365 Ficlets – Day #17 ~ “Changing the Guard”

Loric was starting to wonder if he was ever going to see any action at all. It was all very well being in charge of the gate guard, but being good at keeping a tight hold on the security of the centre of the city made his chances of going off to the front slim at best.

In fact the worst thing about wanting a chance to prove his mettle was that in order to get into a fight the Ellenians would have to over-run not only the outer curtain wall, but fight their way through four circles of the city and defeat his guard before he attempted to defend the door from the keep yard into the King’s chamber. There was no circumstance under which this would be a good thing; the war would be over to the detriment of his country.This was too high a price.

As the sun set to his left, across the city, he turned his attention back to the latest dispatches and tried to count his blessings, to be thankful for being close to his wife and children. All he wanted to do was join his friends on the front, under the setting sun.

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365 Ficlets – Day #16 ~ “Circus, Circus”

Jarod felt his heart stop, for just a moment, as she dropped down the rope and came to rest on the crossbar. There in the dark he felt as though he was alone watching her on the trapeze. Her grace belied a strength that went beyond impressive. She wrapped her form around the ropes and the crossbar, with apparent ease, and Jarod saw the muscles in her arms flexing and straining, but not once did the effort register on her face, and not once did her moves appear anything less than trivial to her. The act was like a dance and the mood was one of fear and pain, no matter how beautiful a spectacle it was.

As she held one pose, the spotlight picked out the rigid muscles across the top of her chest as she allowed her head to drop back, and Jarod could have sworn that as she looked out into the crowd, she matched his gaze for just a moment. Her eyes looked so sad, indeed forlorn. He felt drawn to her, because of the melancholy portrayed by her performance, not to mention her beauty, but surely it was just the act?

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365 Ficlets – Day #15 ~ “Cold”

Cold

Really Cold

My eyes are so heavy; need to try.

Ow! Bright!

Slowly; try again. It’s so bright. I can see a lot of white, and it is so cold. Can I move? Touch your nose. Ok I can move that arm and I can see my hand. Try the other. Yeah that one’s ok too. My feet are cold. That’s good, I can feel my feet. Can I move them? Yes! Yes I can!

Sit up? Yes. Woah! Slowly; put a hand down behind you. Good. Now look around.

Snow. What’s that over there? Oh my God, that’s the plane! I remember. Harriet!

Got to get over there. There are no flames at least. Up on one knee. Feels steady. Up; careful! Just get used to it for a second. Now one foot in front of the other. Good.

It’s not that far. Only a few metres. Why is there a ringing in my ears? Must have made a lot of noise when we hit, I suppose. Oh look, my camera bag. Still intact. I guess the manufacturers were not exaggerating after all.

Nearly there. Is she here? Can’t see her; can’t see any blood either.

“Harriet!”

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365 Ficlets – Day #14 ~ “Proposal”

Stephanie could feel the cool grass under her hand as she stretched her fingers out in an uncontrolled spasm of pleasure. The new ring on her finger felt alien and yet, unsurprisingly, its presence was magnifying the joy she felt as James pulled her close and planted a myriad of kisses around her neck.

It would be safe to say that she was the happiest she had ever been in her life, in that moment. Ever since she and James had started living together she had hoped that he would ask her to marry him. She had been ready for some time, but she had put that aside to allow him the space to want marriage as much as she did rather than pressure him. She never once believed that he would take less than 3 months to make her dream come true. She smiled wryly to herself as she felt his hand begin to move up her thigh and under her skirt; he had given no clue that this was coming and just turned to her when they reached the top of the hill ‘will you marry me?’. She had said yes to that and then they were on the grass.

This Friday Ficlet was inspired by this picture from Flickr that is licensed under a compatible CC license to the one used on ficlets.com

Kasey and Adrian - eSession

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365 Ficlets – Day #13 ~ “Of all the gin joints in all the world…”

Caitlin studied the menu, holding it in front of her face as Paul was shown past her table with his dinner companion. Why did he have to go and choose this evening to come to their restaurant? She had picked the one where they had dined together most often before she caught him banging the new girl. She had hoped that shame would have kept him out of here; clearly the soft-shell crab was far too enticing.

