This week’s flash fiction prompt from our Sparkly Badgers writer group was Falling. As I was writing it on #ShakespeareSunday (a Twitter hashtag thing) I decided to write a poem in iambic pentameter. Just FYI, iambic pentameter is REALLY hard… Anyway…


It’s stupid. I mean, I am an adult.

I work a 9 to 5 in a dull job.

I had a plan. This so isn’t the plan.

I’ve completely lost control. I’m falling.

Literally and figuratively.

Probably not metaphorically.

Can you metaphorically fall, though?

No idea. This isn’t a metaphor.

I don’t even remember how it started.

I can’t recall who started it, or why.

I can’t remember when things were normal.

They must have been at one point, mustn’t they?

I think shouldn’t have opened the note.

But if I hadn’t, if I’d just ignored…

What would my life even be if I had?

I’d still be in control, I know that much.

I wouldn’t be falling. Ears ringing loud.

Earth plummeting towards me. Wind so hard.

I cannot see, hear or think. This is it.

It’s over. I’m going to crash. I knew.

Always knew. It was inevitable.

I have always been so guarded ‘til now.

And now it’s over. My end’s nearly here.

It’s my fault. I know it is. I can’t stop.

Then I hear your voice in my ear. Cool, calm.

“Pull the shoot,” you say. “The chord on your left.”

I remember, I’m not falling alone.

I pull the chord and jolt. My decent slows.

We’re falling together. I’m not alone.

Falling’s not so bad if you’re falling too.


I haven’t done a Friday Flash for a while, but I’ve felt a bit blocked.  These are characters from my current WIP, A Walk in the Park.  This flash may find its way into the finished novel, or may just serve as background – I don’t know yet.  I do know that the prompt of Landscapes, managed to get me writing again, and I feel excited about my characters again.  Hopefully, you like it too.  Let me know what you think.








“Don’t get me wrong,” Cathleen was lying on her side, face propped on her hand, studying Jules. “I understand the point of landscapes. They didn’t have cameras, it was a way of capturing a moment, recording it. But really, it’s just copying. Anyone can copy.”

“It’s also a way of appreciating beauty,” Jules turned her head to gaze at Cathleen. This had happened far too fast, she wasn’t this person, was she? “People appreciate beauty in different ways.”

“They do,” Cathleen was studying her as though she was memorising her. The contours of her face, her body.

“Stop it!” Jules rolled over, suddenly self conscious and began to gather up her clothes.

“Where are you going?” Cathleen sat up, totally comfortable in her own skin.

“Nowhere,” Jules said over her shoulder as she hauled on her t-shirt and hopped into her jeans. “I just don’t like being naked in the middle of the day!”

“Hmm.” Cathleen made a sort of non-commital noise and continued to study her.

“I’d better not see myself in the next exhibit you do,” Jules warned, half joking, half not. “I’ll know, no matter how abstract you make it!”

“Some things are private.” Cathleen stretched languidly and climbed from the bed. “I’d rather have you there in person,” she smiled and took Jules’ hands.

“I… um…” Jules found herself struggling for words under the intense gaze. Suddenly her phone began to beep. She started as though remembering she was awake. “Shit! I have a meeting!” She pulled away and began to hunt for her shoes.

“Fine,” Cathleen took on a mock sulky tone. “Just leave me here with my paints.”

“I’ll call you later,” Jules offered.

“Yes, do, I’m not easy, you know.” Cathleen laughed. She’d already set a canvas up on an easel. “I think I’ll do a landscape, I feel inspired to capture beauty.”

Vehicles and Torsos

Well, today’s #FlashFriday prompt was vehicles.  I, however, never being one to turn down a dare, promised Debbie McGowan that I would include a naughty scene with a torso, which I have dutifully done.  This post, therefore, contains naughty bits, so you have to be over 18 to read it. If you aren’t over 18, please go away and come back when you are. Thanks.

So, for those of you who have been following Grumpy Badger Guides, you may recognise a theme here… ahem..

