365 Ficlets – Day #10 ~ “Cry me a river..?”

Selena tried very hard to not cry. It is quite hard to explain to people that there is no actual concrete reason for why you have suddenly burst into tears and she was becoming tired of having to go through this dance with random passers-by, co-workers and even members of her family. The thing was even if she could get people to understand that she was just generally unhappy and ‘thing x’ or ‘happening y’ had just somehow pushed her over the edge emotionally, they would still try to comfort her or fix it, or both. This was not actually helpful, because it made her focus on her sadness. What she needed more than anything was to be distracted.

Anyway, in that moment there was nothing she could do but choke back the tears, holster her gun and try to help her partner getting the perp into the back of the car. She tried to turn her eyes away from the little girl sitting in the gutter who was cradling a dead puppy in her arms – this was what had almost made her weep, though she did not know why it hit her so hard.

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Whitstable Sunset…

Steve and Jim

Yesterday evening I went to Whitstable on my way home. I had initially hoped to be able to catch up with my friend Sally, but even though she was not around I was really pleased to be in Whitstable – it’s one of my peaceful places – and so I took my camera and wandered about around the beach and harbour. Eventually I decided to wait for the sunset and it was while I was, that I met Steve and Jim. They are a couple of guys, friends, who try to see the sunset as often as they can, and they were both filled with admiration for the variety and uniqueness that they find in it. It was just really cool to meet these two strangers, local to this place that I love and often dream about living in and to learn that they have this real fascination with the view of ‘their’ sunset. Thanks for the chat and the wine guys, it was really great to meet you and talk with you.

Here is the sunset, over The Isle of Sheppey, as seen from Whitstable, Kent today.

Whitstable Sunset

365 Ficlets – Day #9 ~ “Whitstable Sunset”

Jason cradled his camera and took a deep breath as he took in the view. The sun was already starting to sink over the Isle of Sheppey and as such was no longer the bright disc that it had been just half an hour before. Now the sun looked for all the world like a glowing orange that a giant hand was placing very slowly onto the horizon.

The sun was finally low enough for him to look through the view-finder and try to compose the perfect Whitstable sunset. The gulls were wheeling in the light wind between Jason and the sunset; it crossed his mind that he could hope to capture a gull in flight against the fiery sky.

He breathed deeply one more time, checked that he was sat comfortably and then raised the camera. In the same way that he had been taught to shoot in another life he steadied the camera and took a long slow breath in, then started to let it out slowly, waiting for the shot to be right. A gull crossed into the frame and Jason held his breath. He made a final check and pressed the shutter release.

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365 Ficlets – Day #8 ~ “Aftermath”

“Get up! Come on, you have to get up!”

My inner sergeant-major was not letting me just lie there, no matter what I might have wanted. My head was definitely bleeding, I could feel the tell-tale stickiness in my hair. I looked around at the carnage and almost immediately had to fight back the urge to vomit – there were a lot of dead people sharing this space with me and it was not pretty.

The carriage was clearly derailed and tilted at a difficult 30 degree angle. The lights were either out or dangling from their wires, like potentially fatal pendulums. The hole in the side, about half way along, looked for all the world as if someone incredibly strong had thrown a huge marble against the carriage wall. I steeled my nerve and started checking the other passengers to see if anyone in there with me was still alive. Nothing can prepare you for the real outcome of a bomb going off in an enclosed space and no one should have to see it. As I checked for signs of life all I could wonder was; how did I survive?

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365 Ficlets – Day #7 ~ “Must Love Dogs”

Joe lay back on his elbows and smiled to himself. The soft sand was piled up under the blanket and made a kind of chaise-longue for him. His eyes were fixed on Steph and their dog, Boomer, playing together on the wet sand. There was a fundamental beauty to seeing them so carefree and happy; Steph had her ‘real’ smile on her face.

Joe cast his mind back to the first row that had errupted from him saying that he wanted to get a dog. Steph had been adamant that she disliked, even hated, dogs and that there would never be a place for a dog in their lives. They were too busy, too socially active, too young, too recently cohabiting to even consider that kind of responsibility. She had gone on to be quite clear that her veto was partly predicated on the fact that she fully expected that if they did keep a dog, she would do all of the work.

Of couse it didn’t work out that way. Three weeks later Boomer was living with them and even though Joe tried to do all of the work, Boomer really was Steph’s dog.