It was bad enough trying to look comfortable with eating alone in a restaurant. She had male friends who simply did not understand her discomfort at doing this – for them dining alone was a pleasure. They loved to be waited on without having to discuss car-pooling or office politics or any number of other quotidien concerns, and never had such luck when dining with their wives. To dine alone for a woman was almost to say ‘I am alone and I cannot cook’.

Once they were seated she peeked over the menu. He was holding her spindly cuckoo hand, looking into her eyes and laughing. Caitlin just wanted to cry.

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365 Ficlets – Day #12 ~ “Intruder”

David turned the device over and over in his hands, staring at it intently as if somehow the combination of touching it and staring at it would unlock its secrets. He turned to look at the unconscious man tied to his solitary chair, willing him to come to, so that he could question this mystery visitor as to the purpose of the smooth black disc with two unmarked buttons in the centre of one side.

It was cold to the touch, but only in so much as it was not warm – it was not chilled, just cold. The light seemed to slide off it, without reflecting, and it was that particular shade of black that really is just a lack of colour.

The man in the chair, from whom David had liberated the device, groaned and tried to raise his hand to his face, struggling against the rope restraining it. David slid the disc back into the pocket of his gilet and stepped across the room to be in his prisoner’s line of sight as he falteringly opened his eyes.

“So, what exactly were you doing, climbing in through my bathroom window?”

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A quick test…

If I’ve done this right, this post will appear on my Blogger Blog and my Vox Blog, and my LJ…

PUSH THE BUTTON!

365 Ficlets – Day #11 ~ “If I had a photograph of you…”

Eric lifted his head up out of his hands. They were wet from the tears that were still silently streaming down his face. His eyes were red, raw from him trying to rub them dry and banish this outward display of grief, even though there was no one there to see it.

He looked across at the bed. The nurses had disconnected the drip and ventilator, pushed back the machines and dimmed the lights a little. He could tell that they wanted to extubate as well, but that would not happen until the post. Despite all of their efforts Jenny did not look at peace; she barely looked like herself.

Eric made himself really look at her. A voice in the back of his mind kept telling him that he would only have so many more chances to commit her face to memory, even this injured version of her face. He had expected to see her face every day for many more years to come. If he had known he would have paid more attention to it, learned it more closely. Now he would have only a few photographs to help him keep her in his memory.

You can see the original post on Ficlets.com by clicking here.

Re-Factoring – The Joy of Code…

One of the things I like more than anything about my job – I am a coder by profession – is that there is always room for improvement in any application. There is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ app and there is always something that can be improved upon if there is the spare time to do it.

I am currently contracting at a company called Pitch, working on a project to deploy several websites, or versions of a single web-application that delivers a web-site, across a bunch of territories. While we wait for other bits of the business to send us translations and configuration details that are territory-specific, we are taking the opportunity to tighten up the codebase and ‘do things better’. If you’re not a coder then I should explain that this process is often referred to ‘in the biz’ as re-factoring.

Why is this so satisfying you ask? Well it serves two good purposes, in terms of providing satisfaction. The first is that it reminds us (coders) that there is nothing wrong with accepting that applications are generally better if they evolve than simply coming into being, and secondly that as imperfect beings this means we need to create, use / test and __then__ refine in order to get the best results. Embracing this not only means that we will get better results in the end, but it will also take just enough of the pressure off to allow us to remember why we started coding in the first place; solving problems is first and foremost a FUN way to make your living…

Things that you never thought you’d hear…

This morning my train into Paddington was quite badly delayed; this is not unusual…

Anyway, just outside the station as we were waiting for the platform clearance the train manager came onto the tannoy to apologise, which he did and then during his patter he said:

“…I’m afraid to say that the only good news I can give you is that on the 1706h and 1806h you can now use cheap day returns and off-peak travelcards, which is a measure that came in yesterday…”

and the thing I never thought I’d hear was the carriage breaking out into spontaneous laughter; irate commuters and day trippers just seeing the funny side together. It was remarkably nice.

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