Tetrafied

Tetra Fish

 

Tetrafied

 

Alice knew as soon as he entered the bar she would be leaving with him that night. His beautiful olive skin and inky-black hair called out—like a siren—to her womanly desires. His indigo eyes locked on Alice’s, and he took the seat next to her. “Hi, I’m Jack. Let me buy you a drink,” he said, immediately summoning the bartender’s attention. 

After just two Martinis, Alice found herself linking arms with Jack and leaving the bar. As they climbed into a taxi, her stomach somersaulted. She hesitated, contemplating what she was about to do. She had never picked up a guy in a bar before. That was an occupation of the beautiful and confident; not Alice. With mousy-brown hair and pale blue eyes, she was too plain to ever attract someone at first sight. At least, that was what her mother told her.

Taking a deep, cleansing breath, she followed Jack along the rocky stone path to his front door. The house loomed high over them, casting a long shadow in the moonlight. A small flower garden alongside the path looked well-kept. Surprisingly so, for a single man in his twenties.

The old, wooden front door creaked as it welcomed them inside. In contrast to the aged exterior, the heart of the house was light and contemporary. Before Alice had even noticed Jack was missing, he returned; hands carrying more Martinis.

As they settled on the cream leather sofa, they began to explore each other. Their mouths locked and their bodies entwined. The electricity was sharp and Alice could feel herself start to let go. Then she saw it. Oh no. A wave of nausea flooded her bloodstream. 

“Fish!” she yelled, “I hate fish. Oh my God, they’re staring at me!”

Surprised, but wanting to reassure her, Jack said, “It’s okay. They’re not looking at you. They’re Mexican Tetra fish; they have no eyes.” 

But Alice didn’t hear. Throwing open the front door, she ran as fast as her feet would carry her. I’m never picking up a one night stand again, she thought, as she rounded the corner onto her own street.

Crooked Cottage

This is just a little piece of flash I wrote.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Crooked Cottage

 

I pause at the gate, taking in the slant of the thatched roof and pale patchwork stone. The sign says ‘Crooked Cottage,’ and I know I am at the right place. Smoke winds its way from the chimney, catching in my throat. 

I raise my hand to the door knocker, but there is a sign reading, “Do no knock. I will see you.” The temperature drops a good ten degrees, I’m sure. Suddenly, I’m aware of my nerves. My heart thumps behind my ribcage. Tanya had better be here already. The prospect of being alone with this house and its owner sends a shiver up my spine. 

When the door opens, I am greeted by an old woman with violet eyes and wild grey hair. “Come in, dear,” she says, in a voice so soft I can barely hear. I start to say thank you, but she puts her finger to her lips and instructs me to hush.

Instinct tells me to run away, but greed for the revered chocolate hangs over me like a spell. Tanya has not stopped talking about it all week. 

“Is Tanya here yet?” I asked the witchy-woman as she leads me through the house.

“Shh,” she replies, “Quiet.’

“Why are we whispering?” I ask.

As she motions for me to sit, she smiles and begins to explain. “This chocolate is the most perfectly silky, sweet, magical chocolate. Whatever you want from it, you will get.” She pauses briefly, then says, “The secret ingredient is fairy dust. But fairies are timid, they are easily frightened, so you must be quiet around them.”

With a sceptical hand, I reach for the chocolate and put some in my mouth. Instantly, I understand. My mouth bursts with sweetness, and all thoughts of apprehension dissipate as I groan my appreciation. A happiness I haven’t felt since childhood floods my veins. Licking my lips,  I turn to the old lady and whisper, “Thank you. Can I come again?”

Magic 200

200 Followers

 

Look what I’ve got! I know, I know 200 followers is nothing compared to a lot of you, but it’s massive for me. It’s taken a while to get here, and I’ve put a lot of work—and a lot of me—into it. So, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope I continue to write blog posts worthy of reading and following.

Here’s to the next 200, eh?

You’re An Original

This story is based on the Sheryl Crow song, “You’re An Original.” I love to use songs as inspiration, and Sheryl Crow is one of my  favourite artists. “You’re An Original” is one her lesser-known songs. It’s take from her “C’mon C’mon” album.

 

glitter

 

You’re An Original

 

“Hey, Lomi, come over here! You have to meet this person.”

“All right, all right. Let me finish my business over here, first.” The girl in scarlet hot pants and a glittering, green bikini top waves her hand to dismiss the man with thinning, sandy hair. I watch this girl as she takes the rolled up £10 note and inhales the magic powder. 

