Monthly Archives: February 2018

Friday Flash – Strange

Category : Flash Friday , Stories

This Friday’s flash prompt from Claire was to type “strange pictures” into Google, and pick one as inspiration for a flash.  What this showed me is that people find many different things strange, and strange for someone might be perfectly normal for someone else, so, here’s my #FridayFlash

Strange Pictures

It always struck me, how the portrait of my great grandmother, the one that hung in the smoking room was never particularly, pleasant.  I suppose that was why it was in the smoking room, rather than the great hall, with all the other portraits. That, and of course, Great Grandma Gretel was the shame of the family.  She had been on the marches, argued the part of the slaves, once she threw a stone at a policeman.  True story.  Our family didn’t protest.  We were in the fortunate position not to need to.  We were well off, well respected and had no need to rebel, or incite change.  Anyway, Great Grandma Ethel disappeared, shortly after the portrait was painted, leaving Great Grandpa Bill with two children, and I can only imagine greatly relieved not to have a rebel living under his roof any more.

I often retired to the smoking room, no-one really used it, and I enjoyed the quiet.  I would sit and study the painting, sometimes chat to Great Grandma Ethel about my day, the things that pleased or annoyed me, what I was looking forward to, or what I was dreading.  No matter where I would sit, it seemed to me that Ethel was looking at me, really paying attention to what I was saying.  It was on such a day that the fire broke out.  I first noticed the smoke coming under the door, and opened it to the flames.  I let out a cry of panic, and was unable to shut the door again against the heat and the flames.  I rushed to the window to try and leave that way, but it was rusted shut.  The old house had fallen into disrepair.  The smoke was burning my lungs, everything was getting darker, and then I remember no more.

I awoke to see firemen staring at me, as though I was on a platform, above them.  I think I blinked, but can’t be sure.  A voice from behind me said quietly,

“Do not move until they’ve gone.”

I remained still, lying out, looking at them.

“What a strange picture,” one of them was saying. “See the woman in the background, she is in very old fashioned clothing, but the one at the front, she’s modern. Very out of place.”

“The whole thing is out of place,” another said. “See the farmer in the backdrop? He’s older again, whoever painted it did not research their history.  Come on, there’s no-one here, let’s go.”

When they were gone I looked up to see Great Grandma Ethel smiling down at me.

“The world I lived in was not for me,” she said quietly. “So I came here, to join my grandfather on his farm. I’ve enjoyed our talks, I hope you will be happy here.”

I blinked. I felt I probably would.

Friday Flash: Music

Category : Flash Friday , Stories

Today in our Sparkly Badger’s Group, the flash prompt from Claire read as follows:

Choose your favourite song, pick a smidgen of the lyrics and use that as your inspiration. Alternatively, choose an instrumental piece. Share your music & your flash in the comments below, no more than 1000 words.

My original problem was that songs already tell stories, so telling a different story was nearly impossible for my brain.  But then, a colleague dared me to write a flash about the song below, and I do enjoy a challenge. It’s more of a micro flash, but never say I don’t rise to a challenge…

Geoffrey the giraffe peered longingly over the treetops to the watering hole. There, with only her nostrils and ears poking out of the mud was Henrietta. Geoffrey had loved her from a distance for months, but had never had the courage to say so. His parents wanted him to settle down with Gloria, a giraffe from the neighbouring plain, but Geoffrey had never really been into giraffes, he preferred a filler, rounder figure. He…

Sadly for him, Henrietta was not interested in giraffe’s with a hippo fetish, or being anyone’s experiment, so Geoffrey was doomed to watch from a distance, never able to wade the swamp and dare allow his love to speak its name… Well, it was a bit weird, wasn’t it?!

This picture is shared from Wikipedia, under the creative commons license. It was taken by Derek Keats from Johannesburg, South Africa

Nursery Rhymes and Coffee

Category : Flash Friday

In our Sparkly Badgers Facebook group we have a weekly writing task called “Flash Friday”, no, not that kind of flash, perv. We are given a prompt and have to write some flash fiction based on it.

This week’s prompt is:

Think of your three favourite nursery rhyme characters. Have them meet in a coffee shop – what do they order? What do they talk about?

See if you can identify all the nursery rhymes I have squeezed in, and tell me in the comments!

Jill stumbled into to the coffee shop. It had not been a good day. She wanted coffee, and she wanted cake. She ordered a caramel latte and an almond croissant and seated herself in the big leather sofa next to the window. It was one of those tired old seats in which you sink much deeper than originally anticipated and getting out again seems like more effort than it’s worth. She was just contemplating whether she could reach her latte without serious physical jerks when a sheep jumped up next to her.

“Hey, hun,” Mary joined her. She had a vegan gluten free bakewell tart and a black coffee. “Sorry I’m late, traffic. Dave not here yet?”
“Not yet,” Jill tickled the lamb absentmindedly. “They don’t mind sheep?”
“Says no dogs,” Mary shrugged. “Nothing about sheep.” She pulled up a small velvet stool. The surface was worn, but the edges showed that it had once been a proud burgundy. “Here,” she passed Jill her drink. “Don’t strain yourself, how you feeling now?”
“Still bruised, but I’m lucky, Jack broke his crown.”
“Dentists aren’t cheap, either,” Mary observed sympathetically.
“Tell me about it. We have to go back again next week. Good job they’ve let us pay installments. I don’t know why we have to go up that hill for our water, we have a perfectly good tap.”
“Less chemicals,” Mary shrugged. “There’s Dave.” She waved.
“I’ll take chemicals over that bloody hill any day!” Jill grumbled. Reaching for her croissant she winced.
“Don’t talk to me about bloody hills.” Dave handed her here croissant before sitting in the high backed armchair opposite. “I’ve spent the entire morning marching up and down, up and down. No idea why. You ask me the grand old duke’s losing it.”
“Well, he is getting on a bit,” Mary observed. “You not having anything?”
“Panini,” Dave held out his hand to the lamb, which bleated and jumped off the sofa and up onto his lap. “We were up, then we were down. No bloody logic. Up down, up down. Except when he randomly stopped us in the middle of course, then we weren’t up or down.”
“Sounds thrilling.” Mary observed. “Maybe I should join join the army.”
“They wouldn’t let you have a sheep,” Dave observed.
“They don’t like it at school either,” Mary shrugged. “He followed me one day and the fuss they made. You’d think I’d brought a blackbird.”
“Don’t!” Jill said urgently. “Martha still hasn’t had her nose job.”
“I know, horrible,” Mary agreed. “I’m thinking of taking up gardening…”