It’s Friday again, and that means it must be time for Friday Fantastic Flash. Before we go any further with the submissions for last week’s challenge, I would like to introduce you to a lovely story which Jane Dougherty had sent in for the previous week’s Conflict challenge. Unfortunately, her submission got swept away by a sea of spam mail, I received nearly 400 spams in just 2 days! So Jane, please accept my apologies, and everyone else, please sit back and enjoy Jane’s Fantastic Flash, entitled Forgiveness…
“I wish I’d never met you.”
Perhaps you said more, but I didn’t wait to hear. I fled to the door, flung it open and raced down the stairs. Didn’t grab a coat or put on a proper pair of shoes. Just ran. Outside the street was as packed as it was every Friday evening. People hurrying home from work, people on a night out mooning along. Anonymous people. Traffic. Pushchairs and shopping trollies getting in the way. Fury. Heartbreak.
“I wish I’d never met you.”
The words hammer inside my head like the clapper of a bell.
Ding dong ding dong.
Evening is falling. Chill. Damp. I wrap my arms tight across my chest. People had been looking at me. No coat, clapped out shoes, tear-streaked face, wild eyes. I hated them. So I ran to this bridge. Melodramatic, I know. Not that I intended to throw myself in the river. I don’t think. It just seemed the right place to brood, unburden, cast adrift.
“I wish I’d never met you.”
With my back to the crowds, face hidden behind a veil of long hair, staring into the current swollen and brown with the autumn rain, I sob. Your voice rises above the rushing of the water, the footsteps on the flagstones, the chatty, chirpy conversations of people in that moment I loathe. Your voice, sharp as a knife, slicing through the heartstrings.
“I wish I’d never met you.”
I turn, hair flying, cold, bitterly cold. Fury raises my hand.
“And I wish—”
You grab my wrist and you are here, in front of my face, filling my vision with those eyes I loved so well.
“I wish I’d never met you, because it hurts so much. Because you have my heart and I can’t live without a heart.”
“Liar! You never gave me anything of yours!”
“There’s an emptiness inside where it was. It’s gone. I wish I’d never met you, because if you leave me, I’ll die.”
You pull me close and kiss my hair then my forehead then my eyes. You kiss away each tear. And I know that this is not the end of the hurting. Perhaps it will never end. But perhaps it will.
“I can’t leave you, can I? And trail your ghost behind me forever? I’m glad I met you, because I love you and I can bear the pain of love.”
“Come home,” you say, “and forgive me.”
I don’t take your hand, afraid you might flinch away, interpret my gesture as possessiveness.
“I’ll come home.”
“And forgive me?”
“Forgiveness is easy,” I say. “Hating you for a lifetime would be too hard.”
Jane is the author of The Green Woman Trilogy, and Grá mo Chroí, Love of My Heart, Love Stories from Irish Myth (which is FREE on Smashwords, btw!), which she co-wrote with yours truly, as well as numerous poems and short stories published in various fine magazines and anthologies. You can check them out on her blog, and buy them on Amazon.
And so to last week’s Friday Fantastic Flash challenge…
I want your purple prose. Give me all the adjectives, adverbs, zombie nouns, and metaphors you can. Forget the rules, they’re made to be broken. Lay them on me, but make them classy, not trashy. No dialogue, just description. I want original, not cliché. So lean and mean is the fashion du jour in the writing world, who cares? We make our own fashion. You can describe a scene, a person, an incident, anything you like. Go for it.
First up, it’s Geoff le Pard with a somewhat unusual little piece entitled Love…
Warty Wanda wanted a winsome wannabee wonderman. Jowly Jaunty James jested jovially about jettisoning his jetsetting jirlfrined who’d jratuitiously jilted James in January. When wild-eyed Wanda joined jyratting James in some joyous japes while job hunting, she sussurated sibilantly so softly that slumbering sloths succumbed to a secondary sleeping sickness. Vet virtuoso Victor Vertical virtually viped out various virulent viruses vhile vatching Vanda. She switched her self-absorption at the same simultaneous second that Surgeon Supreme saved the snoozing sephlapods. This tense turbulent triangle of trysting tykes tended tendentiously to tedium thereby taking two tentative trips together triumphing with tremendous timeousness.
Love conquers all.
Geoff has just completed a gruelling blog tour to promote his new book, My Father and Other Liars. You can read an excerpt from it here, when he stopped by my blog last week. His first book is called Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, and you can buy them both here. You can catch up with him on his blog.