It even has a cover, thanks to the incredibly talented A.M. Leibowitz.

Jamie ran his fingers tentatively down the smooth torso.  It was warm to the touch, and so hard. He hadn’t expected it to be so hard.  It shifted slightly under his touch, so he took it more firmly, a hand on either side, gripping it.  Leaning in he cautiously touched it, first with his nose, then with the tip of his tongue, exploring the contours, abs, chest, neck.  It was exciting. He’d never done anything like this before. He shifted in the back of the car. His excitement was growing, it was so intense.  He had to unbutton his jeans or he might just burst. The pressure of his swelling member against his fly was just too much to bear. He sighed as he released himself.  The torso shined in the sunlight that had been beating down on it through the car window. It was time.

“Oi!” A woman’s voice called from behind him.  “What are you doing in my car, weirdo?”

Jamie spun around, pulling the torso out with him to cover his front area.

“And what are you doing with my mannequin?” She sounded hysterical.

“I’m sorry…” Jamie stammered.  “It was just in there and I couldn’t resist… It’s so smooth and…”

“Oh, Christ!” The woman went grey, suddenly realising what was going on.  “You’re the bloke who was in the paper for marrying a pizza oven, aren’t you?”

“Please don’t tell my wife!” Jamie suddenly panicked tossing the torso at the woman and taking off at a run.

“Eugh… I…” she held the torso at arm’s length.  It was still damp from Jamie’s saliva.

“Hey, babe,” a man approached her. “Whatcha doin’ with old Horace, there?”

“The pizza oven guy was in the back of my car with him…” She held the torso out still, staring weakly at the open back door of her car.

“Eurgh…” the man stepped away from her. “How did he get in?”

“I must have left it open…”

“Right… well… stick him in the boot and be glad we didn’t buy a bread maker,” he said philosophically, as he climbed in the passenger side and opened the window.  

The Door

I am thrilled to announce I am working with the super talented poet and voice artist Jacqueline Belle on some audio projects. This is a part of my ongoing plan to make all of my writing fully accessible. I am delighted that she has recorded this piece of flash fiction for me, and hope you enjoy listening, or reading.


I’d been working at the lab ten months when the incident occurred.  Every day I’d walked down the long white corridor, ignoring the turn off to the restricted area.  I didn’t have permission to be in the restricted area. I was a lab tech. Occasionally I’d glanced down, and seen the huge industrial steel door, with a handle that looked like the wheel of a ship, so big I always imagined it would take about four people to open it, but I never went down the corridor, never peered through the thick glass window.  It was restricted. Above my paygrade.

“Morning, Lucy,” I smiled as she walked passed me and turned down the corridor.  She was the scientist in charge of this special project. She always insisted I call her Lucy.  All the other coats insisted on formality. They were mostly dicks though, and Lucy was really nice.

“Morning Mike,” she smiled at me. “How’s the weather?” She always asked me how the weather was, I don’t think she left the lab.

“Bit drizzly today,” I informed her. “Nice weather for ducks.”

She laughed a genuine laugh.  “I’m gunna be stuck in the lab most of the day, wanna have takeout with me at lunchtime?”

“Sure, I’ll order it in.  What do you fancy?” I smiled at her. Ten months I’d been there, and not really gotten to know anyone.

“Surprise me,” she smiled. “See you later.”

I watched her walk down the corridor, swipe a key card, tap in a code, press her hand against the panel before turning the big wheel.  Security sure is tight down there, I thought as I plunged my hands into my pockets and began to whistle, heading to my area.

By midday I decided I had had quite enough of cleaning jars, so I brought up the takeout app on my phone.  I decided to go for pizza. Who doesn’t like pizza? Cheese and tomato, sure winner.

“What are you doing here, this area’s restricted?” A tall man in a black suit and dark glasses blocked my way down the corridor like a giant, living cliche.

“I’m having lunch with Doctor Winters,” I said.  “Could you tell her I’ll meet her on the steps outside.  Tell her it’s brightened up.”

