Join in the fun and add your 50-worders. If you email them to me at “softlysoftly at gmail dot com” I’ll post them here. 🙂
God help me, I am perfectly suited for somewhere that dresses its most dismal backdrops with fairy lights, and applies sparkle to spackle any number of shortcomings. I am an Irish American woman in Goa. I seem to have come home. And the drink’s cheap, so there’s that too. Grand.
The Emirates airline seatback system had a Mecca tracker. Did prayerful Christians just look to the skies? The Goan cabbie crossed himself, swerving past the Holy Cross shrine “You Catholic?” she asked “Hindu” he smiled and shrugged. “It’s all God”. They passed the Hindu temple, lit up in Christmas colors.
Airbnb devoured the cookies Simmy soaked in shit before baking. They never tasted the cough linctus in the jam, or the laxative introduced to the granola. Casualties mounted nicely. No-one suspected thought Simmy, lighting a scented candle, brought this weekend by a regular’s daughter. She inhaled deeply. Her last breath.
The dogs always barked when he walked down this street.
“How do they know?” he thought as he turned the corner.
He crossed the side street, went into the fourth house down, walked straight through, went out the back and into the shed where he stashed another fresh human femur.
My adult son was visiting. I had to wake him next morning. After tapping on the door, I walked in hesitantly. I sat on the bed and stroked his hair.
« Oh, Mum », he sighed. « That’s exactly how you used to wake me when I was little. »
Opening her door into the bright early morning sunshine of a late December day, Stacey stepped out onto the gleaming patio tiles.
Her final thought as her feet slipped away beneath her and her head smashed open was “But it didn’t look cold enough for ice.”
The Retirement Home
The old man shuffled into the elevator behind his rolling walker– a nice old guy, 90-something. I asked him “What floor, Earl?” as the doors were closing.
We started up and he just looked at me, completely blank. Then he collapsed on the elevator floor, bloody foam on his lips.
Warm summer, a park. And consequences.
Well behaved, when her balloon escaped her tiny grasp, drifting into the afternoon sky, Emily wailed only briefly.
Significantly less long, it transpires, than those 300 passengers of flight RA 322 to Malaga, as it plunged from the same blue sky, its turbofans fatally clogged with rubber and string.
Women, treated like animals, beaten and raped by men ‘selected’ as their husbands.
Sons, growing like their fathers…
She weeps inside for her beloved daughter, brutally raped at twelve.
Forced to marry her attacker, to preserve the family’s ‘honour’.
Dead the day after, her name never to be mentioned again…
She loved them both, George; handsome, lithe and affectionate.
Max; so independent, very often arrogant.
They accepted each other, had even become friends.
Now, looking into Ben’s gorgeous eyes, the new love in her life,
she hoped they would accept him too.
After all, her cats could be so unpredictable !
“I’ve never done it doggy style,” said Enid.
“Me neither,” said Walter.
“Are you thinking the same thing I am?”
“I’m not sure,” admitted Walter.
“We’re supple. We take cod liver oil.”
“Will I be expected to chase a stick?”
“Dear Walter,” laughed Enid. “You’re barking up the wrong tree!”
“I’ve never run barefoot in the rain,” said Enid.
“Me neither,” said Mona.
“Are you thinking the same thing I am?
“Shall we do it?”
“I will if you will.”
Enid and Mona kicked off their orthopaedic shoes,
Shouted “tally-ho” and ran onto the verdant Wembley pitch.
The phone rang. A female voice bubbling with excitement, it was good news she said.
Listening, my heart sank. I had seconds to form my response and add excitement to my voice.
I put the phone down, crumpling into the chair. Your good news is not always my good news.
The endless rows, his shouting, her spirit slowly dying.
Holding the knife, his abusive words echo in her head.
It’s time now for him to suffer…
He falls to his knees in anguish, the fragrant roses tumbling from his hands,
as he sees her lifeless form on the bloodstained sheets .
He hated the damn dog,
She lavished it with love and affection.
Bought it fresh meat and bones from the butcher,
Even kissed it’s nose.
“Choose, it’s him or me” he said, pointing to the mutt.
Later that year, some well chewed human bones were
discovered in the local forest.
His mother was crying again,
but her second husband, a rich man, had left her a wealthy widow.