Next is a new writer to Friday Fantastic Flash; please give a big, warm bloggers welcome to Kerry Duncan with her piece entitled The Perfect Encounter…
She was sitting alone in the Brasserie’s patio, oblivious to how beautiful she looked. Blonde hair gleaming in the late afternoon sun, gently tanned skin clothed in an elaborate rose pink skirt and chartreuse top. She was waiting for her salad to arrive, nibbling on the fresh, soft baguette and trying to look less alone than she felt. Her ever present Kindle gave her a technological companion and she pretended to concentrate on the boring Book Club choice. Outlander was a truly awful bodice ripper set in historical Scotland. No description of standing stones, stark glens or handsome heroes could save this tale.
Despite the abysmal prose the book brought back memories of her life in Scotland before she moved to Canada with her once beloved husband. Life seemed so full of promise and excitement but marriage does not always survive migration. Middle age beckoned both of them and their relationship was now lackluster. Divorce and mediation loomed in their future and this business trip was a welcome reprieve from their stilted communication. They didn’t detest each other but paced delicately around each other’s feelings. Their politeness seemed like a death knell on their once passionate partnership.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw a tall, good-looking young man enter the patio. He smiled at her and she smiled back. The waiter approached him and asked the stranger where he would like to sit and he indicated a table opposite her. He was facing her and it felt awkward. She broke the silence by asking how his day was going. He answered with a charming Cornish accent and was entranced by her gentle Scottish burr. The conversation flowed as two migrants chatted about their lives. He looked about 35, young enough to be her son, so she innocently suggested that he join her table. He eagerly agreed and the waiter raised an eyebrow when he returned to the now vibrant patio.
Much like her, his marriage had not survived the migration and had divorced. Close up, she saw the crinkly crow’s feet around his big blue eyes and he confirmed that he was 42. She teased him about how popular he must be in Canada with good looks and a cute accent. He confided that a predatory but pretty girl had approached him the previous evening in another bar. Her brazen approach had frightened him which made her laugh out loud. He was certainly a catch – slim, tall and fair with beautiful white teeth.
Dinner passed in a flash, they chose desserts and coffee as the warm sun faded into a sultry evening. They exchanged stories of the old country and why they were now so lonely in a foreign land. Suddenly the waiter was hovering to give them their checks. She smiled at him and told him that he had brightened her lonely evening. As she stood up to go, his face looked crushed and she suddenly realized how beautiful she was.
I am really happy to see Kerry’s story here; I have been following her blog for some time now, and she always has something hilarious or witty to post about. Kerry has just started writing for a magazine, all the best with that, Kerry, and you can catch up with her on her blog. You can buy Kerry’s book, Letters from Cairo, on Amazon.
Last but by no means least, we have Sacha Black. I am particularly honoured that this week, Sacha has chosen to apply the rules of this challenge to a section of her current WIP, Adultlands. This is an excerpt from Chapter 8…
I ran to the window, desperate to see an obvious clue, a sign, anything to explain what Hawk meant when he said ‘look down at the edge of the city.’
I slumped against the glass and peered at the crippled world below. The city looked like a broken solider, exhausted and weary after war. My chest tightened like a vice, tears clawed at my throat. I couldn’t believe that a single year of neglect could create such a mass of crumbling houses. Plant life ravaged entire sections of the city. Green spread like bacteria until it consumed its host.
I glanced at the wall; a merciless guard, towering above us, watching, just like the Hunters did. Silent, certain, infinite.
I squinted. I could see over the wall. The morning sun was high enough that I could see for several miles. Two more spheres bordered distant cities. I frowned, unsure of what I was seeing. I pressed my face against the glass straining, they weren’t spheres, they were walls. Walls that trapped other cities. Other children.
“Oh my god,” I gasped and took a step back. I stumbled into the office desk, the corner of the table dug into my thigh. I stepped back, tripped over a shoe box. A hand caught me, enveloped my body and stopped me hitting the deck. The sweet scent of a woody perfume wrapped around me. I knew that smell. Another hand slipped over my mouth.
“Don’t scream,” he said.
I narrowed my eyes. Fire ignited in my chest.
Sacha currently has her first novel, Keepers, in the editing phase, and is also busy writing her second novel, Adultland, as we speak. You can find out more on her blog.
Thank you to everyone for taking part this week and sharing your fab stories; as always, I am in awe of your creativity and wordsmithing skills.
And so we come to this weeks Friday Fantastic Flash challenge…
Following on from Monday’s post, I have been interested to hear about your dream experiences. Now’s your chance to tell me more.
Daydreams. Visions. Nightmares. You close your eyes. Where do you go when you sleep?
You can submit here, I will include links to your blog and books. Entries must be under 500 words, but please remember that I write YA, so there may be young people on this site… please keep it family friendly. I really hope you will join me and take part in the craic!