The man looked confused, but turned and headed towards the room. Dick, I thought to myself, as I headed up the steps and out to the main entrance to wait for our pizza.

“I think I’m in trouble, Mike,” Lucy’s voice from behind me made me start.

“What?” I spun around.  She had a large bruise on her face and looked very shaken.  “What happened.”

“I knew it was coming,” she said quietly.  “The thing I’ve been working on, they want to move it to the next phase.  It’s not ready, but they… they don’t want me to work on the next project. I think that would have been it for me, if I hadn’t arranged to meet you for lunch.”

“We need to get you out, now then, Lucy,” I said determinedly. “Don’t go back in, it’s dangerous for you.”

“It’s not that easy, Mike,” she looked awkwardly at me. “Where would I go, they’re everywhere!”

“I know.” I said calmly.  I shouldn’t be revealing this.  I was going off mission. But Lucy had all the information in her mind.  I’d get her instead of the files, we could blow the place. “But we can protect you, trust me.”

“We?” She looked at me, a glimmer of hope in her eyes.

“I’m SECTOR, Lucy,” I smiled at her. I know I was taking a risk.  “Trust me, I’ll get you out.”

“My family?” She was looking around nervously.

“We’ll get them too.” I said.

“Are you serious?” Control’s voice came in over my cranial implant. “What are you doing Mike?  This is not the mission!”

“It’s the mission now,” I said firmly, turning away from Lucy slightly as I spoke. “Get her family, and send us an extraction unit, we’re leaving now.”

“BOSS isn’t gunna like this,” Control said awkwardly.

“BOSS can shove it,” I responded. “Ten months in this shit hole and I’ve got nothing.  Now I’ve got something.”

“Alright, give us 30 minutes,” I could almost hear Control role her eyes.

“Mike,” Lucy looked at me. “We need to get him out.”


“Project J5.  If we leave him in the room they’ll weaponise him.  He’s behind the door.”

“OK,” I took a deep breath. “Come on, let’s go…”

You can find more from Jacqueline Belle at the following:


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Flash Friday

Today’s Flash Friday prompt from the fabulous Claire Buss is ‘Why is it so hard to accept the party is over?’

When it ended.

“School for me was one big party. I was captain of the football team, popular, could write my own ticket.  I had scholarships to all the major colleges, just had to pick.”

“So what happened?” Jared looked at his father.  The washed up mechanic with the bum knee and the beer gut had always been a bit of a joke to him.  Still lived in the small town he’d grown up in, worked in the garage since he was seventeen, but was still just a mechanic.  Anyone else would be managing the place by now, Jared thought.

“I didn’t want the party to end,” the man said quietly.  Indeed, he had never raised his voice to Jared, but there was something in his tone now that told the boy to be cautious. “I see you feel the same way.” He placed a clear bag with white powder on the small glass coffee table between them.  Jared felt the blood drain from his cheeks and a wave of nausea swept over him.

“Where…” he began.

“You left it in your damn jeans! Your mother found it when she was doing the washing! How could you be so damn stupid? You want to waste your future for a momentary high? You know if they find this shit on you it goes on your permanent record. No college will touch you! You wanna leave this town? You wanna have a future? You need to stop partying and care! For god’s sake, Jar! I thought better of you!”

“I…” the boy swallowed hard. “Everyone at the party was doing it, I…”

“No more parties, then. Six months to graduation, I need you to knuckle down, focus on the goal, can you do that?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good. You’re grounded until further notice.”

“Oh, but…”

“Nope, grounded, further notice, and if I ever get a call from the police saying you were found with this shit on you, you can stay in jail, you understand me? It’s poison!”

Jared stood up and stomped up to bed.  The man left in the room stared at the white powder, it was just there, so tempting.  He picked it up, held it in his hand, just feeling it.  The he sighed, stood up, headed to the bathroom, emptied the bag down the toilet and flushed.

Friday Flash – Strange

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

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

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…”