She didn’t have to manage on a meagre pension…
Now, her sobs were pitiful,
he would unlock the cupboard once she told him where the money was… maybe !
“Come on Kate, it will be great, this wife swap evening, must try everything at least once” he insisted.
And he was right, it was great.
Best Orgasm ever.
Margaret had been such a good lover !
For hours she labours alone in her foreign hospital bed.
No modern man to sponge away the perspiration from her face or speak encouraging words.
She cries out to her god and involuntarily pushes down
“It’s a girl!” the midwife exclaims
She turns her face into the pillow and weeps
The First Time
Not long now, he said, a gentle smile filling his eyes
She was nervous
It was her first time, she didn’t know
What to do next
She sat beside his bed
Took his hand in hers
And spoke to him softly until his breathing finally stopped.
She read his e mail again
“I love you my darling, I know that your heart beats just for me…”
She wrapped his present, it was something he well deserved.
She imagined his surprise when he opened it.
Inside, carefully arranged on a white satin cushion, lay his mistress’ heart…
You’ve lost weight; I’ll need to take it in if it’s going to be perfect on the day.
It’s beautiful, she said, caressing the ivory silk.
His breath was warm on her neck, as he deftly pinned the delicate fabric.
She turned, looked into his eyes and kissed him deeply..
The crunch of fresh snow under the tyres, an icy wind, Pat wished this
damned cold weather would end.
Dazzling lights, sudden blackness, heat, blazing heat, then a voice..
“Your wish has been granted, welcome to Hades, Pat.”
The train arrived. She picked up her suitcase and waited as commuters spilled onto the platform. As she stepped onboard her phone rang.
“I’m here, don’t go!”
She looked around, the door alarm sounded.
The train left. She sat smiling.
He put her suitcase in the boot and smiled too.
Hat on Bed
“Hat on the bed!” shouted Ellen.
“What?” asked Julie, puzzled.
“Will bring bad luck.”
“I feel strange suddenly,” groaned Ellen.
She’d turned pale.
“Sit down,” said Julie, tapping the bed.
Silently, Ellen slid to the floor.
Two days later they buried her.
The Scale of Things
For 6 years, their courtship had spanned the unconscionable stellar distances that separated their 2 planets; an ether-borne passion.
She was beautiful and his wife for the asking.
Stepping off the transporter, he saw the flaw of intergalactic video dating; although perfect in every way, she was 7.9 metres tall…
Paulie walked Mary’s poodle.
“I trust him,” she told friends.
She also trusted him with her pin code.
“Be careful,” warned the friends.
Not having heard from Mary they went to her cottage. She was dead, a gash in her head.
The poodle was gone. So was Paulie.
The Expert Horsewoman
Patting a sweaty flank, she addressed her adoring acolytes:
“See, these dumb animals just need telling what to do; it’s all about superior intellect and dominance. Well done, girl.”
“You’re most welcome,” said the horse “ but you’ll jump the triple better if you give me a bit more rein.”
“Good evening! Biting they are, the fish?” Father Vissario, in a small boat, called out to the fisherman.
The sun was setting over the lake in an amber blaze.
As every evening this summer the fisherman did not reply.
Also, as every evening, he was walking on the water.
I’m lovin’ it…
Student Jess was fairly sure mauve hippos hadn’t been on her morning bus before. Equally, Mr. Pattinson from accounts was adamant that trees had never previously spoken to him. And PC Cope knew his notebook shouldn’t be purring.
The new McDonalds girl smiled, slipping another wrap in the coffee machine…
A soldier’s life
A café, just outside the barracks, full of breakfasters; there was something, SOMETHING, odd about this particular squaddie.
Was it that he had eschewed the Full English for a simple boiled egg?
No, I don’t think so.
Perhaps it was that he was dunking civilians into its golden leaky core…
Eat your heart out, Einstein.
Intent on a solution, he strapped toast, jam side up, to the back of his long-suffering cat, dropping it over the banister.
Which of the two immutable laws would succumb?
Would the cat land feet first or the toast land, jam down?
It hovered, rotating gently, inches from the floor…
They found me in the UK. I couldn’t help them identify me. I was carrying a laptop. They switched it on, hoping it held clues; its inbuilt facial recognition system didn’t recognize me. They did find one clue; a receipt for a coffee machine. It was in French. And cancelled.