I knew this girl; once upon a time. She was different then. My best friend. We did normal teenage things, like going to the mall, shopping for shoes, and discovering boys. I recall Lomi chatting non stop about her first love; a wiry, acne laden boy called Will. But, life has changed. For Lomi, at least.

“Steph, come with me,” my friend says, holding out a heavily tattooed hand. “Stuart wants to talk to me, and I’ll only forget what he says if you’re not there.”

We approach Lomi’s manager and wait for him to speak. His eyes are fixed on me as he speaks to Lomi. “Tom Philips wants an interview, Lomi. He saw the show tonight, and he wants to meet you in the morning.”

“Yeah, sure, Stu. Whatever. Come on, Steph, let’s get back to the party.” 

Lomi is already dragging me away when Stuart says, “Wait. Lomi, you can’t screw this one up. He’s from ‘Celeb Weekly,’ and you need them behind you. You remember the heading last month, right?”

My friend stares at Stuart, and her blank eyes reflect a lack of understanding. She has forgotten. I haven’t. She was caught driving drunk after a two day bender. The headlines were brutal. True, nonetheless. ‘Celeb Weekly’ said, “In your cadillac, reaching for your Jack, there’s nothing we can say to stop you because you, Lomi Burnette, are a star.”

“Don’t worry, Stuart, Lomi will be just fine,” I say, not really believing my own words. With so many vicious stories hitting the celebrity magazines, it makes her behaviour worse. After the drink-drive story, rather than stopping or cutting back, she started to drink at ten in the morning, rather than waiting until mid-day.

A couple of weeks ago, some one-night-stand sold his story to a magazine. He said Lomi was, “deadly in the sack.” It earned her an army of new fans. 

“Thanks, Steph. Now, where did Josh go with the magic dust?” she says, glancing all around. 

I grab her arm as she starts to walk away. “Don’t get wasted, Lomi. You have to nail that interview tomorrow. You have to be sober.”

“Chill out, Stephanie. I’m Lomi Burnette. I can do anything I want.” As she shakes off my hand, she walks away, throwing over her shoulder, “Why are you here, anyway? You follow me around like a ridiculous, little puppy; stifling my fun.” She shakes her head as she says, “You’re pathetic. Just get out of here.”

Latching onto the first body who passes by, she heads toward the restroom with him. I’m caught between saving her and letting her set fire to her career. I decide to let her burn.

Stuart yells at me as I leave the party. I ignore him. I’ve had enough. Lomi was right, it is pathetic how I do everything for her and get nothing in return. I thought I was being a good friend. But sometimes friends have to do the right thing, even when it’s not the easy thing.

I hear nothing from Lomi for eleven days. Then, ‘Celeb Weekly’ publishes her exclusive interview. It seems she was not sober for Tom Philips. He found her to be, “A little, wannabe queen; dirty mouth and mean.” 

From what I can make out, my ex best friend was barely coherent. Tom’s final conclusion was aimed directly at Lomi; “Yeah, you’re an original, baby, like we’ve never seen before. You’re an original, baby. Turn around and you’re looking at a hundred more!”

Remorse tugs at my heels as I throw the magazine in the trash can. Right about now, Lomi  will be screaming and throwing things around her penthouse suite. Despite the fact that her rise to stardom came through reality TV, she is genuinely talented. It’s such a shame that couldn’t be enough for her. That’s the thing about Lomi: she could never be satisfied. Sure, her strong will ensured success. But the flip side of that came too easily.

********************************

Tom Philips’s article started the decline in my friend’s career. A photograph appeared of her falling out of a cab at an exclusive London club. The headline ran, “Caught you in a pose that everybody knows. You’ve done that a million times already. We thought you had something special. Seems we were wrong.” It was hard to return from that one. 

When my doorbell rang this morning, I didn’t expect to see Lomi standing in my porch. A spiral of sadness wound its way through my core as I took in her skeletal frame. Her skin—covered in acne—stretched over her bones, and she couldn’t meet my eyes.

“I’m so sorry, Steph. Please don’t hate me.” Her voice was a whisper, and my heart constricted. Pulling her close, I ushered her inside before anyone could see her. I knew, deep down, this day would come. Now it has, the vindication I imagined hasn’t appeared. The only feeling I have is sadness. My best friend is broken, and all those people who rode on the back of her fame have dumped her now things are tough. Well, not me. She is my best friend. That means something.

 

A Sense of Entitlement

My prompt for this was to write about greed. This story is fictional, although it is based on people I have known.

Greed2

 

A Sense of Entitlement

Wilma pulled her car onto Edna’s driveway and sighed. There was nothing worse than the obligatory days spent with Edna.

