A Lifetime of Love

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PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast

Jane watched as Bobby suckled her breast.

She rejoiced when he rolled over the first time.

She clapped gleefully when he took his first steps.

She wiped a tear from her eye when she left him on his first day at school.

Tears again, when he graduated.

She hugged him and his fiancé when they announced their engagement, thrilled at his choice of bride.

She held him close before he went to Afghanistan.

Now she watched, inwardly weeping, as his pregnant wife spoon-fed him after the bullet left him less capable than the day she had given birth to him.

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

 

It’s Not Purely Academic

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PHOTO PROMPT © Shaktiki Sharma

Karen was a little different.

Some girls are part of a gaggle, always huddled together, giggling, chatting, falling in and out of friends from day-to-day, but Karen was often alone.

Mrs Davey looked out of the window and sighed.  Karen has a beautiful nature. Children can be so cruel.

At the bell, the children trooped back in.

Mrs Davey asked the TA to supervise the class and quietly took Josie outside.

Next playtime, Josie made a beeline for Karen and tucked her arm in hers.

“Would you like to be my friend?”

Mrs Davey gave her an almost imperceptible wink.

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

My New Dawn

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PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The sunbeams dancing through my window-pane quietly rouse me.  I listen to a dustcart drawing nearer.  It’s early, but I’m keen to make a start.  I make myself a promise: I’ll not linger over previous unhappiness.  He had my past, but he’ll not affect my present or future… ever.

Today I’ll buy curtains to keep the early morning sun out.

I can do whatever I want.  I stretch languorously, the things I need to achieve today parading through my head.

No point lying in bed thinking about it, I get up and start living my life the way I want.

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

 

 

Escaping the Cold

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Photo Prompt (c) Sarah Potter

She stuffed the last things in her case and closed it.

Bending down, she kissed his head.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, absent-mindedly brushing his fringe out of his eyes. She couldn’t remember the last night of unbroken sleep. Her head felt so grainy.

She heaved her luggage outside and asked the driver to stop at a cashpoint en route.

***

She shivered as the plane taxied to the runway. Her heart was hammering. It wasn’t only the cold she was escaping.

She felt a tear spill from her eye as the last image of her dead son flooded her mind.

Word count: 99

Written for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here

 

A Policeman’s Lot

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PHOTO PROMPT © Liz Young

Inspector Crow finished his report, stretched and sighed heavily.   Teenager Rachel, a runaway, trying to escape a life of physical abuse, had run recklessly into substance addiction, prostitution and ultimately more physical abuse.

He’d seen it before and wondered, pointlessly, how to prevent another tragedy.  He was tired of mopping up the consequences, weary to the core of troubled lives ending in violent deaths.

The problem, as he saw it, began at home.

If only her mum had been strong enough to intervene.

If only her brother hadn’t abused her.

As he left his desk, his phone rang.

Another case…

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

 

Where Do They All Come From?

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PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

We are hardly ever together any more.  If we see each other, we grunt a brusque “alright?” and continue our detached lives.

Although we still sleep in the same house, we have separate rooms.  We are strangers.

When necessary, we put on a united front, presenting ourselves as a couple, laughing and joking, but seldom connecting.  I wonder how many we fool and how many other people are in the same kind of sham relationship.

I see my mates at the pub every night in order to escape the loneliness at home.

It isn’t what I imagined when I proposed.

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

No More Flowers in the Window

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PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

He sat with his head in his hands marvelling at his own stupidity.

He’d allowed his ego to out-manoeuvre his common sense.  His inability to listen to his head had cost him dearly.

His so-called friends had egged him on and he hadn’t wanted to lose face.

It’d only taken two days for her to find out.

The pain in her eyes was the worst thing about it.

She’d asked why; he had no explanation.

He’d said sorry, but could hear how lame it sounded.

She’d packed her things and left.

There would be no more flowers in the window.

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

An Imperfect Wedding

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PHOTO PROMPT © Al Forbes

Reception over, we drove away tins clattering behind, smiling guests waving their good wishes.

It had been perfect.  All went exactly as planned.  Everyone had admired my slub-silk oyster and pearl dress.  The vintage car was immaculate, flowers beautiful, food delicious and the page-boys perfectly behaved.  It couldn’t have gone more smoothly.

 

We walked up the path to our new home.  He stopped at the front door and lifted me up to carry me over the threshold.

Oh God, I suppose he’ll expect to have sex tonight.

I shouldn’t be thinking like that on my wedding night…

It’ll be ok…

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

Hemmed In

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PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

My heart constricts, my breathing becomes rapid, shallow.  I try to compose myself, but feel the terror racing up inside, scrabbling, intent on suffocation.  Frantically, I seek an escape.  Each possible exit is treacherously narrow. 

Stay calm!  I mustn’t panic. 

I try to breathe slowly, deeply, but it makes me gag and heave violently.

Inwardly, I am screaming, clawing at the walls, desperate for freedom.

People look at me with curious expressions.  Some studiously ignore me.  Maybe the scream wasn’t just inside my head.

I have to get out of here.

Can’t someone help me?

DON’T THEY KNOW I’M CLAUSTROPHOBIC?

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

Chasing The Dragon Under The Bridge

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PHOTO PROMPT © C.E. Ayr

I know I’ll go. I wish I could resist, but know I can’t.

I glance at the clock, grab some notes from my purse. I head towards the door, then hesitate…

The urge is all-consuming. I race down and wait beneath the bridge trembling.

The silver Renault pulls up. Thank God he’s here.  The window slides down.

The exchange is quick, so quick most on-lookers wouldn’t notice it taking place.

Back in my flat, I prepare everything with trembling hands, sweating and anxious for the relief.