Her laptop was her life. It recognised her early morning mask, scanning the bleary eyes and sleep-puffed skin. The day she was abroad and made an effort was the day her laptop refused to recognize her. Like a lover in reverse, it scanned her polished visage and malfunctioned. “Not recognised”.
My childhood scar was itching furiously as the attic door creaked open. And there they were.
In the slender rays seeping through the grimy skylight: five generations of skulls… of Wills.
I scraped at my brow.
From old granny Will top left to the one nearest.
With the scarred forehead…
Flash and image by Sab at Paris and I
Sign of the Times
Constantly tired. Headaches. Occasional dizziness, nausea. Fluctuating temper. A recurring sense of nervousness; butterflies, fear, cold sweating, loss of appetite…and that’s unusual. And my muscles ache all the time. It’s debilitating. But otherwise I’m fine.
Do you watch TV?
Of course. Who doesn’t?
She was in white. So was he. Rhythmically they moved across the floor to the Viennese waltz.
“Harry! Time to lock up, mate!” a man’s voice called out.
“I’ll switch the lights off. Leave the place to the ghosts!” ” another male voice replied.
And the young couple danced on.
That morning he shouted “I hate you!” He slammed the car door.
Blinking back tears, she drove away.
That afternoon he walked hesitantly towards the car.
“For you.” He pressed something into her hand.
“I love you, Bobby,” she said, popping the toffee in her mouth.
“Love you too, Mum.”
Lost Lost Worlds
Surrounded by 11 acres of asphalt and screaming mechanised rush hours, the 6 acre wooded haven of greenery that is the interior of my local roundabout, has received no human visitors for 31 years.
Little wonder, then, that its 9-toed, 3-stone, cerise, clairvoyant vole population remains healthy and undiscovered.
“What was the last book you read, Tom?”
“Actually Fabia, for your information, it was Kevin Keegan’s auto-biography.”
“He gave up half way through,” laughed Joy.
“It was past half way,” Peter corrected her. “He’d got the perm by then.”
“It’s still a no. You’re not joining our book club.”
So, the trick is to produce a complete story or narrative in EXACTLY 50 words (title excluded); no more, no fewer.
Ideally it should be pithy, moving, enlightening, sweet, uplifting, dark or in some subtle way interesting.
Well, that shouldn’t present much of a challenge to a man of my
“Mm mmmm. That’s good, darling.”
Deliciously half awake, his thigh responded to the moist cool tongue. Early morning intimacy hadn’t been a part of their relationship for so long.
Downstairs in curlers, waiting for the kettle to boil, his wife wondered what the noise was upstairs, and where the dog was…
A many splendoured thing…
“She sort of hums…” he thought to himself.
“…but visually. It’s like she turbo-charges my day”.
Colin wasn’t a wordsmith. He wasn’t even very good at expressing his own feelings.
But somehow, like a carthorse winning the Derby, and with unknowing perfect precision, he had managed to describe true love.
“Are you sure, darling?”
“No, you go. I’ll be fine. It’s just one of those niggling headaches. Sure it’ll go if I just rest a bit”
She stood, impassively, by the window as he pulled away, idly musing about the snowy country road and the pliers nestling in her hand…
Connie stopped dead in her tracks.
“When was the last time you can remember eating a grape that had a seed?”
Carol thought about this for a while.
“That’s very precise, dear.”
“It was at Lionel’s funeral. I was very upset at the time. I lost a crown.”
The Carpet Fitter
A good job well done, he thought.
Now for a fag.
His pockets yielded no packet; his eye was drawn to a neat lump in the immaculate Wilton.
A quick stamp makes it disappear, just as the client looks in.
“Have you seen my daughter’s hamster? It’s gone missing.”
“You really look quite awful in that hat,” Brenda said, in her predictably spiteful manner.
“Well, you look don’t look that great yourself now,” replied the normally passive Agatha, bending down and pulling the hatpin out of her sister’s eye and replacing it carefully in her favourite lime-green cloche.
She followed the guard into the dank cell, past the leering executioner’s grisly tools.
“I love you.” She pressed the pill through his lips as they kissed. “It takes 15 minutes, then peace, my love,” she whispered.