This Ficlet, as with all of my ‘Friday’ Ficlets, was inspired by a photograph on Flickr. In the spirit of the Creative Commons ideal (these stories are published under a CC license) I will find a photo on Flickr each week that is published there under a Creative Commons License and write a story that occurs to me when looking at the picture. This week’s picture is here:

Photo by Sharkbait – Please click the photo to see the original version on flickr.com

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365 Ficlets – Day #6 ~ “Weihnachten in Hamburg”

Dario looked down on the Rathaus square and wondered how many times he had studied this scene over the decades that he had perched here on Saint Michael’s sword. He lifted his gaze from the Weihnachtsmarkt and stared at the Tannenbaum on the island in the Alster – a shame, he preferred the fountain.

None of the people below enjoying Glühwein and Flammekuchen had any idea that what appeared to be a raven perched high above them was not so simple a creature after all. He took some personal delight in their ignorance.

The wind was whipping by, and Dario was cursing Julius’s desire to meet in Hamburg. Why not Venice, after all it was December; why choose somewhere so cold? He supposed that Julius had business near by that would not keep, at least he hoped that was so, not that Julius was amused by Dario perishing up here in the wind off the Elbe.

A large Barn Owl landed on the parapet below Dario, bobbed in greeting and then he heard in his mind;

“Hello old friend, I haven’t kept you waiting I hope..?”

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365 Ficlets – Day #5~ “Cave Kill”

Luca sank into a wide stance and concentrated on remaining silent. The cold of the cave was making his breath visible, but he could only tell because of his ability to see its heat. He calmed his mind and deepened his breathing to slow his heart. This was instinctive to him; years of combat training had left him as much a creature of reflex as one of control.

The orc was looking for him. Its torch had sputtered out and now it was moving towards where he had been a few moments before, jabbing with its weapon randomly, in an effort to stab Luca by luck.

Luca watched, waiting to see if the stupid brute would turn back, but it seemed that the sudden loss of light had robbed it of any remaining wit. Silently Luca closed the gap between them, moving close to the ground and transferring his weight carefully and evenly so as not to disturb the cave floor. Once he was within a sword’s length he chose his moment and sprang, driving his sword in through the neck and down, killing it before it even heard him move.

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365 Ficlets – Day #4 ~ “Terminus”

Jenna stared up at the vaulted iron roof of the station. She wondered how many people walked through it every day and never noticed the stark beauty of its construction, or the melancholy of its evident, albeit slow, decay.

The shade was up there somewhere, she had spotted it by the stairs leading off towards the Hammersmith and City Line, and once it had noticed her it had flitted up into the rafters of the station.

Shades often flee from those among the living that can see them; Jenna was used to this kind of thing. Still she preferred it when they were curious rather than scared, it made it a lot easier to connect with them. She closed her eyes and stretched out with her emotional self, broadcasting waves of compassion upwards. She slowed her breathing and tried to focus on the shade and let the hustle and bustle of Paddington on a Friday evening fall away into the background. When she opened her eyes the shade was directly in front of her, its face looking right at her;

“Who are you?”


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365 Ficlets – Day #3 ~ “How long is a minute?”

Tabitha reached across the table and laid her hand on her granddaughter’s trembling hands. She smiled her ever so slightly crooked smile and the lines of time around her eyes scrunched up in a way that just made Ellie feel happy all of a sudden.

On the table to Ellie’s left lay the test; how could a minute take so long to come around? As long as there was no blue line she could carry on with her life and David need never know; if he ever called again anyway.

Ellie’s mind wandered to that night. Why had she been so desperate to have him? It was not as though he was going to settle down and be her boyfriend; she knew that he was a player. If that blue line did show up he was not going to change – why had she risked all of this for such a fraction of a man? She had no idea, but this was scaring her enough that she felt sure she would never be so careless ever again. She was just so thankful for her grandmother, she had not judged her at all.

Tabitha picked up the plastic wand and stopped smiling.

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365 Ficlets – Day #2 ~ “Happy Birthday”

Tommy counted to ten again. He was fairly sure that if it was light outside his window then he was seven now, but he could not hear his mother moving around their apartment, so he was concerned that he might be about to break her admonition ‘not too early’.


Slowly he swung his legs out from under the covers and touched his feet down on the hard wooden floor. It was a proper June day for his birthday this year, not like the rain that would not stop all day long the year before, so the floor was not cold, it just felt solid and real – he was awake now.

He went to his bedroom door and put his ear to it; nothing. He opened the door and tiptoed over the hallway to his mother’s and did the same again; nothing. Ever so gingerly he pulled the handle down and softly pushed on the door.

As he stepped into the room he knew that something was wrong; his young mind could not process the silence and the alien odour in the air, but it knew that something was not as it should be.

Then he saw the blood.


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