Again, I dither; Aaron would still be alive if only I had beaten this.

Word Count:100

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

Bodgett & Scarper

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© Sandra Crook

Shaking his head, Bill sucked in air; a typical response of many tradespeople.

“It’s tricky.  We’ll have to support the roof, while putting the pillar in.  Won’t be cheap, but it’ll work.”

For five days, Bill and his apprentice worked to support the ceiling.  Arriving late, finishing early, they didn’t think tea breaks of half an hour several times a day were unreasonable.

***

“IN KEEPING, I said!  It couldn’t look more out of place!  It might as well be painted sky blue pink with lime stripes!” yelled the furious café owner.

“It’ll be another £200 for a fancy paint job.”

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

A Personal and Positive Review of 2016

2007 onward had been a particularly grim period in my life.  2015 saw my financial situation ease by moving house and reducing my mortgage from colossal to manageable.  My quality of life had improved, but I had no idea how much better it would become in 2016.

Fulham finished the year eighth in the Championship with only two losses in the last ten matches (unlikely they will finish in the promotion zone, but I live in hope!) and I had my first holiday in ten years!  This has much to do with the man in my life.

We met at the end of March and by early April were spending a weekend in Derbyshire to attend a party.  The first week in June saw us enjoying a few days in rural France and in October, we ventured to Prague and Budapest.  Our Christmas present to each other is a holiday to Cyprus in February 2017.  Well, the new passport cost me enough; I’ve got to get value for money!

France was as wonderful as the last time I visited.  We spent the time watching wildlife, meandering through local markets, eating and drinking, which the French do so well.  My rusty, schoolgirl French was picking up by the end of the holiday; a necessity as the friends we stayed with spoke no English.  Unfortunately, I know it would take a lot longer than a week for it to improve more permanently.

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Having never visited the Czech Republic or Hungary before, I was excited beyond words!  Prague is a delightful city, with something to see round every corner.  We had a list of many things we wanted to see while we were there, some of which we did and others time defeated us.

We determined to eat traditional food and avoided the prolific burger joints and franchises.  Not an easy task; when arriving in Wenceslas Square we were confronted with everything from Starbucks to KFC!  However, we found a lovely traditional Czech restaurant and feasted on goulash and pig’s knuckle.  The buildings in the old town are magnificent and strolling across Charles Bridge, looking at the wares of the street artists is an enduring memory.

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Budapest, in comparison, was a little disappointing.  Where Prague is compact and filled with interesting sights, Budapest is widespread with signs of decay and poverty all around.  In order to see the jewels of the city, it is necessary to use local transport and actively seek them out.  I recommend the Terror Museum, an important record of Hungarian occupation by the Russians and Germans and the resulting revolution.  It is shocking to see the number of people tortured and killed during this time and the lifestyle survivors endured.

If you have never been in a ‘Ruin Pub’, it is a ‘must-see’.  They developed at the beginning of the twenty first century in buildings condemned for destruction.  The youth equipped them with rejected furniture and they became the centre of nightlife.  Each is unique, but vibrant.  We visited Szimpla Kert, which a friend had recommended and spent time marvelling at the ingenious items used in decoration.   A sure sign that no matter the situation, a way to enjoy life will overcome the obstacles.

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Two other consequences of the new relationship are that I have lost one and a half stones in weight and have created this blog site.  So far, I have only posted my 100 word offerings for Friday Fictioneers, but encouraged back into writing, I am attempting other short stories and have started a novel.  Whilst I am not at all happy with it so far, I am enjoying writing it.  I am treating it as a learning exercise.

I love the challenge of writing a story in 100 words for Friday Fictioneers every week and reading the other accounts the photo prompt has generated.  Some of my attempts, I re-read and cringe, but others I have been happier with.  Each week, I feel that I learn something and try to incorporate this in new pieces.  For me, for now, that is enough.  Who knows, I may be brave enough to enter a short story competition in 2017!  The immediate goal for this year is to lose some more weight to avoid being mistaken for an elephant seal in swimwear on the beaches of Cyprus!

For anyone experiencing the lows that life sometimes forces us to endure, take heart, the highs are sure to follow.

Small Mercies

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PHOTO PROMPT © Shaktiki Sharma

I squint my eyes, but the image is no clearer.  Cursing, I struggle to read the label, but there is nobody to help.  I hurl the bottle, frustrated, then admonish myself for the mess I will have to try to clear up.

“Count yourself lucky,” they said and I suppose I am.  Nevertheless, the inability to see clearly, bothers me more than I can describe.

All because a selfish bastard drank alcohol and chose to drive home.

As well as my sight, the accident deprived me of my confidence and independence.

It dispossessed me of my husband too.

Every cloud…

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

The Loneliest Time of the Year

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PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

As I pass balloons decorating lampposts and gaudy neon lights, my heart feels that little bit heavier.  I see the rowdy party-goers dancing with arms flailing and drunken grins spread across their faces.

Are they as happy as they seem?  Perhaps they’re trying just that little bit too hard.

Am I the only one who dreads this time of year?

I’ve no money to buy the children a decent gift or provide a traditional Christmas meal.

I can pay the bills… just, but we will have to keep the heating low.

I’ve no energy to appear jolly.

Damn you, Peter.

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

Better or Worse

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PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

She stomped her feet on the mat dislodging most of the compacted snow.  Boots pulled off, she hung her wet coat on the hook and made for the kitchen.

The cold had made her nose stream.  She grabbed a piece of paper towel, flicked the switch on the kettle and slumped into the tattered armchair by the window.

There was still no news.

Each night she went to bed despairing.

Each morning she woke with renewed hope.

Would it always be this way?

Would knowing be better or worse?

He had only been two years old when he went missing.

 

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.