Jumping from the car, she straightened up, and lifted her chin high. Her nostrils flared, detecting an imaginary, unsavoury smell. She knocked on the frail old lady’s door and let herself in.

“Oh, Wilma. Lovely to see you. Come in.” The old lady’s pale blue eyes sparkled as she pulled her ex daughter-in-law close.

“Hiya.” Her eyes scanned the room, resting on the money pot on the mantelpiece. “I see you’re still keeping that in here.” She forced her eyes back to Edna, who was heading into the kitchen to make tea.

How easy it would have been to plunge her hand into the jar and take everything, but no; she was holding out for the big one. Her heart quickened as she thought about the prospect of inheriting the house. She licked her lips, feeling she was ready to run a race.

With tea and biscuits in her chubby fingers, Wilma sat in the living room, sweeping her eyes from side to side. The photograph of her with Edna’s son, taken a couple of months before he died, sickened her. She had given him the choice: “Buy me the house and move in, or I’ll move in with the guy I’ve been seeing behind your back.” It wasn’t her fault he was weak.

“Oh, I have news. Molly took me to see the solicitor. I needed to sort out my will.” Edna placed her cup on the coffee table.

Wilma’s skin tingled. Her moment had finally arrived. Edging forward in her seat, she slowed her breathing as she waited to hear the news.

“I’m leaving everything to Rose. I want it to go to family.”

Leaping from her chair, Wilma erupted; eyes bulging, face scarlet. Heavy-booted feet stomped the ground as a chain of expletives flew through the air. “I’ve come here once every month to sit with you. How dare you leave me nothing. I’m family!”

With a voice that sounded steadier than it felt, Edna asked her to leave. This response wasn’t entirely surprising. Everyone told her Wilma was only after her money. That’s why she made up the lie about her will.

As she leaned in close, their heads almost collided. Spittle landed on Edna’s cheek as Wilma
hissed, “This is it. You will never see me again.”

The bulky figure of her ex daughter-in-law slammed the front door behind her. A veil of sadness settled over Edna. She had just lost the last link to her only son. A single tear fell over her cheek. Logically, she had done the right thing. Wilma didn’t deserve anything. But loneliness seemed such a heavy price to pay.

Magic Carpet Ride

This is something I wrote about someone who is the star sign Pisces, incorporating the following Piscean traits: big heart, kind, compassionate, extremely positive, intuitive, follow instincts, dreamers, escapists, enigmatic, get lost in own imagination, emotional, spiritual, romantic, artistic, creative.

 

Flyingcarpetmagmount

 

Magic Carpet Ride

Matthew sat cross legged under the old oak tree. His hands, placed palms up on his thighs, he breathed slowly. A hush came over him, and the whole world disappeared.

As his lungs became cleansed with the clean, fresh air he was breathing, a warmth spread through his body. He cleared his mind of all the stresses of teaching his Year 10 Art class that afternoon. Sarah Baker’s catfight with Polly James faded into insignificance, and his heart became filled with love.

“Hey, Matt, I thought I’d find you out here.”

Rosie. The girl who made his skin tingle in anticipation of being touched by her. Opening his eyes, he brought himself back to the present. “Hey, you.” A smile spread across his face. “You’re looking beautiful.”

Watching her face colour as she dipped her head towards the floor made him need to kiss her. Grabbing her hand, he pulled her down and pressed his lips to hers. A corkscrew of electricity wound its way through his core. Pulling back, he caressed her face. “I mean it, you know. You are beautiful.”

This time, she kissed him, and a forcefield of static buzzed around them. It signalled the course of true love between soulmates, and, in that moment, Matthew knew they would be together forever.

When Rosie pulled away, she leant back against the rough bark of the oak. She sighed and picked a blade of grass,

“What’s up?” Matthew always knew when people had things on their minds. His mum told him he possessed a sixth sense. It was what led him to his spiritual path. Knowing that he could intuit things that others wouldn’t begin to see, he had to share his gift with the world. As for the non believers, they were the ones missing out. And so today, he knew Rosie was unhappy. Although, admittedly, anyone could have picked up on this one.

Rosie swallowed and opened her mouth to speak. But her breathing was shallow, and her words wouldn’t come.

Taking her hand and kissing the back of it, Matthew turned his whole body to face her. “Hey, this is me you’re with here. You can tell me anything.” He continued holding her hand.

“I hate my job. No, I hate my boss, and I can’t do my job.” As she sobbed, she stared back toward the house.

Edging close enough for their hips to touch, he draped his arm around her shoulders and squeezed, then kissed the top of her head. “Damian. I should have guessed he was responsible. What’s he done now?”

