fence putting the world to rites … having a good old chin-wag. Got to go now, Mam’s got my Pop’s snapping ready, I’ll take it up the allotment to him, he is busy after all; digging us tea. I better have my wits about me in the Ginnel, that Smithy boy, he’d likely have his hand in my liberty-bodice if I loitered. Catch you another time tatty bye.                 

No copyright infringement intended.

This post was very different first time around. Reworked, new dialogue and a new character in Old Jack. I hope you enjoy the changes as much as I. “comment please it is fun to talk.”

*earlug* = ear, *Gert* = big, *Champion* = magnificent, *Tatty bye* = farewell, for now, *Ginel* = secreted alley, *lass*= young girl, Having a *chin-wag* = a gossip or a chat.

eye-of-the-beholder-ff-meme-89404249.jpg
Rochelle’s newest prompt is live #FridayFictioneers have on loan the picture below, many thanks to Yvette Prior who owns the copyright. Click HERE to read more or join in the fun.

Charlotte looked at her coffee table disgusted. In the otherwise pristine apartment, the table was Alien to her. Clutching her head in her hands she rocked, gently wiped her face with an old sodden discarded tissue. She threw it as viciously as anyone could. Another fad diet from her latest magazine, four days of cigarettes, whiskey and sugar lay next to the vomit bowl. How gullible am I that I would even try it, she cried. Charlotte only needed to lose two stone to fit in the bridesmaids dress, to be perfect for once. Or so she thought.

Have you gone to extreme’s to lose weight? Been sucked in by bogus fad diets? I would love to hear from you, drop it in the comments I will get back quick smart!

Four Wasted Days.