Sobbing, she raced for the boat.
The King’s courier passed, bearing the pardon.
If the shoe fits…
“ I just simply don’t understand…”
Miriam stood by the mirror, her face pinched, just like the size 7 feet in her stilettos.
“…miles too tight! They seem at least two sizes smaller now!”
Size 5 Lionel sighed.
“Dear Miriam, there’s so much that I want to say to you”.
Too close an encounter
“That’s the trouble living out here; changeable weather and rubbish radio reception…”
He regarded the angry plughole of dark cloud swirling overhead that had sprung from a warm, still sunny sky, with mild interest.
The car, undamaged, was found the next day, engine running, just the occupant and sunroof missing…
“I’ve had enough. I’m going to end it.”
“That’s rather dramatic, Miriam,” said Lionel, looking up from his newspaper.
“My subscription to People’s Friend,” said Miriam. “Not my life.”
“It seemed a little out of character,” he said.
“Dear Lionel. There’s so much that I want to say to you…”
“What am I?” Max thought, reeling from yet another messy feminine rebuttal.
“206 bones, 10 pints of blood, millions of synapses, 346 friends, 2 houses…”
He paused, ordering his thoughts.
“ 17,870,400 minutes, 62,546,400 breaths, 31 good teeth… a real catch!”
He just couldn’t figure why they called him “calculating”.
He knew the child couldn’t possibly be his son. Yet she swore she hadn’t slept with anyone else. Should he take a DNA test? Should he insist she take a lie detector test? Where was Graham when he needed him?
Jeremy Kyle wondered why his life was such a mess ..
Who the hell was Pythagoras?
The room was silent.
Thirty pairs of terrified eyes stared at the exam paper.
Her mind went blank.
Her heart thumped.
She felt sick.
Where should she begin?Why had she agreed to teach a last minute revision class?
When the chips are down …
Wearing her best red coat, she made her weekly pilgrimage to the chip shop savouring some time away from her controlling husband. “The usual please”, she muttered.
“Poor old dear”, thought the generous owner wrapping a scrap of fish with her usual chips.
She smiled as her husband choked ..
“ No one’s there, you fool,” said her mind. “Just a noise in the dark; go back to sleep.”
“Of course you’re right” she answered herself, “but just to be sure…”
Pitch black, she reached for the bedside candle.
Gently, accurately and deliberately, the matches were placed in her hand…
Her long toes were hanging, just inches from the keyboard; salvation a toenail away.
Stretch as she might, she could not extend even one tendon another fraction… A single emailed “help!” could bring someone running.
The coarse hemp rope creaked ominously as it tightened, biting into the beam above her.
Her body was also hanging.
“It’s an environmental statement…”
But I didn’t see at all. It was lost on me.
The contour of her lithe body, from those toes to the tips of fingers that seemed glued to the bar far above the ground. She was beautiful.
How old are you, she asked?
He nodded, blushing.
He looked away as she undressed.
Come, she said, leading him to the bed.
On the dresser lay her clothes, wig, dentures, and her long toes hanging down.
No, he screamed. But she dragged him to the bed.
GMC Chairman: And when did first realise that you’d inadvertently severed the tendons Dr Frost?
Dr Frost: When I saw her long toes hanging down
STIFF CALL CHARGES
The poison was swift, his body wrapped and lifeless under floorboards. Free at last, the lovers luxuriated in their new security.
Safe in their perfectly executed plan, they relished even the constable’s visit, until, over tea and sympathy, the dead man’s pocketed Nokia trilled from beyond the grave.
SATURDAY NIGHT, 10 PM. EMBANKMENT.
“ Any change?” The girl looked pinched, cold and resigned.
A needle of guilt at the mindlessly bought lottery ticket in his pocket.
“Sorry. All I have is this,” he mumbled apologetically.
Homeward, he wondered how long she’d take to find it was worth a grand.
He’d known since 9.30.
“Bloody thing!” His first irritation with his new top-notch toy.
“I know it’s 50 miles at least. Why is it saying 17?”
He never saw the lorry until far too late, and as his lifeblood and senses ebbed away for ever, the last thing he heard?
“Arriving at your destination…”
- Try This Flash Fiction Writing Prompt (quazen.com)