“Nothing new. Only undermined every sale I made, then told me I have to see an Occupational Therapist to assess my abilities, since I had six weeks off sick with glandular fever. He hates me, Matt. He thinks I’m rubbish at my job.” She let out a wail of unhappiness and Matthew hugged her tight.

“The guy is an ass. You should quit. You don’t have to put up with that kind of crap.”

Shaking off his arm, she rounded on him. “And what would I do, exactly? I’m trained for nothing. And, can you imagine the kind of reference he would give me?”

“Hey, it’s okay. I was thinking about the book you never have time to write. You could do that. I’m making enough money teaching to take care of us. We have some saved away. We’d be fine. And you could become a world-famous writer and we could travel the world, promoting it.” His blue eyes sparkled as he spoke, but Rosie just shook her head.

“I can’t quit my job to write a book I don’t even know if I can write. It’s too risky.”

“Okay. Well, oh yes, even better. We’ll both quit, and we could travel to remote areas of Africa or, like, the Himalayas, or somewhere, and we could teach them. We wouldn’t need money. We could volunteer with charities. Oh, that would be so good. Wouldn’t it?”

He looked at her as a lone tear drifted down her cheek. Using his thumb, he wiped it away. It hurt his heart to see the love of his life this unhappy. He kissed the spot where the tear had been. “Sorry, I got a little carried away, didn’t I?”

With a laugh, she smiled at him. “Yes, just a little. But you’re right about one thing: I do need to find a new job.”

“And I’ll help you. We’ll get you away from that nasty piece of work that calls himself a boss. I won’t let him hurt you again. I promise.”

“I know,” she said as she started to stand.

Holding onto her hand, he pulled her back down. “Don’t go inside just yet. Sit here with me on my magic carpet, and I’ll take us on a ride of your choice.”

After tapping his arm playfully, she said, “Okay. The Maldives, please. Expensive and showy, but I need some white sands and sun.”

As he began to describe the scenery in the countries they floated over, he could sense Rosie’s shoulders relaxing and her hurt melting away.

Busted!

chocolate fudge cake2

Busted!

Ed’s car is in the garage already. That means I’ll have to be quiet. I prise open our front door and hold my breath, listening for an indication of his whereabouts. I take off my shoes and creep along the hardwood floor. No sign of him downstairs, so I take the risk. I have no choice. It’s calling me. I open the pink cardboard box, and the intoxicating, sweet scent fills my world. The first bite of crumbly, chocolatey heaven-sent cake explodes in my mouth. “Nicki,” I suddenly hear, “What happened to the diet?”

 

  • This is my attempt to write micro fiction. It’s 95 words long. So much harder to write than you would think.

I Don’t Fit in Here

For today’s flash fiction prompt, I had to write something with the title, “I Don’t Fit In Here!” Here is what I came up with.

 

Cake Jumper

 

I Don’t Fit In Here

 

Sandra gasped when she realised the task required of her. Uncertainty in her voice, she asked, “Do I really have to do this?”

“Yes,” replied her mother-in-law, “you do. Martin will be overjoyed.”

The two of them had never clicked. Harriet was the kind of mother who fussed and clucked over her son, even when he was no longer hers to smother. Sandra knew Harriet would never like her, and she suspected this was her punishment for stealing her precious son. Even so, she would not let Martin down. She could risk making a fool of herself if it meant showing Harriet just who she was messing with.

Paolo, the party organiser, arrived two hours before he was due. He brought with him the giant monstrosity from which Sandra was expected to rise. At first glance, she guessed it was supposed to resemble an over-sized chocolate cake. It didn’t. Sure, it had thick, creamy butter icing (or some such concoction), but pieces of cardboard poked through the seams. When she stepped closer to inspect the icing, she quickly decided it was best not to question what it actually was. What have I got myself into? she wondered. Literally.

Scanning the room for her mother-in-law, Sandra was sure she couldn’t be pleased with this cheap offering. But when she found her, the older woman beamed and said, “Sandra! It’s wonderful, isn’t it? Have you tried it for size yet? You must have a practice, come on.”

A shot of pain ran down her arm as Harriet grabbed her and led her to the cake. “What are you waiting for? Hop in!” she said with twinkling eyes.

As Sandra stepped both legs inside, Harriet held up a hideous salmon-coloured leotard, dotted with sequins, and said, “You’ll need to wear this, dear. It adds to the whole effect.”

Seething, Sandra lowered herself into the cake. Then, the miracle occurred. “I don’t fit in here!” Sandra shouted, “I’m too big!”

