STILL LIFE - a story in 100 words

The books, vase and shoes had adorned Helen’s desk for so long that they became known as ‘the still life’.
Even after her husband William died, as unobtrusively as he had lived, she met any suggestion to move them with an obstinacy that intrigued her children while also exasperating them, so after Helen’s own funeral they demolished the pile with almost indecent haste.

Pressed inside every indented section of the book Lily discovered a faded rose, Henry tipped a champagne cork from each shoe, and hidden inside the vase Georgina found a bundle of love-letters, all signed, Eternally yours, George.’
All that weight had to be crushing a secret, didn't it? Thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/ and to Magaly Guerrero for her photograph of the lovely flamenco shoes.

If you enjoyed that story, check out a slightly longer one, also written to a visual prompt, and published on Friday on this site -  http://visualverse.org/submissions/minotaur/


FRIDAY MORNING - flash fiction for Good Friday


Last night had been enjoyable despite the threat of discovery – thirteen men breaking bread together and sharing wine. This morning, though, the bread was a hard lump in his stomach, and he could still taste the wine on his tongue, as sour as betrayal.
He stared into the mirror as if seeing a stranger. Was it really necessary to endure today’s horror? 
He got up, feeling far older than his thirty-odd years – what he needed was fresh air. Outside, his friends were waiting, with one notable exception.
“Walk with me,” he commanded, “It will be cool in the Gethsemane garden.”
Pizza and wine - bread and wine - today's story had to be about Good Friday, the morning after the Passover meal. I think it's safe to assume that Jesus, who was human too, was also scared.
Thanks to Dale Rogerson for the photo prompt, and to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog https://rochellewisoff.com/ .  
Happy Easter to you all, whatever you believe.


THE WATCHER - flash fiction in 100 words


“He was there again today, Mum!”
Davey’s voice preceded him down the hall, followed by the slam of the front door, the thud as his schoolbag hit the floor, and finally his appearance in the livingroom.
Sandra turned the television down a fraction. “Who was, Davey?”
“That man who watches me, I told you. Can’t you fetch me in the car?”
“You’re big enough to cycle home, Davey, and anyway, I’m too busy.”

The next day there were no homecoming sounds, but by the time Sandra realised, it was too late.

They found Davey’s bike still chained to the lamp-post.
Each week Rochelle posts a photo prompt on her blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/  which dozens of Friday Fictioneers use to inspire 100 word stories. Thaks to Jellico's Stationhouse for this week's image. Follow the blue froggy link on Rochelle's blog to read the others after leaving a comment here :)


THAMES BARGE - #flashfiction in 100 words


We’re hoisting the sails after water-proofing them when Churchill calls for anything that can sail to bring our soldiers home.
“We’re going to Dunkirk,” I tell Jed.
“Thames barges ain’t seaworthy,” he says, but he’s hauling in the anchor as he speaks.

We’re lucky the Channel’s fairly calm, because our boat rides the waves like a fat drunk, but its flat bottom gets us closer to shore than bigger ships. Dodging bullets, we pack exhausted men into the hold like sardines and high-tail it out of there.

Half-way home, Jed grins. “That trip’s got the fish stink out of the sails, if nowt else!”

I was lucky enough to sail on a refurbished Thames barge once – a large and practical wooden boat that still smelled of the linseed that had once been its cargo. These boats were known for their distinctive sails, tan-coloured from the mixture of red ochre, cod oil and seawater which was used to water-proof them. I don’t know whether any of these flat-bottomed vessels made it across the Channel to Dunkirk in 1940 but I hope at least one did, as I have written that possibility into one of my books!

Thanks, as always, go to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/  from whence you can follow links to read other stories, and to Fatima Fakier Deria for the photo that is this week's prompt.


BARS - a 100 word story

I was barely out of the schoolroom when Mama said I must marry Henry. “He is Sir William’s sole heir, and you will one day be mistress of the entire estate.”
Henry was pompous, with fat red lips and damp hands, but Papa had lost everything in the crash and it was our only way out of penury.
The house resembled a wedding cake with its white pillars and delicate tracery, but the railings that surrounded the estate loomed like cell bars.
My choice was stark – accept life in a gilded cage or consign us all to a paupers’ prison.
The photographic prompt for this week's story is by  J Hardy Carrol, and posted on Rochelle's blog https://rochellewisoff.com/  for Friday Fictioneers.  I am a tad later than usual this week - today is my birthday and I've been busy celebrating! 


GRANDA'S WATCH - short fiction in 100 words


Granda and Nanna’s cottage smelled of smouldering peat, and there was always a chunk of buttered brack to eat with tea.
Julie loved helping Nanna cook and pod peas, but her favourite thing was Granda’s pocket watch. He would prise it open with his thick thumbnail, saying, ‘There he goes!’ but Julie was never quite quick enough to see the tiny man who chimed the hours. Granda would pinch her cheek and chuckle, ‘Next time, poppet.’

Now Julie’s children play computer games and are healthily sceptical, but even they keep trying to catch a glimpse of the little chiming man.
This week's photo brought two things to mind - the Laxie Wheel on the Isle of Man, and a huge Dollar I saw in Canada - neither of which I have written about! Jennifer Prendergast took the photo which Rochelle used for the Friday Fictioneers' prompt on her blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/  You can follow the link from there to read other stories, after you've left a comment on mine!


HENRY'S DAUGHTERS - 100 words of fiction for Friday


Henry’s daughters couldn’t fit him into their busy lives – months could pass without a visit – but Madge, who cleaned his house, often stayed past her allotted hours to keep him company. Despite vastly different backgrounds, their friendship flourished.

When Henry fell ill, Madge telephoned, “Your Dad needs you,” but neither daughter came. Only Madge held his hand and wept as he died.

After his funeral the daughters descended on the house like a swarm of locusts, but Madge barred their way with her no-nonsense arms folded. “You two can bugger off. It’s mine now – we were married last month.”

Thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog. https://rochellewisoff.com/ and to Shaktiki Sharma for the photo that prompted this week's story. After looking it up on Google, I think this is a Large Painted Locust found only in the Galapagos Islands. A beautiful creature that wreaks havoc wherever it lands.