Climbing back out to safety, she stood next to her petite mother-in-law and draped her arm around her shoulders. “Harriet, you’re smaller than me. You’ll have to do it.”

Have You Lost Your Mind?

I wrote this in response to a flash fiction prompt to use the title ‘Have You Lost Your Mind?’

 

Brain

 

Have You Lost Your Mind?

A I creep around the side of the building, I’m surprised at how little security there is. One guard. Marcus said he has a penchant for hard liquor. I just need to wait until he’s asleep.

It doesn’t take long. I creep towards the old metal door and dig into my pocket to pull out the instructions. There are no lights surrounding the doorway itself, only a large, menacing security camera.

I tug at my hood, pulling it over my head and re-read the door code. My breaths stall as I wait to gain entry. Almost instantly, the door welcomes me in. I pull the bandana over my mouth and nose, and claustrophobia overwhelms me. But I have no choice. The consequence of being caught is death. That’s what Marcus said.

The building smells of chemicals. It makes me gag as it penetrates my scarf. I glance once more at the instructions.

Even though I have learnt them verbatim, I can’t unscramble the tangle of words inside my head. I need to read from the paper. The building is a mass of corridors that threaten to hold me hostage. I mustn’t get lost in here. When I’m certain I’ve found the right direction, I start jogging.

Sweat covers my body, and I’m not sure whether it’s from exertion or fear. It must be a couple of miles of corridor before I reach my destination.

I’m in. I gasp at all the jars on the shelves. Each one is labelled with the names of the unfortunate souls they once inhabited. I’ll never find my mother’s. I search the labels, repulsed by the grey walnuts of humankind. The door creaks, and I spin around.

“What you doing here?” the tipsy security guard says.

I gulp, unable to answer. He speaks again, “Have you lost your mind? Is it in one of these jars?”

“No,” I say. “I—I’m looking for my mother’s.”

“Your mother’s? Oh, I see. We can’t let her down, now, can we? What’s her name?”

Stunned by his response, I grapple for the name I’ve spoken with love for the last forty-two years. “Marian Gilmore,” I say and wait.

“Gilmore,” he says, rubbing his chin like a wise old sage. “I’ll take the far side; you start from here.” He motions to a stack of jars at least ten high. He must see the panic on m face because he adds, “Don’t worry, Missy. We’ll get her back.”

Woodchester Mansion

This piece of flash is very loosely based on a real place near to where I live. The workmen’s tools really were left abandoned in the unfinished building over 100 years ago, and nobody has ever been able to figure out why. I don’t think the explanation I offer is what actually happened, though!

woodchester 2

Woodchester Mansion

Louise took my arm and led me toward the imposing structure of the mansion. “Come on, I’ll prove it’s true.”

“I don’t believe you,” I replied, with a roll of my eyes.

As we stopped in front of the building, I was struck by the hideous, stone gargoyles protruding from the walls. They all had scrunched-up, fierce faces with maniacal expressions.

We opened the large, worm eaten door, and the icy interior rushed me; stopping me in my tracks. Rubbing my upper arms to create warmth, I continued moving.

The first thing I noticed was a pile of workman’s tools propped against the wall. They looked old, out of place in today’s construction business. Louise explained, “Now that is an interesting story. When Mr Woodchester discovered his mansion unfinished, there were tools strewn everywhere. It’s like the workmen left in a hurry, as though they were trying to escape from something.”

I shot my friend a disbelieving look, but she continued with the story. “Some think Woodchester ran out of money and couldn’t afford to have his home finished, but that’s not true. Those men wouldn’t have left their tools—their livelihoods—behind. Something drove them away.”

A sigh left my mouth before I could stop it. Why did I agree to come here with Louise? A shiver spread over my body, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood upright. This mansion, with its cold, stone walls, rooms without floorboards, and half finished stairs, was starting to get to me. Surely, there can’t be any truth in Louise’s story?

When we reached the upper level, we had to step carefully. As soon as we entered the narrow, shadowy corridor, I wanted to bolt. Only, I couldn’t move. My eyes fixed on the far end. Breathing out puffs of ice, I shook my head. This couldn’t be real.

“I told you,” said Louise; red flashing in her eyes. “You should have believed me. That might have saved you.”

In an instant, the hideous, life-size gargoyle that was once my friend flew toward me; its greedy mouth open, displaying giant teeth. Knocking me onto the dusty, stone floor, I think I lost consciousness for a second. But, as the creature tasted my blood, I found myself transported. Both depleted and vibrant.

As I rose from the floor, my ears picked up the sound of humans below us. My nose twitched and mouth filled with saliva. Flying to the far end of the corridor, I sat in the dark and waited.